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Old May 10, 2006, 8:08 PM   #21
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Hi Buzzsaw,

if I had the luxury of being able to pick and choose my opportunities to take pictures, I'd surely agree with you - but I get at most one day a week which is truly mine, and I need to be able to maximise the opportunities that present themselves (the fishing in my part of the world stinks, and more often than not, so does the light!)

I need a camera that will work more often than not, in whatever light is available, so I can make the most of the time I have to myself.

Bear in mind that in the UK the D200 costs £1300, which is $2417 at today's exchange rate - too much to stick in a corner and use once or twice a year..!
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Old May 10, 2006, 8:11 PM   #22
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Closer look of the same bird. D200 and Nikkor 80-400VR.
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Old May 10, 2006, 11:41 PM   #23
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Here is an example of a 100% crop shot with my D200 and an 80 to 400mm VR lens.It is hand heldwith the ISO setat 800, f/9 @ 1/320 second.The area was in the shade of some taller trees. I don't think there is a lot of noise in the shot (it's a little soft being taken hand held), but would like to hear what others think.
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Old May 11, 2006, 12:53 AM   #24
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at 1/320 and f/9 the softness has nothing to do with it being hand held, Thats going to be the ISO degrading the quality (Especially since its a VR lens)

Though a bit of noise reduction and an Unsharp mask (in photoshop) Would probably clear most of that up.
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Old May 11, 2006, 1:43 AM   #25
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Look like you may not hold the camera steady enough. It take lots of practices to be able to use the 80-400VR hand holding successfully. Keep trying you will master it after your 1000th shots. I shoot average 1000 shots per month and started to get pictures that I am happy with after the 1000th shots. D200 is a sophisticated camera that take time to learn to use it full potential. I use to hand hold my D50with 80-400VR 99% of the time and got verygood results. With D200 I use tripod more often because of it weight when connected to the 80-400VR. I am an old man and those few extra hundred grams do hurt. If you are from the mega-zoom digital camera expect to practice for several thousand shots before you will take good pictures with the D200.

About noises at ISO-1600 of the D200 I think people talked too much about making it even more confuse. When I started using color slides Kodachrome ISO 25 was the only film available. When I gave up film photography nearly two decades ago there were color films from ISO 50 to ISO 400. I used to carry two Nikon E2, one with ISO-100 the other with ISO-400 film. With my new D200 switching between ISO-100 to ISO-400 is like a dream come through.

Film or digital you will always sacrifice speed for quality.

Attached are two pictures of Peaceful Dove taken with D200 and Nikon 80-400VR. One with ISO-250 the other with ISO-1600. In real life I would had used flash for the other picture and it should look just as good or may be better. Few people use ISO-1600 regularly. To me the D200 is far better than my birding film Nikons of the good old days. It is the best birding camera you can get today, keep practice shooting and you will love it.

This picturewas taken today:ISO 250; 400mm F5.6;1/750 sec.
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Old May 11, 2006, 1:47 AM   #26
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This picture take a few minutes later when the cloud cover the sky: ISO 1600; 400mm F5.6: 1/1250 sec.
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Old May 11, 2006, 11:05 AM   #27
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Thanks for the feedback, I am new to shooting with a mega zoom and agree that it will take much more practice as I am finding the depth of field is very narrow. I would like to know what your thoughts are on minimum shutter speed when trying to do hand held shots at 400 mm (600 mm equivalent) using the VR lens. I like the pictures I take at low ISO's in bright light, but I struggle once the light starts to fall.
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Old May 11, 2006, 8:16 PM   #28
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WCube wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the feedback, I am new to shooting with a mega zoom and agree that it will take much more practice as I am finding the depth of field is very narrow. I would like to know what your thoughts are on minimum shutter speed when trying to do hand held shots at 400 mm (600 mm equivalent) using the VR lens. I like the pictures I take at low ISO's in bright light, but I struggle once the light starts to fall.
For hand holding the 80-400 I always use aperture priority (A),set aperture to F5.6 to ensure maximum speed. Set ISO to enable a speedof 1/400 or faster. Birds are not always standing still and the VR will not help on bird movements.

VR may help stop camera vibration but when set to spot metering shaking hand may make spot meter pointing off targets. Very important when shooting small birds with bright sky back ground. Just like rifle shooting you will need lots of practices.
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Old May 12, 2006, 10:25 AM   #29
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Hi Wcube,

my own view is that this picture is demonstrating exactly the kind of unacceptably detail-destructive noise I'm so disappointed with from the D200 - looking at the foliage and flowers near the hummer, they look like they've been painted by a child.

I can't tell from here whether the picture is underexposed (and as Reader says, it makes a big difference) but in my experience, this picture is a perfect example of what happens to detail even in well exposed pictures at 800+ ISO.

Added: I've attached the histogram for the hummer - no under exposure problems there...

Hi Ruchai,

that first dove image is very nice - just what the D200 should be routinely capable of.

I would strongly disagree that it's the best birding camera available though - sadly, any current Canon is morethan a match image-quality wise, and once the light is less than ideal the D200 is a joke in comparison to (say) the 20D or 30D.

Just have a look at Romy Ocon's work

http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...=&whenterm=

Heoften shoots at 800 ISO http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...cat/all/page/1

andcaptures detail with his 20D that the D200 simply can't get anywhere near, certainly not consistently,even lower ISOs.


Added

Another D200 issuewhich Ruchai's Drongoe pic posted on 11 May seems to demonstrate is inconsistent autofocus: this bird is definitely out of focus, and there's no obvious reason why it would be - but there are many reports of inaccurate AF performance from the D200, and I've suffered from that too.

It's not explained here by there being something between the camera and the subject which the AF has latched onto.

In fact it seems to be at least partly because the AF sensors in the D200 are physically much bigger than (say) those in the D70, and tend to overlap the intended subject and acquire a focus lock on something else instead.

Not good for bird photography in woodland...

Nikon's advice? get used to Manual Focus..!
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Old May 12, 2006, 11:27 AM   #30
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Quote:
Hi Wcube,

my own view is that this picture is demonstrating exactly the kind of unacceptably detail-destructive noise I'm so disappointed with from the D200 - looking at the foliage and flowers near the hummer, they look like they've been painted by a child.

I can't tell from here whether the picture is underexposed (and as Reader says, it makes a big difference) but in my experience, this picture is a perfect example of what happens to detail even in well exposed pictures at 800+ ISO.
Remember, you are viewing a 100% crop. I don't see noise being a big issue even at that size. Softness is an issue, but the poster did say the pic was handheld. The D200 has compared very favorably to the Canon 20&30D in terms of resolution and with very low noise up to 1600. One review in particular rates the 200D as outresolving the full frame 5D
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