During last winter holidays photo stores, whether online or not, were supplied with the latest models of DSLR provided by Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon, etc … The choice is often difficult, especially when it comes to the acquisition of a reflex camera, because the problem is not new: the investment is often very high, and once you are in possession of a device of a mark and that we begin to add to his collection optics and a few other accessories (flash. ..), we are almost married to the same manufacturer, and risks being forced to buy any more if later we want to change to another camera brand. The market presence and brand in the same two types of sensors to 24×36 or APS formats, including optical are mutually incompatible, that does complicate it. The choice of DSLR body is therefore not trivial.
The Nikon D50 DSLR body and my lens Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 HSM
30 months ago, the choice of my first digital SLR camera was focused on an low price of Nikon DSLR camera, the D50. Why talking about the Nikon D50 today as this model is no longer available for sale, and was quickly found replaced by other affordable DSLR cameras as the D40x or D60, and also the last D80 or D90 Nikon DSLRs, which all seem much more efficient in term of sensor resolution, etc… ? Well probably because I find interesting to make a small balance on a regular use of one of these cameras after two and a half years of use. I think it’s even more interesting to share his experience in times of economic crisis, when everyone is trying to optimize their spendings and investments.
So of course it is not about highlighting the many tests and comparisons of equipment, some have already done very well, I think about dpreview.com for example. Anyway I think interesting to share my experience and impressions of the Nikon digital SLR released in 2005.
Why did you choose for my first Nikon digital SLR, when I trusted Canon for 20 years for my AL1 film SLR. First, I was no longer “married” with the manufacturer, since my lenses could anyway not be reused, as too old. Then I, like many photographers interested in new hardware, peeled for weeks comparative tests, both on the web and in my favorite camera or photo magazine. At the time I was using a bridge rather well noted, the Panasonic DMC-FZ5 (which I still use it from time to time). But despite its many qualities managing the noise was below the quality of reflex, and the electronic viewfinder as well as the responsiveness of the device was rather limited. The choice to buy a digital SLR and find an equivalent in ease of use of my Canon AL1 was quickly taken. I did hesitate between two models that were in competition at the time: the Nikon D50 and Canon 350D, the successor to the 300D, which had opened the ball of affordable DSLRs (less than 1,000 euros). Despite having a lower resolution compared to the Canon 350D (6 megapixel for the D50 against 8 megapixels with the 350D), the D50 seemed more interesting and more homogeneous: better management of noise, functions more suited to my needs, good autonomy, use of SD memory cards (which is an advantage when it already has a stock: it avoided investing in a new memory cards at that time were less accessible qu’ajourd’hui), and prices Kit below 100 to 150 euros compared to that of Canon. Moreover, the body ot the Nikon was larger than that of Canon, seemed to catch on bigger and more maneuverable than his opponent who, like his successors (400D and 450D) because of its small size and its Too much light, always gave me an impression of weakness and of poor quality, which are certainly very apparent both canonists are generally satisfied with this devices (from what I could read on the forums, magazines, etc. …). This “small” Nikon seemed the most consistent with my needs and my budget, it has thus prevailed over the Canon 350D.
The Nikon D50 DSLR camera after 30 months of use
The battery of the Nikon D50, excellent autonomy:
90% of the D50 utlisation was done outdoors. Over 30 months, I took nearly 34,000 pictures : if it gives an average of 1100 trips per month, in fact the use was made in most concentrated periods in time. Thus, it is not uncommon for me to take 1,500 photos in the weekend, sometimes even in the same day. And that’s for this reason I enjoyed one of the greatest qualities of this camera : the autonomy of its battery. It never did that defeated default, “falling by the wayside” in the middle of a hike for example. And even after two years of use, the battery has held long enough last summer to enable me to make up to 1,800 photos in the same day.
Ease of use of the Nikon D50:
Enough reagent for a device body, I enjoyed a very good grip because of the appropriate size of the handle, and its effective anti-slip coating .
The viewfinder is a little small, it was certainly much better than the viewfinder of my digital bridge Panasonic, but less than that of my film SLR camera, with a much more bright viewfinder. The small size of the viewfinder of the Nikon D50 DSLR is particularly annoying when you take photos with glasses. One element also missing in this viewfinder is the absence of the composition grid found on other models (such as the D70s, D80 and D90). The depth of field test is also absent, but I actually don’t really need it…
The LCD indicator : on top of the camera, it is very readable. However the D50 LCD indicator as severeal lacks: no backlighting, which is now found on newer models, and an information that is important, the ISO sensitivity. This information is indeed provided by the unit after pressing the button ISO. But it’s happened to me several times to start a series of shooting with ISO set at 800 or 400 when I thought to be at minimum (ISO 200), simply because I forgot to put the ISO at 200 on the previous evening. The penalty in this case is inevitable: more noise, and less detail in the image, even if you shoot in raw …
The image quality of the Nikon D50:
My equipment at the time was not powerful enough to work on RAW files, so I started taking photos in JPEG. And the result was very satisfactory. Of course, the choice of JPEG is still quite limited, especially compared to the raw gives much less scope for editing or corrections of errors or bad settings. Thus, I had some photos taken in the forest of Fontainebleau did not give the highest quality because I was too pushed into options Nikon color saturation. They were taken in JPEG, it was too late, the information in the image (color gradients) were permanently lost, and I could not catch the mistake in part. This problem is not unique to the D50, but to all devices when one takes photos in JPEG. Also, as soon as I was able, I started to shoot in raw. The place required on the memory card is more important, of course (twice), but at least we are not dependent on a poor choice of white balance for example. Moreover, the use of development tools raw performance, such as Adobe Lightroom I tried a while, then the excellent DxO Optics Pro v5 I finally adopted, can take the quintessence of the sensor.
Thus, as the evolution of my tools (and certainly in my experience), I still continue to make progress in terms of image quality and have always fully satisfactory results. This is especially true since I use to replace 18-55 delivered in the kit of Nikon, with a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 hsm. A very versatile that fits almost all my needs, and has a very good dive. Coupled with the DxO raw development software, I get images of truly honorable. And yet, I am not one of those who drive for perfection to spend hours to optimize the development of each image or edit in any detail in Photoshop (which in my view, past a certain limit, is much more graphism than photography).
But the Nikon D50 is a 6 megapixels camera, tell me some guys! Yes and then? It is true that I’d appreciate for example to have the last 12-megapixel Nikon D300, or even the last 24 megapixel Sony Alpha 900 that I had the luck to try and play at the last Salon de la Photo show in Paris. I make no secret that if it was not a matter of budget, I probably would have cracked one of these little gems. This can be useful to crop images, or possibly to make prints larger. Though, 6 mega-pixels are more than sufficient for printing A4, and even quite correct A3. Everything is a question of needs. If one day I change my DSLR, thiw will not only to succumb to the siren of marketers with the “more megapixels”, but rather for the qualities of image sensors and the new body: better management of exposure, dynamic range , color management and digital noise, precision autofocus, etc … The resolution should not be the only argument to change a camera. Let us not forget also that the higher the resolution, the larger the files are becoming overweight. And when you take several hundreds or thousands of photos per month, logically it has consequences both in terms of storage (more than CD or DVD backups to burn, larger hard drives to buy, etc. …). Thus, if during the last 3 years my photos in 5 or 6 megapixels took me a total of about 200 gigabytes of disk space, this would give me between 500GB and 1 tera byte (!) if I had taken these photos with the latest DSLR. Admittedly, the capacity of storage keeps pace, but the cost is still real.
One of the shortcomings of the Nikon D50 DSLR camera: its unknown longevity
If I remember correctly read articles here and there at the exit of the D50 DSLR camera, Nikon has put on the market this device in response to the Canon 300D, which inaugurated the entry level segment by making digital SLR cameras available (less than 1000 euros for the kits at the time). However, even if the D50 has inherited a careful construction and seems reliable, Nikon has apparently never reported it on the longevity of the body (having contacted myself I did not manage to get the any information on this subject): where some models are estimated can “survive” to 100,000 photos (or even longer for some), we are in the dark about the total D50. That is an entry-level and the average user should not make use of intensive. And we can not ask the reliability of professional equipment.
The only real surprise was a little over a year, when the lens at the base of the lens (the 18-55 provided in the kit) is leaving his home for no apparent reason. Repair service to Nikon was not very expensive (40 euros), but this was the trigger for the acquisition of a second goal (my Sigma 17-70).
Then since last winter, after 27 or 28,000 trips, the valve began to hang from time to time, especially when I take pictures in a burst. J’éteins the camera and I again, and things work again. Considering the current value of the case, I am not sure that it is profitable for oi to charge for a review. So for now I do with it is not really embarrassing, and since this has happened even when I have taken thousands of pictures. I will still try to take this case as far as possible.
The experience that I draw is as follows: first it is better to buy housing and aim to hand whenever possible, the objectives delivered in kits are often deemed to be of average quality (such as Canon Nikon or elsewhere). Then, to the cabinet, selection of an entry-level, in my view is preferable to use moderate or family use to go on holiday for example. If the use becomes a little more intense, a higher-end housing (D70s, D80, D90), should be more reliable over time, and would probably be a better choice. Then everything depends on where and how to use his camera …
Nor should we forget that a digital camera is an electronic equipment that generates pollution and consumption of natural resources, both for its production when it becomes waste past few years of use. The environmental cost, which was not entered in the customs in 2006, should be in the range of current equipment and tip the balance for equipment more reliable and more viable. So I am almost certain that my D50, because of its longevity apparently lower than its big brother at the time, the D70s, an environmental cost was probably higher.
The Nikon D50 is a digital SLR that I had a lot of fun to use in the past 30 months. While it has some shortcomings, and appears somewhat outdated in relation to current models, but enough to many of my needs for image quality entirely correct even today, if it is used with a quality lens and if photo are shoot in raw. There is a clearly a question mark on the longevity of the D50, but we must keep in mind that this is was an affordable DSLR camera, we cannot ask for same longevity that have professional camera bodies.
The Nikon D50 is a very pleasant and pretty good DSLR, which I hope to continue to use for a long time…
nb : this post is partially an automatic translation of this original post . If you find any translation error, your comment will be welcome.