Nikon D200 digital SLR body

A long time coming, is it worth the wait?

There are, of course, several key differences between the D200 and D2X, the most obvious being the latter's sheer heft. The D2X measures 15.8 x 15 x 8.6cm and weighs in at 1.07kg excluding its large battery. In contrast, the D200 measures 14.7 x 11.3 x 7.4cm and weighs 830g excluding its smaller battery.

Nikon D200 digital SLR body

While larger in every dimension, the biggest difference is the vertical height, with the D2X's portrait grip and battery housing responsible for an additional 37mm. Indeed, you'll have a fair idea of the size, weight and build quality of the D200 if you picture the D2X with its portrait grip sliced off.

That said, it's important not to discount the finer physical advantages of Nikon's high-end body. Bereft of a popup flash or any poly-carbonate components, the D2X is ultimately a tougher camera which can also claim a higher degree of environmental sealing. If you're a professional who works in very demanding conditions, the D2X will remain a superior choice, but for everyone else, the D200 will prove more than tough enough.

Anyone familiar with Nikon digital SLRs, whether higher or lower-end, will feel immediately at home with the D200. Most settings are adjusted by holding a button and turning either the thumb or finger wheels, but unlike many of its rivals, key controls have buttons dedicated entirely to them - these include the quality, ISO and white balance settings.

Additionally, where many cameras bury other settings within menus or require multiple key presses, Nikon has applied its traditional physical approach of dedicated switches and dials. Like the D2X, the drive modes are quickly and easily selected using a dial on the upper left surface below the quality, ISO and white balance buttons. The focusing and metering modes both have small switches on the back, and all buttons are a decent size, allowing easier operation while wearing gloves. The position and operation of the controls is very intuitive and clearly designed by a team which use cameras in professional environments.

Nikon D200 digital SLR body

As a higher-end body there's no scene presets, just the traditional Program, Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes, which like the D2X are selected by holding the mode button and turning the thumb-wheel. Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb, while the fastest flash sync speed is 1/250.

The mode and exposure compensation buttons are positioned alongside the main shutter release. Again like the D2X, the shutter release button is surrounded by the power switch which can be twisted clockwise to illuminate the status LCD screen backlight.

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