"D50 -or- D100 Used (you thought I would say D70!)"
I just did the quickest look at the D100 specs. Seems very similar to the D70. I see it's a few years old, but that said they're selling used for about the same as a new D50.
I've never been a latest-greatest type. That said, the used bicyle I just bought has ended up costing me more money than expected. A cheaper new one probably would have been better.
Extending that analogy to the camera, do I get seduced by a $2000 (2002) camera for $600 or get a new "lesser" camera (loaded term, I know) for the same amount? Or, with technological advances, is "lesser" a fair term for the D50? I suspect not.
I've very little research on the D100 so I'm being a little lazy and getting your opinions. I was so surprised to see it selling for so little that I'm starting to consider it.
I haven't owned an SLR for 10 years so I'm buying it for learning and to have more flexibility than my now dead Sony point-and-shoot provided.
#1. "RE: D50 -or- D100 Used (you thought I would say D70!)" In response to Reply # 0
If you wait 2 weeks the price of used D70 will drop as the new D200 is about to launch.
but given the choice you mentioned. I would get new.
I have bad luck with things. In my camera club, we have had about a 50% failure rate of digital cameras.
2 D100's, 1 Olympus, 1 Canon D20, 6 D70's so far. (More D70's than anything else so based on this I would not go used.) This sample is biased as I know the Nikon owners but the others seem to shoot landscapes and things while the Nikon people seems to shoot some nudes and the two groups do not mix.
#2. "RE: D50 -or- D100 Used (you thought I would say D70!)" In response to Reply # 0
Frankly, I am surprised you're finding D100's at $650. I typically have been finding sellers to be unwilling to let them go for less than $800 or so. Silly.
In its day the D100 was a very fine model. Even now it does have some features over the D50--mainly quick access to single/continuous autofocus and meter-mode, light for control panel LCD, mirror lockup, viewfinder gridlines, accepts regular cable release and has 2 command dials. (Actually that list is longer than I thought it would be.) Overall though I'd lean towards the D50, not just because the D50 would be new but also because:
*Better control layout overall. "Drive" mode is much more logical for one. In particular, the white balance/ISO/Qual and AF mode selection (aside from single or continuous) those paramters are much more difficult to set in the D100 than the D50. You have to practically leave your shooting mode to change them. The D50 (and D70) on the other hand make it very easy to change these things--without leaving the shooting mode
*The D100 doesn't automatically flip the verticals
*RAW mode (especially compressed NEF) on the D100 is much slower. In fact probably everything is much slower
*The D100--now the owners of this camera will slam me for saying this--but the D100 has a reputation for soft JPEGs
*Speaking of image quality--the D50 is apt to be far better than the D100 with lower noise levels at higher ISO settings
*More improved performance with autofocus, speed of operation (including shooting RAW mode), better burst mode
*Higher flash sync (1/500 vs 1/180) for the D50 (or D70 too)
*Like the D70, the D50 accepts custom curves
*The D100 must be sent to Nikon to update the firmware
#3. "RE: D50 -or- D100 Used (you thought I would say D70!)" In response to Reply # 2
No slam Larry. Softer JPEGS because the D100 has a more aggressive Bayer filter to provide anti-aliasing. They toned it down in the D70 only to result in more moire in areas with certain repeating patterns (like a screened door). It's always a trade-off.
#4. "RE: D50 -or- D100 Used (you thought I would say D70!)" In response to Reply # 3
I did some reading after I posted that. I came to a similar conclusion. Would I kick a D100 out of bed? No. Would I pay more for it that a D50? Probably not.
The failure rate comment is very helpful. I didn't think about that. The insurance through Nikonians seems to cover everything except failure of the equipment. I guess that makes sense. Your homeowner's insurance doesn't cover a broken furnace.
Anyway, thanks again for the comments. Now I'm thinking about a D50 with an extended service plan. Just for piece of mind and the fact I fully expect to own the camera until it dies.