Nikon D200 w. Battery Grip

There were 3 major reasons that I chose the Nikon D200 above other pro level models. The first two you might find helpful but in the end they were all specific to the kind of shooting I intended to do. 1353568-1530884-thumbnail.jpg


I recommend taking a hard look at what sort of results you want and the conditions you will be shooting under before purchase. Manufacturers want you to believe that their technological wonders can do it all for you -- but each is truly designed with important differences.

  • The "semi-pro" D200 is estimated to be nearly as rugged as the "all-pro" D2 (metal alloy skeleton with all compartments sealed with rubber gaskets) yet it uses a DX image sensor which adds a multiplication factor of 1.5 to any lens. The D2 on the other hand uses a full size sensor so there is no magnification factor. True, with 2-point-something million more pixels the D2 can crop more closely accomplishing some "zoom" that way, but the DX sensor's mag. factor still wins out for getting you in closer. My 400mm lens may seem impressive but the effective 250mm telephoto added when attached to the D200 makes a big difference out there. All Canon models use full size sensors (at the time of my purchase anyway) so they never had mch of a chance of overtaking my Nikon lust.

  • Nikon pro level models (at present the D200, D2's [h and x] the new D300 and D3 as well as some Fujifilm models based on the Nikon body and hardware) are the only Digital SLR's that can accept a dedicated GPS antennae and write the positional information directly into the EXIF data. This was crucial to my being able to collect accurate data and complete my trackblogs. This feature seems like such a no-brainer to me that I can't figure why it's not more prevelant. I mean, a lat./long/ accurate to within 10 feet recrded every time I trip the shutter - how cool is that? Check out my recent purchase - called the "di-GPS" . It's a camera dedicated GPS antenna made by a small company in Hong Kong. This thing is wicked. It cost me $158.00 CAN, was delivered in three days, and works quite well in the field so far. At season's end a full review will be posted.

  • A decade ago, when I went to college to study professional photography I became a confirmed Nikon snob. I shot with an F3 with motordrive and the sharpest 50mm lens you could buy. Nikkor lens sharpness and body build quality seduced me completely. Canon has, at the time of this writing, superior high ISO noise reduction properties but Nikon seems to have maintained the legend of excellent lenses and bombproof construction. With the release of the D300 and D3 it appears that Canon's lead in high ISO quality is slipping.

I've taken the camera pictured above on over 750 whale watching trips and exposed it to rain, saltwater splashes, a good thumping around, and drastic changes in humidity and air pressure. Of course, I transported it in a bombproof (and massive) Pelican 1540 hard plastic waterproof case, but it was out and about quite a bit. It still looks great and works flawlessly.

The D200 is nowhere near the bombroof rating of the F3, a camera you could pond nails with, but with the D200 maybe you could hang some drywall. However, this sort of speed, accuracy and reliability once only belonged in the realm of military hardware.