Five days ago, I wrote a piece on the upcoming D200 onslaught--the onslaught of terrible test photos. But it's even worse than I had anticipated. dPreview is filled to capacity with hectic,frantic,and mostly useless D200 postings. Today I stopped by the home forum for the D200,and the front page's oldest post was 33 minutes. Thirty-four minutes and posts were second page news! There has been a simply incredible flood of newbie mistakes and horrible results from brand new D200 owners. I've seen mostly bad sample photos, but enough very good photos to know that the majority of problems are simply operator error and unfamiliarity with a MUCH more sophisticatd camera than the majority of Virgin or One-D-SLR-Prior users are used to. There's a surprisingly high number of people who've made the D200 their very first D-SLR. The D200 has both scene modes (often derisively referred to as Idiot Modes) and advanced,customizable settings banks. The D200 is simple enough for a newbie, but capable enough for serious use as well.
Guys who have had their D200 two hours, three hours, or even one whole day,are starting to ask pointed questions about the D200's fitness for duty. Old veterans, those who have had their D200's for at least two days--well, those guys are starting to notice some minor image flaws. Scenario: Hi-1 (ISO 3200 more or less), tungsten light from streetlamps, 20 second exposures, some hot pixels! Oh-My-Gawd-New User--please,send that Piece of Crap to ME,and I will dispose of it properly!
There are STILL some people who have not bought a digital SLR yet. They're starting to ask if the D200 is suitable for novices, wondering if it's worth the investment,and so on. My take is that it's a good value for a modern,high-performance,semi-pro to pro-caliber digital SLR,and if you have $1699 to spend on a camera body, well, the D200 is the best Nikon in that price range. I do think however, that there's a lot of people who'd be a LOT happier if they owned a simpler-to-operate D-SLR like the Fuji S3 Pro or the Nikon D50. There's a lot of people who want to shoot JPEGs,and the S3 and D50 are noted for pretty jazzy color right out of the camera. I think Nikon's decision to tune the D50 toward richer,more-saturated color is in response to what consumers (prosumers) are expecting to get out of entry-level D-SLR's--namely, rich,saturated,vibrant color images with minimal to no post-processing work needed. There's a group of people who want NO post-processing work required,and for them that's what the best of the consumer digicams have been offering for at least a few years now--"ready" images,right from the camera, provided that digital and photographic basics have been followed (ie good WB/adequate support/appropriate exposure/accurate focus).
The problem is, achieving accurate White Balance,and adequate exposure, and accurate focus seems to be a problem for quite a few folks who are not used to doing those three things in the way the D200 does those things.