Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nikon D200 review 2014 - Some New Thoughts







 Nikon D200 DSLR with 50mm 1.8D lens

This is going to be a long read, so save this on your phone or laptop and get to home. I don’t suggest you read this at your office or on your phone.  Go home, make yourself a nice cappuccino or a mocktail, before you sit down to read it. Nothing like sipping some nice hot or cold drink to read a photography article about the camera you like. Right ? 


Before I begin let me tell you I am the kind of photographer who does not believe expensive gear equals good photography. I mean, its great to have expensive gear, but if you don't its fine too. I have shot some amazing pictures with kit lenses and the cheapy 50 1.8 lenses. If you don’t know how to use a camera even an expensive camera can’t save your day. Also theres a danger of thefts, wear and tear etc that will hurt you both financially and emotionally. 

I have seen awesome commercial photography done with entry level cameras and I firmly believe there is no point in buying expensive cameras or lenses until and unless you absolutely need them or your photography business is running good enough to buy them.  A camera shouldn’t cost as much as a car or a house, its ridiculous.  I have done some awesome pictures in my commercial photography assignments with a Nikon D200 and a Sony alpha 200, yeah Sony alpha 200. I am not ashamed to shoot with entry level cameras for my commercial assignments. Yes the SONY A200 is my backup to the D200, yeah I don’t have a Nikon body as a backup. Sue me. haha...


Clients pay you for the images you deliver. NOT for the cameras you have.

Now lets get into the story at hand. 




So, I recently finished shooting for a local custom motorcycle company and used the Nikon D200 extensively for this shoot. (no, not canon mark III or even a 7D) I had to use the D200 as I had no other choice.  Earlier in the day, I shot their promo video on a mark III with a carl zeiss lens (85mm 1.4 to be exact). Its all great and everything but had to send it off as the rental agreement was only for certain hours. 


Right from the first image I shot the clients who were present at the shoot in the workshop, literally were like 'fuck' 'fuck' 'fuck'. Yeah I know. They gasped. The lighting scheme was perfect, not to mention the amazing camera and lens combination. Absolutely clean RAW files. They might have done the same if I had shot with a Nikon D800 or a 1Dx or a Mark III, as the lighting scheme I planned proved to be very effective, but none the less, its impossible to write off D200’s contribution to the whole exercise. 

A few days ago after the shoot I went to the editing suite to get the promo video of the aforementioned clients edited and I insisted they see the quality of the images on a mac. They did. Mind blown. The client acknowledged my hardwork. I worked 22 hrs non stop both for the promo video and photoshoot. Yeah it was a bit manic. 


Before this whole episode, I looked some of my pics on my home pc and was appalled, but realized this is not how these pictures meant to be seen. I was right the mac showed the true color and rendition of these images. 



People shooting commercially have to know each camera has its own flavor, no camera is alike, even from the same manufacturer. The quality of a Nikon D3 is different than a Nikon D700, even though both share the same sensor. The image processing, rendering is all different in these cameras. The sensor in the Nikon D80, D200, and D60 are the same, they may superficially look the same but when you pixel peep, you will notice the differences. 


My contention is that if you can extract the same quality images from a D200 as a Mark III, I will say there is no point in getting a Mark III. I am not trying to downplay the Mark III, it is an excellent camera by any means. I am just saying, the Mark III does not fit everyone’s budget. Sure you can rent them for shoots. 

 





What is the D200 good at ??


Given its accurate color rendition D200 can be used to shoot clothes and anything related to clothes/clothing catalogues. It can also be used to shoot portraits as the skin tones from the camera are absolutely amazing, this is something lacking in modern DSLRs from Nikon sadly. The skin tones in the D7000 are a mix of some strange orangy pinkish hue. Even the D300/300s fails to deliver skin tones properly. I have seen a lot of photographers complain about this issue online about the D300.


 

Coming back to the D200, when I was looking at the pictures, I realized apart from the few minor things the image quality between the D200 and a Mark III is very marginal. Good lighting is the key. Any camera will perform well in good lighting conditions.  NO, I am not talking rubbish. I have compared both images from the D200 and Mark III on a mac screen with retina display. So I know. If at all you feel, the D200’s images are not up ‘there’, you can always tweak them in photoshop.


That beats having a $3000 camera, doesn’t it ?



Here is some more motorcycle porn with the D200 and Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 -
http://subliminalwhispers.blogspot.in/2015/07/motorcycle-porn-shooting-jawayezdi.html


If you plan your lighting properly, optimize the settings and shoot with a proper technique I bet my bottom dollar, you will get images that are on par with the expensive cameras. 



The whole point of this article is: Hold on to your D200 a little longer, and shoot with it more to bring out its best. I might extend this article indefinitely, so keep checking for updates.



Happy clicking…

--Viisshnu--
P.S: Hey would you like to read the story of how I lost and found my beloved Sony a200 DSLR?? yeah there's a review too ;)
Here you go: http://subliminalwhispers.blogspot.in/2015/10/sony-a200-review-2015-or-how-i-got-my.html

33 comments:

Unknown said...

how is the D200 in 2015? compared with D7100 & D7000 or the FX D 700. is it still worth?

Viisshnu said...

Sorry for the late reply

Viisshnu said...

The D200 is still an extraordinary camera even in 2015. Why? It has CCD sensor. CCD sensors bend and re-align the light. CMOS sensors. CMOS sensors are basic and primitive. D7000 sensor is goos , even though its CMOS. It all comes down to what you want your pics to look like. D200 is not suggestible if you are shooting sports. Its good for everything else. The AF points are more spread than the 7000 or 7100. It has features that are not there in 7000 or 7100. Its also a lot cheaper than both the cameras. Full magnesium alloy body as well. My advice? Go with the D200.

petervdham said...

Great article. I am considering a D200 at the moment, since I am ditching my A7s for a proper videocamera. I would still like a good but not to expensive photocamera.

Viisshnu said...

petervdham yes its a great camera. Its hell a lot cheaper now on ebay. a7s is highly limited as a video camera. I have tested the a7s recently at Sony show in Hyderabad. Not happy. Better to get something like Canon XL1 series for video or the sony NEX camcorders.

The D200 sensor is very special like the Leica M9. There's some magic sauce in it, that is hard to explain. Please go ahead and buy the D200. You wont regret it. Cheers and Happy clicking :)

petervdham said...

Pre-ordered the Ursa Mini 4.6k for video work. That will suit my needs :-)

Have not bought a D200 yet though. Still looking for a good deal. I owned a D700 in the past and I'm sure I'll like a D200.

Viisshnu said...

Congrats on the URSA. I have heard a great many things about the camera. I dont know much about it as I am basically a RED/ALEXA/CineAlta kinda guy ;) my favorite cameras are the Sony F35 and the FS700.

You will find good deals on ebay netherlands. Yes if you have shot with the D700 you will love the D200. Same colors. Only the D700 is a little more advanced and more sturdy. Cheers and Happy clicking.

petervdham said...

Viisshnu: I mainly shoot with the RED Epic Dragon, at the place where I work. But I bought the URSA for my own little startup company :)

I'll try ebay :) Thanks!

Viisshnu said...

Thats good to know petervdham. Ursa is a suitable for a start up. I might buy a couple of BMPCCs if start my own production company. I am freelancing currently. Generally I hire a Mark III for small corporate gigs. Bigger cameras for bigger gigs. As per photography have a Nikon D200, Sony a200 and a D70s is on the way. I mostly shoot products/portraits and such so these cameras are more than adequate.

I have written a review on the sony a200, read it when you have time.

http://subliminalwhispers.blogspot.in/2015/10/sony-a200-review-2015-or-how-i-got-my.html

Big ups.

petervdham said...

Nice. I owned a 5dIII for a while, but sold it. Did not like it that much for video. Loved it for photography though, it's really good.

Now that I'm switching to the URSA, I can use both my Zeiss 50MP and 100MP that I own in the Nikon-mount. Wanted a little camera to use them natively. Just bought a D200 for €70, which is a good price.

Viisshnu said...

I used a 5DIII for a few gigs, shot some weddings with it too. I feel canon depends more on internal camera processing than sensor technology. Canon is also using the oldest CMOS fabs. I also never liked the colors from Canon. I love Nikon colors very much. The Nikon D750 is awesome, but pricey. May be later.

Nikon mount zeiss are very good. Combined with the sensor technology of Nikon, thats a formidable combination.

70 euro?? wow, thats like the deal of the millennium :)

My Nikon D70s reached me just yesterday night by courier. It will be a back up o my D200. Shot some pics today around town. Will write a review soon. Cheers.

petervdham said...

The D200 just arrived. Looks great and is in great condition. CCD-sensor looks nice to. Satisfied :)

Viisshnu said...

Congrats man. Time for a celebration, clink clink ;)

Have you got any lenses for it?

Viisshnu said...

send some pics of the camera and pics taken with the camera. will share it here on the blog. Cheers.

petervdham said...

I've got both a Zeiss 50MP f/2 and a Zeiss 100MP f/2 for it :)

No pictures yet :)

Viisshnu said...

you should have one or two autofocus lenses for the D200 :) may be a 85 1.4 or 105 or 135 f2 DC, great lenses.

I personally have a 80-200 f2.8 awesome lens

petervdham said...

Nah. Main reason I bought the D200 is so that I can still take pictures when I want to. Since the Ursa is a videocamera only...

Using my Zeiss lenses will be fine. I just need a focusscreen now :)

Uni MindBalance said...

I used to have a D200 a while back, then I sold it - but now I have seen one for sale for £200 including Nikon battery grip and it looks next to never used - the shutter count is an amazing 1345! Seems like a D200 that someone bought - played with for a month and got bored. Is this a good deal? My feeling is yes, but what do you all think?
Thanks

Jeff MSC said...

Excellent stuff. I always said my best work all came from a D200 ten years ago. Still a great camera and IMHO they're all much the same at ISO200. Nikon don't make them like the D200 anymore. I think they tried a lot harder in the early days of digital because they knew it wasn't going to be easy making the pros switch from film. Once they did Nikon started to slip putting out plastic from Taiwan. Just look at the problems they have now, almost every Nikon camera in the last 5 years has had a recall. I still love them but it's a true saying there's nothing made that a man can't make cheaper. I have a Df which is the exception, Made in Japan but think I might get a D200 as backup. Best wishes, Jeff

Viisshnu said...

@Uni MindBalance brother the D200 with grip at 200 bucks is a steal. Buy it immediately. Sorry for the late reply. Its hard to come across pieces like that these days. All the very best.

Viisshnu said...

Jeff MSC brother I agree with you on all the things you say about the D200. Eevn my own best work is byfar, from the D200. I have rente and used the Mark III canon but not at all happy. The colors from the D200 cannot be gotten from any other camera. That is the reason I cant let this camera go under any circumstance. Yeah Nikon unfortunately does not make cameras like the D200 anymore. The last good cameras from Nikon are the D300 and D700. After that no other camera comes close. Yes its true, now since every photographer has gone digital, Nikon isnt coming up with anything compelling or path breaking..they are rehashing the same shite over and over again. Now the quality of cameras has come down drastically. bad sensors, bad construction, bad software...and the saga continues. I am very vary of the new generation DSLRs from Nikon. I dont think there is anyting in the market today compelling enough for me to throw the D200 in the joint and buy a new camera. My D200 does all the things the new cameras do. Yes the DF is a great camnera bro...except that plastic mount bothers me...at that price range they could have made a full magnesium alloy body with solid weather sealing...but they didnt...with Df they got the sensor mechanics and software right...everything else is a toss...having said that, I have to accept the dynamic range, color and IQ of the Df are beyond the realm of legendary. Inspite of that..i'd rather buy a proper DSLR like a D810, or D3s or a D4 than a Df.

petervdham said...

Still looking for a focus screen though :(

Viisshnu said...

KatzEye are available for D200 brother, try amazon or ebay...

petervdham said...

@ Viisshnu: They stopped producing these products, sadly. I ordered one from a different brand though.

Viisshnu said...

@petervdham I hope it works as expected. Cheers.

victory ugbuji said...

Just read this. Please I need your help. I am an entry level photographer with an entry level camera. I got the d200 last week. But the colour balance isn't right. Gave it to a professional, but he couldn't do anything. Please what can I do?

victory ugbuji said...

Just read this. Please I need your help. I am an entry level photographer with an entry level camera. I got the d200 last week. But the colour balance isn't right. Gave it to a professional, but he couldn't do anything. Please what can I do?

victory ugbuji said...

Just read this. Please I need your help. I am an entry level photographer with an entry level camera. I got the d200 last week. But the colour balance isn't right. Gave it to a professional, but he couldn't do anything. Please what can I do?

Viisshnu said...

@victory ugbuji, sister what you have in your hands is the greatest camera ever made by man.....the D200 is a legendary camera from Nikon....no camera past or present can come anywhere near this camera. I congratulate you on your purchase..... I suggest you read the camera manual first regarding the white balance..... I use auto white balance or shoot at 5000k or use daylight white balcne....follow my advice and i am sure you will be fine.

Cheers and happy clicking...

Viisshnu said...

@victory ugbuji, sister what you have in your hands is the greatest camera ever made by man.....the D200 is a legendary camera from Nikon....no camera past or present can come anywhere near this camera. I congratulate you on your purchase..... I suggest you read the camera manual first regarding the white balance..... I use auto white balance or shoot at 5000k or use daylight white balcne....follow my advice and i am sure you will be fine.

Cheers and happy clicking...

Viisshnu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viisshnu said...

@victory ugbuji, sister what you have in your hands is the greatest camera ever made by man.....the D200 is a legendary camera from Nikon....no camera past or present can come anywhere near this camera. I congratulate you on your purchase..... I suggest you read the camera manual first regarding the white balance..... I use auto white balance or shoot at 5000k or use daylight white balance....follow my advice and i am sure you will be fine.

Cheers and happy clicking...

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