Home    Search    Gallery    How-To    Books    Links    Workshops    About    Contact

Ritz Camera

adorama

Nikon D200 Compared to D2X, D70s, D100 and D1X
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

I bought mine from Ritz here. I bought another D200 from Adorama here. Also try Amazon here. Adorama usually has D200/18-70 kits in stock here. It helps me keep adding to this site when you click these links to get yours.

INTRODUCTION

These are broad, basic comparisons. Let me know if I missed anything major. I leave the pixel-by-pixel shootouts to hobbyists who love these comparisons for their own sake. I'm comparing them based on what I find important for my own work.

COMPARED TO THE D80 (click for a new page comparing the two)

COMPARED TO THE NIKON D2X

I prefer the D200! In the old days (October 2005) the only real reason to buy the D2X over the D70s was speed and durability; today the D200 does the same thing as the D2X in a smaller package for one-third the cost.

The D200 makes the D2X seem about as relevant today as the old milk-carton-sized Motorola cell phones of the 1980s. The D2X is a year old, which is 25 years old in people years. The D200 is brand new, smaller and less expensive.

Similarities

The difference in resolution is negligible; horizontal image sizes are 3,872 pixels for the D200 and only 4,288 for the D2X, or only 11% more, which is invisible. Remember that megapixels are the square of the pixel dimensions.

Constructed about as well, which is a major coup for the D200.

Similar AF areas, probably faster in D2X.

2.5" LCD with the same resolution. The D2X has a better glass cover. The D200 claims a huge viewing angle whose image shouldn't change brightness as you view from different angles; I see no such claim for the D2X.

Similar frame rates and buffer depths. The D2X is rated a tiny bit faster (5.3 vs. 5.0 FPS) but has a shallower buffer rating (22 vs. 37) so I call this a draw.

D200 Benefits

One-third the price!!!

Black-and-white mode.

Built in flash, which is a huge improvement over the D2X's dependence on a bulky external SB-800 or SU-800 just to control remote flashes or studio strobes. The D200 built-in flash does this all by itself. All the D2X has is an empty hot shoe and no built-in flash.

The D200 goes to higher ISOs more easily.

Huge viewfinder with grid.

Lighter by 10 ounces (240 g) and even more when you count their batteries since the D2X battery is heavier, too. (Batteries aren't included in the camera's weight specs.)

Much smaller, especially in height.

D2X benefits:

Adds a bizarre high-sped crop mode at 8 FPS.

Auto White Balance adds an ambient sensor. I don't know if this works well; all the photos in the D2X sales brochures were shot in manual WB.

Viewfinder blind for accurate metering on a tripod without holding your eye against the finder.

COMPARED TO NIKON D70 and NIKON D70s

Similarities

The difference in resolution is negligible; horizontal image sizes are 3,008 pixels for the D50/D70/D70s and 3,872 pixels for the D200. This is a 27% improvement, not that big a deal. Remember that megapixels are the square of the pixel dimensions.

The built-in flashes all have the same power.

D200 Benefits

Superior ergonomics: the D200 has single-purpose buttons for the Three Kings (QUAL, WB, ISO) while the D70s combines them with playback function buttons. The D200 even adds a user programmable function button!

YRGB Histograms! Single histograms are useless because they can't show when just one channel clips, at which point your image is crap. The YRGB histogram of the D200 for the first time, in addition to the D2X, allows you to look at the histogram to check overexposure. I need to write an article explaining this. For now just check all four histograms and ensure that none of them clips the highlights. You can see highlights clipping on a histogram when it bunches up on the right side of the graph. These useful histograms are one of the big reasons I'm getting a D200 to replace my D70.

Four banks of setting memories for fast swapping between groups of camera settings.

Superior durability. The D200 is metal and gasketed against the weather, while the D70s is plastic.

Almost twice as fast (5 vs. 3 FPS).

More AF zones.

Built-in flash can address and control multiple groups of remote wireless flashes; D70/D70s only controls one remote flash channel.

Most likely faster at everything.

More flexible White Balance, critical to great images.

Huge viewfinder, adds ISO indication.

The D200 works well with manual focus lenses, the D70 doesn't.

The MH-18a charger is a little bit smaller than the slightly older MH-18 charger of the D70.

No useless "Scene Modes" (Portrait, Night Scene, Flower, etc.) cluttering the control panels.

D70s / D70 / D50 Benefits

Smaller, lighter, less expensive.

Automatically works with the ingenious $17 ML-L3 IR remote control that's smaller than my house key. The D200 needs a clumsy screw-in $55 MC-30 or MC-36 cord or the $165 wireless ML-3. With the $165 wireless ML-3 system and the D200 you get the same function as the ML-L3 on the D70, except that the $165 system is a contraption you have to slide into the D200 hot shoe and screw the cable into the 10-pin socket. The D70 by comparison is always ready to work with the ML-L3 which I always have slipped in a camera case pocket. The ML-L3 even comes with a tiny case you can attach to your camera strap!

Faster Flash Sync: 1/500 vs 1/250. D70 has a combination electronic and mechanical shutter. The D200 has only a mechanical shutter.

"Scene Modes" helpful to beginnners.

You can see the D70 and D70s still have an awful lot going for them, in fact, all these benefits also apply to the D50!

COMPARED TO THE NIKON D100

Get over it. The D100 is an ancient relic introduced in 2002 and was obsolesced by the D70 in 2004. The D100 is now 3.75 years old, which is 94 years in digital camera years! It's still around only because Nikon realized they had nothing in the line between the D70 and D2X. The D100 was saved from the grave for people who gauge performance based on price. Even the D70 eclipses the D100 in every way, except that you need to buy a third party vertical grip for the D70 instead of a Nikon branded one for the D100.

The D100 was Nikon's first try at an amateur DSLR. It's based on the N80. It's the least pleasant to use of any Nikon DSLR because you have to take your eye from the finder, rotate a knob, spin a dial, then rotate that knob back to where you found it to make even the simplest of adjustments to critical parameters. The D100 uses the primitive and obsolete d-TTL flash control, which gave awful results on my D1H. The D100's flash sync is also pokey at only 1/180. No pros I knew wanted the D100 even when it came out because of the slow flash sync.

There's a chat room full of people who still think the D100 is the best camera ever and call me an idiot here. Of course the image comes from the photographer, not the camera, and if you own and love your D100 then there's no need to change.

If you're still looking for specific reasons, the D200 runs twice as fast, has more resolution, far superior flash exposure control system, over twice the area of LCD, faster flash sync, far tougher construction (the D100 was just a $300 N80), and most importantly, worlds better ergonomics allowing far faster adjustment of the D200 to conditions. THe D200 betters the D100 at every single metric.

COMPARED TO NIKON D1, D1H and D1X

The D200 is a zillion times better than the D1X. Don't get suckered into buying some pro's used headaches.

I used to own a D1H. It's the same as the D1X and older D1. I was overjoyed when I sold it and bought a D70 instead. The D200 is bettter still.

The newest of the D1 series is over four years old, which is over 100 years old in people years.

By today's standards the D1 series was literally a pain in the neck: not only did it weigh a ton, but the battery system of all the D1 cameras was awful. You only got about 200 - 300 shots at the very most on a charge, and you had to baby the finicky Ni-MH batteries. Worse, with a fresh battery the D1X battery gauge would start indicating LOW after about three shots, which means the viewfinder display would turn off unless you kept the shutter pressed halfway down!

Anyone who shot any of these cameras in the field always had two charged spares with them, and these spares not only were big and heavy, but they had a weird protruding parts that literally were a pain in the behind if you put them in your rear pocket.

Don't get suckered into buying someone elses' problems. I sold my D1H for a D70 in 2004 and was overjoyed.

Others still pay good money for used D1 series. If you have one I'd suggest dumping it and getting a D200 as I did.

NEXT: COMPARED TO CANON

or back to TRICKS

or back to D200 review page index

or back to top of D200 review

Home     Gallery     How-To     Links    Workshops     About     Contact