wore out from trying to figure out all of the features that it has. I need some help. I just want to start off with the basic outside sport shot. What are some suggested settings that would make this equal to the easier D50 and what are some additions that the D200 will allow me to do to get better quality pictures? Thanks in advance.
Hey Bryant, Maybe the best way to approach learning how to use most of the features on your D200 is to use it. By that I mean that yes, it is good to know that your camera is capable of doing many different things but as you probably have experienced, it isn't easy to remember every feature and how to access it or use it when you are actually shooting. It can be a bit overwhelming. If you are going to do daylight sport photography, you might start with setting the mode to shutter speed and set your shutter speed to 125 or above, that way you will be able to freeze motion most of the time. My experience when shooting sports is that a zoomable telephoto lens is most useful as the action can change very quickly and the subject can move in close to you or away from you. I use an older style push-pull telephoto in that way I can zoom in or out wiithin a fraction of a second. A "faster" lens helps as well (a lens with a wider aperture setting 2.8 or better for example). Because I use a long telephoto, I also use a monopod to help me keep the shot steady, it also relieves me from the arm fetique that can set in when holding a heavier lens. The more you use your D200, the more you will begin to remember how you set up the camera in order to get those great shots. One of the more important things that you can do besides reading the manual and other resources about how to use your camera, remember to experiment. Experiment when you are relaxed and thinking clearly, not under pressure while at a photoshoot. Most of all, have fun and learn. The D200 is a great camera, has an imense number of features/options that allows for lots of creative photography. I have had mine for over a year and I'm still learning how and when to use it's features.
Be warned D200 files take post processing to make them look right.
I respectfully disagree wholeheartedly with that statement. Simply not true. If you nail your exposure, WB, composition, etc... D200 files right off camera are superb. The only time my files need PP to make them "look right" is when I'm at fault in some manner or using cheap glass expecting pro glass quality. The power of the D200 will expose flaws in cheap stuff and your technique for that matter.
Now, "looking right" is a subjective thing and Hedley may mean something totally different than I do, so, please excuse me if I jumped the point too quickly. IMO, That statement is pretty much a general negative consensus of all D200's which I believe gives a lesser impression of it's abilities.
I agree wholeheartedly with Beau, if you set up the camera correctly and shoot properly, you don't need to become a photofinisher. To pull the last ounce of image quality out of a shot, the raw NEF file is very useful, but you can get STUNNING pics from the jpeg fine mode. See https://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID202/17033.html for a speadsheet with some suggested settings. Look up the thread by J3R in the D70/D70s Users Forum, "Great pictures straight out of the D70". His default settings make an excellent starting point for superb jpegs. I suggest setting "Optimize image" to: Vivid or More Vivid.
I have a shot I did last weekend of my Corvette that just POPS off the screen. I sent a copy to a friend and he was amazed. I shoot in NEF+JPEG so I can process the raw file for that last ounce of image detail if I so desire, but I find my jpegs are so good when I shoot it right, that I seldom need to spend time processing the raw files.
Skillful post-processing has its use, but I think that it helps to have grown up in the business shooting slide film. You either got the shot right or you didn't. If you did it right in the camera, processing is a breeze.
"... you see, but you do not observe." - Sherlock Holmes