Nikon D80 Compared With The Nikon D200

First published on: Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Nikon D80 vs Nikon D200

Compiled here are links to discussions comparing the features and functionality of the Nikon D80 vs Nikon D200. It must be borne in mind that the D80 is fundamentally similar to the more expensive D200 only in resolution and a few other areas. You’ll ultimately decide which model to buy based on the pros and cons of each, and factoring in the price you pay for them. Links to image comparisons are also collected here.

Advantage: Nikon D200

Alan Hewitt lists the features of the D200 which are not present on the D80 — 2 types of MLU (mirror lockup), time lapse, weatherproofed body.

The difference between the D200’s true MLU feature vs the D80’s 0.4 sec shutter delay.

Nice chart and summary by Ken Rockwell showing how effectively the D200 outclasses the D80 in terms of body features and functionality.

The Nikon D200 appears to have a more robust matrix metering capability than the D80. There’s definitely a lot of buzz around the new Nikon D80, and many still wonder and inquire whether $1000 is best spent on the D80, or would coughing up another $500 or so for the D200 turn out to be the wiser decision in the long run.

For those in the know, and who’re already set on the D200, the price difference is no big deal, simply because the D200 offers many features not found on the D80, and these buyers have already determined that the “missing” features are critical for their photography.

Recent reports from new owners of the D80, however, makes it seem even more compelling to purchase the D200 if proper automatic exposure from the camera’s algorithms is of paramount importance to you.

A number of D80 users have shared that their D80 tends to overexpose when shooting in Matrix mode in certain circumstances (shooting outdoors with the sky in the frame is one such situation). Dialing in -0.3 or -0.7 exposure compensation seems to help little as it is observed that the metering on the D80 is also a little erratic to begin with, and the negative compensation would then produce underexposure in other situations.

More information and links follow:

  1. TTTexan finds that the D200 handles and exposes better than the D80

  2. Petruska reports that the D80 does exhibit inconsistent metering, while the D200 is almost perfect with its exposure

  3. RSchoemaker posts links to discussions on about this issue. At the Nikonians site, it is said that Nikon is aware of the issue and invites owners to send in image samples in support of the reported problem. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the next firmware update.

I still remember the banding and other problems the early adopters of the D200 faced with their new camera. Hopefully, all the initial issues with the D80 can be rectified in (short) time. It’ll be a shame if they’re not, as the D80 + Nikkor 18-200mm VR is currently seen as the walkaround 10MP digital SLR system to beat.

Advantage: Nikon D80

Why two D200 owners prefer their new D80:

Autofocus Comparisons

For sports, the D80’s 3 fps pales in comparison to the D200’s 5, however, the AF speed of the D80 is on par with the D200.

Image Comparisons

Even though this test isn’t done to the strictest of standards, it can be seen that the contrast curve in the D80 is tuned to produce slightly punchier images than the D200.


Nikon D80 — Main page

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