I did it again. I walked into my local camera shop, ready to plonk down some hard earned cash for a Nikon D80, when I picked up the D200 again. There’s no denying the appeal of this camera for an outdoorsy guy like me. It’s tough, weatherproof exterior reminds me of the bombproof pro film bodies, rather than the delicate, high-tech machines we see so many of today. I wanted one, and I walked out of the shop empty handed once again, plagued by indecision.
My present camera body is getting on. It is two years old now. Its aging body has been covered in dust and fine desert sand, sweated on, and there’s a dent on the top where I dropped it onto a concrete floor. It is the accumulated wear and tear and internal corrosion that gives our cameras problems. Galen Rowell used to replace his lightweight film bodies every year before they started to give him trouble. I figure my present body is overdue for replacement. I’m not that diligent about replacing my aging camera bodies, hence the argument for a tough, weatherproof pro body like the D200.
On the flipside, the weight of that extra protection adds up and the D200 is significantly heavier than the D80. The batteries also don’t last quite as long, which means I’ll have to carry more of them into the backcountry. There are other differences, such as speed and customization, but the weight and shorter battery life are my big concerns.