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Nikon D200 DSLR Review
|Review Date: Nov
Advanced Amateur - Prosumer
The Nikon D200 DSLR is as compact as the
Nikon D100 that it replaces but, in image quality,
it is closer to the professional Nikon D2X. It
has 10.2 megapixel resolution on an APS-sized
(23.6 x 15.8mm) CCD image sensor. It can be purchased
with the 18-70mm AF-S DX f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED Nikkor
Zoom Lens kit, the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF
AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor lens kit, or body only
and used with any AF-DX, AF-D, AF-G, AF-I, AF-S,
and AF VR Nikkor lenses.
(27mm, 35mm equivalent)
(300mm, 35mm equivalent)
One of the advantage of a dSLR is the ability
to use interchangeable lenses suited for specific
jobs. We used the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S
VR DX Zoom-Nikkor lens for this review [27-300mm,
|120mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern,
1/125 sec., F5.3, ISO 800
The actual macro capability is a function of
the lens you use, and the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
we used allows us to focus only as close as 50
cm (20 in.). This does not provide coverage of
a small enough area for what we generally call
"macro." I find that I obtain my best
macro results using this lens by zooming in.
If you are into macro photography, check out
the 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor lens
which features a silent wave motor and Vibration
Reduction technology that Nikon claims allows
photographers to shoot hand-held at up to 4 shutter
speeds slower than otherwise possible.
|ISO H03 [HI + 0.3 = 2000]
||ISO H07 [HI + 0.7 = 2500]
|ISO H10 [HI + 1.0 = 3200]
The Nikon D200 has 16 ISO settings going from
ISO 100 to ISO 1600, plus the ability to "boost"
to 3 more higher ISO settings dubbed "HI
+ 0.3," "HI + 0.7," and "HI
+ 1.0" where the "HI + 1.0" is
equivalent to ISO 3200, The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds.
At ISO 100 to 400, noise is under control and
detail is preserved. Noise is also low at ISO
800 but at the expense of detail. Noise is visibly
present above ISO 800. The boosted ISOs are very
I have not been able to find much CA in everyday
high-contrast shots, and where it is present it
is minimal. The corner delimited by the red square
at top left, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom
right, shows minimal purple fringing.
|18mm, Shutter-Priority, Center-Weighted,
30 sec., F6.7, ISO 100
Manual WB, Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod Used
Noise Reduction ON
using the VR 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6 G lens
The Nikon D200 allows the use of a long shutter
speed of up to 30 sec. in Manual and Shutter-Priority
modes (plus Bulb in Manual mode), therefore allowing
night photography. Generally, with image sensors,
noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter
speeds. When you set Noise Reduction to ON in
the menu [Shooting Menu - Long Exp. NR - ON and
Shooting Menu - High ISO NR - ON (Normal, Low,
High)], the Nikon D200 has special noise reduction
algorithm that automatically kicks in at shutter
speeds at 1/2 sec. and longer and you'll notice
a longer processing time (approx. twice as long)
before the next picture can be taken.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we decided
to take a low-light indoors shot. To obtain a
long exposure, I place Bamm-Bamm under my desk
where it's dark.
I experiment a bit to obtain the optimum exposure,
eventually settling on 30 sec. at F6.7. Even at
this long shutter speed, the Nikon D200's noise
reduction seems to be working great, producing
a nice smooth blurring effect of the background.
We find that the AF is very responsive and images
snap quickly into focus. There is a dedicated
AF Illuminator to aid in focusing. The pop-up
flash is quite powerful, and a hot shoe accepts
The Nikon D200 does not incorporate a live histogram.
In Playback mode, press the Multi-Selector up/down
and you can view a Histogram and also RGB Histograms.
The weak point in image quality for this professional-grade
DSLR is the high ISO noise characteristics requiring
post processing in a noise reduction software.
The images also look soft but we recommend that
you neither crank up the sharpening nor crank
up the color saturation in-camera (see examples
in Photo Gallery); better results will be obtained
in an image editing software such as Photoshop.
Otherwise, we find the overall image quality of
the Nikon D200 up to ISO 400 to be excellent
with details preserved in the shadows and highlights.
The pictures in the Nikon D200 Photo Gallery
page provide a good sample of what the camera
is capable of. I have provided unprocessed samples
at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100
in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 3,872 x
2,592 pixels original size (click on the image
for the original version). Any of the 800x600
image that is adjusted for levels and/or sharpened
in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended
to the file name. Original images are never adjusted.
[Note that there seems to be a dead pixel on
the image sensor. It is visible as a blue dot
when the image is viewed at full size.]
You can safely assume that most macro shots and
slow shutter speed shots required the use of a
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious