Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Canon EOS D30 versus Nikon D200 comparison

Well, the title is based on the opinions of somebody who has shot the EOS 20D (that's twenty-D) side-by-side along with the Nikon D200,over several weekends, on ambient light basketball. Since the EOS 30D has not yet hit the market, and so at this date there really is no way to fairly compare the 30D and the D200 head-to-head.In fact, in some ways, it's simply not fair to compare the 30D to the D200,yet, in terms of release dates, the Nikon D200 and the EOS 30D are of the SAME generation. D200's are still not available at most retail,walk-in locations except in restricted quantities; the demand for the D200 is keeping the D200 out of the hands of many Nikon users. I cannot buy a D200 at walk-in retail from my large pro house photo dealer's store, and they have zero information on availability of new stock from Nikon. So, if the 30D actually becomes available mid-March 2006 (i.e. in three weeks' time) one really must consider the D200 and the 30D to be of the SAME generation. On the market, in the stores,available for comparison head-to-head, the 30D will probably last at least two years in production,as will the D200. So,comparisons of the 30D and D200 are very natural. Price-wise, the new Canon is set to retail at $1399, while the D200 is $1699. Expect prices on both cameras to fall as the months go by.
Well, what about the comparison? I have not shot the D200 or the 30D. But Rob Galbraith has shot both the D200 and his offices have briefly had a 30D for inspection. The closest comparison that can be made right now is the one Galbraith makes when he compares the 20D (twenty-D) to the D200 at this URL in his article entitled "Canon unveils successor to the EOS 20D".
On Page 2 of the above-referenced Article, Galbraith offers the following observations:
---begin quoted passage---
"The ability to configure and fire multiple Nikon Speedlights is one of the niftiest capabilities of the Nikon D200. In fact, given the likelihood that prospective purchasers of a midrange digital SLR, at least those not locked into a system already, will be directly comparing Nikon's latest digital SLR to the 30D, we wonder if Canon has done enough in refreshing the 20D to counter the siren call of the D200.

Don't take this as a recommendation of the D200 over the 30D. For one, we've only used a preproduction 30D, and then only briefly. More importantly, we've shot the D200 and 20D side-by-side for available light basketball over several weekends this winter, and the 20D is by far the better camera for this purpose. Not only were the ISO 800 through ISO 3200 frames massively cleaner and more usable, the percentage of in-focus frames was signficantly higher. In fact, we've ruled out using the D200 for this sort of assigment again. So, we don't think Nikon has in the D200 a camera that's a clear winner over the upcoming 30D by any means.

But, the D200's higher pixel count, greater burst depth, way-cool wireless flash system support, large viewfinder image, more expansive configuration options, reasonably smooth shutter and really quite nice feel in the hand may make it a more compelling offering to those comparing the two at their local camera store, despite the fact the Nikon will be a few hundred dollars more. For much of what we shoot, the 20D is a better choice than the D200, so it's likely the 30D will be as well. But for many shooters, those who can stick to lower ISO settings and don't shoot much action, the D200 may seem like the more appealing option."
-----end of quoted passage-----

Wow! That's really an interesting passage Mr. Galbraith has written. I admire his simple,effective style of writing. His article gives a good, two-page overview of what the EOS 30D is all about. By my count,Canon has made three very significant improvements over the 20D,as well as more than 18 small improvements, and I have no doubt that the 30D will be a nice Canon body. Heck, I'd love to own a 30D.
So, what about the comparison of the 30D to the D200?? Well as explained above, the title's a bit of a red herring. Right now, nobody in the world can fairly compare these two bodies, but there are some potentially shocking differences that Galbraith has found between the 20D (the twenty-D) and the Nikon D200, and the comparison is highly in favor of the Canon.I think the _most_ important comment Galbraith makes in the entire EOS 30D review comes in this small segment of his article:

"ISO is incremented in 1/3 stops From ISO 100-1600, intervals are now in 1/3 stops. ISO 3200 is also selectable (when C.Fn-8-1 is set), but it's a full stop jump from ISO 1600, there are no increments in-between. Of all the Canon and Nikon digital SLRs we've ever used, the 20D produces the cleanest, most printable RAW and JPEG files at the upper ISO settings. Being able to choose settings such as ISO 1000 or 1250 when shooting at certain indoor venues only sweetens the deal, though ISO 2000 and 2500 would have been equally useful."

So, what exactly is the _most_ important comment Galbraith makes in this article? Simply his statement that ,"
Of all the Canon and Nikon digital SLRs we've ever used, the 20D produces the cleanest, most printable RAW and JPEG files at the upper ISO settings."
That statement by Rob galbraith himself sort of makes me feel good, because my own shooting has made me pretty damned disappointed in my $5k Nikon D2x's High-ISO performance, and has made me very appreciative of my EOS 20D. So, to those of you who have been flicking me shit about my disillusionment about Nikon products, there you have the opinion of one of the MOST-respected digital photography writers in the world confirming what most of us know from our own experiences--namely,that Canon has the clear, clear lead in HIGH-ISO performance. And not just the lead by "class" or by "market segment". No, what Galbraith has written is that the EOS 20D (twenty-D) makes the cleanest and the most-printable RAW and JPEG files at the upper ISO settings. Take careful note: of ALL the Canon and Nikon D-SLR's galbraith and his staff have used, the EOS 20D creates the 1)cleanest 2)most-printable 3)RAW files and 4) the best JPEG files. Once again, to reiterate, of all the Canon and Nikon D-SLRs used by Rob Galbraith and his staff, the EOS 20D has made the cleanest,most-printable Raw, and the cleanest and most-printable JPEGs, at high ISOs. Please take note that Galbraith and his staff have used all of the pro Canons, and the pro Nikons, as well as some mid-range D-SLR models.
How, and why is it that the EOS 20D is such a stellar performer at high ISO when it began its retail life as a $1599 consumer body, and the Nikon D2x began its retail life as a $4995 professional body? Does anybody see the problem here?


Impartial said...

Derrel, are you on crack?

"The normally level-headed Classic Man"

Ad hominem attacks? The guy resorts to using the word troll and other nasty terms when he's challenged and has not defense. The word troll is not exactly topical to cameras. That's an ad hominem attack! Classic Man who has been banned how many times? You don't know. I do.

John (London) said...

Well said Derrel. Why spend 5k on a nikon body when you can save loads of money with just a good camera or even better Canon 20D.

Keith (Australia) said...

You may be interested in a retail experience at Myer's (FairDinkum) store in Orchard Rd Singapore. This is said to be the best, legitimate and cheapest in Singapore.
We were taken there by a tour company, were quoted prices far below everywhere else for a Nikon D80 and many accessories.
After we had paid, still in a slight daze, we returned to our hotel with the new toys. Then several days later the reality hit us. We added up the quoted prices and we had been overcharged by about S$1,000. After many e-mails, with them claiming higher quotes than we were given, we got an agreement for a refund of around S$350, which made the goods comparable to most other Singapore prices. So beware when buying your flavour of camera that the Salesman isn't of the snake oil variety.