The Nikon D70 has been one of digital photography’s biggest and most touching success stories. This camera was able to help Nikon reclaim its proper position as the archrival nibbling at the heels of Canon by fusing excellent appearance, excellent performance, and attractive pricing.
The Nikon D50 advances the concept by providing an even more significant number of features in a more compact and affordable design and increased performance. This throws the camera into a fight with the Olympus E300, Pentax *st DS, and Canon EOS 350D. Let’s examine how the D50 performs in comparison to this field.
A kit that includes the new AF-S DX 18-55mm f3.5-f5.6G ED lens is available for the camera. This creates a tidy, trim package, and its rakish lines reveal its Nikon heritage. Its heavier-than-expected weight, when picked up, contributes to its reassuringly robust chubbiness. This meshes well with the overall positive and solid clicks of the controls.
To aid with focusing in the dark, a lamp is mounted on the front of the body to the right of the lens mount. The autofocus or manual focus is chosen using a switch to the left of the lens mount; if the lens has its control, one of the switches is superfluous. If the lens is set to autofocus, but the one on the body is set to manual focus, you must focus manually. You are possibly confusing for amateur photographers.
The typical DSLR controls are on top of the body: an on/off switch around the shutter button, a display next to it with a self-timer, and buttons for exposure override. Simply pressing the self-timer button causes it to switch modes. Unfortunately, it’s too simple to do, given where the button is, and because the LCD indication is so little, it’s easy to miss.
Two characteristics distinguish images taken by the camera: purity from noise and high dynamic compression. This describes the photographs as having smooth gradations from mid-tone to darker tones.
If a dynamic compression technique effectively handles a wide range of brightness, more detail will appear in the highlights, while shadow features will also be preserved. However, this does have the unintended consequence of giving the photos a little flat or soft tone.
The mid-tone contrast makes up for this, and the overall impression of the photographs is highly positive. This is partial because the lens performs admirably for its class. Images are beautifully drawn. However, the details could be more clarified.
Overall, a camera that handles and performs well gives all the necessary shooting features and is reasonably priced, making for an excellent entry-level model. It may readily expand to meet growing demands or be the ideal backup for a complete set-up.
The 6.24 megapixel, 23.7mm x 15.6mm RGB CCD in the Nikon D50 yields 6.1 actual megapixels. There are three options for image size (3,008 x 2,000 [L] pixels; 2,256 x 1,496 [M] pixels; 1,504 x 1,000 [S] pixels), as well as three levels of compression (Fine, Normal, and Basic) (8 bit). Another format with an image size of 3008 × 2000 pixels is RAW (12-bit). The standard kit includes an AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX lens. In addition, the camera supports SD memory cards.
The Nikon D50 offers seven different scene modes (Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close up, Night portrait), four advanced exposure modes (Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto [S]; Aperture Priority Auto [A]; Manual [M]), and a fully automatic Programmed Auto mode.
Exposure adjustment can be adjusted in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV up to +5 EV. A button for auto-exposure and auto-focus lock is also present. The lens with the camera has a maximum aperture of f3.5 for wide-angle shots and f5.6 for telephoto shots. The shutter speed range is 1/4000 to 30 seconds, and there is also a Bulb option. Four ISO speeds, spanning from 200 to 1600, are available.
The Nikon D50’s 5-point TTL phase detection autofocus technology is used for focusing. Single Area AF, Dynamic Area AF, and Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF are the three focusing modes. 3D Color Matrix, Center-weighted, and Spot metering are the three metering modes.
There are four different methods of focusing: continuous-servo AF (AF-C), single-servo AF (AF-S), and manual focus (M). In addition, five autofocus points on the camera can be chosen automatically or manually.
Focus can be locked by depressing the AE-L/AF-L button or halfway depressing the shutter release button (single-servo AF). There is also a lamp with auto-focus assistance. There includes an Auto setting, six manual modes, preset white balance, and white balance bracketing for the white balance.
It is immediately apparent why the Nikon D50 is so inexpensive when you take it out of the box because of how light it is thanks to its all-plastic design, mainly if you have previously used a more expensive DSLR. The included 18-55mm kit lens, built entirely of plastic, is the same.
Fit the body and lens together, and everything makes much more sense, even if you are still unsure about your purchase decision. Suddenly, you are left with a well-balanced product that is light by DSLR standards but doesn’t feel skimpy or insignificant. The Pentax *ist DL and Canon EOS Rebel XT/350D are two of Nikon’s key competitors. Unfortunately, Nikon refrained from shrinking the D50 to the size of these cameras.
Instead, the D50 follows in the footsteps of the D70s I just reviewed, featuring a thick handgrip and a “business-like” style that is more practical than attractive. The D50 is undoubtedly made for big hands, which helps to dispel the initial impression that the camera is overly light and plasticky.
The Canon EOS 300 film SLR, an incredibly well-liked camera that was also totally built of plastic, comes to mind when I think of the Nikon D50. Canon sold a ton of EOS 300s, making it one of the most famous film SLRs ever. I don’t want to spoil the rest of this review, but I think Nikon will also be successful with the D50.
The JPEG Fine (3008 x 2000) option was used to capture each sample image for this evaluation, which resulted in an average image size of about 2.5 MB.
Nikon D50 Specifications
|Body colors||Black and Silver *|
|Sensor||• 6.24 megapixel (total) CCD|
• 6.1 million effective pixels
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm
• Nikon DX format (1.5x FOV crop)
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 12-bit A/D converter
|Image sizes||• 3008 x 2000 [L] (6.01 million)|
• 2256 x 1496 [M] *
• 1504 x 1000 [S]
|File formats||• NEF (12-bit uncompressed RAW)|
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
• NEF+JPEG (Basic)
|Color space||• IIIa (sRGB – more green for colorful landscapes) default *|
• Ia (sRGB)
• II (Adobe RGB)
|Lens mount||Nikon F mount (with AF coupling & AF contacts)|
|Lens compatibility||• DX Nikkor: All functions supported|
• Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported
• Micro Nikkor 85 mm F2.8D: All functions supported except autofocus and some exposure modes
• Other AF Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering II and autofocus
• Non-CPU: Can be used in exposure mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
Note: IX Nikkor lenses cannot be used.
|Autofocus||• TTL phase detection|
• Nikon Multi-CAM900 autofocus module
• Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at standard temperature)
|Lens servo||• Single Servo AF (AF-S)|
• Continuous Servo AF (AF-C)
• Auto selection (AF-A) *
• Manual focus (M)
|AF Area mode||• Single Area AF|
• Dynamic Area AF
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF
|Focus area||One of five areas can be selected|
|Focus lock||Focus can be locked by pressing the shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing the AE-L/AF-L button|
|AF Assist||White light lamp|
|Exposure mode||• Digital Vari-program|
– Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Child *, Sports, Close up, Night portrait
• Programmed auto (P) with a flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture-priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
|Metering||TTL full-aperture exposure metering system|
• 3D color matrix metering II *
• 420 segment RGB sensor *
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75%(8mm circle) given to 6, 8, 10, or 13-mm process in the center of the frame, or weighting based on the average of the entire frame
• Spot: Meters 3.5 mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on active focus area *
|Metering range||• EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)|
• EV 2 to 20 (spot metering) (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20 °C)
|Meter coupling||CPU coupling|
|Exposure compen.||• +/- 5.0 EV|
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
|AE Lock||Detected exposure value locked by pressing the AE-L/AF-L button|
|AE Bracketing||• three frames *|
• +/- 2 EV
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
• ISO 200 – 1600
• 1 EV step *
|Shutter speed||• Combined mechanical and CCD electronic shutter|
• 30 to 1/4000 sec *
• Steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
• Flash X-Sync: up to 1/500 sec
|White balance||• Auto (TTL white-balance with 420 segment RGB sensor *)|
• Six manual modes
• Preset white balance
• White balance bracketing possible
|WB fine-tuning||No *|
|Image parameters||• Sharpening|
|Viewfinder||• Optically fixed eye-level|
• Penta-dach-mirror type
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-1.6 to +0.5 m-1)
• Eyepoint: 18 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Viewfinder eyecup DK-20 *
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.75x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Focusing screen: Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark V * with superimposed focus brackets
|LCD monitor||• 2.0″ TFT LCD *|
• 130,000 pixel
|Flash control||• TTL: TTL flash control by 420-pixel RGB sensor *|
o Built-in Speedlight: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering)
o SB-800 or 600: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering)
• Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 with CPU lens
• Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s
• Distance-priority manual available with SB-800
|Flash Sync Mode||• Front-Curtain Sync (normal Sync)|
• Red-Eye Reduction
• Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
• Slow Sync
• Rear-Curtain Sync
|Built-in Speedlight||• Auto flash with auto pop-up|
• [P], [S], [A], [M]: manual pop-up with button release Auto flash with auto pop-up
• Guide number (ISO 200/ISO 100, m): approx. 15/11 (manual full 17/12)
|Flash compensation||• -3 to +1 EV|
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
|Accessory shoe||• ISO standard hot shoe with safety lock|
|Flash Sync Terminal||No|
|Shooting modes||• Single frame shooting (S) mode|
• Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 2.5 frames per second * (up to 12 consecutive shots in JPEG format, four shots in RAW format)
• Self-timer/remote control mode.
|Self-timer||• 2 to 20 sec|
|Playback functions||• one frame: Thumbnail (4 or 9 segments)|
• Magnifying playback
• Slide show
• Histogram indication
• Highlight point display
• Auto image rotation
|Storage||• Secure Digital (SD) card *|
• No card supplied
|Text input||Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input are available with LCD monitor and multi-selector, stored in the Exif header|
|Video output||NTSC or PAL selectable|
|Remote control||ML-L3 wireless remote controller (optional)|
|Connectivity||• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) *|
• Mass storage / PTP selectable
• Video out
• DC-IN (optional AC adapter)
|Languages||Chinese (simplified), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Portuguese|
|Power||• Lithium-Ion battery pack EN-EL3|
• AC Adapter EH-5 (optional)
|Dimensions||133 x 102 x 76 mm (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)|
|Weight (no battery)||540 g (1.2 lb)|
|Weight (inc. batt)||620 g (1.4 lb)|
|Box contents||• Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3|
• Quick Charger MH-18a
• Video Cable
• USB Cable UC-E4
• Body cap
• Eyepiece Cap DK-5
• Rubber Eyecup DK-20
• Accessory shoe cover
• PictureProject CD-ROM
|Optional accessories||• Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3(a)|
• Multi Charger MH-19
• Quick Charger MH-18(a)
• AC Adapter EH-5
• Speedlight SB-800/600
• Eyepiece Magnifier DG-2
• Angle Finder DR-6
• Nikon Capture 4 (Ver.4.3) Software
• Wireless Remote Control ML-L3
• Semi-Soft Case CF-D50
Nikon decided not to compromise their reasonably priced digital SLR, unlike Canon when they created the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). Instead, the D50 maintains performance and photographic flexibility despite sacrificing some of the capabilities of the D70, which is crucial for first-time consumers who (indeed) the manufacturers hope will eventually advance to a more expensive D-SLR.
The sensor and image processing pipeline of the D50 is different from those of the D70/D70s; while it shows fewer moire/maze artifacts, it isn’t quite as sharp as its “older siblings.” The D50 is more than capable of delivering some incredible results and is set up to give vivid and colorful images straight from the first exposure. In addition, if you choose, you can customize the image processing to create photographs more akin to the D70.
The D50’s noise levels arguably caught us off guard the most; Nikon has modified its design to reduce noise since the D70 was introduced. However, even though they are all reasonably clean, we’re talking about little noise here, and the D50 has the lowest noise levels of any of the low-cost digital SLRs we’ve examined.
Though I’m all for making cameras lighter, there’s a limit to how small you can earn an SLR before the hand grip gets cramped and controls start getting in the way. However, the best thing about the D50 is that it feels right. In terms of build, it’s a step above the Canon EOS 350D and Pentax *ist DS. On the other hand, it’s also not too small.
The D50 is a joy to use and feels as snappy as any film camera. The only modification I might do is add a larger viewfinder (a la the Pentax *ist DS).
Nikon D50 Price
Nikon D50 FAQs
How old is Nikon D50?
The Nikon D50 was first shown to the public in April 2005, meaning it will be 18 years old in March 2023.
How many megapixels is a Nikon D50?
The image sensor in the Nikon D50 has 6.1 megapixels.
Is D50 full frame?
The Nikon D50 is not a full-frame camera but utilizes an APS-C sensor (in the DX format).
Does Nikon D50 have a live view?
The Nikon D50 does not include a live view capability in its camera.
Does the Nikon D50 have a timer?
The Nikon D50 has a self-timer function that allows the user to select a timeframe of 2, 5, 10, or 20 seconds.
How long does a Nikon D50 battery last?
The number of shots that can be taken with a single charge of a Nikon D50 battery will be determined by several different aspects, including the age of the battery, how it has been maintained, and the shooting circumstances.
Under typical operating circumstances, the manufacturer estimates it will provide approximately 2,000 shots from an ultimately charged battery.
Does the Nikon D50 have WIFI?
WiFi is not integrated into the Nikon D50 in any way.
What is Nikon D50 good for?
The Nikon D50 is an excellent choice for novice photographers interested in learning digital photography fundamentals while using a DSLR camera. It has a straightforward user interface, decent picture quality considering its age, and interoperability with a comprehensive assortment of Nikon lenses.
On the other hand, given its age and relatively few features, it is possible that it is not up to the task of meeting the requirements of more sophisticated photographs.