Nikon D200 vs Olympus E-420
The Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2005 and March 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D200) and a Four Thirds (E-420) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|10 MP, APS-C Sensor||10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 100-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.5" LCD, 230k dots||2.7" LCD, 215k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|400 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 113 x 74 mm, 920 g||130 x 91 x 53 mm, 440 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-420? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-420 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-420 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Nikon D200. Moreover, the E-420 is substantially lighter (52 percent) than the D200. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D200 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-420 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D200) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-420).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon D200»||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||Nikon D200|
|Olympus E-420«||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599||Olympus E-420|
|Canon 30D« »||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D500« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7000« »||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300« »||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D80« »||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D2X« »||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100« »||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-450« »||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620« »||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520« »||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410« »||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-400« »||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699||Olympus E-400|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the D200, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D200 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-420 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-420 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D200 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-420 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Even though the D200 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the D200 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 4.74μm for the E-420), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the E-420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the D200, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Nikon D200 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-420 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the D200 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-420 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D200||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56||Olympus E-420|
|Canon 30D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D500||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7000||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D2X||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-400|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D200 and the E-420 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D200 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-420 (0.63x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D200, the Olympus E-420, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
|Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-420|
|Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-400|
One feature that is present on the D200, but is missing on the E-420 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Nikon D200 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D200 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-420 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-420 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D200 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D200 and Olympus E-420 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D200||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
|Olympus E-420||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-420|
|Canon 30D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7000||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D2X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-450||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-400||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-400|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D200 (unlike the E-420) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D200 and the E-420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D200 was replaced by the Nikon D300, while the E-420 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D200 better than the Olympus E-420 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D200:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.46x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-420:
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x91mm vs 147x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 480g or 52 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D200 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D200 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-420 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D200 and the E-420 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon XS vs Nikon D200
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Nikon D200
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-420
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D200
- Nikon D200 vs Nikon D2H
- Nikon D200 vs Nikon D5000
- Nikon D200 vs Panasonic FZ150
- Nikon D200 vs Panasonic G2
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-420
- Olympus E-420 vs Pentax K-3
- Olympus E-420 vs Samsung NX500
- Olympus E-420 vs Sony HX90V
Specifications: Nikon D200 vs Olympus E-420
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2005||March 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.8 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||372.88 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3872 x 2592 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.11 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.69 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||583||527|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5 inch||2.7 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D200||Olympus E-420|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
147 x 113 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||920 g (32.5 oz)||440 g (15.5 oz)|
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