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New to SLR's- D40, D50 or D80

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DFRI, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. DFRI


    Jul 21, 2007
    Rhode Island
    I am a novice at photography and cameras in general. Currently, I have an older Canon A70 p&s. Looking to upgrade to a Nikon SLR. Don't want to buy something that will be way over my head.

    Is the D50 the most recommended entry level Nikon SLR. I realize that there is a lot to learn about them, and don't want to buy one that will just frustrate me from the start. Will most likely be buying a camera kit from Cameta.

    Hoping to take more pics like this and family pics, but have them come out nicer.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. Welcome to the cafe.

    What type of photography is it that you do you do/want to do? You'll find the lenses have as much to do with achieving your artistic goals as the body will, so consider your options with both in mind.

  3. haze2


    Mar 18, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    You will be fine with any of the 3 cameras you mentioned. Don't worry about getting in over your head because you can set any of them to Auto and use it just like a point and shoot. Then as you read and learn more about the camera you can explore the other settings. Just shoot a lot and have fun.....you can't go wrong.
  4. The D50 is more than an "entry level" camera. Try it ............. you'll like it. I've owned a lot of Nikon DSLR's and I kept the D50 due to it's small size and excellent high ISO performance. Excellent camera!

  5. SoCalBob


    Feb 9, 2006
    Riverside, CA
    I concur that the D50 is an ideal entry level DSLR. It's quite easy to master, versatile, and the image quality is excellent right out of the camera with a minimum of post processing. The D80 is a considerable step up, both in terms of features (some of which are extremely useful) and price, but still a fine camera for a beginner who anticipates getting a bit more serious about photography.

    As Sean said, the lens(es) you select will impact your photography experience and enhance your enjoyment as much as -- if not more than -- the camera body. For this reason, and I'm sure others will disagree with this, I would steer you away from the D40 and D40x. They are light, and compact with very good image quality. However, both bodies lack a built-in auto focus motor which precludes you from using some of Nikon's most popular lenses (e.g., the superior $120 50mm f/1.8, for one) except as manual focus lenses.
  6. lbhs_rwb


    Oct 16, 2006
    Cameta doesn't sell new D50s anymore though...only showcase ones.
  7. leifw


    Jul 25, 2007
    Bozeman, MT

    Could I ask for the same analysis? In retrospect, I should've just bought your old D70, but I wasn't that smart. :)  Currently, we've got a Fuji S7000, which we've used to death.

    My wife and I will share the camera, which probably means that I'll tote the lenses and she'll shoot. ;-) We like to shoot flowers, landscapes, and wildlife when hiking; basically, we like to be ready for the rare local orchid, the mountain goat at the top of Sacajawea, and view from the peak. We're also taking lots of pictures of our daughter and my wife's talked about trying to do senior-picture-style portraits.

    I'm pretty sure I'd like to have a fast prime, at which point, buying the f/1.8 50 mm vs. sigma's 30 mm prime, the shortest which will AF with the D40X, almost covers the difference in cost between the D40X and the D80.

    I think I've almost sold myself on the d80, but I'd like to hear what more you have to say.


  8. Gmas


    Mar 22, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm just about to take the plunge into the DSLR world as well, and after much research have decided on the D50 myself. It sounds like it takes great pictures without much tweaking and is fairly easy to operate and control while I learn the basics.

    I feel like I wouldn't use many of the advanced features on a D80 for the time being, and would prefer just to learn the basics right now. The D40 sounds like it could be somewhat limiting should you really get ino things and wish to purchase additional lenses.

    While there are other great cameras out there, in my reading I've come across next to no people who wouldn't recommend the D50 to a beginner and even more advanced photographers. That was enough for me.
  9. My daughter has the D50 and I have the D80. Both excellent cameras. The D80 has more megs and bells and whistles but the IQ of the D50 is very good. I would have no problem buying the D50 and spending the rest on a good lens, but if you have it the D80 is very customizable and at the same time pretty user friendly.
  10. chrisnck


    Jul 19, 2007
    I had a d50 gave it to my friend and he loves it too
  11. The D50 is no longer in production, so you'd have to either buy one used or you're down to the D40 vs. D80.

    Some people bemoan the lack of the in-body screw drive focus on the d40. And if you already have Nikon lenses, it makes a lot of sense. But if you're brand new to the shole shooting match (pun intended!), it's more of a "who cares" problem. In other words, if you have to look up what a screw drive focusing system is, you don't need one!

    Now, of course, there's the issue of "what if" you get other lenses. That's a sort-of reasonable argument as well, but I'd say take a hint from Sigma...

    ...last week, they announced they were upgrading two of their best selling lenses. They didn't announce any changes to the glass (you know, the parts that actually take the picture), the only thing they were changing on the lenses was that they were adding an autofocus motor so they would focus with the D40s.

    In other words, so many people have bought the D40 that they see enough demand to go back and retrofit existing products to stay competitive.

    I think that's a strong statement by someone other than Nikon about the direction lenses will be going in the future.

    Just my two cents. Besides, if you buy a D40 and some lenses and later regret it, you can always sell off the body, buy a D201 or whatever they're going to introduce at the end of August, and they'll still work.
  12. Why does everyone want to dumb down the newbie? My first DSL was a D100 after almost thirty years of using a Nikon FE. I got my D200 soon after it came out for the immensely better flash control. I'm not a pro, I'm not even sure I'd call myself an advanced amateur but I'm managing just fine and doing things I couldn't do on the D100 and possibly on other lower priced DSLRs. The only legitimate reason I can see for buying less is money. If the D40 is all you can afford buy it. Otherwise, don't put unnecessary hobbles on yourself. It's a camera not a cruise missile.

  13. Right there, you've basically made the statement "I already knew how to drive stick, so when I bought an automatic I found I could already drive it!"

    Think about it from the opposite perspective, from a newbie who's using a point and shoot. His only camera control up to this point has probably consisted of one button, the shutter release!

    To me, that's very flawed logic; by that token the only legitimate reason to not drive a Ferrari is if you can't afford to pay for one. (Why put unneccary hobbles on yourself?)

    The point is that the D40 is aimed squarely at who he is, a new convert. You can't assume that he's someone who has thirty years of experience and knows that f24 lets in less light than f1.8 . Look at the back of a D40 while playing around in program mode and you can actually see a graphical representation of the aperature getting smaller as you twist the dial. The ? key alone is a life saver for a beginning DSLR'er, it's essentially a "explain how I can make this picture look better" button. The camera attempts to educate you, and that's a very good thing for a beginner!

    That ? button saved my butt once, when I put on a really anch lens on my d40. Couldn't figure out why the camera wouldn't do anything. The ? button suggested that either the lens wasn't attached securely, or was so old I needed to use manual mode. Thanks ? button!
  14. I love my D50, but I always want to upgrade to the D80. If you have the money and are a little more serious about photography, then I suggest going with the D80 'cause there are more things available for the D80. If I would have known that when I first started getting into photography, I would have skipped over the D50 and went straight to the D80, that way I wouldn't have to worry about upgrading later.
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