D200 as a first SLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jwelch76, May 28, 2009.

  1. jwelch76 macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Hey guys,

    I've been waiting to scrounge up the cash to buy my first DSLR for a while now. I'm a (nearly) starving college student, but I'd dead set on taking on photography as a hobby. I have used DSLRs for years, so I know what I'm doing, but this is the first time I've had the money to invest in my own gear. I had my heart set on getting a used Canon 40D for around $675ish when I had the cash, but recently the opportunity came around to buy a really gently used Nikon D200 for $475 body only. I've been talking to the seller, and he's a hobbyist who has put only 3-4k actuations on the shutter, and it looks PRISTINE overall.

    I suppose my question to you guys is, should I pull the trigger? I've used a 40D and I love it, but I've also been impressed by the Nikon D300 and D90, so I could care less about Nikon vs. Canon as long as IQ is solid. I've looked around and $475 seems like a really good deal, not to mention this guys going to let me snap some shots before I buy...

    Any thoughts?
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Sounds like a good deal. I wouldn't buy it though just because its cheap. You need to think more long term than a single body. Which company offers the lenses for the type of photography you want to to? In general Canon has cheaper lenses it seems.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I honestly would buy a D200 at < $500 (best buy is selling at this price) in a heartbeat as a second camera to my D300. However, if I am just getting into this whole dSLR deal the < $500 D200 is still an awesome buy.

    Bottom line, I would buy a D200 as a first DSLR today.
  4. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    Definitely consider the lens situation. A huge benefit to buying canon or nikon is the wealth of used lenses you can buy. And lenses are definitely safe to buy used; half of my arsenal came from ebay at extremely nice prices.
  5. jwelch76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Thanks for advice, so far. It looks like I'll be buying this body if I like the way it feels tomorrow when I test drive it. Can't wait to start shooting with my own gear.
  6. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    I've used a D200 for nearly three years, and I'm really happy with it. No obvious faults, just a great all-round camera...
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Canon and Nikon have two very different approaches in user interface, so make sure you like it. and make sure to research the availablity, price, and performance of any lenses you're interested in.

    as a camera, the D200 is good...but fails at high ISO, specifically 1600. luminance noise all over (i've owned a 30D and 5D), and because it's luminance, you can't get rid of it without smoothing and losing detail. speaking of which, there was also a distinct lack of detail at that ISO, but right now i'm blaming that on a crappy lens.

    positive side of all the noise is that it resembles film grain, or at least more so than a 30D (minus the chroma).
  8. jwelch76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    So, overall, would you guys consider the D200 to have superior, equivalent, or inferior IQ to the 40D? I know the 40D is an excellent camera, but I'm unsure whether I'll be left wanting something better in 2-3 years if I buy a D200, which is definitely on the older side. In terms of lenses, I'm pretty confident that both Nikon and Canon make some great glass, so I'm not too worried about investing in either system.

    Don't want this to turn into a Canon vs. Nikon discussion, merely a D200 vs. 40D one...
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    There is no such simple answer.
    And for all intents and purposes, the IQ of both cameras is so good that even if one were somehow better than the other, it wouldn't matter in practical terms.

    Rather than worrying about IQ of the body, relax, invest in good glass and go and take pictures.
    The 40D has been on the market since 2007 -- which is `old' in the digital age. Canon has decided to continue selling it along side its successor, the 50D (there's nothing wrong with it, so why not?). The D200 is one year older. In two, three years, both bodies will be `outdated.' That doesn't mean they will stop functioning and not allow you to take good pictures with them anymore. Again, stop worrying, start taking pictures ;)
  10. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    regardless of the camera you buy, you will probably want to upgrade in a few years. digital is not film.

    as for IQ, the 40D is better at high ISOs (1600+, not sure about 800). this is Canon's advantage over all older Nikon bodies.

    Olympus makes some great lenses, too. that's not the point. it's do they offer lenses with the price, performance, and focal length(s) you want?
  11. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    If you're gonna buy a D200 - why not think about a 30D from Canon which will be cheaper.

    That's the decision I made a few years ago. The big problem with the D200 is the ISO performance - it really isn't great compared to Nikon's current line up.

    Other than that it is a great camera - it is very solid, has a good frame rate.

    As previously mentioned the only thing to worry about is which lens line up you prefer.

    Again - I prefer Canon's - in my mind Nikon's isn't well structured. That doesn't mean they don't have great lenses - they do - but telling a good one from a bad one isn't obvious apart from the price.
  12. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    When I was helping a friend decide between canon 40d and nikon d90, we want to a camera shop and he was all set on the 40d. I told the salesman I got the d200 and in talking he did say to me and my friend that nikons have the better bodies. Also the d200 has many features that are for pros and you get to use dials more than menus!

    If you haven't bought it yet, try to haggle. Best buy is selling them(don't know if they have in stock, you can check and order online) NEW for 599.99+tax
  13. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    I don't know many people who use iso 1600 that much.
    You want to use 100 as much as possible, and I would go above 400 unless there is some EXTREME reason. Using light, aperture, shutter speed, EV, and photographing fundamentals, you should be fine with 400 or under for 99% of your shots. :D

    --See "understanding shutter speed" by Bryan Peterson
  14. jwelch76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Well, might be a moot point now. Looks like I may be scoring a 40D for $550 with 3k clicks, body only. Guess I came full circle!

    Is best buy really selling D200s new for $599?? Is that in-store only? Didn't see that online...
  15. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    ^^^ Yes, I was looking - hard to believe. Amazon has it for $1079 (Wall St. Photo).

    Go for the Canon 40D... ;)
  16. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
  17. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    Yes, I got it for that. It was online, but you could've got in store. I did, they just price matched their website's price.

    I just checked though, no longer available.

    You can always check ebay as well, if you don't mind the sight unseen. :D

    Did you HOLD each? Go to a local camera shop or retailer and HOLD them, it can make ALL the difference.:p
  18. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    not everyone shoots outdoors in broad daylight. and i know how to expose properly, thanks.
  19. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    Indeed. I shoot indoors relatively often and sometimes even ISO 1600 isn't enough. Different photographers shoot in different environments--don't press your own environments upon everyone else. ;)
  20. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    I never said outdoors in broad daylight. Do you use just natural light? What about reflectors?
    Unless you're shooting in virtually no light, I don't see a need for that high speed unless you're doing sports.

    In that book I referenced the author had MANY different types of shots and NEVER went up to iso 1600! :D

    I wasn't impressing my environment upon everyone, the poster who mentioned about 1600 was. 1600 is the exception not the rule in photography, so to base a judgment of the d200 on that is ridiculous, most dslr's will have noise problems at that iso.
  21. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    as i said, the D200 is a good camera, except at high ISOs. the OP (or any reader) can decide how important that is to them. i shoot at 800+ all the time because no, flashes aren't always allowed or appropriate. reflectors don't create more light, just redirect it. welcome to indoor events.
  22. ckseid macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Hell, I shoot ISO 1600 all the time. I shoot weddings. I know a lot of sports photographer that shoot at such levels too. The new camera (D300, D700 and D3) do an amazing job at such high ISOs. With the D200, anything above 400 was barely usable.

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