The Nikon D200 is Nikon's most recently announced digital SLR camera (DSLR). The camera is a digital SLR (or DSLR) which means that it features an optical "through-the-lens" viewfinder (unlike non-DSLR cameras which may have either a CCD viewfinder or a non-through the lens optical viewfinder). This DSLR also features removeable and interchangeable lenses.
The D200 represents a significant step-up from its predecessor the D100 and also features significant improvements over Nikon's lesser prosumer DSLRs the D50, D70 and D70s.
What size and type of sensor does the D200 use?
The single biggest feature of the D200 is its 10 megapixel sensor manufactured by Sony using CCD technology (cf. Canon DSLRs that use CMOS sensor technology - see Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D FAQ )
The sensor measures 23.6 x 15.8 mm and is termed an APS-C size. This is not a full frame sensor so a focal length multiplier applies (see below).
What is the focal length multiplier for the D200?
The focal length multiplier for the D200 is 1.5x (the same as for the D50, D70 and D70s). (cf. Canon non-full frame DSLRs that have a 1.6x focal length multiplier - see Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D FAQ )
What lenses can I use on the D200?
Nikkor AF / F-mount and D-Type lenses can be used with the D200. The D200 has a new AI aperture ring connector that supports A / M modes and metering with AI manual focus lenses. This means the D200 is compatible with almost all CPU and non CPU lenses made by Nikon since the adoption of the AF / F mount.
Companies like Sigma and Tamron also make compatible lenses and there have been recent rumours that Carl Zeiss may be making Nikon F-Mount compatible lenses.
What storage media does the D200 use?
The D200 uses compact flash type I or type II cards. It only has one media slot.
What is the continuous shooting speed of the D200?
The D200 can shoot at 5 frames per second (fps) up to 37 jpeg or 22 RAW frames.
How big is the LCD display on the D200?
The rear mounted LCD is quite large at 2.5" and fairly high resolution at 235,000 pixels. This is much larger than the rear LCD of the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D which is only 1.8" across and has only 115,000 pixels.
What is the body of the D200 made of?
The D200 body is made of magnesium alloy (unlike cheaper entry level DSLRs that feature large amounts of plastic in their bodies). The D200 also features rubber dust and moisture seals to keep the elements at bay. Even Canon's newest full frame sensor body the EOS 5D doesn't feature environmental seals.
What's the ISO3200 performance like?
ISO3200 on the D200 shows noise which is very much like the sort of grain you get with high-ISO film. It seems quite unlike the regular high-ISO noise you get with digital cameras which typically involves lots of chroma noise (random red, green and blue pixels). It looks like the D200 at ISO3200 provides better resolution and more "pop" than the Canon 20D at ISO3200.
Properly exposed ISO3200 samples will print fine at 12 x 9.
Does the D200 have a mirror lock-up feature?
Yes, the D200 has mirror lock-up.
Is there a movie mode?
No digital SLR's to date have a movie mode. The usual explaination why is that:
- DSLRs use a large power hungry sensor;
- movie recording requires the sensor to be continously powered while recording the movie;
- that power required is given off as heat;
- that heat causes image problems and potentially failure in the sensor.
That's not to say that DSLRs in the future won't feature a movie mode, but the manufacturers have some technical hurdles to overcome.
When will the D200 be available?
The Nikon press release that announced the D200 scheduled end of December 2005 as the release date. It would seem that Nikon has kept its word as there are increasing numbers of hands-on user reports in the forums.