D50: Holy mackerel!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Beezle, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. So I read the reviews, and I noticed that a few photographers I admire mentioned it and one of our favorite pros too.

    The D50 and high ISO.

    While I don't care only about that, it is one thing I want for certain kinds of photography. And of course I am not one to shy away from owning umpteen cameras.

    I find it very convenient that Nikon's smallest and lightest and cheapest DSLR is absolutely the best high ISO camera in their current lineup. Reason being I want it for carrying around with me. And mine arrived today so I just had to take the afternoon to give it a good try. Right next to the D70 and the D2X.

    I would be happy to post examples if anyone wants, but the only person I would worry about convincing is myself and I got exactly what I want. Thought you might find it interesting though.

    I would say for the stuff I have shot this afternoon - indoors, no flash, the D50 is better at 800 than the D70 is at 1600. And I don't think the D70 is bad at all. I used a 20D along side the D70 for months and I never felt the D70 was lacking all that much. The D2X? Better color and WB. Noise? It is a different kind of noise. The D2X makes luminance noise, which destroys detail IMHO. The D50 seems to make color noise. In fact it reminds me of the 20D!

    I think the important thing here is Nikon has changed something significant. I don't think it is just a sensor thing. It is a processing thing. They changed something in the pipeline that manages noise like nobody's business. I have a feeling this might mean good things for the D200.

    So far as spending $649 + $115 for a 1 gb SD card? Hey, if I offered you a device that you plug into you D70 or D2X that improves high ISO performance by a stop or two? Would you buy it? I would. I just did! :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  2. Wow ..

    You have D2X , D70 and now D50 .... and you are thinking about D200.

    Did you just rub a bank ?

    Please share some samples.
  3. Well, I don't think I spend any more on my obsessions than anyone else. I just pick one at a time and really pound on it like the dickens. It is also of course about income and priorities. Just the difference in price between what I and my colleagues drive is enough to cover every DSLR Nikon and Canon make.

    I will probably skip the D200. I am also handing down the D70 to a niece.

    I will put up some examples later on this evening.
  4. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I'm interested in seeing your examples. If, as you speculate, the difference is a "processing thing", rather than hardware based, it may be something that could be included in a new version of Firmware for the D70 and even others.

    Thanks for alerting us to this difference.
  5. One thing I have already noticed - the D50 does noise very differently in RAWs vs. JPEG. I will compare D70 RAW vs D50 RAW vs D50 JPEG.

    I'd say it is obvious they are doing some sort of NR in the camera for JPEGs. And it seems to be much better than what NC can do, or other apps such as Neat Image. Very clean.
  6. That applies to the D2X as well. JPGs out of the camera have far less noise than the NEFs into Capture.
  7. That is of course true. But there is a difference in that one does not see NR as a setting in NC for D50 RAWs.
  8. Some examples from today. I did shoot some side by side shots too and will get those up soon. All shot with either the 35 f2 or 50 1.4. I haven't done my favorite kind of high ISO stuff as yet - walking around at night. Will try to do some of that this weekend.

    ISO 1600 and crop.


    1600 and crop.

  9. A mini shootout. These are all the 50 1.4, same scene, same tripod (only for repeatable position), same settings. Manual incadescent WB. Same f stop in A mode. Interesting results. All 100% crops, all ISO 1600.

    D2X, from JPEG. NR in camera @ normal.

    D50, from JPEG.

    D50, from NEF. No NR applied by me.

    D70, from NEF.

    Seems to me the D50 not only has some extra NR applied to JPEGs, they are cleaner even without it. I messed around with NC's NR on the D50 NEFs and a wee bit of it seems to bring it up to the JPEG's cleanliness. I would say the D2X and D70 files are missing detail compared to the D50. Even with the resolution advantage, I can't resize and process the D2X files to look as good at 50% to 100% zoom.

    I'd say I am happy because 1) this camera will give me what I want for not much $$$, and 2) Nikon is making some strides in noise and rendering. In any case change is good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2005
  10. The scene that the crops came from. This is the D50 JPEG. If anyone wants any of the originals, let me know. I could zip them up and put them on my site.

  11. Crops from the same scene from a better lit portion of the image.

    D2X from JPEG.

    D50 from JPEG.

    D50 from NEF.

    D70 from NEF.

    The more I think about it, the more I think this bodes well for the D200. If you think about how Nikon progresses over time, they do updates ala "s," but they never just do a "lite" or slightly altered version of an existing camera when they release a new model. For example, the D200 as a less featured D2X. They always seem to move forward. There is a kind of sincerity in that which I greatly respect. I will likely find myself unable to resist a D200 if this plays out the way I hope it does. :rolleyes:

    You will note the differences in metering. All three were using matrix metering with a -.3 ev compensation because of the bright area on the shutters. They are all in the same color mode - sRGB I. The D50 by default is in IIIa. And yet I see very different exposure and color. Not sure what that means. Did they define "incandescent" differently on the D50? Is 1600 more sensitive on the D50? I don't think it is.

    The f stop was 3.2 for all. The shutter speeds were 1/30 for the D50 and 1/50 for the other two. I guess I should try this again with a manual exposure for a more fair comparison. One of the D70 shots did come out 1/40, and the noise isn't different.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2005
  12. Fortunately, I can't get to sleep tonight, so... here is the D50 vs. the D70, but with a manual exposure per the D70's meter. f 3.2 1/40. Just to be sure the different metering isn't pulling the wool over my eyes, so to speak. The differences are less stark. And metering DOES matter, of course.

    D70 from NEF.

    D50 from NEF.

    D50 from JPEG.

    D70 from NEF.

    D50 from NEF.

    D50 from JPEG.
  13. Last, but not least, here is the D70 NEF run through NC's noise reduction. A moderate amount of it. Seems to me the detail isn't there to recover. Detail holds up better in more lit areas, though. D50 JPEG follows.

  14. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Beezle, how about adopting me, we could then afford the 70-200 I am still waiting for! :biggrin:
  15. Beezle,
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to show the differences. Yes, I agree that this bodes well for Nikon and us users. They continue to refine and improve. One hopes this is an improvement which can be applied to the D2 series as well!.

  16. Actually, we have adopted two. That would put you third in line. :rolleyes:
  17. I would imagine it will soon enough. I can't complain about the D2X, then again I won't complain about whatever comes next either.
  18. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    Wow! What an incredible difference! I won't switch from my D70, but if it dies for some reason, the D50 will be my first consideration.

    I sure will keep my fingers crossed that Nikon will issue a Firmware upgrade that would give me those results.

    Thanks for the time and effort you gave to show us these.
  19. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    I see several pictures in the first series but then 16 red X's and no more pictures... Does anyone else get that. Sure would like to see the pictures and the work that you did with the D70 and the D50.

  20. They should all be there. Perhaps the host had a burp?

    Some of these ended up in a post on DPR. Perhaps the server decided I was over some limit for that moment. I doubt I am anywhere near my monthly limit.
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