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Nikon D70 or D200 for Outdoor Fast Action Shots?

SJ S , Apr 04, 2006; 08:00 p.m.

Hello - I am preparing to purchase a Nikon DSLR for taking pictures at horse events.

I need a camera with:

1. as little shutter-lag as possible, 2. that can focus on fast moving objects (close up and far away), and 3. fast shutter speed.

"Nice to have" features would include

1. Continuous Shooting, and 2. very high resolution.

I have been looking at the D70 all along... but now am considering a higher model.

I don't anticipate enlarging beyond 8x10, but suppose that might change.

I am currently not a professional, but would like to work my way there. I've been saving $$$ and currently have $1000. That was my goal, and promised myself the D70 when I reached it, but now I'm closer to the possibility of D200.

Anyone have any opinions or facts that would help me make this decision?

I currently have only the lenses I used with my film SLR. I want the best camera for this specific job.



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armando roldan , Apr 04, 2006; 08:14 p.m.

You might want to pass on the D70 since I had one before and its pretty slow in focusing and only hits about 3 fps. I haven't tried out a D200 but it rated as 5 fps, just like my F100 is much better for sports and fast action. I suggest you might want to look a used D2h with the fastest focusing and up to 8 frames per second image rate. The newer D2hs is about $3300 but an original D2h in mint shape is selling for about $1200-1500. Granted is ONLY 4.2mb but it will do a nice 8x12 print.

Shun Cheung , Apr 04, 2006; 08:17 p.m.

Your consideration should involve lenses, not just the camera body. Do you already have some Nikon mount lenses for shooting horse events?

Your need of fast AF probably points you to the D200 instead of D70s. However, if you also need to buy new lenses, you need to work out the overall budget, including new lenses.

SJ S , Apr 04, 2006; 09:30 p.m.

I have a few lenses I used with my film Pentax camera - some are older, but one is newer (a Tamron AF70-300). I've never used any of these on a digital body. I've heard that I can... so I was hoping to try that to reduce the initial cost. The last thing I want to do is make a purchase then be disappointed in it's ability to do what I want... so I'd be willing to wait a little longer (and save a little more money) to get one that would be the most appropriate.


Ignacio Feito , Apr 04, 2006; 10:37 p.m.


If you do have an extensive collection of Pentax lenses you may want to look into one of the Pentax DSLR offerings and check their compatibility. However in the long run if you do go pro you may end up getting a Nikon or Canon system anyway, so you might as well make the switch now rather than later.

If I were in your shoes I would be looking seriously at a D200, the D70 seems to be at the end of it's life cycle and should be seeing a replacement soon. It's Canon competitor, the Digital Rebel XT is $589 (with rebate) against Nikon's $629 and the Canon outperforms the D70 image and feature wise.

The D200 on the other hand outperforms the 30D (for about $300 more) and has made the 5D come down in price significantly.

I wouldn't consider the D2H, with it's 4 Megapixels you won't be able to make prints larger than 8 x 5.5". After that you'll start loosing quality. It's geared towards photojournalists that need speed over resolution. Also, it's over three times your budget!

Do look at the Canon 30D, it has a little less "resolution" than the D200 but it is good for enlargements up to 11 x 8" at 300 DPI. It is a great camera in it's own right and it's closer to your budget.

Hope this helps!


armando roldan , Apr 04, 2006; 11:09 p.m.

**D2H, with it's 4 Megapixels you won't be able to make prints larger than 8 x 5.5".**

You ever use a D2h? You ever print something bigger than 5x7 with one or do you have the eyes like an 8x eye loop? I shoot sports and weddings with my D2h and make some enlargements up to 12x18 without anyone except those looking for grain/pixelation knowing if I have a 4mb or 12 mb digital. Perhaps if people stop reading specs and being taken in to the power of ULTRA MEGABYTES and focus on what they need like fast focusing,higher frame rate as original poster asked.

And I never said to buy a NEW DH2s, the $3300 model. I mentioned the D2h for $1300 used. And the $1700 D200 with cheap glass is a complete waste of time if are looking for a quality image AT ANY SIZE.

Ignacio Feito , Apr 04, 2006; 11:49 p.m.


I agree that you may have gotten good results printing with your D2H, however the math is really simple, 2464 pixels at 300 DPI = 8.21 inches. It doesn't matter if they are cheap pixels or ULTRAMEGASUPERHYPERPIXELS (that's a good one).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the D2H is not a good camera. I'm not saying that your 12 x 18 prints looked bad. Not at all, I'm only saying that a 4 MP image printed at 300 DPI yields a 8 x 5.5 inch image.

Perhaps the features on your camera, like autofocus and fast shutter rate have made you get some great pictures. Most surely many shots I'll never even dream about shooting. But the math is simple.


Rick Helmke , Apr 05, 2006; 12:05 a.m.

Since this isn't a question of only a digital body I think I would either get a D200 or look at the D1-X if you can find a good used body. I've been pleased with mine and plan on a D200 to go with it this summer.

You are going to have to buy one or more lenses since you have no Nikon glass right now. You'll also need things like memory cards, card reader and a decent computer if you don't have one already. It all adds up. In your place I think I would determine exactly what I needed and make a budget. Save up and get what you need, not just what you can afford at the moment. Your film gear is still getting the job done so when you upgrade, do it right the first time. It is a lot of money but will be a good investment.

Rick H.

Lex Jenkins , Apr 05, 2006; 03:11 a.m.

A fast aperture AF-S lens would make almost as much difference as a slightly better in-camera autofocus system. So will careful choice of autofocus mode. So the D70s could be suitable for your purposes. And you could put the rest of the budget toward a good lens.

Also, for outdoor daylight photography a good variable aperture AF-S zoom might do for now. Some offer very good image quality and will cost quite a bit less than an f/2.8 zoom.

OTOH you could keep saving, wait a bit longer and get the D200. Only you can decide whether you'd experience buyers remorse if you feel you'd settled for something less than you really wanted or needed. Sometimes it makes sense to get what you can afford now and move up later; sometimes it makes better sense to wait a bit longer and buy once.

David H. Hartman , Apr 05, 2006; 05:11 a.m.


With only $1,000.00 saved you are going to need to makes some compromises to achieve your fast action goals. I’m assuming you will save more money or can swing some short term credit card debt. What I’ll recommend is a clean used Nikon D2H and a clean used 80~200/2.8D ED AF Zoom-Nikkor.

It might be kind of strange for a while but hopefully in a fairly short time you might pickup another lens such as a clean used 35~70/2.8D AF. This would give you a reach of normal to 5.7x normal. Neither of these lenses are AF-S lenses but they will focus quickly on the D2H due to the Mulit-CAM2000 AF module and powerful AF motor. The image quality from these lenses is fully professional at a budget sparing fraction of the price of the preferred 17~55/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX and 70~200/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR lenses.

The D2H is about 95% of the D2X not considering the 12.4MP. Now 4.1 v. 12.4MP is a significant step up but you don’t have the budget for the D2X and your emphasis on fast action really indicates a Multi-CAM2000 AF modules. The D2H’s 4.1MP will easily meet your goal of 8x10 or 8x12 prints. The Nikon D2H ranges from 8 fps (CH) to 7~3 fps (CL). With a 1GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card the D2H will fire off 26 NEF images at 8 fps before calling a time out. The shutter lag time is 37ms which is faster than most other cameras on the market. This is a performance package.

I would not get too hung up on the megapixels as long as you don’t intend to print larger 11x14. This will not be your last DSLR. Perhaps next time you can pickup a clean used D2X or a new D3H when it comes along. For many the D200 is obviously a better choice but I see your primary emphasis as sports and action and I don’t think the D200 will quite cut it. I really don’t think the D70s with AF-S lenses will either.

A year ago I was faced with a budget compromised position. The most obvious camera for me was the Nikon D2X. I have many AI and AIS Nikkors so I needed a camera with an excellent viewfinder. When I use AF I expected F5 or better performance. My problem was I had $750.00 (USD) saved and a 0%, no points, credit card teaser. Nikon kindly dropped the price of the Nikon D2H such that street prices went from $3,199.95 to $1999.95. Well I had waited nine years from my first enquiry in to a DSLR, the Nikon E2. I’d waited long enough. Since I bought the D2H I’ve bought a Nikon SB-800, a second 1GB Ex III CF card and a Wimberley C-30 QR clamp and that’s been pushing it. Count it up and it’s easy to see a Nikon D2X was and is still out of reach.

Good luck with whatever you chose.


Dave Hartman.

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