Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The 10 Megapixel Club
When you need resolution and the compactness of an SLR, these are the four current models you'll want to check out
Of the four cameras that make up the 10-megapixel club, the newest is the Nikon D200, announced in late 2005. In addition to being the newest, the D200 is also the only camera to have a CCD image sensor. The D2x and the two Canon cameras are all built with CMOS technology, but for the D200, Nikon developed a new JFET (Junction Field Effect Transistor) LBCAST (Lateral Buried Charge Accumulator and Sensing Transistor array) image sensor. Just what does that mouthful of techno-babble mean? Well, the technology first appeared in the D2h-series of high-speed Nikon cameras, where it was optimized for fast shooting. In the D200, the technology migrates to a more mainstream professional body without losing its performance. Shooting speed is five frames per second for up to 23 RAW (NEF) files or 40 JPEGs.
At 10.2 megapixels (effective pixels), the D200 comes in just above our 10-megapixel cutoff, but there's no question that it should be considered in this group. The D100, which this camera replaces, was thought of as a good model for the advanced amateur or pro. The D200 builds on that reputation, but lands firmly in the pro camp with its features and resolution. Overall, the D200 feels much more like an accompanying camera to the D2x than a replacement for the D100.
As with the other cameras we feature here, the D200 does everything you would expect from a professional tool. The magnesium chassis is well-sealed against the weather and dust, and although it's comparatively compact, the body feels plenty solid. Like the D2x, it has a 2.5-inch LCD monitor with a new menu system that's easier to read and operate than previous cameras.
The D200 is also unique in that it's the only camera in this group with a pop-up flash. The camera manufacturers typically consider pop-up flash to be a tool for amateurs more than a useful feature for the pro market, but the fact is that there are always situations when that simple device can give you just the catchlight you need. Of course, it's also handy for triggering strobes remotely.
Images are stored on a CompactFlash card (Type I or II). The optional Nikon Wireless Transmitter (WT-3) makes the camera a viable choice for remote shooting and transferring files (the transmitter is IEEE 802.11b/g-compliant).
The Nikon D200 can be picked up for about $1,700 (estimated street price).
At that price, the camera becomes a no-brainer if you're looking for a backup to accompany the D2x or if you need to update your system, but not for a lot of money.
Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.
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