Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?
Hi all, let me start by saying what a great forum this is...I've found alot of useful info.
I'm in serious need of some help, so I'll start with what I have, and what I'm trying to do:
What I have: Nikon D60 w/ 18-55mm kit lens (f/3.5), Nikon 55-200 VR zoom (f/4), and Sigma 70-300mm DG AF zoom (f/4), and a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight.
What I'm trying to do: Fire scene photography
I'm delving into the world of public safety photography, and since I'm an ex-firefighter, I've chosen to use working fire scenes as the basis of my work. Shooting these scenes during the day is not a problem with the equipment and glass I have, but night time scenes are an entirely different story. And while I know that a faster lens is the simplest solution to my problem, my extremely limited budget has kept the solution out of my hands.
My question is, will the D200 give me better low light results with my existing glass? I had a guy at a camera shop tell me that the D200 will do alot better since it performs better at the higher ISO settings, but my research is giving me conflicting information. If buying a D200 will yield better results, I can easily sell my D60 body to offset the cost. But I can't afford to spend $800 to $1500 on an faster zoom lens.
I shoot in shutter priority mode, with my shutter set anywhere from 1/60 down to 1/8. I get great exposure but extreme blurring at the slower shutter speeds, and using a tripod on these scenes isn't practical given the amount of moving around and angles I try to shoot. I'd like to be able to shoot at 1/60 or higher, but the pictures of course come out unuseable.
Any feedback you can provide on whether or not the D200 will help would be great, as well as any tips for tweaking my equipment or settings to shoot better pictures in low light. Thank you all for your time and advice.....
#2. "RE: Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?" | In response to Reply # 0Covey22 Charter MemberSun 12-Apr-09 12:40 AM | edited Sun 12-Apr-09 12:47 AM by Covey22
In my stage and concert shooting which is ambient light (no flash), the D200 really tops out at ISO800. Anything after that is going to require your exposure be absolutely dead-on AND dedicated noise reduction post-processing. Even then, you will have to push your workflow pretty hard to make saleable images that have the potential to be enlarged.
The build and response performance of the D200 will definitely be a step up from the D60, but what you really need is faster aperture lenses. Even at ISO1600, a lens that maxes out at f5.6 is way too slow in night/action photography. Given your budget limitations, go with two fast primes, which would give you the necessary tools to freeze action and not break the bank. A 35mm f1.8 DX and an 85mm f.1.8 would be an excellent starting point. Depending on how close they'll let you get to the action, you may need a short 135mm or even a 180mm.
#3. "RE: Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?" | In response to Reply # 0mtpenmaker Registered since 23rd Aug 2007Sun 12-Apr-09 12:41 AM
The short and simple answer is that a D200 won't do any better. In fact, you may well get cleaner images at high ISO(800-1600) with the D60.
For faster glass you have a couple of options that are about the same price as a D200 body. If you want a zoom, the best you can do is a constant f/2.8 aperture. The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is $419.95 at B&H and it will AF on the D60. I have this lens and it is an excellent lens. If you don't absolutely need a zoom, the Sigma 30mm f/1.8 EX DC HSM is $409 at B&H.
The other possibility is that you aren't allowing the VR to stabilize with the 18-55mm before releasing the shutter, assuming that is the version you have. If it isn't, you may want to consider that lens although it is amazingly slow at the 55mm end, 2 full stops slower than the Tamron.
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#4. "RE: Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?" | In response to Reply # 3Mark V Registered since 18th Jun 2004Sun 12-Apr-09 05:19 PM | edited Sun 12-Apr-09 05:36 PM by Mark V
I suggest using the D60 until it fails then get a D90. It has the same sensor as the D300. Both are usable to 3200 Iso. (What you want to do is a job for a D700, 6400 Iso and well beyond your budget.)
The D60, D80 and D200 use the same 10.2 Mp Sony sensor, but the electronics are newer on the D60. The D200 is a pro body that will do a lot more then the D60 which is basically an upgraded D40. (Like bracketing, mirror lockup, better AF, the list goes on, better histogram. The D200 will also take a lot more physical abuse.)
For real low light shooting, AF doesn't work anyway. The viewfinder and focusing screen are FAR superior on the D200. The D60 does not come close.
A fast lens come first. The 35mm 1.8 is $200, and the 50mm 1.8 around $120. F2.8 is fast for a zoom and very expensive. Since your not doing closeups you can put an AF 50mm 1.8 on the D60 and tape it off at infinity. Now anything beyond 20' is in focus. (I do this with the D60 and D300 with the Nikon 10.5 f2.8 fish eye where anything beyond 1' is in focus.) While the D60 is a horror to manually focus compared to the pro bodies....it can use old pre-Ai Nikon lenses, that sell dirt cheap. Just tape them off and make sure your standing back far enough, or learn Hyper Focusing. (Google it)
#5. "RE: Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?" | In response to Reply # 0
will the D200 give me better low light results with my existing glass?
The D90 (or D300) would be a better choice.
The D300 is weather sealed which might be appropriate for fire scenes.
The D90 would be better than the D300 for low light.
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#6. "RE: Nikon D60 vs. D200 for low light shooting?" | In response to Reply # 0
I had a D60 and it's much better from ISO 800 and up than my D80 was. The D80 and D200 have the same basic IQ's. I would keep the D60 and get some faster lenses, used prime lenses can be had for great prices(50 F1.8 for around $90 used or $130 new). While tripods are out of the question, have you tried a monopod? It might give you just enough support to get you more keeper shots.
The fast primes are mostly manual focus on the D60 but Nikon just released a 35mm AFS for $200. You might be able to pickup a used Sigma 50mm F 1.4 for a good price.
A steady hand works good for cameras and guns.