Got my D200!

I got a wonderful surprise today when I got a call from my friend Katsunori Shimada. We'd talked earlier in the day (after our workout -- we do the elliptical trainer and weight training a few times a week at a local club) about how there's a worldwide shortage of Nikon's new digital SLR. I'd ordered a Nikon D200 a week or so ago, and at the time the shop had no idea when it might come in (could be two days, or could be two months). Since then, reading online forums, I've found out that they're in short supply worldwide.

It's a bit frustrating having no idea even how many people are in front of me in line, so Shimada-san kindly agreed to call to find out. Well, it turns out that the camera body was already in! This information, of course, was the aforementioned wonderful surprise. Slightly dampening it, though, was that the lens I ordered at the same time wouldn't arrive until mid February.

Well, since my previous camera broke and is at the shop, I've been without a reasonable camera lately. The timing is particularly bad because this past weekend one of my neighbors from Cupertino visited (stopping buy Japan on his way to Nairobi, London, and Ireland). It would have been nice to have a camera.

I called the shop to confirm that indeed my D200 body was waiting for me, and without much time left before I had to pick Anthony up at daycare, I hightailed it on my bicycle down to the Teramachi electric shopping district, 15 or so minutes away (but the way I was flying today, it was half that). Along the way I had to find a bank or convenience store to withdraw the money, and this turned into more of a hassle than I wanted (involving returning home to get a forgotten bank card), but in the end I was able to get what I needed. (Unlike ATMs in America, there are much higher daily withdraw limits in Japan. When it's a non-bank-specific one such as at a convenience store, the limit is usually $1,000 or $2,000, but I've been able to pull $2,500 from the convenience store near us, so I don't even know what their limit is.)

So, I picked up my D200 body. It turns out that they'd tried to call me a number of times (or so they claim). I wonder why I didn't get the messages. Anyway, I asked how many of these they get in a week, and the guy said that it's not measured that way (they can go weeks without getting any... they trickle in when they come in). The only reason I got mine now is because someone else canceled. Otherwise, I'd still be waiting (but, presumably, be next in line).

Here's a note that will mean nothing unless you're looking for this information: Bought in Kyoto, Japan. Serial number is 2011199. The box and manual pack have “AJ” stickers on them. The manual has “jp” in the upper corner (and is, of course, in Japanese -- I've downloaded the English version from Nikon's web site).

Just as with many electronic shops, Joshin Denki offers “points” with most purchases -- basically, it's credit back that you can use for purchases later. In this case, I got about $160 back, and on a whim used $90 of it to buy a four-year extension to the one-year Nikon warranty. It's probably money well wasted (at least, I hope it will be), but I consider it free since I used the points . I also used $30 worth to get a printer ink cartridge I'd been needing. I still have enough left to get a camera bag, or something, I suppose.

Anyway, there remained the issue of a lens. I bought the body only, so needed a lens if I wanted to actually use it. They had a very small selection of lenses -- a few Nikon and a few Nikon-fit Tamron lenses. I would have loved a somewhat fast short-range zoom (say, in the 16-60 range) because I'd still want it even after getting the slow 18-200 on order, but they had nothing really appropriate. What they did have was close, but I didn't want to spent $500 on something “close”, so after much hemming and hawing, I decided to not get the lens there. I thought I might go pick up Anthony and then take a drive somewhere to get one.

But, while at the checkout, I got a text message from Shimada-san suggesting that the lens selection would be better at a nearby camera store (since the place I was at sold mostly computers, and had only minimal camera stuff). Time was getting tight, but I stopped by and indeed they had a wide range of lenses (Nikon, Sigma, Tamron), and also a quite a lot of used ones. After much (much!) hemming and hawing, since I'm really quite out of my element, I spent $90 and got a used Nikon AF 28-80 f/3.3-5.6 zoom. At f/3.3 it's not very fast, but it'll suit me fine for a while until I can decide on a good short/medium zoom. They buy used equipment, and if they give me $50 for it in the summer, for example, then it's like renting it for 30 cents a day. I can live with that.

So now it's 9:45pm and I've taken the D200 out of the box but have done nothing so far other than ogle it. Now the fun begins....

UPDATE: my first shot, the toy-strewn top of Anthony's play stove...

All 7 comments so far, oldest first...

My two pieces of advice: Get a Nikon AF-D 50mm f1.8 lens – I bet it’s less than Y10000 – and set the “File No. Seq” setting to “On”. The 50mm f1.8 never goes out of style, although I’d prefer a slightly more expensive 35mm f2 on this camera, and if you don’t hit that setting the camera will reset image sequence #’s to “1” constantly.

— comment by Jason on January 10th, 2006 at 11:26pm JST (18 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Oooh, excellent advice on the sequence number, thanks! And I’ll check out that 50mm…

— comment by Jeffrey Friedl on January 11th, 2006 at 12:09am JST (18 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Yup, I’m a dinosaur. I’m still hanging onto my two Maxxum 7 film bodies. 🙂

— comment by William on January 14th, 2006 at 8:33am JST (18 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

You are lucky – I have had a Nikon D200 on order here in Brisbane since middle of February and the latest word is – maybe mid May, maybe not. In the meantime potential clients just disappear because they are sick of waiting for me to actually get camera gear! Maybe we should start a class action against manufacturers who announce products they can’t deliver. Should I buy a Canon instead? By the way, got the battery pack about two weeks after placing the order – seems less than fully thought out – seems to need removing from the camera body to access the three batteries so you can recharge them. Pretty lightweight plastic as well – not like the old F4 I had and loved. Of course the only batteries available are third party – Nikon doesn’t even pretend to have supplies of those. Good luck with your new D200 – look after it, it may be hard to replace if you lose it!

— comment by Ian on April 13th, 2006 at 9:43pm JST (18 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

It sounds like you’re getting a bum deal from wherever you ordered it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen in the camera-site forums antying about a lack of product. I just took a peek on Y! Australia’s shopping site and found places shipping D200s….

(As for a classs action against product announcements w/o products, watch out, as such a thing would cause Microsoft to go bankrupt!)

As far as Canon, they make fine cameras (my point-n-shoot has been a Canon for the last three generations). Just realize that when you pick a maker for an SLR, you’re sort of getting married to it. The body may last a while, but the lenses and other stuff should last a lifetime, one would hope.

— comment by Jeffrey Friedl on April 13th, 2006 at 10:14pm JST (18 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Yes, the d200 rocks.

— comment by jenk on June 6th, 2006 at 2:41am JST (18 years ago) comment permalink

Guys.. am contemplating on either getting the D 70S or D200. Which would be a better buy. Based on the looks and specs on the D200… its rocks! Even though its slightly heavier in terms of weight then the 70S. Please advise me….

— comment by Steven on July 23rd, 2006 at 7:10pm JST (17 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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