Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D200, part one

A pair of D200s replaced my D2H as my workhorses – I shot extensively with these cameras from around mid 2006 to early 2008, until I got a D3. They managed to improve on the low light performance of the D2H, while increasing resolution by a considerable amount; popularly thought of as ‘D2x lite’. The only issue was mediocre AF, and at best average battery performance – I’d have to carry five or six to feed the pair of monsters on a heavy day of shooting. MT

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The end of all things

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Movement

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Morning fog

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Animals with personality

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Fighting, passing on a message, embracing…only they know.

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Lange 1815.

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Mosaic

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A Parisian in London

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Alone

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Time for a rest

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Japan in a lantern

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Comments

  1. Ming, I was told (and I agree) that once you shoot with a pro-level body like the D2H, it’s pretty hard to go back to the lighter bodies. I know you thought the AF and the battery performance of the D200 were poorer. Anything else that you missed about the D2H when you switched? And did you consider the D2x at the time?

    • The frame rate and stability of the larger body, to be honest. Although I think I’m used to the D800/ D700 – I know they fit my requirements better, gaining the built in flash was extremely useful – I do still lust after a D4 occasionally. I considered the D2x but was put off by the price and poor higher ISO performance – I shot concerts at the time.

      • For someone who shoots Leica and features all that exotic gear on his pages (cue the camera and timepiece porn intro…), I found that “put off by the price of the D2x” comment quite amusing. :) So what were your thoughts about the D2Hs at the time? I know the smaller 4MP resolution was still considered a disadvantage, but would it have been appropriate for shooting concerts? The D2Hs’ high ISO capability was pretty good for its time. (And re: “lusting after a D4″ — I think we all suffer from that malady! LOL.)

        • Well, I was in a financially very different place six years ago, and not able to justify equipment purchases against commercial billing. It would be unfair to make assumptions. And a D2x was about US$4.5k in this part of the world, against $1.5k for a D200.

          I didn’t find the D2Hs that much better than the D2H – perhaps a stop – but by that point, the D200 was giving about the same performance if used correctly, and more than twice the resolution. Just didn’t make sense to me given the other options.

      • I was only kidding about the price comment and hope the levity came across. You bring up a very valid point about the oftentimes prohibitive cost of new gear, especially if one’s income/billing doesn’t justify the premium. If anything, I’m constantly amazed at the rate of depreciation of these cameras: a used D2x is now about 1/5 of its original value. But on the bright side, the used market now gives many people, who otherwise couldn’t afford new, the opportunity to pick up these still amazing examples of industrial design at affordable prices.

        Anyway, just want to thank you for your insight and earnestness in responding to readers in your blog. It’s appreciated and very refreshing!

        • No worried – no offense taken.

          I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – gear is a tool, not an investment. The older gear is interesting – especially at the pro level – and still competitive, especially if just one generation back.

  2. Oh, forgot to add: killer shots, as always!

  3. Chuck Clark says:

    [this is a little risky because I haven't read all the comments to this series]

    I suppose the (interesting) problem with a cameras-that-were series is that, odd-number bladed stops aside, it’s very difficult to determine which camera was used to take which shot without being told so. And the aperture stops only count for lenses, not camera bodies. What factors would make it possible to guess correctly most of the time?

    If that Lange 1815 had a white dial I’d buy one! Or at least *want* one.

  4. Chuck Clark says:

    And a little follow up – it’s the descriptions by you which are enlightening, not necessarily the pictures specific to each camera.

  5. Ming, How much difference do you feel percentage wise in D200 and your D800E in terms of image quality, performence ,resolution etc. D200 was also one of my favourite back in 2008.

    • Huge. The biggest differences – apart from resolution, obviously – are color and battery life. Interestingly I remember AF bring crap on all but the center point…how did we survive back then? :p

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A pair of D200s replaced my D2H as my workhorses – I shot extensively with these cameras from around mid 2006 to early 2008, until I got a D3. They managed to improve on the low light performance of the D2H, while increasing resolution by a considerable amount; popularly thought of as 'D2x lite'. The only issue was mediocre AF, and at best average battery performance – I'd have to carry five or six to feed the pair of monsters on a heavy day of shooting.  [...]

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