Nikon D 200 camera

  See photos made using the Nikon D200 with these lenses:

Nikon D200 Gallery 2006-2008


START (click here)

GALLERY (click here)

Multi-shot Panoramas (click here)

Thoughts and photos by Michael G. Gordon.  You may copy and reproduce these for non-commercial, personal, non-profit or for the purpose of comparison, study, comment (fair-use purposes).  

The whole point of an SLR is having more than one lens. The "kit" was a Nikon D200 and 18-70mm zoom lens. I do a lot with that combination. I added a 60 mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor for the ultra-closeups. iAfter that, the 75-300 mm zoom lens, 18-200 mm zoom lens.

Old lenses laying around: a big heavy Nikkor "F" 135mm f2, an equally ancient 50 mm f1.8 prime lens, a Swarovski spotting scope with adapter (1100 mm f14) for the close-up of the eagle, an el-cheapo Cambron 500 mm mirror lens (1980's vintage), a 500 mm f8 "long lens" branded "Five Star", a wobbly old Celestron C90 Maksutov (wooden box variety). I had doubts about all these old lenses but they all work pretty well. I purchased a T-mount from BH Photo ( and it works just fine on all these old T-mount lenses.

Impressions, compared with other fine Nikon digital (non-SLR) cameras:
  1. It's big and heavy.  Much bigger/heavier than the Nikon 8700/5700/5000.  In fact, you may wish to keep your smaller camera for casual use.
  2. It's fast.  Reportedly, 0.15 seconds from power on to first photo. I've never had to wait on it. No more missed photos waiting for the camera to "boot up" or record its images to memory card.
  3. It's fun (enjoyable).  A different kind of fun -- this one is very fast and composes with ease. My other cameras are also fun and better suited for situations where a less conspicuous camera is appropriate.
  4. Battery lasts a long time.  No electronic viewfinder to run the battery down.
  5. Stays Awake for a long time.  It doesn't go to sleep.   No worry that just when your Pulitzer Prize photo opportunity happens your camera has gone to sleep.
  6. Use your existing Nikkor lenses. Maybe not all of them, but it preserves your investment in lenses. Beware -- many Nikon DSLR's are choosey about your old lenses but the D200 seems to take them all except perhaps for fisheyes that require mirror lockup.
  7. Photographs have more "snap" to them.  I can guess at many reasons, and I imagine that many reasons exist:
    1. Pixels are bigger (ie, sensor pixels).  Catch more light, less noise, pixel-to-pixel contrast changes can be greater.
    2. In-camera image processing options are rather sophisticated.
    3. More pixels!
    4. JPEG compression without chroma subsampling if you wish (big files, but very crisp).
  8. Less chance of inadvertent setting changes.  Buttons are not where your hands go.   In comparison, I must frequently check my Nikon 5700 or 8700 to make sure the ISO has not changed, the focus mode has not changed, the flash is not on or off.  If I hand it to someone, the mere act of doing so changes two or three settings on the 5700/8700 cameras.   However, you are also quite a bit less likely to hand your Nikon D200 to someone!
Some technical particulars about the images.
  1. Large, fine JPEG's with "optimization" turned on consume from 4 to 7 megabytes per shot.  Normal JPEG consumes 2 to 4 megabytes. 
  2. Noise influences file size.  Noise is no different than fine detail to the camera and must be recorded.  The Nikon D200 is amazingly clean.
  3. Optimized JPEG seems to mean no chroma subsampling -- also known as 1x1, 1x1, 1x1 or 4:4:4.  The files are about twice bigger than "normal" JPEG.  Note: "normal" does not mean normal quality; it refers (in this context) to chroma subsampling or deliberate fuzziness of color since your eyes have fewer "cones" (color receptors) as compared to "rods" (black and white or brightness).  On a typical photo at normal viewing distance, I do not think any human being can visually tell the difference between the two, but if you enlarge them the difference sometimes becomes important. 
    1. SEE a pixel map of the difference between the 7 megabyte optimized JPEG and the exact same image as a 2.5 megabyte normal JPEG.  This is a 3x enlargement of some tree branches and twigs.  Where the colors are exactly the same, the result is white.  Where blue "bleeds" over the black twig, the blue will be visible.  In fact, since the luminance channel has said the twig is "black", then it doesn't really matter what "color" it is since you won't actually see it and this is why ordinary photos look pretty good until you get real close.  
  4. It is a good idea to record everything in best or excellent settings, you can later reduce the size or quality of "good" ones that you want to keep but are not going to publish in a magazine.  Some people are fanatical about shooting only RAW (NEF format), but at 16 megabytes a shot, you will soon have a storage problem. Update: Compressed NEF takes about 7 megabytes per shot and preserves 11.5 bits per pixel per color. I shoot everything in compressed NEF nowadays.
Working with the photos
Organizing photos

Barrel Distortion comparison.  Nikon 8700 (top) vs 18-70 mm (kit lens, bottom) on Nikon d200
Curvature example Nikon 8700
Curvature Example Nikon D200
This slice of photo is near the bottom of the image frame.  Top: Nikon 8700, wide angle setting.   Bottom:  The Nikon D200 kit lens (18-70mm) not quite at its widest setting (it can go wider than the Nikon 8700).   The 18-70mm lens has a flatter field, little or no barrel distortion.   I'll get a better example - lakes and seas especially when you point at the sky or down; such that the horizon is not through the middle of the photo.