Nikon D200 digital SLR body

A long time coming, is it worth the wait?

Nikon D200 digital SLR body

Review Nikon's D200 is the successor to the D100 launched way back in the Summer of 2002. Back then the D100 went up against Canon's EOS-D60, a model which Canon has since replaced twice, with a third successor expected to be announced by March. Yes, it's sure been a long time coming, but at least Nikon's pulled out all the stops for its latest digital SLR...

Nikon D200 digital SLR body

The D200 is positioned between the D70s and D2X, targeting the serious amateur through to the professional photographer. It features 10.2-megapixel resolution, superb build quality, a wide array of features and fast handling. Many of the D200's features are actually taken direct from the top-of-the-range D2X.

In this review we'll take an in-depth look at the Nikon D200, which in the UK is available body alone, or bundled with either the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-70mm f3.5~4.5 G IF-ED or the premium Nikkor AF-S DX 17-55mm f2.8 G ED lenses. We performed the bulk of our tests with the 17-55mm f2.8 lens which is an ideal match for this higher-end body. For our studio resolution tests we used the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens. The unit tested was running firmware version 1.01.

We believe there will be two distinct groups of photographers considering the D200: serious amateurs who are looking for a step-up from bodies like the D70s, or professionals who either want a backup body for their D2X or perhaps can't justify the cost of Nikon's high-end model. As such in this review we'll compare the D200 against Nikon bodies positioned both above and below it. We'll also compare it against its major rivals from Canon, the EOS-20D and 5D.

Is the D200 merely an upgrade for D100 and D70s owners, or a genuine professional-spec workhorse which can hold its own against the D2X?

It's clear from the first moment you pick up the D200 that you're holding a very serious piece of kit. It feels incredibly solid and a world apart from the plastic bodies of budget digital SLRs and its predecessor, the D100. Like the D2X, the D200's grip features a hooked inner area for your finger tips allowing both comfortable and secure operation. Ergonomically it's a great design. Like most higher-end digital SLRs, the D200 employs a magnesium alloy shell, although in your hand it feels tougher than Canon's EOS-20D and 5D bodies. Indeed, the build quality feels more equivalent to Nikon's top-of-the-range D2X which is impressive for a body costing almost one-third the price.

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