PhotoPlus 2018 Quick Observations

I attended the annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention center in New York City last week.

Just to get it out of the way so you’re not disappointed, I am NOT doing a full throttle report on everything I saw.

It may be bad for some but it’s good for me because I simply was not all that excited by the latest and greatest gear!

Ok, I’ll admit, I enjoyed trying out the new. Nikon Z and Canon R series full frame mirrorless cameras. But unlike in 2013 when I saw the Sony A7R for the first time, I did not feel the need to want to have them. Wow, am I free? πŸ™‚

Ok again, lenses such as the HUGE 58mm f/0.95 Noct Nikkor (above) for the new Z Mirrorless system was exciting to see but now I say…Samster, even if you could afford it (which you can’t!) would you ever carry that thing out in the real world 😊

I thought mirrorless was about making things smaller and more compact. Perhaps it’s not possible to make a full frame lens that fast and make it smaller but I just think the big two Camera Legends Canon and Nikon are still obsessed with BIG as ever.

Anyway back to everything. I mean, I’m not going to lie. I loved it all, but now I feel it’s all for YOU to try. Not me. I think I, and perhaps some of you too, I’m at the point of gear exhaustion.

And I’m thinking realistically. What, really, is the Nikon Z or Canon R going to do for me that I couldn’t do with my “old” A7R?

By far, my favorite moment was catching up with my good man, the great Louis Mendes. If you don’t know, Lou is famous for shooting and selling portraits in the streets of NYC with a Speed Graphic large format camera.

In the past he used packfilm such as the discontinued Fuji FP series, but as a sign of the times (and because you know I’m interested in this stuff!) I found out that Mr. Mendes is now shooting with Instax Wide!! I can now say packfilm is officially DEAD if Lou stopped shooting it!

No he hasn’t given up his Speed Graphic for one of those horrible Instax monsters. He had his modified to take the Instax Wide film. It appears to me to be one of those hard to find, discontinued Belair Instax Wide backs.

It also seems he had a couple of acolytes with him learning the craft from the master.

The last shot is for all of you to see what you missed out on! Everybody loves a beautiful model! Is it ok if I call her “Sweet Sexy?” If not I’ll take it back 😊

Anyway that’s it for today. If any of you were there I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment!

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The Nikon D700 Revisited…The Ten Years Later Review

The Nikon D700 is a 12.1 megapixel, full frame Digital SLR released by Nikon in July 2008. Today, we will look back on the D700. I will share with you my impressions on its image quality, performance and its impact on the world of photography.

AS A CAMERA

There’s a lot of pages with all the specs but I’ll just list a few key features. The camera has a 12.1 megapixel full frame sensor. The shutter speed range is 30 seconds to 1/8000 plus Bulb. Flash synch at 1/250. It has a native ISO range of 200-6400 plus 100-25600 via boost.

My war-torn 200K plus D700 still kickin’ it! πŸ™‚

The D700 also has Live View but it’s first generation and it shows. It looks a little jittery and if you move it around there’s an apparent lag, but once on target it works fine.

The camera is capable of 5fps on its own and 8fps with optional grip. The camera uses the Nikon EN-EL3e battery.

The D700 is a pro quality DSLR and for all practical purposes is a more compact Nikon D3. There are slight differences between the D700 and D3 to be sure, but image quality is exactly the same as they both use the same sensor.

The D700 arrived on the market at a lower price than the D3, increasing its appeal and affordability to both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

TIMELINE

In 2007, Nikon released the D3, a professional 12.1 megapixel DSLR, and its first full frame digital camera. Their previous kingpin was the D2X/D2Xs a with its 12.4 megapixel APS-C sensor.

After years of stating that they would not make a full frame DSLR, and getting their hardcore base to rally around that, Nikon surprised everyone with the release of the D3.

In my opinion, the Nikon D3 is the camera that saved Nikon and brought it back, alive and kicking butt into the second phase of the digital revolution. But that’s a topic for another review. Today, we are talking about the D700.

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“Time Out” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Baby gets into a hair pulling moment as a result of having to take “time out” πŸ™‚

MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE D700

I got my first D700 in July of 2008. Rarely do I get a camera in the same month it was released. So how did I come upon the D700? Simple, just like many of you, I climbed the ladder of camera ownership!

And what does that mean? Well, before the D700 I was using a 12.3mp Nikon D300 which was released with the D3 in 2007.

I was perfectly fine with the D300. In fact, I was impressed with its performance and the fact that it was APS-C didn’t bother me. I read about Nikon’s reasoning as to to why they were not going to make a full frame camera and even though I thought they were just in denial or just making excuses for why they wouldn’t make one, I accepted it.

Then the D3 came out and I was surprised and happy they made a full frame DSLR, but I just couldn’t afford the hefty $4999 price tag, even though the price was well in line with professional cameras of the time. So I was resigned and content to stay with the D300 as I already had a full frame Canon EOS 5D Classic.

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Gear Lustin’ in 2008! My two main digital cameras in 2008, the Canon EOS 5D Classic and the Nikon D700, seem to have come full circle in 2018!

In comes the photo forums…

As I’ve said here before, I was on the forums just like you guys! Photo.net, Rangefinderforum, Fredmiranda.com, etc.

I won’t say which one, but near the end of July of 2008, I saw a fellow forum member advertise a new D700 he had just gotten and wanted to sell for whatever reason. At over $2000, it was still a hard sell for me financially, but the fellow said he was willing to take a “D300 plus cash.” Hot dog! Bang! This might be my opportunity so I PM’d the guy and since he was local, all the better.

So I go and see the guy. We had some cool camera talk, checked out the cameras, and we had a deal. I handed over the D300 plus a little cash and I walked out with a near new D700! I hate to say it, but I said to myself…wow, Samster, somehow you managed to do it again! πŸ™‚

Anyway, the love was short lived as I used the same ladder to climb up to a D3 in 2009 when G.A.S. attacked! I sold my D700 and eventually the D3 too.

I got the D700 again in 2016 when I noticed an unusually low price online. And the prices continue to fall making this a great time to try one! If you’re interested I’ll list the trending prices down below.

IMAGE QUALITY

In my opinion, the Nikon D700 is capable of superb image quality, especially at lower ISOs.

What I liked…

“Apples” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and by having the same 12.1mp sensor, the D700 offers the same excellent image quality as its big daddy D3.

Rich colors and tones. A certain depth to the images that might be attributed to the sensor, the processing, etc. I can’t say for sure what it is, but I call it theΒ Magic Sensor.

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“Red, Green & Gold” 2008. Nikon D700, 110mm f/2 Zeiss Planar via adapter.

There’s also a pleasing balance of sharpness and smoothness to the images which make it perfect for portraits and people photography, one of my favorite forms of photography.

Of course, if you’re a landscape shooter you’d probably be better off with a higher resolution camera but you didn’t need me to tell you that! πŸ™‚

THE MAGIC SENSOR

I call the D3/D700 sensor the “Magic Sensor” because it just seems to bring images to life. I used to think it was just the full frame sensor, but now ten years later I know it is not, or at least not exclusively a result of the sensor alone but I sure believe the full frame sensor is a factor.

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“Magic” 2016. Nikon D700, 60mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s “Magic Sensor” seem to bring everything to life. Well, a happy smiling baby helps I guess! πŸ™‚

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“Uh Oh It’s Magic!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. The 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor already offers decent bokeh but a full frame sensor takes it a step further making f/1.8 look even smoother.

There are cameras I have used in today’s world, such as the mirrorless Olympus OM-D EM-5 that also seem to provide similar, rich and colorful images despite the much smaller sensor.

So perhaps it’s a combination of sensor plus whatever processing the camera is doing to the images. Perhaps it’s just how far we have come in digital camera technology that some mirrorless cameras can achieve a full frame “look” that I have not seen in first generation mirrorless cameras.

I know what you’re thinking…it’s all in the lenses! That’s partially true, but in this case I’m not just talking about bokeh or shallow depth of field. Just the whole image, everything in it.

In these two cameras, the magic is comparable both in Jpeg and RAW.

PERFORMANCE

The D700 offers speedy and accurate AF as would be expected from what is essentially a D3 in smaller form. The Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module with 51 AF points is more than enough to handle almost anything even today, in my opinion.

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“Gimme A Break” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF Nikkor.

The 12.1mp sensor might seem small in today’s world, but if you’re not shooting detailed landscapes or billboards for some ad campaign you’re going to be fine with the resolution. The sensor in my opinion is particularly well suited to portrait and people photography but is also well suited to street or any other kind of photography you might aspire to.

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“Shoot!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Thoth” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. A NYC Central Park mythical figure named “Thoth.” Considering this tricky lighting, the D700 Matrix metering fared well giving a usable exposure that would look even better with a little work.

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The joy of taking pictures is contagious! Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. Just look at the woman’s hair and skin. The D700 offers just the right balance of sharp and smooth.

The D700 is fine with modern AF-S lenses but is also “old school” in the fact that it can drive those old AF lenses that need to be screw driven like, for example, the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D lens.

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“The Kid’s American” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mmf f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s fast AF caught this young man before he ran off, which was a split second later πŸ™‚

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“Toto” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Granny Love” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

The large and clear 95% coverage viewfinder also make it a good choice for using those wonderful old AI Nikkors. Do NOT use it with Non AI lenses or you may damage the camera and/or the lenses.

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“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor.

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“Night Buddy” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS, ISO 3200. The D700 does an excellent job at the “high” ISO of 3200.

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“Smile!” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor.

Because of the superb image quality and the ability to comfortably use manual focus lenses, I view this camera today as sort of a Poor Man’s DF but without the ability to use Non AI lenses.

BOTTOM LINE

The Nikon D700 took the legend of the Nikon D3 to the masses and became a Camera Legend in its own right.

The D700 gave more Nikon users a chance to see what full frame digital was all about and in doing so, hooked users in with excellent imaging capabilities in a strong, robust body.

Even today in 2018, with all the full frame cameras Nikon has put out since 2008, the D700 is still highly regarded and is considered a digital camera classic.

If your goal is to capture great pictures and you’re not interested in 4K video, focus peaking, and whatever else today’s cameras offer, then the Nikon D700 will still deliver the goods and is one of the two cheapest full frame bodies you can get today.

ALTERNATIVES

The main alternative for the Nikon D700 is the 12.8mp Canon EOS-5D Classic. As someone who has used both extensively, I can say with confidence that you can’t go wrong with either! But if you really want me to nitpick, here’s what I have experienced with these two Camera Legend cameras.

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“Brother 700” 2008. Nikon D700, 45mm f/2.8P Nikkor. The Nikon D700 does well with manual focus lenses such as the 45P seen here which is why the Brother calls it the “Poor Man’s DF” πŸ™‚

The 5D images appear somewhat sharper, but the D700 has richer tones and colors. The D700 body is much more refined, feeling like a more mature product, as it should be for a camera from 2008 versus a camera from 2005. Autofocus is faster on the D700 as should be expected.

The D700 does better at higher ISOs. Images hold up better though I don’t mind the grit and “grain” of the 5D Classic images at IS0 3200.

At low ISOs, both cameras still deliver superb results showing that back as far as 2005 digital cameras were already awesome!

Again, if you’re invested in the Nikon system or the Canon system, that should be your main consideration and not the cameras themselves. Both cameras rock!

AVAILABILITY AND WHERE TO BUY

If you’re looking for the Nikon D700 (or the 5D Classic) this is a great time to pick one up! The D700 is plentiful on the used market so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one.

Prices for the D700 are trending now at $400-700 depending on condition, package, etc.I say just get the cheapest one you can as long as you buy from a dealer you can trust.

I’ve heard about the below $300 D700 bodies, but as of today, they are rare and most likely beater bodies. Average seems to be $450-525 USD for ones in good to excellent condition. If you’re going above $600, I would seriously consider one of the newer bodies, ie, D600, D610, or even the D3 of which prices have come down significantly in the past couple of years.

I got my latest one in 2016 for under $400. It was in cosmetically Good condition. Little did I know it had over 200K shots on it! But, knock on wood, two years later and a few thousand shots later she’s still shooting unlike myΒ bought NEW in 2012Β Olympus OM-D EM-5 which kicked the bucket last year at approximately 5K
shots.

The cheapest D700 bodies would probably be found on eBay (Direct D700 Link)

Alternatively, here’s your Canon 5D Classic link on eBay (Direct 5D Classic Link)

Another good place to find both is our trusted affiliate Here.

Thanks for reading and I’d be glad to hear from any fellow D700 owners!

Photo Of The Day: β€œApples” Nikon D700

The image above was shot with a Nikon D700 and 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. This is not a gear posting however. It’s what I call a “Life” posting 😊

Friend, it’s that time of the year again! Time to pick them apples 🍎

This is the time when the “empire” state and the “Big Apple” really live up to their names 😊

The kids enjoyed picking them apples and so did I but I wondered, considering the “fill as you can” bag cost us more than what I could get at the local store, it may be a little fresher but is it really any better? 😊

Not sure but I did enjoy the apples! If you have an apple farm near you, time to go before it’s to late guys! Happy Sunday!

Recent (And Not So Recent) Images

Once in a while I like to upload photos, if only to remind myself that I love the art of photography as much as the gear. Though it might not seem like it, I do really love photography as much as I do the gear! πŸ˜€

Just like most of you, I don’t just take photos for reviews or posting. I take photos FOR LIFE! I document life first, then if I can use some of the photos in a review, why not?

The vast majority of the photos I take on a daily basis just doesn’t make it in. Oh friend! Why bore you with my life? 😊 I want to know about YOUR life, Brothers and Sisters 😘

So these are some shots taken recently, and some not so recently. Nothing artistic. Just random shots. Sometimes, it’s a snap, sometimes it’s a test. Sometimes it’s deliberate. Sometimes it’s by luck or chance. Like I said, ya never know. I’m sure this is the way it is for most of us photographers, us mere mortals 😊

One thing that I’m sure is that most of these images have not been posted on these pages. I try to include technical info and tidbits for you camera nerds out there cause that’s how I would like it too 😊

I also find it interesting to see what camera and lenses I was using then as opposed to what I am using now. It’s a way of seeing how one’s tastes may or may not have changed. Sometimes I find there’s not a lot of changes!

I think theses images may give you a glimpse as to what I am pondering on doing articles and reviews on. At the same time, you may see why I’m flustered deciding what to publish 😫

Not to sweat it though. Most of you regular readers know by now that this is how I roll. Sometimes it comes in waves. Then I need a mental break haha! I can’t do it daily man, I just can’t.

Definitely got some more interesting stuff to profile for you all, and also on YouTube too. Oh yes, don’t think your “Brother from another lover” has forgotten about YouTube!

I really don’t mind starting out slow there because I don’t want to upload videos just for the heck of it. Just like here on the blog, I realize what you post may be on for a long time so let’s make it count!

Anyway I thank you all for having a look! Appreciate your patience and support over the years. I think you guys are the best readers anywhere. And those of you who also blog are some of the most prolific bloggers around! I certainly can’t do what you do, but thanks for the inspiration! Have yourselves a great weekend!

“Night Buddy” 2018. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor. My late night buddy! Try writing an article with this one hanging around. At least tonight, she’s quiet…somewhat πŸ™‚

“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor. Be forewarned friend. For when the clock strikes “Noon” your heart may be broken πŸ™‚ Actually yes, her name really is Noon! Thanks for being a good and patient model, appreciate you!

“American Girl” 2018. Sony A7r (original) with Mamiya 55mm f/1.4 lens. This is a crop from a larger image. I was just testing this lens when I saw Baby sitting there, lazy and then the spirit of the late great Tom Petty hit me and I heard him sing…”She is…an American girl” πŸ™‚ This is a great lens by the way!

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“Vogue” 2011. Bronica RF645, 65mm f/4 Zenzanon lens on T-Max 400. Every time I look back on a shot from my time with the Bronica RF, I miss it!

“Text” 2017. Agfa Ambiflex, 55mm f/2 Solagon. Kentmere 400 film. Talk about great lenses, wait till I tell you about this one! πŸ™‚

“Sunglass” 2015. Leica M4-P, 50mm f/2 Summicron-M, Tri-X 400. This was actually a night shot near Times Square. Considering that, the sharpness and clarity is pretty good I think. Can never go wrong with a Summicron lens! Β You can see the smoke or vape coming out of the man’s nostrils πŸ™‚

“Purple Rain” 2012. Ricoh GRD 8.1mp. “An ocean of violets in bloom” as the Purple One once said! The original GRD remains one of my favorites πŸ™‚

“Smoke ‘n Java” 2007. Ricoh GRD 8.1mp. The brutal art of coffee and smoke. Over ten years later and the GRD is still on rotation in my camera bag these days!

“Baloon Man” 2006. Nikon D70s, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Cebu, Philippines. In my opinion, the Nikon D70s was one of the best cameras of its era, capable of crisp detail and rich colors. I plan to write an article on this Nikon gem.

“Baby It’s You” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC. New York City. Though the focus may be slightly soft in this image, the vintage Canon 35mm f/2 SSC is a great lens capable of sharp images. And if you’re reading Camera Legend, then you know this isn’t just ANY Canon 35mm f/2 lens! Of course, it’s the one with the concave front element and radioactive thorium πŸ™‚

“Chase” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC lens. The original image was dark due to underexposure. Lift the darkness in post processing and the A7r shows its legendary dynamic range. Four years later, the original 36mp A7r still delivers the goods!

“Feed Me” 2011. Contax T3, T-Max 400 film in HC110 developer. The T3 is an amazing camera! I’m sure you wouldn’t mind another review, now would you? πŸ™‚

“Times Square” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC lens. The Baby don’t care if it’s Times Square or home. She naps when nature calls πŸ™‚

“Buenas Noches” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS. Yes that means…Good night! πŸ™‚

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Three Years Of Zay

“The Wild Child” 2015. Olympus OM-D EM-5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko lens. This photo was shot when the baby was around six months of age. Zay was blessed with a head full of hair as an infant! πŸ™‚

Howdy folks, how have you been? Hope everyone is doing great!

I’ve always felt that as fast as life moves, it moves even faster when you have children.Β As they get older, you get older and all of a sudden you begin to feel your age creeping in more and more! Is it just me? 😊

Well, my baby daughter Zayda just turned three this week and even though I try not to make family specific postings, please allow me to indulge for today 😊

Now, in looking over Zay’s pics over the past three years, I noticed most of the photos of her are overwhelmingly digital using either digital cameras or cell phone cameras.

Ten years ago when my first daughter Zoe was born there was a more ecclectic mix of 35mm, medium format, and digital images.

“As In A Dream” 2015. Kodak Retina IIIC with 50mm f/2 Schneider Xenon lens, T-Max 400 developed in D76. Zayda was around two or three months in this photo. Due to the camera having issues with overlapping frames, you can see a framed photo of big sister Zoe on Zoe’s right shoulder. I actually loved the effect here, hence the title πŸ™‚

Why such a big difference? No I don’t love one daughter more than the other! I don’t favor one more than the other, at least I try not to.

Upon self reflection I would say I’m getting older and now I’m just a product of the times we live in.

“Love Is In The Air” 2015. Canon EOS-1D 4.1mp, 50mm f/1.8 Yongnuo lens. Zayda was around five months of age in this photo. I was testing a Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens, which is a clone of the cheap but capable Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. The Yongnuo is even cheaper but quite a capable lens as well!

What I mean is that ten years ago, the birth of my first child was something I’ve never experienced before and I was eager to take as many shots of her early years as I could.

I was also ten years younger and had the patience to keep up with a baby and wait for the right moment to capture the images. I was also very eager to perfect my craft on film.

“Cheeri-O” 2016. Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic.

Flash forward to today. I don’t quite have the same endurance, mentally or physically, to wait for that right moment to capture that pose or expression.Β As most of you may know, photographing children requires a lot of patience. It will test your patience for sure!

“Smile For Me” 2018. Nikon D1 2.7mp, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

One must also take into account that the cell phone cameras are much better today and their convenience has made me a lazier person. I’m openly admitting this!

“Bright Eyes” 2015. Canon EOS-1Ds 11.1mp DSLR, 50mm f/1.4 Contax Zeiss Planar MM.

But I’ve made a pledge to myself that in the next few months I will strive to capture the baby more often with my film cameras now that she is at an age where she’s more cooperative with posing or standing still for pictures.

If you’ll note the equipment used in these images, they are all made from cameras I’ve reviewed or spoken about.

“Softees” 2015. Ricoh GR1, Ilford Delta 400 in D76.

As for Baby Zayda herself, she doesn’t care if I photograph her with a film camera or digital camera or phone camera πŸ˜€

“The Baby” 2015. Nikon V1, 18.5mm f/1.8 Nikkor 1 lens.

In closing I just want to say Zayda, I love you very much! Perhaps one day you’ll read this and have a smile from it 😘

“Chicka-Dee” 2015. Nokia Lumia 1020.

“Eye Spy” 2016. iPhone 6s Plus.

The Incredible New Fuji X-H1

Photo Of The Day: “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

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I said to Baby Girl here…Hey, could you at least TRY to look happy for the photo? πŸ™‚

This photo was taken with the Nikon D1, 2.65mp DSLR from 1999. The lens was the even older 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor. I was out testing some new equipment, but the best shot I got that day was from this old school classic.

Looking on some of my own postings, I could see where some may think I lean more towards Canon, but in fact, I’ve always swayed equally between the two giants, Canon and Nikon.

I’ve loved the D1 since I first read about it in 1999. Since then, I must’ve had about five of these bodies! Nuts!

No, it’s not going to beat your 36mp or 42mp cameras, I’m not that crazy. All I’m saying is I have a soft spot for the D1. It is a true digital Camera Legend and I love it! Maybe one day I’ll do a write-up on it. Hope you enjoy the extra hour this weekend. Happy Sunday!

The Nikon D200 Revisited

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One question: What were you doing this time in 2005? Yes, I know that’s such a broad spectrum question that it’s almost impossible to answer. How about if I narrow it down for you by asking…as a camera freak, what were you doing this time in 2005?

If you’re a camera freak, a digital camera geek, chances are very likely that you were waiting with high anticipation for the release of the Nikon D200 digital SLR.

Today we will take a look back at the D200, but let me say this is not a Nikon D200 “review” in the traditional sense. Yes, we will talk about some technical and operational aspects of the camera, but everything you need to know technically about the D200 has probably already been written by many other review sites.

I want to take a look back in time, back in history, to the time before, during, and after the release of the Nikon D200.

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“Smile” 2017. Nikon D200, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Straight out of camera jpeg in “Fine” setting. On my screen the skin tones run a little red but that’s easily fixed.

AS A CAMERA

The Nikon D200 is a 10.2 megapixel DSLR that was marketed as a highly specified semi-pro or “enthusiast” model. Indeed the build quality was, and is superb, even by today’s standards with its durable magnesium alloy body and confidence inspiring heft. Though it was the follow up to the D100 of 2002, the D200 was in a whole different league.

The 10.2 megapixel sensor was APS-C sized with a crop factor of 1.5X and 10 megapixels were big back in them days!Β The camera has a shutter speed range of 1/30 to 1/8000. Though you may never use it or need it, the 1/8000 or higher shutter speed is always a sign of a high end camera.

The D200 had an ISO range of 100-2500 and 3200 with boost. This was well before the era of ISO 100K plus.

The camera had a built-in flash (Speedlight as Nikon calls it) which comes in handy if you need flash in a pinch. However, back then, some criticized the move fearing it might compromise the structural integrity of the camera. As you know, in the years since, many high end cameras now include built in flash as a common feature and people don’t complain about it as much πŸ™‚

THE ANTICIPATION

Ah, I remember it so well. Yes, once I heard about the D200, once I saw the specs and the “leaked” photos, I knew I had to have it!

Just like many of you, I was probably on fredmiranda.com or photo.net every damn night reading all the speculations about a camera none of us had yet.

Many speculated that the D200 would be the mini D2X we desired at a much lower cost. But we all know if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The D200 most certainly was not the D2X, but take heart that in some ways it was better. I’ll explain later on in the article.

I checked many stores in the NYC area. All of them had long pre-order lines. I got my name on one of the local dealers and eventually got it from them. Here’s a shoutout to the local dealers! There are too precious few left. Please support your local camera dealers!

THE ARRIVAL

So one day in December of 2005, a few days before Christmas, I got that call from my local camera dealer telling me my D200 was in. Hot damn, I was so excited!

It’s kind of sad that I rarely get that kind of excitement these days from any camera I get. I guess it must be “camera saturation” as I call it. After all these years and many, many cameras later, it’s hard to get that excited.

Anyway, needless to say I quickly rushed off to the dealer and picked up that beautiful golden box that said “Nikon D200” πŸ™‚

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From 2005, this boy was sure happy when he received his D200! πŸ™‚

I think I paid around $1800 for the body, which seemed like a bargain at that time for such a highly specified camera.

THE TOUCH, THE FEEL, THE LOVE

After opening the box, going through all the accessories, I finally got to the baby! Upon first touch I knew I was in love. This was a big, beautiful hunk of steel and photographic sex appeal.

I snapped a few shots. The dampened sound of that instant return mirror was like music to my ears.

I could tell by all the features I found in the menu that this was an advanced camera. However, for me, that wasn’t as important as the fact that I was able to figure it out easily without the manual. I could appreciate all the advanced features, and I might eventually get to some of them, but first and foremost what I care about is how quickly I can access the controls, how quickly I could get a shot out of the camera. And after that, as long as it takes a good picture, I’m pretty happy. The D200, build quality and ergonomically speaking, was a Nikon through and through.

The first few shots revealed nice images with some really beautiful colors.

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“Lost In Love” 2005. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2 DC Nikkor, ISO 100. The D200 can produce excellent sharpness and pleasing skin tones.

AFTER THE HONEYMOON

Not long after getting my D200, I started having doubts about the camera. Main issue for me, and apparently most early D200 users were “soft images” and disappointing high iso performance.

Ok, I can hear it now. Someone out there is saying…”I get incredibly sharp images from my D200, this dweeb don’t know what he’s doing!” πŸ™‚

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“Christ Is King” 2006. Nikon D200, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S Nikkor, Lucban, Philippines.

Ok, I got ya, I hear ya!! But yes, I too have many many sharp images from the D200. Heck, I probably don’t know what I’m doing hah but for your sake, just look up “D200 soft images.” Take yourself back to 2005-2006 and see what I’m talking about.

In the years since the D200 was released till now, for many cameras that came after the D200 (and some before) you will see in camera reviews a lot of something like “jpegs are slightly soft, but sharpen up well.” Today, it wouldn’t bother me much, but in 2005 it did.

Keep in mind, back then I had used a Canon EOS 20D, 5D, Nikon D1X, D100, D2H and D70. All, with the exception of the D100, produced sharper images straight out of camera than the D200.

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“Mr. Bojangles” 2005. Nikon D200, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S Nikkor. Despite all I’ve said about the D200’s “soft” images, the camera is perfectly capable of producing very sharp images. Just as sharp as Mr. Bojangles πŸ™‚

So I’m not sure if it was just the jpeg processing. I think it’s been stated by various websites that the D200 had a fairly strong AA filter which funny enough has been done away with altogether in many cameras today. Back then, there was such concern over the possibility of moire from a lack of an AA filter. But today, it seems the trend or fad is to sell cameras without the AA filter as a selling point because it may produce “sharper” pictures without the filter. I’m good with that, but when or why did this still conservative industry decide that they were cool with it too?

I’m guessing that, one, the industry saw that a large majority of the people were wanting low pass filter-less cameras, preferring sharpness over the rare possibility of moire. Second, by not including the AA filter, they must be saving money on it.

Anyway, I know I’m drifting off topic, but the D200 images did not have that “pop” I was getting with my other cameras, at least not without some post processing work. All the images here from 2005-2006 were post processed and resized as I was posting to online photo sites at that time. Unfortunately, I do not have the original files any longer. So much for digital files lasting forever, although you can blame me for this πŸ™‚

The high iso performance was also disappointing to me at that time. Anything over 1000 or 1600 seemed noisy. I had a 5D at the time and it set a new standard for high iso performance. Sure, you may say today that the 5D is not great either at high ISO’s but you’re saying it from today’s perspective. In 2005, it was considered great! And for me, it is still better than a lot of other cameras, but that’s another topic.

In hindsight, it was unfair to compare the D200 to the 5D as the 5D was using a full-frame sensor which in itself is usually an advantage for high iso capabilities and also in hindsight, the D200 wasn’t all that bad at high ISO’s.

The AF was fast, but slightly slower than I had been used to from the D1X and D2H, but I could’ve lived with it.

Today, with the power of hindsight, I guess I was expecting 2017 performance from the D200 back in 2005! πŸ™‚

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“Atlas” 2005. Nikon D200, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S Nikkor, ISO 1000. The D200 was much better at ISO’s higher than ISO 800 than I thought twelve years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original files to post here.

THE D200 REVISTED

Well, I should say revisited again. And again. Let me explain.

In 2007, I got that itch and thought that maybe I was a bit too hard on the D200. I decided to get another one.

After using it for a while, and trying hard to like it, I came to the conclusion that no, I just don’t like the images I get from it. Not really sure why. Maybe because my first impressions of the camera in 2005 weren’t so good? Maybe because in 2007, it was still rather expensive? Maybe my perceived “soft” images? Perhaps I pixel-peeped too much back then?

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“Smile” in B&W. Processed the image for a filmic look. The slight softness in the original image actually helps when you want to emulate the look of film.

Again, don’t be mad for me constantly mentioning the D200’s supposed “soft images.” It’s not that they didn’t sharpen up well, they did. The images just seemed to lack bite. Even when using it with top glass such as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, the images lacked the “snap” I’d gotten from my other cameras.

I’m sure some of you are asking “Did you try shooting RAW brother?” Sure I did! I spent many nights using Nikon Capture to open those big, slow NEF (Nikon RAW) files. Anything to convince myself to keep the camera! Unfortunately for me, that didn’t help much. Yes, it was better but the time it took my slow computer to process the files were just too much to handle.

I sold the camera and never looked back. Until last month! I got a used one for around $85 shipped. Wow, a huge difference from the $1800 I paid for a new D200 in 2005. Such is digital right? This is a great time to buy these old digital classics!

I look at the D200 images I’ve taken recently and even back to the ones from 2005-2006 and even though I had to process those images to where I wanted them to be, I think now that I may have been too hard on the poor D200. Considering it’s a camera from 2005, it’s a stellar performer!

Remember I said the D200 was not the D2X but in some ways better? Well, first it’s not the D2X because the AF is not nearly as fast, at least from my experience. I used a D2X from around 2008-2010. The AF on the D200 is accurate, but the D2X is very slightly better but don’t let that scare you. On the whole, D200 will deliver in autofocus.

Where the D200 betters the D2X is in the sensor. But “better” is relative though. I mean, if you want higher resolution, the 12.4mp D2X has it. The 2mp difference is not really a big deal, but the D2X just takes sharper looking photos in my opinion. But the D200 I feel has a more flexible and forgiving sensor.

The D2X has a very particular sensor that can produce superb results but does not do very well once you go past ISO 400. Yes, I’ve gotten great pics from the D2X at ISO’s higher than 400, but if you’ve shot with a D2X you know what I mean. It’s almost like slide film but more extreme, there’s little room for negotiation with your exposures. The D200 has a gentler transition as you move up the ISO scale and has more headroom to work with.

What about the “measely” 10.2 megapixels? Come on friend, you should know by now 10 megapixels is just enough to be good for nearly anything right? πŸ™‚

Ok yes, it’s not 36 ot 42 or even 50 megapixels but seriously do you need that much? If you’re not printing for huge billboards I would safely say you really don’t. Ok, I will speak only for myself…I don’t! πŸ™‚

Yes, I still believe there is a certain “softness” in the images compared to a lot of other cameras, but they do sharpen up very well. The D200 taught me a lot about post processing. And a slightly softer image is almost always better for portraits, especially for female portraits.

In some ways, that softness helps when trying to create that mythical and oversold “film-like” image. Despite what many film afficianados might want to believe, a film image, or shall I say a 35mm film scan usually comes out softer than what you’d get from a typical digital camera but that’s where the beauty of film comes in. The rolloff from sharp to soft is usually a bit smoother and not as harsh in the film images and so too it is with the D200.

In 2005, digital photography was just coming into its own. Now in 2017, I can tell you that there are many cameras I wouldn’t have given a chance then, that I would today. Many cameras that produce images that look horrible pixel-peeped at 100 percent, but look great when printed. The D200 did NOT look horrible when pixel peeping at 100 percent and prints up beautifully. Therefore, I’d say now that it’s a winner!

Also, I stated it once but probably not enough in this article, the D200 produces beautiful colors. Yes, skin tones can still lean towards the typical Nikon warm, but for the most part images are wonderfully saturated and balanced.

THE BOTTOM LINE & THE FUTURE

The future? What future you might say! What future for a 12 year old obsolete digital camera?

Well, I look forward to using the D200 a lot more and with the power of hindsight and experience, I can appreciate this camera much more than I did back in 2005 or 2007.

The Nikon D200 is a Camera Legend that upped the game for cameras in the semi-pro/enthusiast category. It was loved by many as well as criticized (rather unfairly) by many others (myself included).

So let me make a public apology to the D200…D200, my friend, I was too harsh on you. I’m sorry if I wronged you. Third time is the charm and I’ll make it up to you! πŸ™‚

In hindsight, the D200 is a very complete package that is capable of shooting almost anything you might want it to. And in today’s world, it’s a bargain of a powerhouse camera for what you pay for it.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

The D200 fortunately is plentiful on the used market and prices have been trending from around $90-150 with an average of around $120.

Please buy from our affiliates through our links and support Camera Legend so we can continue bringing you more of your favorite superstar as well as forgotten Camera Legend cameras! Thank you.

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