The Nikon D200 turned 16 years old this November. So you may be asking, why am I talking about a 16 year old, crop CCD sensor 10mp digital camera in 2021? Well, because cameras are tools and sometimes “vintage” tools are valuable to a photographer. I believe if you know how to use your tools they will help to create your vision.
The word vintage is defined in this case as, “the time that something of quality was produced” and in 2005 Nikon produced a very capable camera. The D200 can make the same photographs in 2021 that it made in 2005. Technology does not change light, it does not change composition and it can never change the true aspects of the definition of a photograph. Nor can it change how valuable this camera was to the time it was released.
I’ve wanted to review this camera for awhile now, to share my feelings and experiences with the everyday photographer like myself. I’ve seen the question a million times, is the D200 camera any good? Well, if you are in the market for an everyday use camera then I would say yes, the D200 is very good.
I’ve been learning to make photographs with Nikon cameras for probably 20 years. I’m not a technical camera reviewer, Nikon and thousands of other websites will give you the history of the camera, the specs and all that spiel.
What I am going to share is my honest personal experience on a camera I still use daily.
Nikon released a robust, well-built camera that could brave the elements. Living in the PNW, this camera serves well on my daily outings with the pups, horses and whatever blessings of beauty come into vision. I take it out on the trail horseback riding, and it keeps up without issue. I even toss it in the truck and take it with me out and around town.
I love the colors the Nikon D200 renders. I can use my older AI/AIS manual focus lenses with this camera and I think the mix of old glass with this camera creates beautiful photos. The smaller lenses like my AI/AIS and even D series lenses gives me a very compact and lightweight setup. BTW, you can use Nikkor G lenses as well, just not non ai lenses unless they’ve been modified. So in essence you literally have hundreds of lenses to use with this camera.
Side note: The D200 although it has a crop/DX sensor will use full frame lenses.
Another reason I like using the D200 as an everyday camera is because smartphones lack character to me. Also, the bokeh from smartphones are so generic and blah. I just feel that if I’m going to share a photo socially I would rather give it that uniqueness from a DSLR. Let’s face it, snapshots deserve character too, with the D200 and a nifty fifty I can take those daily shots and make great prints. I’ve printed up to 16×20 poster sized prints from my D200 camera.
I also love it for my keepsake gratitude journal. I can take a photo, print a 4×6 on my home printer and place it along in my journal. The images have a very old school feel that are just full of nostalgia.
Ergonomically, the camera is well balanced with a good grip. I can carry it with or without a camera strap.
The controls are simply easy to find and very familiar as with my other cameras from Nikon. The grip feels secure, the screen is accurate and big enough for reviewing shots. The D200 does shoot RAW images and for that I’m very happy. This will give you greater control over the files and with a little adjustments in Lightroom, you can edit your photos anyway you like.
Battery life on the camera has also served me well. I’ve taken thousands of shots with plenty of life in the battery left. The camera also came with the original Nikon battery which is currently sitting on 0-4 which means it is a new battery with plenty of life and photos to be made.
The autofocus serves me well too! With two pups I can capture enough play shots for keepsakes. Do I miss shots? Sure I do, but the camera is such a great joy to use that its all part of the experience.
You have so much control over how to program this camera for its age. The ISO range is probably limited for some, but I rarely feel the need to shoot over 100 iso. I manage quite well in that range for photographs I make. I tend to underexpose as well, so for me I can bring in/out much more in editing in Lightroom. In all honesty, there are more than enough features built into this camera for its everyday use.
If someone was just starting out with a digital camera and wanted something affordable I would recommend the D200. If you are looking for a camera with semi-pro features for everyday use, i.e, portraits, still life etc, then this camera is a great choice. I’ve learned so much on this camera, and Ive learned to appreciate it for what it is and can do. And that is take really great photographs.
I picked up mine with less than a 1,000 shutter count for $89 from KEH. Back in 2005, this camera sold for $1800 new. The camera was and still is in excellent condition several years later and I plan on using it for many more years to come. After all, what makes a photograph is vision, light, composition, color/contrast, perception and emotion.
Ansel Adams couldn’t have said it any better when he stated… “A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
†Blessed: Christian, Ranch Wife, Furbaby Mama, Photographer, Artist, Buckskin Rider...living in the great PNW. Aspiring to create thought provoking imaginary that produces peace and tranquility to the eyes of the beholder. I use photography as a meditative outlet to help calm my mind, body and soul!
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