D80 vs D200

Discussion in 'Through-the-Lens Club' started by jmg, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. jmg

    jmg UCantFixStupid

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    Hey, all.

    I'm planning a little graduation present to myself--a DSLR. I have a Nikon N80, SB-600, and Tamron 28-105 f 2.8, so I'll stick with the Nikon platform. I got Mrs jmg a Canon A620, so I'm a little digi-savvy---need help on all the RAW vs JPEG file stuff, though.

    Should I go with the D80 or the D200? I read a review that said that the D80 was not much 'more' (feature-wise) than the D40, and if one were to spend as much as a D80, just bump the price up to a D200 and have a more solid, better sealed unit.

    Comments?

    Also, can you guys recommend a lens?

    I shoot candid stuff, but would like a versatile lens that doesn't break the bank (around $500)

    I was thinking of their 18-135...

    thanks!
     
  2. TBO

    TBO Why so serious? CLM

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    D40 review

    D80 review

    D200 review

    For you, I'd take the D40 right out of consideration due to your experiance level. Your choice is really between the D80 & D200. The money you save on the D80 vs the D200 could go toward that new lens you want...

    Good luck with the process & let us know what you get.
     

  3. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    A rather important consideration would be fact that you could not use your existing lens with D40 (ultrasonic only).
     
  4. ponykilr

    ponykilr Off The Porch

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    Main difference is the body material and the controls. The d200 puts more essential controls at the ready for fast changes.

    On lenses, you can get a new 35mmF/2.0 and a new 50mmF/1.8 for $400. I know I harp on it, but fast lenses are more important than the camera. If you shop some on ebay, you could get a 20 or 24mmF/2.8, a 35mmF/2.0 and a 50mmF/1.8 for your $500 lens budget and every one of them will blow any consumer lens in the weeds. Primes are the best deal in fast glass, and changing lenses quickly is not hard. People did it for years. Unless you do fast stuff like weddings or sports, there isnt any reason not to use prime lenses. You will think more about composition, your photos will be sharper and colors will "pop", and your body of work will be better.

    You could get a used D70 or a new D50 and a full starter set of prime lenses for a grand if you shop well.
     
  5. seanmac45

    seanmac45 CLM

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    Paul;

    I would guess that you are not a fan of the 18-200 lens because it is not fast?
     
  6. ponykilr

    ponykilr Off The Porch

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    The 18-200...

    No other lens has ever created the hysteria that this one has. It is simply the best consumer snapshot lens ever. it is a technical marvel. But it is not professional quality and it is not fast.

    Go to "the Nikonians" website and see what most folks think of them once they use them a while.

    It has bad distortion at the wide end, so it's main draw(being a wide for digital lens) is moot because objects on the edge of the frame will look like a circus mirror. It will not work well in poor light due to it's max aperture of F/3.5(and believe me, it's not really even 3.5) so much of your shots indoors will be blurred or simply not sharp without flash. Flash indoors looks like crap most of the time unless you bounce it and it is distracting to say the least. Remember, VR is for handshake, not freezing movement. It is soft at the long end and it's poor f/5.6 at this zoom setting will not work for sports.

    It's a snapshot lens for people who are not looking for pro performace. I can spend 800bucks much better than this lens.
    If you want a sports lens, a 80-200 F/2.8 for the same money is totally professional and totally wonderful. For General use, a used 35-70F/2.8, a set of primes or if you shop around, a 17-55F/2.8 or a 28-70F/2.8 can be bought used for around a grand and is 5 times the lens.

    I have done some good work with my little 18-70(They are comparable in the range they overlap), it isnt a bad lens. But, it is not professional and the results are MUCH harder to get with it than with my pro lenses. People who havent tried good lenses just cant understand until they try one.

    Listen to me, I spent money on expensive flash equipment and accesories. I hobbled myself with a tripod. I didnt use beautiful locations and missed shots because I knew the light wasnt good enough to work. I had no idea what freedom comes from good glass until I spent $100 on a 50mmF1.8D and a hoya PRO1 UV filter used from ebay(a new lens is $90 at adorama). It was like the windows of Heaven opened for me. Places where I would be around 1/4 second shutter with my kit lens now were 1/60. goodby fuzzy, hello razor sharp.

    Glass is the most important place to spend money. Just by a 50mmF1.8 and see. It will be the best c-note you ever spend.
     
  7. jmg

    jmg UCantFixStupid

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    Thanks, guys. I'll probably go with the D200--I've earned it!

    I might just start with a f1.8/50mm. My first camera was a Pentax K1000 with a a fixed 50. EVERYTHING looked great. Then I got a Nikon N80 package--28-80 f3.5 and a 70-300 f5.6 (?), and all my composition was crap.

    Man, if Nikon just made a 18-135 f1.8 that didn't weigh a ton, or cost a mint, I'd be all over it like fat on a mother-in-law!

    Oh, BTW--does anybody have any experience with the MB-200 battery grip?
     
  8. sjfrellc

    sjfrellc CLM

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    JMG,
    I havent' used the MB-200 battery grip, but I'm not sure why you would want one. The D200 is not very good on battery life, you definitely should have two batteries right off the bat ($50 for the extra.) I'm not sure you want to load alkalines in the battery grip to save money and it will make a big camera even bigger.

    I had a D70 and thought the DX 18-70 lens was a good lens with sharpness and contrast. If you have the old Nikon 70-300 G series telephoto, thats a great digital tele. Mine was inexpensive but sharp. I don't think you want to avoid a zoom on a digital SLR. Problems with composition tend to melt away when you have instant feedback of digital. If it doesn't look right, shoot it again right away.



    I upgraded to the D200 and bought it with the DX 18-200 VR lens. Ponykilrs assesment of this lens above is spot on. Not the sharpest and certainly not very fast.
    I think you would do well to use the lenses you have until you get your bearings. You can use your Tamron? Is it any good?

    I'm sure you know that the Nikon digitals have a smaller sensor than a 35 mm film, so multiply the focal length of any lens put on the Nikon SLR by 1.5 to get the 35mm equivalent (for example a 50mm lens on a Nikon DSLR will be equivalent to a 75 mm you were used to in 35mm film.

    Ken Rockwell has some practical articles on all the Nikon digitals.

    Check this link for JPEG vs. RAW

    An comparing the D200 vs. the D80:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d80/vs-d200.htm
     
  9. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    That's going to open a can of worms. Words "practical" and "Ken Rockwell" don't always go in the same sentence for some people. I recommend searching for Ken Rockwell on dpreview for some interesting threads. He is a rather colorful character with less than stringent testing methodology who tends to confuse expediency with quality. The very idea of jacking up contrast and saturation in camera and then shooting thus altered jpegs gives some people a violent rash.
     
  10. ponykilr

    ponykilr Off The Porch

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    Yeah, Ken has some really useful stuff on his site, but you have to wade through it sometimes. I like to shoot everything at normal settings. Some things are easy to add, but very hard to remove. Ken likes to pump his colors a lot, but he isnt a people shooter. People need neutral color and no sharpening. Photoshop 7(what I have) or elements or CS2 is a much better place to enhance photos than "in camera".

    SJ, I like my 18-70 a lot, It has been a faithful friend and it is a great snapshot lens that can be pressed into much more with careful use(as is my 28-80F/3.5-4.5). The 18-200 is very similar, I borrowed one and really came away impressed at it's "20lbs in a 10lb sack" features, but the images were not close to $1000 lens images and in my use of it, it leaves a lot to be desired. It is not aimed at serious photographers, but at ametures. It is capable of creating great images with careful use, but will hamper more than help someone who is serious.

    My little 50mm is more lens to me(as are my other fast primes), and my newest lens, the 28-70F/2.8 AFS/ED is on another spiritual plane and can be bought used for around $100-200 more that the 18-200(it's over $1400 new....yikes). I know a grand on a lens is crazy sounding(but the 18-200 is still around $900), but if you want to be free to become a better shooter, not worrying with slow glass is a big first step.

    I know it's the person behind the camera that creates the image, but if you are hindered by an inablity to make a shot because you dont have enough light and your shutter is slowed to "creeping" mode, have you gotten better? Has your photography/composition/vision/knowledge improved?


    When i suggest primes, it is because they can be bought much cheaper and one at a time so as not to blow someone away with "you need a 12-1500dollar lens". They are truly pro in quality and will free you to make great photos without the headaches slow lenses create. Many are unaware how much their consumer lenses are hindering them...until they buy that $100 50mmF/1.8 i keep harping about.

    I certainly am not anti-zoom, but primes will force you to think more about composition, and will give you the sharpness and color and speed of any $1000+ lens, you just have to zoom with your feet.
    I love primes for portrait work and other non-action shooting. They are very hard to beat for so little investment and a 35mmF/2.0 is a great all around lens on a digital. A 50mm is a super portrait lens at it's 75mm effective length. A 20 or 24mm is wide enough for landscapes and makes some other interesting wide angle pics.

    The only reason I bought my 28-70 is for wedding work, where you have to be very fast zooming to catch the action just right. Of course for sports, a zoom is almost mandatory.
     
  11. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    Amen to that.
     
  12. sjfrellc

    sjfrellc CLM

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    I agree entirely with the last three posts.

    I've been using the Nikon 50 f1.8 indoors for gym lighted basketball. I'm able to stand close on the sidelines. Set at shutter priority 1/250 and able to only get f 2.0 I wish I had the f1.4 lens, but I know its not much sharper.

    I've had enormous success taking pictures of group vacations or Fourth of July block parties by using the above mentioned zooms in daylight or adequate light. Out of 700 shots on occasion, hundreds turn out great. I do mostly sports and snapshots. Non-professional, with 30 years of experience in photography.

    Ken Rockwell has helped me use equipment I already have more effectively, but I make my own decisions. It's like going to the reloading forum on Glocktalk and hearing raves about using a Lee Loadmaster to reload (pure BS in my opinion). Also like the reloading forum, the information learned outweighs the BS.

    I learned today how to tell the shutter count on the Nikons by looking at the shutter count in the EXIF data with OPANDA software.
    I have 15,000 pictures on the D70 and 5,400 on the D200.
     
  13. ponykilr

    ponykilr Off The Porch

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    You have shot a lot for sure. I am very sorry if i come off like a techno babble know it all type. I really am not like that. I AM passionate about pics of people and what little i know, I really beleive in.

    Have you tried shooting in aperture priority, wide open and bumping the iso to 800 or higher?
    I used to cringe at bumping up iso, but I really dont see a real problem with the images, and with sports sharpness/frozen images trumps all. My 50 is great wide open and I prefer a little grain/noise to blur anyday.

    Ken says bumping iso will make kit lenses work better in low light and I guess he's right. But it isnt a fix all.
     
  14. nipperwolf

    nipperwolf

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    YOU LEARNED IT WHERE???

    :supergrin: :supergrin: :supergrin:
     
  15. jmg

    jmg UCantFixStupid

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    Thanks for all the replies, guys. I'll go with the 50mm f1.8. I do mostly kids, and some informal portraiture.

    sjfrellc--

    I'd like the MB-200 for the added grip length and shutter release. I added a mb-10 (?)--whichever one works on the N80-- and it made a WORLD of difference, in terms of balance and comfort.

    Plus, it looks cool


    ;)
     
  16. sjfrellc

    sjfrellc CLM

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    Wait till you handle the D200 it's fairly substantial to grip. somewhat more than a N80. But I can understand if you want to scream
    I'm A Pro Photographer!

    Yes, ponykilr at ISO 800, the noise is not bad. Forgot to mention, the f1.8 Nikkor at 1/250, f2.0 has to be set at ISO 800 to stop the action.

    Like this is f2.2, 1/200 ISO 800 (not sharp because of focus point)

    [​IMG]

    Thanks Nipperwolf :honkie:
     
  17. jmg

    jmg UCantFixStupid

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  18. jmg

    jmg UCantFixStupid

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    Any good websites for lens reviews? I'd really like a fast (less than f 3.5) lens, 24mm-ish--85mm-ish for around $500-600.

    Does such a creature exist?

    If not--I'll do the Nikon 50mm f1.8 OR 1.4 until I can shell out the sheckels for the above.

    I understand that glass is where it's at--I have a budget of around $1700-1800 for the D200, grip, and lens. I don't wanna drop to a D80 to go up on $ for a SUPER NICE (read: more than, say, $700) lens...

    Oh, the anxiety! What to do?


    Plus,it's not like I have a ton of friends with the above camera/lenses I can actually play with. I'll have to use reviews and the like to base my decision...
     
  19. sjfrellc

    sjfrellc CLM

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    I'm thinking the Nikon D 18-55 lens, and skip the griphttp://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/1855.htm

    You really can bump the ISO or use the flash on the D200.

    Take your emotions out of the purchase and you can always add to your collection later.
     
  20. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    There are specialized websites with highly technical reviews (like PhotoZone), but if you just want user reviews, then Fred Miranda's website is very good (even if a bit slow on occasion).