D50 Review - Introduction
If photographers needed a reminder of how quickly the digital
SLR market is changing, the Nikon D50 sends a powerful message.
Getting to the punch line, the Nikon D50 offers a hard to
beat combination of excellent image quality, fine handling,
and solid construction.
especially attractive for photographers moving up from digital
point and shoot cameras who want the added flexibility of
an SLR, but aren’t quite ready for the higher prices
of Nikon’s more expensive DSLRs. In addition to aspiring
new photographers, the Nikon D50 should also be desirable
for more experience photographers wanting an inexpensive,
fun to use DSLR. We’ll talk more about that later.
the D50, Nikon has a comprehensive line-up of DSLRs. Their
Nikon D70 is a huge market success, offering a winning combination
of image quality and performance. In addition, the price was
very low compared to similar DSLRs. Its success sent a shockwave
through the photographic community and not only encouraged
a new group of photographers to go digital, it also caused
some scrambles among other manufacturers.
particular class of camera, the entry level DSLR, is an
important one for many reasons. First, manufacturers see
photographers purchasing cameras in this range as their
future. Photographers rarely jump from a point and shoot
to a Nikon D2X or an
They usually start with something less expensive, determine
if they really enjoy the level of control a SLR or DSLR
provides, gradually add accessories, and then sometimes
migrate to the higher-end bodies. Switching from one system
to another midway through the process happens, but not
without pain and financial loss. Second, cultivating a
large size group of new photographers helps subsidize
R&D expenses for some of the higher end cameras and
important that manufacturers also provide inspirational cameras
at the top end for new photographers to dream about. The Nikon
D2X and Nikon D2HS certainly fill that role well, and the
Nikon D50 is one of the ways Nikon will be able to continue
to fund development of the next generation bodies. Given all
that, it’s not surprising there is a strong focus on
this segment of the market.
review is written with two primary groups in mind. The first
are those who are potential purchasers of this camera and
might have limited backgrounds in DSLRs. The second are experienced
digital photographers who might be asked for advice from friends
or might consider purchasing an inexpensive DSLR. Nikonians
are known as great sources of photographic info to many of
their friends, so this article should help with questions
they are likely to be asked.
let me talk a little about my (Rick’s) background as
well as my son. I’ve been using Nikon cameras since
I was fourteen, which was close to thirty years ago. I started
with a Nikkormat FT2 and have migrated through a series of
cameras and lenses since then (Am I Nikon’s ideal consumer?).
I’m currently using a Nikon
D2X for digital images, along with an F6 for film. I mainly
like photographing nature and travel subjects, but also take
many photographs of friends and family. You can see some of
my images on my
is sixteen years old and has been using Nikon SLRs (N8008s
and N90s) since he was eight years old (he started very early!).
He made a 100% shift to digital a little more than a year
ago when the Nikon D70 arrived on the market. Since then,
he has shot thousands of images with that camera in a wide
variety of situations. More recently, he’s working as
a photographic intern at our local newspaper and shooting
events with that camera. Because of his knowledge of the Nikon
D70, plus the fact that he’s a very fine photographer,
I asked him to help with this review. The images you see in
this review, with the exception of the shot of the equipment,
were all made by Eric with the Nikon D50.
we’d like to give special thanks to Brad Berger of Berger
Brothers Camera, for providing us with the D50 for testing.