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D50 thoughts

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PJohnP, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    I stopped in one of my local camera stores today to check the used materials, get a spare battery for my D100, and, much to my surprise, play with a D50, newly in stock for approx. $900. My local store doesn't discount a lick, so I'd expect the street price on this to be in the $800 range, perhaps less.

    I have to say, it's a sweet little camera, light, responsive, and reasonably logical. Holding my D100 several minutes later, I was struck by just how heavy that camera is, especially with the vertical grip. The D50 is not terribly larger than many P&S cameras, and in the same weight class.

    Granted, Nikon's taken some steps to cut the price, but all in all, I could see this as an extremely viable entry DSLR for most people. The price falls well below that magic $1K figure that scares off most folks. It's a Nikon, so all that great Nikon glass can be hung off the body, and...

    ... it actually seems to do most of the normal stuff that we expect very well. I didn't have an SD card of my own with me, so I couldn't bring away what I shot at the store, but it tracked moving cars and some small birds well, focused quickly, and seemed to be a spritely little camera. My limited chimping of the images indicated that the shots had worked well. The menus are fairly similar to the rest of the Nikon DSLR line, as are the controls. Anyone who has used another Nikon DSLR would have very little difficulty shooting with the D50. It feels good in the hand.

    Now, I'm not likely to switch over from my D100, given that I'm just beginning to get passable photos after all this learning period since I bought it, but I will endorse the D50 for people who are chomping to get into a DSLR, but are not willing to make the jump to the bigger items. Even the D70 series is just a bit too high in price to pull in some people. I could also see this for the person who simply wants basic DSLR performance, but not the size/weight of the D100/D2H/D2X cameras. It would be a lot easier to bring on a mountain hike, for example.

    And it seems that I'm not the only one who thinks this is a good camera. The New York Times and Cnet gave it a hearty recommendation at :


    Note that the NYT is a registration required site, but that they seem to be able to manage this without hitting me with spam or selling my name (so far).

    Interesting times, what with the D70s and the D50 hitting the street...

    John P.
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hey JP, I'm considering giving a D50 for an important birthday prez. I'm mostly concerned about the new kitlens. Well, I'm off to nyt to see what Pogue has to say...

    Thanks for the link!
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Chris :

    Wow. Can I get to be that kind of friend for you ? 8)

    The kit lens seems pretty good. It's not on the order of the higher end Nikon glass, of course, but as part of an entry DSLR, I'd characterise the one I was playing with as "good value". While I would personally prefer something like the 24-120mm as a "walking around" lens, if I were your putative "giftee", I wouldn't be at all offended or disappointed in getting the kit lens as a part of a gift. The 18-55mm range is quite solid for many people, giving a bit of WA and just past "normal range" in DSLR lengths. And it's modern Nikon glass, which usually indicates good performance. Given that I didn't have an SD card so that I could bring home images (and that's a very good reason why I likely won't purchase a D50 just for an extra body - I don't want two forms of media to use), I can't comment on various things like CA effects with that lens. The simple display images on the LCD looked reasonably good, but if you're seriously thinking about this, buy a cheap SD card with maybe 64MB or 128MB, and run some tests for yourself.

    I do think that the D50 should produce fine images with some of the great Nikon glass like the 28-70mm "Beast" or suchlike. The essential mechanisms within the camera like the sensor are pretty close to the rest of the line's materials (e.g., five point metering something like the D100, 2.5 fps, 1/500s flash sync like the D70). Where the camera may fall down is for long exposures where mirror-lockup isn't an option, but then, this camera is a lower cost item, so the loss of several features surely doesn't "cripple" it as a DSLR...

    ... and as I mentioned, it will fit all of the great glass that Nikon makes. Unless there's some hidden fatal flaw in the mount, this should be very compatible.

    Heck, "in the day", I had film SLR cameras that were much much less capable than the electronics on the D50. This camera's clearly capable of using some of the better Nikon accessories like the flashes, and suchlike, but comes in at a very attractive price point. I'm wondering if this will cannabalise D70s sales, actually hurting Nikon's overall sales, but for the consumer, I'd definitely consider this a winner.

    And keep me in mind if you decide to give two important birthday gifts - mine's not so far off !!!

    John "Shameless" P.
  4. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    heavy lenses on a light weight camera ?????

    you know what happens when one starts on the DSLR route..

    LLD will set in fast.
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gale :

    Hurm. Well, I'm not sure about putting the big 500mm on the D50, but it should be easily capable of lenses like the 70-200mm AFS/VR. And, in any event, one should not be trying to support any long lens on any body using just the body as the support. The moment arm action simply isn't good for the mount.

    As for LLD, well, I can't be held responsible for that...

    ... can I ? :lol: :lol: :lol:

    John P.
  6. Vandyu


    May 14, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I was shopping for a DSLR after finding that my Panasonic FZ20's EVF was frustrating to this SLR user. I went to a local pro shop and compared the Nikon D50, D70s, Canon 20D, and Canon Rebel XT. All of the sales people were pro-Canon.

    I had been thinking I'd get the D70s, but was concerned about the weight. I'd looked at the D70 earlier. It was interesting that of the four cameras, the D70s had the worst innate balance. With all four sitting on the counter, the D70s was the only one that tipped forward with the kit lens. The 20D was surprising well balanced and had a good feel until it came to writing a check for $1500--couldn't make myself do it. The Rebel XT didn't impress me, but the new D50 won my heart. I wound up buying it on sale at Circuit City for $854.99 with the kit lens.

    This is a very nice camera and since I'm an amateur, I know it will meet my needs just fine. I've had a Nikon FA since the mid 1980s with a 35-70 zoom Nikkor and a 70-210 Nikon Series E. These have been all I've really needed in the past.

    I have to agree that companies scrimp on the dumbest things, like Nikon cutting out the LCD command center light, but maybe in the next model they'll add it in. Otherwise, I'm really excited and so happy that Nikon has brought this out. My personal hunch is that the D70s may suffer some but I've looked at it as a transitional camera while Nikon revamps for an 8 megapixel D80.
  7. Congratulations, Vandyu! (btw, is that really your name???)

    Now that you've got the d50 and the 18-55, I hereby annoint you as the Cafe's beta tester for Nikon's newest gun!

    But you need a few more bits and pieces. First, the 55-200. That'll give you AF-S coverage from 18-200mm! Then you need an SB600 or SB800, so you can test iTTL on both lenses.

    That will be an awesome kit for a modest price, and then you can do some show and tell for us! This should be great fun; I can't wait :) .
  8. Vandyu


    May 14, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    No, that's a name that I use on the internet. My name is Ann.

    Is this the best lens to buy next? I know it's the companion lens. What about the Nikon - 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF Nikkor Zoom Lens $369.99 at Ritz? Would this do everything the 55-200 would do with the D50? As far as the flash goes, I'll probably get the SB600. I have an SB18 but that's probably underpowered!

  9. The advantage of the 55-200 is that it should be a faster focuser, since it's AF-S. It also has a narrower zoom range, so it wouldn't have required as many compromises in design. Those are assumptions, though. I haven't seen any reviews yet.
  10. faenix


    Jun 21, 2005
    Bayside, NY
    The D50 also seems like a logical backup choice for many, though the SD cards might be a hindrance.
  11. Vandyu


    May 14, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Other than the fact that the bigger, older model Nikon DSLRs use Compact Flash and it's just simpler to have one memory type, what is the hindrance you mean? Also, what is the real difference between CF and SD cards? Storage capacity?
  12. No difference. Just a change in format for those that already own cf cards and cf card readers.
  13. Przemek

    Przemek Guest


    I had the pleasure of holding the D50 in my hands today. If I was new to Nikon DSLRs that would probably be my first choice (I own 2 D70 already so I don't even plan on getting the D50 right now).

    My impression was very very positive. First the camera has a nice heft, even though it is smaller than the D70. It's not heavy, but it's not plasticky-toy-like either. I like how it feels in my hand, even more than the D70 because the SD card door is on it's side not in the rear and under your thumb as the CF card door is in the D70.

    I was also pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the WB and ISO is set via a button + dial combination like on the D70 and not buried in the menu system like on consumer point-and-shoot cameras.

    The camera I held had the 28-200mm Nikkor lens mounted. It is likely that I will be buying that lens for myself come my birthday in the end of July - after also seeing the pictures that David Chin did with it. It focuses surprisingly fast for a lens of this range and the front does not rotate (I think - but it's an IF lens therefore I'm almost sure - wasn't paying attention to that specifically). Compared to the 70-300mm ED Nikkor that I own, if I had to choose again I would definitely pick the 28-200mm. It focuses about twice as quickly as those 70-300mm lenses.
    Another bonus is that sizewise - it will fit in the CF-D70 soft case when mounted on the D70 that I use for a minimalist kit.

    It won't be wide enough if you are thinking of doing wide angle shots - but in this range and the decent optical quality it offers, I think for the $300 you would get a lot of bang for the the buck

    But anyway, back to your new camera! Congratulations. I would now buy an even inexpensive polarizing filter. I use Sunpak myself because it screws onto the lens and has a separate rotating front. In other words, you dont rotate it inside the filter thread. A polarizer will help you saturate colors, remove glare, and make skies dramatically blue. It is inconvenient to use it on lenses with rotating fronts though.

    Well, I write too much! Enjoy your camera! Regarding the D80, I think that we will see a 12MP D200 very soon - but that's only my speculation.

    Best Regards,

  14. Przemek

    Przemek Guest

    One more thing.

    RitzCamera is very expensive.

    Check out B&H Photo Video or Adorama for the 28-200mm Nikkor. It goes for $305 in these stores. B&H is very reliable. I buy a lot of my equipment there.

  15. HardBall

    HardBall Guest

    You're right... The front element on the 28-200G does NOT rotate during focusing.
  16. Przemek

    Przemek Guest


    Thanks for clearing that up!


  17. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    According to kenrockwell.com


    It's only half an AF-S lens. Unlike the real $1,700 AF-S lenses like the 70-200 VR which have big AF-S motors wrapped around the optics directly driving the focus and allowing instant manual focus override, this cheepie has a dinky motor driving the lens through a shaft and gears exactly as if Nikon skipped it and just used the AF motor already built into the camera. Actually it probably would be a better lens if Nikon did that, since it would free up costs to be used better elsewhere. On the other hand, this lets Nikon pimp the lens with gold "AF-S" letters so camera stores can try to pitch it as a "pro" feature against the similar Canon lenses. To you and I as photographers all this AF-S means on this lens is that if focuses very quietly, but not that fast and with no easy manual override.

    Ah well. Seems like Nikon is fighting fire with fire and starting to do some misleading marketing to win sales on the low end.

    If the 28-200mm is IF-ED, I think I'd go for that one instead.
  18. taking the target into mind

    One good thing that I noticed about the 18-55 / 55-200 combo is filter size. They are both 52mm. Given the target buyer, only having to buy one polarize, warming, etc. would be a plus.

    As most of us here I need many different ones. Only my 80-200 AF-D and 80-400 VR use the same size, my others are all different.
  19. I played around with a D50 the other day, and the one thing I really got ticked off with was the fact that on my D70, the mode dial is some dinky plastic affair, while on the D50 it is a verrrry solid metal dial with very good feel and nice little tiny circular ridges along the top....mmmm
    The buttons felt a bit better, too.
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