|Nikon D200 digital reflex camera - Viewfinder
Just as is the case with its big brother, the D2X, the start-up time is virtually non-existent. After switching the camera on, you are instantly able to take your first photo. Upon putting the camera to your eye, it is as if a whole new world of discoveries unfolds before you. Personally, I find the lens a little too close to the housing, which resulted in some difficulties when I was trying to get comfortable behind the viewfinder. This simply takes a bit of getting used to. The viewfinder itself however is true joy. It is fantastically large; with this Nikon prove that a relatively small image sensor is indeed able to construct a full-grown viewfinder. The question remains just how they have managed to achieve this, but word has reached me that other D-SLRs are rapidly catching on and will thus also be equipped with a large viewfinder as found on this camera. It is in the viewfinder after all that the image gets determined and the sharpness is assessed in advance. This can easily be done with the Nikon D200. There is certainly no lack of information in the viewfinder either. Naturally it shows the exposure data, but in this case the chosen sensitivity, the selected light metering and the amount of images that can still be taken can be found here too. This is also where you can generally see the amount of images that will still fit onto the card, whilst the amount that'll still fit in the buffer becomes visible upon pressing the shutter release button halfway down.
Nikon D200 digital SLR - Focussing
The shutter release button has a very pleasant pressing point and reacts quickly to the movement of the finger. The auto focus function is another feature that functions remarkably fast. With the multi selector you select one of the eleven focus points. This is done effortlessly and lightly, something that could therefore present a problem when carrying the camera around your shoulder; it wouldn't take much for a different focus point to accidentally be selected without the user even noticing. The same thing could in fact happen while taking photos; as the photographer's nose could easily bump against the multi selector. This means it is important to always keep a close eye on the viewfinder! The eleven focus points are a little less impressively positioned than on the D2X, they are more centred. This however does not prevent them from being pleasant to work with; there is no need to continually turn the camera when your subject is off-centre.
|Nikon D200 SLR - 5 frames per second
Contrary to the D2X, the Nikon D200 is not equipped with a High-speed crop function. Granted, there's isn't much of a need for one, as the camera's 5 images per second prove perfectly sufficient for most uses and occasions. This is all done with the full 10 Megapixels; there is thus quite a considerable amount of data being processed. Thanks to a reasonably large buffer, the user has the opportunity to keep shooting images. When the buffer is full and you are using a fast memory card (such as the SanDisk CompactFlash Extreme III), you will be able to keep taking photos with approximately 1 image per second. In practice however, this boundary does not require much thought or worry, as it is highly unlikely you will soon come across it, unless you happen to be a seasoned sports photographer. Luckily the D200 does not have the unhandy restriction of a maximum amount of images that can be taken, that we do find on the D2X. The limit is the memory card; exactly how it ought to be!
Nikon D200 digital SLR camera - Command dial
Nikon has made sure working with the command dials can be perfectly executed. The second command dial serves to set the aperture. The dial is positioned in front of the shutter release button; so that the middle finger can easily alter the aperture whilst the index finger is being held on the shutter release button. Ready for the next shot! Your thumb will then be close to the main command dial, with which the shutter speed can be set. You can also choose to swiftly change your focus area. Everything has been designed to make perfect sense. As far as the camera's ergonomics are concerned, the designers of the D200 have truly given it their all.
Nikon D200 SLR camera - Multi selector
The multi selector does however not only serve to select the focus points. In addition, the button can be pushed down; doing so enables the user to attach any desired function to it. You could thus for instance choose that the focus area in the centre is selected in the record mode. It doesn't however end here. When reviewing your images you can decide to use it as a quick zoom button. With a single push of the multi selector you will then maximally zoom in to your selected focus point. In practice this proves to be the ideal way to give the focus a quick check.