Nikon D200 review
Review Date : Mon, 6 Feb 2006
Author : Jamie Harrison
The Nikon D200 - the successor to the Nikon D100; it looks the part and has the specs to match. So how does the D200 fare when put to the test? The What Digital Camera Nikon D200 DSLR review investigates...
|Pros:||Design; overall camera speed; very nice handling; good RAW files|
|Cons:||Post-production JPEG processing is often needed; LCD brightness is too bright to judge accurate exposure but difficult to see in bright light|
Nikon D200 Review
The Nikon D200 follows the D100, a camera released over three years prior and that proved popular with pros and semi pros alike, but has long since been past its sell-by date thanks to the new generation of cameras with better specification, better sensors and, importantly, better prices. Even Nikon has outclassed much of the D100's features with models like the D70, while the Canon EOS 5D has introduced an extra element into the professional market with a full-frame sensor at an almost reasonable price. At last, Nikon has responded with the eagerly awaited D200. We knew it was coming, as there's always going to be a new version of any camera; we just didn't know when. Well the time is now. The What Digital Camera Nikon D200 DSLR full review investigates...
Nikon D200 Review - Features
On board the Nikon D200 sits a 10.92 million-pixel sensor that operates with 10.2 million effective pixels. Each of those are placed onto a Nikon DX-sized sensor, to produce a 1.5x magnification ratio. Okay, so it's not full frame like Canon's latest, but there are many arguments for and against either sensor format. Unlike Canon too, Nikon has gone for a CCD in this model, though the company uses CMOS in the D2X. It seems that Nikon is keen to use whichever sensor best suits the needs of individual models rather than try to cram one type into everything.
The Nikon D200 offers up to 5fps shooting in continuous mode, aided by the sensor's fast four-channel data output, which quickly streams the information from the sensor to the LSI processor and on to the high-speed memory buffer before saving to a card. Nikon claims that when using a SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash card the D200 can record a burst of 22 RAW files or 37 JPEGs.
Camera start-up speed is impressive too. The Nikon D200 starts up in 0.15sec, with a viewfinder blackout time of 105 milliseconds, and shutter lag of 50 milliseconds. On the shutter speed front the camera offers between 30 and 1/8000sec, matching top of the range models.
Similarly the D200 has a wide ISO sensitivity, covering ISO 100-1600. A boost mode named Hi-1, in 1/3 stop steps, is also available.
The Nikon D200 has a new autofocus module, the Multi-CAM 1000, which offers 11 individually selectable focus areas, dropping to a seven-sensor wide area AF with dynamic AF in continuous server mode to aid in tracking moving subjects as they move across the viewfinder or towards the camera. There is also a Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF function where the camera will pick out and focus on the closest subject in the frame.
Technology developed for the D2X has been added to the D200, notably the 3D Matrix Metering II, the updated version of Nikon's metering system. If you prefer to use good old centre-weighted metering, you can, and 2% spot metering coupled to the active AF area is also available. There's also the usual blend of Program, Aperture priority AE, Shutter priority AE and Manual exposure modes. Each of these can be partnered with a choice of drive modes including two continuous high-speed options.
In the innards of the D200's menu system we find a large choice of options, including the choice of Adobe RGB or sRGB profiles. These can be further fine-tuned with the three optimised colour modes for portraits, landscapes and wide colour gamut. Each are labelled as Mode I, II and III. There are also more fine-tuning options for sharpening, tone, contrast and colour.
Unlike many of the sub-£1000 cameras, the Nikon D200 has reviewed the situation and offers a couple of multiple exposure options. The camera can record up to 10 multiple images on a single frame. Alternatively you can blend two selected images together in camera, with opacity controls to get the balance right.