Specific question on Nikon D200 Build quality

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Garbz, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm about to take a proper step into digital photography and buy my first decent DSLR. That isn't to say I'm quitting film. I'll be using my old Nikon FE for many years to come. I was looking around various cameras by Olympus pentax canon and Nikon and it seems the Nikon D200 fits my needs pretty well.

    I do have a question on the build quality of this camera for any owners out there. I had the chance to hold various cameras the other day and chose the D200 over the EOS-400D and D100 because it seemed like a durable camera. As I am not the type to constantly upgrade to stay on the latest of technological advancements, and I am not very kind to my cameras. My FE has been dropped several times, and dad even let it go off the first floor of a building once and after minor repair to the mirror mechanism it still works.

    How rugged is the D200? I am especially interested in any opinions from people who take it out into the snow, or into the desert. I live in the tropics in australia but constantly travel to europe. The camera will get constantly knocked about and more than likely dropped on occasion :( Any survival stories?
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    I don't go to deserts, but I think mine is pretty robust. I don't abuse it, but I don't coddle it either. It has been in the rain without problems. I think it's a great choice.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I'm thinking the most likely danger for a DSLR in the desert is the amount of dust and/or likely to get inside. I'm sure the D200 is fairly resistant but obviously it's best to be vary careful about changing lenses and otherwise exposing bits. Perhaps a cover for the LCD screen would not be a bad idea, also maybe some kind of rain cover for the camera body (commercial or improvised) would be equally effective against dust or sand blowing over it. It might not be necessary, I just tend to feel less confident in the resilience of DSLRs than their film equivalents. As for general build quality, I expect the D200 is as sturdy as anything in that price range (although the new Pentax has weather sealing), so unless you can afford to go for a 'professional' level dSLR I'd say go for the D200, get an extended warranty and... erm, maybe try not to drop it so much :p
     
  4. Dieter01

    Dieter01 TPF Noob!

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    I know the body is made from magnesium and there are seals that make it "dustproof but not watertight". You mention that you have used yours in the rain though... Without any cover whatsoever? Contrary to most other users I am extremely careful with all my equipment... Is it safe to use it in a small drizzle (if you wipe it off once you get in the dry?). I am quite curious how much of the wet stuff this camera can really handle...
     
  5. Dieter01

    Dieter01 TPF Noob!

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    Did some searching.

    From letsgodigital.org:
    Nikon D200 d-SLR - New housing & Specifications
    The most revolutionary features of the Nikon D200 however, are its new housing and specifications. Where Nikon chose to remain with the design of the analogue F80, a true consumer camera, for the D100, their designers have delivered a piece of considerably improved quality with the Nikon D200 dSLR. The main handicap of the D100 body was formed by the fact it wasn't particularly suited to frequent professional use. This was however exactly what the D100 was often used for, especially as the price-class of the D100 did not exactly offer a lot of choice or competition in those days. The new design however, differs from this and is without a doubt perfectly suited to handle frequent professional use. This is not only shown by the camera's robust metal body, but also from, for instance, its features that make it resistant against water and dust. The Nikon D200 can easily withstand a rain shower, granted, perhaps not with the same results as a professional D2X, but certainly better than its direct competition or even the (more expensive) Canon EOS 5D.

    ----------------------------

    Also found a few discussions on the topic:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/d200/discuss/72157594253392951/

    http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=103821&forum_id=58&jump_to=605827
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Gone are the days where you can buy a tank of a camera, if you drop any DSLR from any reasonable height probably more than a foot or even less expect a considerable repair bill. The more you pay for your DSLR generally the more durable the body will be I know that sucks but it is a fact.
     
  7. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    It wasn't a down pour. We where shooting some wedding shots in a drizzle to sprinkle. Take it out, shoot, wipe it off. Stuff like that.
     
  8. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Actually I think a lot of modern cameras are more durable than they're given credit for. The other day my DSLR got knocked off the table onto the thinly carpeted floor - a fall of about 3 feet. Needless to say I thought it was gone, but in fact there was nothing wrong with it at all (I did some extensive testing of every function just to be sure). With film cameras too, I think the concept of metal 'tanks' vs easily breakable plastic 'toys' is exaggerated. My Minolta Dynax is extremely lightweight, probably has more plastic than any other camera I own, and yet when I dropped it a good 4 feet onto hard ground - and even though the lens mount took the initial impact the camera body still smacked the ground fairly hard - it continued to work just fine, with no damage beyond some marking to the plastic exterior. Now I now these are just one-off occasions, and if dropped regularly both cameras would almost certainly break, but then I go back to the point I made before... just try not to drop them! I mean sure, on one level they're just the tools you use to capture an image, but on the other hand they're also expensive pieces of equipment; in the case of dSLRs you're effectively carrying around a computer. Regardless of how sturdy they are or should be, I try not to let my cameras get damaged, just like I avoid bouncing my phones off walls or throwing laptops around. Besides, even if you're confident in the invulnerable brick-ness of your camera, can you always say the same of the lens attached? And if not, again wouldn't it be a fairly good idea to avoid dropping or knocking it?
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lol yes I see the general idea is not to drop the thing. Well In all fairness the Nikon FE is more than 20 years old so the few times it has been dropped is rather infrequent. I am more concerned about the general rough use of the camera. I have taken my Nikon on every hike I have done regardless of how steep, I have taken it wakeboarding (in the boat not the water :) ) but it got slightly splashed anyway, and even taken it rock climbing once or twice. That coupled with the fact that the camera will be in environments which have 35degrees with 100% humidity, and -10degrees the following day (in the case of my trip in december).

    I am less concerned about the lens though. They are full of glass and will probably be the first thing to break. Bottom line is if I'm going to be doing something out of the ordinary I'll probably have my cheapest lens with me anyway.

    The reason this all concerns me is I am not the type who goes and buys the latest and greatest every year as it comes out, and I hope to have it 3-5+ years. I think in my case the camera will have to last quite a bit longer than for the average consumer.
     
  10. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    Two friends have dropped their D200s, one snagged his strap and it got pulled off his shoulder onto the cement. Small scuff, no functional problems. The other had his knocked off the table, no damage. Pretty durable camera.
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Water and temperature do seem to be present of a problem than impact damage for cameras. Get the slightest bit of moisture on many digital point-&-shoots and they refuse to work until you've waited a few hours for them to dry out. Since until recently I've only ever borrowed other people's dSLRs, I've never felt confident enough to let them get rained on, so I can't say from experience if the same applies. I guess the companies' logic is that the average consumer is likely to drop or knock their camera quite a bit, but will immediately stop shooting and go home once it rains, so they can save on the cost of sealing the camera and/or lens. I think Olympus is the only company who appreciate that the average user might still want to take photos in the rain or otherwise near water - they've made good water-resistant p&s cameras for both film and digital. I think other camera manufacturers are catching onto the idea that hobby photographers might want to shoot in the rain too - like Pentax with the new DSLR I mentioned - but for now I'd probably recommend getting some kind of rain/splash cover (or making your own) just to be on the safe side.

    As for use in very different weather conditions, I think the main thing is to make sure changes in temperature affect the camera gradually rather than suddenly.
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been on some tough trecks with my analog film DSLR .. and from my experience the thing most sensitive to abrupt motion like dropping (if the outer shell stays intact) is the shutter. Had to get mine repaired once after a trip in Lapland.
     

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