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D200 banding

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There's been some talk the last few days about the D200's 'banding issue'. It shows itself as light and dark stripes on the edge between overexposed and darker areas. It seems not all D200 are affected, and it happens mostly around ISO 400. Even though I would think most UW photographers would normally shoot at 100 or 200, ive been wondering how this may affect sunball shots. It matches the overexposed/darker prerequisite perfectly. Any thoughts?

 

Cor

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Everyone I know who has got a D200 is very happy with it and doesn't have this banding issue.

 

I don't have any direct experience but it does strike me that this is just another web hyped problem - that only affects very few users - but these users have the ability to vocally hype the problem using DPReview. 20-30 people chatting about a problem on the internet can make it seem a pandemic. Apparently the D2X had back-focus issues, and just about every new camera has some issue that is over-hyped on DPReview and others.

 

As far as I see the corduroy-effect (a much cooler name I think) only effects some D200s. So I guess it will go away soon. I don't think it will be much of a problem with sunbursts - as I don't see many shooting sunbursts at ISO 400.

 

Alex

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Hi Alex,

 

I mentioned the banding issue in another thread because Thom Hogan has addressed it (albeit quietly) on his website. He's pretty reliable - at least a lot moreso than 20-30 people chatting on dpreview.

 

If you buy a D200, it's something to look out for and contact Nikon as per Peter's link above if you experience the problem.

 

Cheers

James

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I agree that Thom Hogan is reliable - although with a slight pro-Nikon bias.

 

But I do think that many of these "problems" with various cameras are over hyped on forums. In Antibes I asked Amos Nachos why he wasn't shooting digital yet and he said he was waiting for Canon to solve its issues with wide angle and full frame sensors!

 

Alex

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I guess it's becoming more and more difficult to weed out the overhyped non-problems from the real problems. But I also think we should watch out for a form of acceptance of problems, be they large of small. I would be really angry if id have to send in a camera for an upgrade the same day I got it. Just saying 'well every camera has problems' just shouldnt be an excuse.

 

With the ever increasing rate of new camera products even within one manufacturer, the heavy competition, and the pressure for fast and succesful releases of digital cameras, I think problems are inevitable. It seems the quality control has come under more and more time pressure just so a camera can go on the market a bit faster. For this reason Id like to be able to wait at least 6 months to a year before I commit to a camera, and with both the D100 and the D2x I managed to do that, but even that is becoming near impossible with the rate successors are being released.

 

Cor

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For everyone reading this thread, I also recommend reading Alex's editorial on the front page. I agree w/ Alex that if you pay too much attention to these "reports" you will never buy a camera!

 

Cheers

James

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This thread is what I like about Wetpixel - a relatively simple question generates a wider ranging debate.

 

I think Cor's post a couple above is very true. And as for my editorial - that was actually written in Oct/Nov before I had ever heard of banding. Sadly there is a certain inevitability to the DPReview forum reports that greet each new camera.

 

Alex

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Hear hear Alex.

 

There is a tendency for some 'people' (I hesitate to use the word photographers) to become ever more obsessive over digital 'quality' and they can be very vociferous - hence the web hype.

 

I'll state here what I have stated on other web fora:

 

"I have never lost an images sale because of an optical issue with the lens" nor have I lost any due to so called 'camera issues'. I do use good (but not always the best) lenses and good (but not always the latest) cameras.

 

Today we have better photographic tools than ever before!

 

If the minor banding issues that I have seen displayed on the web are losing you image sales or making prints unacceptable to most viewers then you are probably using the wrong format rather than wrong camera.

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Im personally not buying a D200, but I know enough people that are or will be. If id recommend some of them a D200 (and why not, it seems like a great camera), I would not like it if they needed to send it in immediately. Has nothing to do with the image itself, but the inconvenience. Even if its not absolutely necessary (very few situations really need iso 400 with overexposed and dark areas), Id bet that most people that know about this problem will want it 'fixed'. This is assuming there is even such a thing as sending it back, ive only seen rumours.

 

I do fully agree though that camera problems, or even camera features, for most people will have no influence on the end result. I think a lof of forums, even sometimes including wetpixel, give aspiring photographers the faulty idea that some minor choice, like the choice between Canon or Nikon, is going to somehow make their images good or bad. This is ofcourse compounded by the manufacturers themselves, that do everything they can to make it seem like some feature their camera has is paramount to good pictures.

 

Cor

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Cor

 

They are many poeple that need iso 400 and higher.

The question is how u use a camera. if you use it always with strobes and take some holiday photos topside every digital DSLR will do a great job

But if you go in places where high isos, low contrat, high res. prints, (Over A1) night and studio photography etc.... there the issues like noice, isos, full frame, dynamic, etc are very importand..

Both cameras d200 & canon 5D are great tools for photography.

Sadly both habe pro & contras so is about what you whant to do..

 

I a perfect world the compination off both cameras will make a killer system but we dont leave in a perfect world and cant have everything and that make the desition how and what we prioritare very hard...

 

Lambis

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I would not say don’t buy a D200 because all your photos will suffer from banding. It’s the same like people say don’t buy full frame, all your (wideangle) image corners will be poorer than on APS-C.

 

But I have the feeling D200's banding issue is not just a bug of a few D200 copies and their few owners speaking loudly on dpreview. Nikon has admitted the problem and is working on a solution. Maybe this is the reason why the D200 is hardly available. I think the problem could be an internal design issue (sensor, camera software or whatever) which is more prone to banding in certain rare situations. I mean every camera is able to deliver banding, just push ISO (and exposure afterwards) accordingly and you get banding with certain types of shots. The D200 just seems to exhibit it sooner than expected. Maybe a firmware modification can suppress it better.

 

Furthermore, I understand banding is kind of bound to noise. I have never seen banding effects in noise free images. I think that low noise cameras are less prone to banding. Such an issue might be irrelevant for most of the shooters. I’ve read that my 5D can produce banding when using AI Servo mode (I really seldom use it) with certain lenses, high ISO values and certain types of pictures. I didn’t care because it is the camera I wanted and it is no issue for me.

D200’s banding could be an issue for frequent high ISO and available light shooters (Lambis?). Simply depends on individual needs. But no question, as Paul said, we talk about minor image quality issues of cameras, which are better than anything else before. All those cameras allow you to take great pictures and even sell them.

 

As a Nikon shooter, I would go for the D200. Most probably I would not rush into buying it but wait a little to see what Nikon does about this thing. But then, you could miss good shots with this camera :P

 

Julian

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The banding problem is a big problem and many users especialy those who have buy the first d200s have it... Others may have it to but never see it becauce of the still they take photos..

 

Sure nikon will fix this .. no question on this...

Follow a new review of Nikon d200 who adress the banding / noice issues.

 

Image resource Nikon D200 User Report

 

lambis

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Ah, this reminds me of the days when I owned a Kodak ProSLRn and I needed multiple firmware upgrades to deal with the noise.

 

Cheers

James

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I sent my D2x in to test focus about 2wks after I got it. I was getting soft images, and in hindsight it may have been caused by insufficient speeds for this camera. The turnaround was very fast, and it was nice to KNOW that the camera was functioning up to par and any future problems were user issues. I expect that buying a camera on its 1st days of availability may expose me to issues, but every day I own it hope to make better and better images - why delay?!? I expect that Nikon cannot test each camera more intensively than the user's initial weeks of shooting, and as long as they are quick to repair/replace that is OK with me.

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Good news from Sweden

 

Nikon have fix the banding problem...

 

Lasse Petersson from Nikon Sweden told that the problem is fixet and that they have just fineadjust the output-nivås

 

Lambis

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whats the conclusion here? should I wait a while for the next wave or am I safe to order now?

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Contrary to what I said above. This does seem to be a real issue (or maybe I have just been believing the hype). The fact that not all D200s have this problem and that there are increasing noises about fixes - I would say get your housing on order, but maybe wait a few weeks before buying the camera.

Alex

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FWIW, I got the first D200 in my town....December 22 and I haven't had any problems with banding or anything else for that matter....YMMV

 

Karl

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whats the conclusion here?  should I wait a while for the next wave or am I safe to order now?

 

There's still a long waiting list at most places so if you order today the chances are that you'll get a body not from the next wave but more likely the third or fourth wave of shipments at best. I'd feel confident ordering now. IMHO

 

I should be getting mine in a couple of days(ordered in early Dec.). I'm curious to see if this "banding" phantom is an issue.

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The problem we have is of scale. If a problem appears with a new camera then the web hears from those who are interested in it quite vociferously. Determining just what percentage of the units have the problem is extremely difficult. At least one response here indicates that it is certainly not universal, so the question you have to ask is whether you are prepared to go in for a camera knowing that it might just have a problem which Nikon will have to sort out (if it does) and ensure that it is corrected. I remember when the Nikon EM came out - the percentage of defective cameras was said to be so small that Nikon simply replaced rather than repaired them. I do wonder if the same percentage would be heavily discussed on the web today and whether there would be a perception that the problem was far bigger than it actually was?!

 

If I was in the market for a D200 I'd buy one and worry about its potential problems if and when they occurred.

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I think this is a really small issue affecting only certain photos. I think it is probably a design issue affecting all D200s though.

 

Nikon will sort this out and fix it. Nikon fixed my backfocus on the D70. Worst case scenario as I see it will be that you'll have to send it in and part with it for 1-2 months. When they come up with a fix they will apply it to new cameras just as they did for the backfocus issue.

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I received my D200 yesterday. By shooting a light bulb at ISO200 I was able to duplicate the "banding" effect people are talking about. At ISO100 it did not appear. You have to zoom way in to see it. When I have more time I'll try to post examples but they don't really look any different than others that are already floating around. To my way of thinking this is a very minor issue that will only appear in a very specific situation. I don't see it causing a problem for me. I'll consider sending the body to back to Nikon if at some point it is an issue in my prints but I think that is unlikely. In the meantime I'm going to enjoy my new camera. It blows my old D100 away!

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David,

 

Do you think the banding will occur around the sun in an underwater photo?

 

Cheers

James

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