Nikon D50 - A 6MP Dinosaur DSLR From 2005

I found a used Nikon D50 for the price of just a few cups of coffee! I got it for a few reasons - firstly, I never owned a Nikon before, so going back right at the beginning seems like the right way to start my journey with Nikon, D50 was one of their first few Digital SLRs, and secondly I have always been curious about D50 or the D70, that was the time I started photography but in my university days I could not afford a DSLR and was only using a compact point and shoot camera. So now, fast forward 17 years later, I finally can afford most of the cameras that I want but why not rediscover this experience with Nikon D50 that I never had? I have made a POV style street photography video where you get to see what happened in front of and around me as I composed and clicked my shutter here (click for video). 

I love the simplicity of older DSLRs. I'd probably not use any DSLRs for any serious work these days, as my main workhorse I prefer working with EVF/Live view with exposure simulation (WYSIWYG), powerful image stabilization and of course all the good modern tech that comes with mirrorless advancement in imaging. But for fun and pleasure, any camera is good camera for me, and rediscovering older cameras was so cool! The D50 performed admirably for such an old camera, the 6MP files were still full of rich, sharp details and very good contrast. I'd take an optimized high quality 6MP image file over any of the bloated over-processed sub-par 100MP++ files from overpriced flagship smartphones today.

The dynamic range and high ISO were nothing to shout about, ISO capped at 1600 and you may probably want to stay on the lower side, not higher than 400 for sure or the noise grains in the images will make some of the pixel-peepers bleed their eyes out. But who cares really? Shoot in good light then, photography is all about good light, and in broad daylight where I do most of my shutter therapy the D50 shines. The camera handles very well, built really solidly and the placement of buttons and dials were logical and easy to find and reach. The viewfinder was good enough to compose my shots and the autofocus was snappy and reliable in such good lighting. I have no issues with the D50, in fact the old Nikon impressed me so much that I have been shooting with it more and more these days, and contemplating on getting a second cheap lens to complement the 50mm F1.8 D that I have. 

My only one complain was the color science. Between Canon and Nikon it is not difficult to pick, at least for me, which works for my own style. Canon has better skin tones and more pleasing overall look. Nikon just produces colder, neutral and flatter looking colors. 

I am still very new to this Nikon world of course, and I am not going to generalize Nikon from an outdated DSLR, but other than the color, Nikon proves they know how to make a great camera and I can see the evidence in the D50. 

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1 comment:

  1. I bought one back when they were new, I could not afford the D70 but I did get two lenses, flash attachment, and a utility bag. Main trouble was light, in dim light it does not do a good job. In bright light it is OK though, as you said in your review. Your images look very nice!