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Nikon D2X vs D200 - need advice

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Hello all. I'm new to the forum and have learned a lot. Been diving a while and after a long absence I'm getting back into the sport with a vengence. I have done some UW photography in the past. Learned on the old Nikonos V and now I'm looking at going digital. I'm curious as to what the experts say concerning which would be the better way to go concerning these two cameras. Each has their own strong points. I'm not really worried about price at the present. Whichever camera I pick will also do double duty topside in aviation photography and medical shots (I'm an orthopedic surgeon).

 

I plan on doing a lot of diving in the future and UW photography and video is my goal to become adept at.

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

Dave

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I'd say D200. Smaller and therefore housing is smaller. Also much less space and price to take a second body. Or get a Fuji S5, which fits in the same housing, for a different type of camera as a back up.

 

The D2X is ahead in image quality and auto-focus, but the differences are pretty small.

 

Alex

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I'm with Alex on this. I reasoned two D200s would be more sensible than one D2X for travelling with and going underwater. The housing is smaller and having a spare gives piece of mind and doubles for top-side shots so the housing needs to be broken into less often. As for quality, with the RAW converter with CS3, it seems much more than adequate. I already had to buy a new laptop to handle the files!

Maybe if you were shooting advertising campaigns the D200 would not be good enough but then you'd probably have to go the whole nine yards and get a digital Hasselblad.

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Hmm,

 

I disagree! If i could go back in time i would buy a D2x, or maybe wait for a D3 rather than my D200.

 

My reasons being that the total investment you will make on a housing etc, the price difference between the two is only a small %.

 

The extra body argument is a very valid one, if you would take 2 body on a trip with you then the D200 may be better. For me though, the D200 is just a D80 wearing a short skirt and a bit of make-up. If you're thinking of a D200 would a D80 be adequate?

 

Simon

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I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I would go with the D200. Alex is right. I think that it is better to go with a system that is more compact for travel packing. It is also a great idea to have a second camera body. It is a small expense that could save an otherwise ruined trip. If you have a fl**d the housing will survive even if the camea does not. after a good rinse and dry the housing would be ready for teh back up camera, and the trip is not a total loss.

 

Just my 0.02, YMMV

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Hmm,

 

I disagree! If i could go back in time i would buy a D2x, or maybe wait for a D3 rather than my D200.

 

My reasons being that the total investment you will make on a housing etc, the price difference between the two is only a small %.

 

The extra body argument is a very valid one, if you would take 2 body on a trip with you then the D200 may be better. For me though, the D200 is just a D80 wearing a short skirt and a bit of make-up. If you're thinking of a D200 would a D80 be adequate?

 

Simon

 

I suppose I agree with you about the D80 Simon, except for the word 'investment'. There is no investment. It's a total spend! I have got a cupboard full of kit that I spent money on. The word investment implies you might get some residual value!

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The D80 only supports compressed NEF which is lossy. The claim is that it is visually lossless and that the data that's lost is low level details in highlights. I don't know how much this really matters but it drove me personally away from the D80 for underwater use as it may effect IQ for sunball shots or shots that require larger corrections than you'd like. Considering the price difference is small compared to a housing, the D200 may be a safer choice. I'm sure D80 users will be happy though.

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When I went to digital, I bought a D100. This was really great, but it certainly wasn't the digital equivalent of my F100.

 

I was really wanting more. The D2X came along as the only "more" available, so I bought it. It's a great camera. Sadly, it doesn't work well after fully immersing in salt water.

 

In the meantime, the D200 had come along. The truth is, it is the digital F100 I've always wanted. If it had come along before the D2X, I would have bought it.

 

My wife shoots with the D200. I shoot with the D200 now and we have a backup body for land shooting or for a flood replacement.

 

The D2X is a better camera than the D200. It is not 3x better, at least not for me. I also prefer the smaller size for walking around.

 

Sure, one could make the same arguement for the D80 vs. D200, but the price difference between the two is also far different. If you buy a D200 and think to yourself, "I should have bought a D80", you are only out an extra $300-$400, not $3000.

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Dave, I concur with the D200. The D200 has similar magnesium alloy build as that of the D2X and clinically there is very little difference in image quality between the two. Its light has many of the same shooting features as the D2X and is plenty fast for underwater photography. I agree with the earlier comment that the D200 is the equivalent of the F100. You are fortunate that you not forced to justify your decision based on the return in dollars of your investment. Good luck on your decision. vr Andy

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lighter is better , if you get similar pictures. especially for traveling. The D2x will take "better" pictures than the D200 but In my opinion the cost and weight aren't worth it. If I was not traveling with my D200 I would have a hard time trying to decide which model to get.

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Add another vote for the D200. The camera and the housing are neater for travelling and that second body takes up less space too.

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Hello all. I'm new to the forum and have learned a lot. Been diving a while and after a long absence I'm getting back into the sport with a vengence. I have done some UW photography in the past. Learned on the old Nikonos V and now I'm looking at going digital. I'm curious as to what the experts say concerning which would be the better way to go concerning these two cameras. Each has their own strong points. I'm not really worried about price at the present. Whichever camera I pick will also do double duty topside in aviation photography and medical shots (I'm an orthopedic surgeon).
If cost isn't a consideration and medical and aviation shots are in your future for topside photography I'd go against the grain here and suggest the D2x. Yes, the D200 is lighter and easier to handle, but the D2x has some advantages and capabilities that apply more to topside work than uw work, and for that reason is a better camera for your intended uses.

 

If your only desire was to shoot underwater primarily using the camera for incidental topside shooting I agree the D200 is the way to go. But the better faster AF, the 2 million pixels, the hi-speed crop, the 100% viewfinder, the finder screen options, better battery, etc. all are advantages that lend more capability to topside shooting. It isn't a massive distinction between the two, but if you are critical with your topside images the D2x will probably be more satisfying.

 

I shoot D2x and if all I did was underwater shooting and some light topside work I'd probably prefer the D200, but when I consider topside shooting with the same bodies I use uw, there is no doubt that **for me** the D2x is the preferable model.

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lighter is better , if you get similar pictures. especially for traveling. The D2x will take "better" pictures than the D200 but In my opinion the cost and weight aren't worth it. If I was not traveling with my D200 I would have a hard time trying to decide which model to get.
I travel with two D2x's and it's really not a big deal. I think the difference in weight between the D200 and D2x is 9 ounces. So the D2x is a little more than a pound extra for primary and backup bodies together. For me that is more an issue when carrying around when shooting topside than it is packing and traveling. Even the size difference is very deceiving with the width and depth being fractions of an inch different and the height being roughly 1.5" bigger for the D2x. To my way of thinking the respective sizes and weights are not at such opposing extremes that camera selection should be predicated on the differences.

 

The reason I'd opt for the D200 if topside photography wasn't important is because of the price and the carry-around weight when shooting, and because many of the advantages of the D2x are lost underwater anyway.

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I think the difference in weight between the D200 and D2x is 9 ounces.

 

For travelling, don't forget the housing for the d2x will be bigger/heavier too, not just the camera.

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The d2x has a feature that will show if a picture has been modified from its original., for evidence reason.

 

If there is any intention of using the pictures in court, get the d2x.

 

For travel. I have a hard time traveling with my current setup. I could not imagine the hassle of a larger camera. Taking that into consideration and the new weight restrictions.....

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Size is also important for UW shooting. All pro bodies with vertical grips require much deeper housings below the mid-point on the lens. This is a problem for macro shots taken on the sand, where the extra depth of the housing makes it harder to get on the eye line of a critter or even below it to get good separation.

 

That said, to realise such an advantage with the D200 over the D2X you need a housing that really makes the most of this and is tight fitting around the camera. Recently when testing the Ike D80 housing I was surprised that it was nearly as large and as heavy as my D2X Subal! However, it is not so simple. The D200 is a dense camera and tight fitting housings for it are very negative (e.g. Subal, Sea & Sea).

 

This can be overcome by making the housing a bit oversized, therefore negating much of the size advantage of the D200. Often this is done by increasing the space below the camera around the mouting tray, however while this makes the housing neutral, it also makes it want to float upside down, creating a constant torque against your wrists and making it very tiring to use.

 

Alex

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For travelling, don't forget the housing for the d2x will be bigger/heavier too, not just the camera.
I realize there is a difference, but it's not like the D200 is a P&S and the D2x is Howard Halls Imax camera :) Is your travel really going to improve dramatically packing a 1lb 13 oz body rather than a 2 lb 6 oz body? Your hiking might, your biking might, and perhaps if you routinely carry two bodies slung around your neck....that might, but otherwise the gear in question, packed for carry-on or checked baggage, isn't going to make a difference distinct enough to base the choice on.........IMHO :)

 

If price is not a consideration, is the weight and size difference between the D200 and D2x really equal to the diminished photographic capabilities inherent in choosing the D200 that would otherwise be applicable to your type of topside shooting? UW the D2x advantages disappear to some extent, but the OP said he was going to shoot aviation images and the hi-speed crop mode along with the better AF of the D2x would be lost to him if he chose the D200....and all because of a couple pounds. That extra 3 frames per second, stronger more sensitive AF and more powerful focus tracking is probably a nice capability when planes are buzzing by.

 

One of the nice things about the D2x is that it's a pretty good sports camera hidden inside a flagship model :)

 

I am not disregarding what a couple pounds could mean, but when considered in light of his wish to use the same body for topside work, and topside work that is more specific to D2x capabilities than D200, I don't see where the minimal weight disparity is an equally important consideration.

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Hey folks, just in Singapore airport and thought i'd come up with some more of my ramblings on this matter..

 

Bought myself a backup D200 in Sing yesterday, had a play with the fuji S5... but decided against.

 

Another thing about teh D200 is it's appauling battery life.. absolutely terrible. It's a total pain in teh ass changing the battery after every 2 - 3 dives, and my housing is pretty easy to open. If you had teh hugyfot with those silly little hex-bolts (a la subal of 15 years ago) you would be seriously unamused after a few days!

 

John: Investment is a realative phrase that i use when my folks ask why i dont have a mortgage yet....

 

 

Totally gutted that i just got my first charge for baggage on my third flight of the trip.. 70kgs for S$150. Not too bad i guess! :)

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John: Investment is a realative phrase that i use when my folks ask why i dont have a mortgage yet....

Simon, I have a son like you. I bought a flat as an investment only in West London for £140000 five years ago. He said owning property was a pain. The one next to it just sold for £340000. (I still owe £140000 on a mortgage on mine but I can collect the same again just for possessing the flat.) The house I bought for £300000 ten years ago has been assessed as commanding something in the region of £1.5- 2m. Property in the UK will make you more money than you can ever earn. At last I have persuaded him to buy but all he can now afford is a one bed flat in SE London for £160000 and I gave him the deposit! I bought my first house in 1974 for £12000. It scared me to death at the time.

 

 

 

All the digital equipment I bought is now worth ... Don't ask!

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So, John, are you saying that we should be shorting digital camera futures? Now that I know how much your London flat is worth, I think you should buy the drinks the next time we meet.

 

On the subject, I've now got two D2Xs. The second body is the land camera and also the back-up for the body in the housing. I do several longish liveaboard trips each year, so I like having that redundancy, though it didn't come cheap.

 

Had I known that something like the D200 was going to come out as soon after the D2X as it did, I probably would have waited and gone with that. But I didn't know at the time. In any case, I've never had more fun and satisfaction shooting than I have since I've been shooting the D2X. Those bodies may not have been great investments, but in the course of an errant life I've managed to find worse things to waste money on that a wonderfully capable camera like this one.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs)

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In any case, I've never had more fun and satisfaction shooting than I have since I've been shooting the D2X.

 

That is all that matters (to me at least), and exactly how I feel too... Every time I dive with my D2x it is a joy, everything works how it is supposed to.

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Simon, I have a son like you. I bought a flat as an investment only in West London for ?140000 five years ago. He said owning property was a pain. The one next to it just sold for ?340000. (I still owe ?140000 on a mortgage on mine but I can collect the same again just for possessing the flat.) The house I bought for ?300000 ten years ago has been assessed as commanding something in the region of ?1.5- 2m. Property in the UK will make you more money than you can ever earn. At last I have persuaded him to buy but all he can now afford is a one bed flat in SE London for ?160000 and I gave him the deposit! I bought my first house in 1974 for ?12000. It scared me to death at the time.

All the digital equipment I bought is now worth ... Don't ask!

 

 

Hey John

 

How about stacking up a bunch of D2XS boxes on a bit of land in London and selling them as a new style of London living? They'd probably be worth more than the cameras......

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