It is simply impossible to give you a full update on each and every single setting you will find on the Nikon D200. For the auto focus alone there are already more than 30 options, whilst the noise reduction offers no less than 8. Any time invested into familiarising yourself with the camera as you leaf through the user's manual, will therefore be time well spent. It would in fact be advisable to repeat this process at a later stage, so that you are able to get the best out of your camera. There is no need to go to excessive lengths every time you wish to alter a thing or two; the settings can be stored in so-called data bases. As a result, you can decide to set a data base for your regular images whilst creating a separate one in which to store, for instance, your sports or enhanced flash photography settings.
Nikon D200 SLR - JPEG and RAW formats
The files can be recorded in RAW (NEF in Nikon terms) and JPEG formats. RAW offers the choice between compressed and not compressed. The compression is lossless; meaning there will be absolutely no loss of data. Your file will however become smaller. Therefore it is a good option to use this feature when you are low on memory. Besides three different resolutions, there are three different levels of compression available when photographing in JPEG. In addition, all of these options can also be selected in combination with RAW. This certainly has its advantages when you wish to send a photo quickly or want to have it printed. Taking photos in JPEG produces beautiful images that can be used instantly. This does however mean missing out on the extensive correction possibilities that RAW has to offer. To convert RAW to TIFF or JPEG, Nikon provides PictureProject. In my opinion this is not the right program for this camera. Even though the CD gives you the opportunity to download Nikon View, which is a reasonable improvement, the RAW options are limited. To truly get the best results out of RAW, Nikon Capture software is needed. The version that Nikon supplies however, is only valid for thirty days, after which payment is required. This is a genuine loss, especially since a camera such as the Nikon D200 should in fact have come standard supplied with high-quality software such as Nikon Capture. Fortunately, the Adobe Camera RAW version 3.3 enables users of Photoshop CS2 to convert the images from the Nikon D200 effortlessly.
Nikon D200 digital reflex camera - White balance
One of the trickier things to achieve is the white balance with fluorescent light. Even though the auto white balance of the Nikon D200 functions properly most of the time, fluorescent light proves to produce deviated behaviour. The colours in the image become much too warm. A manual white balance however, offers the solution to this. In addition, it is also possible to set your own colour temperature and fine-tune the white balance. All of these are distinctly professional options, just like the one that enables the user to save the photos in the AdobeRGB colour space. This is without a doubt of vital importance for photographers who deal with printing matters; all in all an important target group of the Nikon D200. Besides the colour space there are three colour modes. Option II is only available in Adobe RGB and produces the most neutral image. Colour mode I is very suitable for portraits, whilst III is more saturated and intended for landscapes.
Nikon D200 d-SLR camera - Image adjustment
The function Image Adjustment offers the user an even wider array of options. It is here that we find the mode to take photos in black&white and artificial colour filters. Sepia is also present. Standard, Nikon provides five settings, which can all be adjusted. They vary from a normal mode to a setting with softer colours and a lower sharpening for portraits, to settings with a high saturation and sharpening. You also have the option to program a setting yourself. With the Image Adjustment you have control over the sharpening, the contrast and the saturation. Granted, it is perhaps slightly tucked away, but once you have created a good setting, it is likely to last. When using the camera "straight from the box", the settings do produce wonderful images indeed. It is however advisable to play around a little with the available settings so that you can set and adjust the camera to your own taste and preferences. I, for example, had switched the camera to AdobeRBG and switched off the sharpening, just as every photographer has his or her own favourite setting.
Nikon D200 SLR camera - Auto focus settings
Trust us when we say could dedicate an entire article to all the settings for the auto focus alone. Besides the familiar continuous, single or manual focus, the Nikon D200 also comes with a Dynamic AF and gives the user the options to combine focus areas, handle the Lock On (this decides how the camera will react if something comes between it and the subject), use all eleven or just seven areas and much, much more. Our aforementioned saying applies here too: every photographer will eventually create his or her own combination. A studio photographer for instance, will require an entirely different setting than a photo journalist. The Nikon D200 offers the user to set the camera to one's very own preference. This is just how things should always be; the camera is after all an extension of the photographer and may under no circumstances form a hindrance or an obstacle.
Nikon D200 reflex camera - ISO values
Studio photographers in particular will be thrilled to hear that the Nikon D200 can also be switched to ISO 100, especially as the D100 only ranged to ISO 200. The maximum sensitivity on the D200 is ISO 3200. Whether or not this high ISO value is actually useable in practice remains to be seen. Digital noise is clearly present. ISO 400 shows a little noise, which markedly increases from ISO 800. It is mainly colour noise, which makes it altogether more visible. It has to be said however that monitor reproduction and prints show significant differences where noise is concerned. Prints, and naturally when post processed, can handle a considerable amount of noise before it will become noticeable. Overall, digital noise remains a hot topic. Not that the images from the D200 are substandard as far as noise is concerned, on the contrary even, but it is only fair to say that the competition has shown us that it is possible to decrease the presence of digital noise with high ISO values in particular. The camera does offer many options to reduce digital noise. Firstly, the user can choose to switch the entire noise reduction either on or off, whilst also offering the possibility to control the degree of reduction with high sensitivities.
Nikon D200 digital SLR camera - Matrixmeting
Most images will be shot with the matrix metering, which works excellently indeed. Even with bright backlight the Nikon D200 stood its ground and produced pleasantly exposed images. The spot metering, which is linked to the focus point, offers the solution to problems arising from situations with exceptionally tricky contrast. In addition, a centre-weighted metering is present for the seasoned photographer, although I wonder how many photographers actually still make use of such a feature. The matrix metering has evolved in such a way that it is guaranteed to suffice in virtually every situation.
Nikon D200 SLR - Diafragma & Sluitertijd
Naturally, the Nikon D200 digital reflex camera offers users the option to set the aperture and/or shutter speed by themselves. This practically goes without saying! The camera is short of icon modes, but in reality these aren't at all likely to be missed. If you are still using these, it would perhaps be wise to look into a beginner's course in photography first.
Nikon D200 SLR camera - Menu
Even though the Nikon D200 comes with a significant amount of buttons, it is likely you will have to resort to the menu frequently. The menu itself has been clearly and logically arranged. The enormous amount of available settings might however cause some severe confusion. I found myself reaching for the user's manual on more than one occasion. The menu is easy to read; the large screen is clearly put to excellent use. A very handy feature is the help function that can be accessed with a large amount of menu settings; this is particularly useful as all those names might not always ring a bell upon first glance.