Friday, May 05, 2006

Camera advice - what to choose?

As you probably have noticed if you visit here regularly, I love taking photos. Ok, so most of what I shoot is a) food and b) cats, but still. Love it. And I always have. I first got interested in cameras and photography about fifteen years ago, and it's an interest that just never left me.

And I'm looking to move up. I want to take the big step out of compact cameras to an digital SLR. But this is uncharted territory for me, and while I have asked many friends and contacts on what to choose, I'm just not done yet. My first choice was Nikon or Canon, and I'm fairly sure I'm going with Nikon. I don't want to spend too much on the really great models, and as far as the budget models go, the Canon isn't built the way I like it. Besides, my father has a bunch of old Nikon lenses, that would be fun to use.

So, Nikon. But which one? D50, or D70s? Please, if you have one or the other, or a strong opinion either way - let me know! :) I have looked at what feels like a million sample pictures, and I can't help feeling that the D50 pictures aren't as crisp as the D70s. Could be just those pictures, of course.. or not. The kit lens is better with the D70s, too - but there's a very attractive package for the D50 with two lenses, and for a very decent price. In fact, I'm leaning towards the D50... but I am worried about the crispness factor. Look here to see what I mean. Maybe it's just that I've seen more great shots with a D70s than with a D50? Anyway. Help would be very, very, very appriciated.

Now, back to food. Or in my case, breakfast!


Peter Morelli said...

Get the D70s, or the D70 if you can find it for a cheaper price, since the s only added a few incremental improvements (bigger lcd, flash is higher when open). The kit lens on the D70 is far better than the D50 one.

Here are two exhaustive reviews:

Nikkor lenses, even the old ones, should still fit. I think you can go back as far as 1950 with the F mount. Be aware that those old lenses will work slightly differently on your digital camera, google "FOV Crop", and you should get some good articles on it.

If you do get the D70s, I highly recommend Thom Hogan's digital book on the camera. Very thorough, really explains how to fully exploit your camera, in plain english. His site has a ton of very useful info on Nikons and Nikkor lenses, as well.

aaron said...

I too would get a d70s, in fact, I just got one. There are a few key features that the d70s has over d50 that you may want for the future. Such things as white balance tuning, compact flash support (cheaper for the same size), and depth of field preview button (especially if you're going to do macro). I want to say there's something else that I'm missing, but I can't think of it off the top of my head.

As per the comment above mine that "Nikkor lenses, even the old ones, should still fit. I think you can go back as far as 1950 with the F mount." This is, sadly, not true. The lens must be an AI lens, or have the conversion done to it. You can find out more at I actually just went through looking all of this up because my Dad has a few non-AI lenses, that sadly won't work on my camera and will actually ruin the mount unless they are converted.

Personally, I'd find a local class to that you can take. That way you're "forced" to learn how to properly use the camera. I was going to use a book too, but then always found other things to do. The class really keeps me on track.

Anne said...

Thank you both very very much! I'll look into what old lenses we actually have - hopefully some will work. It's not a HUGE factor, but it's a reason to not choose Canon.

I am concerned about two things with the D70. One, that it doesn't have USB2. That's mostly *annoying*, but not a big deal. I have a cardreader, I just have to get used to it. And two, that D50 is consistently getting slightly better reviews for jpgs. I don't really take photos in RAW (or NEF) but.. well, maybe I should start.

If the D50 was sold with the D70:s lens, I'd probably get that kit, but as that is not a choice.. well. Leaning toward the D70s! :)

As for classes, I don't think there are any here. There's something called Nikon School, sold as a package with the D50:s, and that's definitely another reason to get that one...

aaron said...

I definitely would use a card reader, as the USB plug on the cameras can tend to get lose after a lot of repeated plugin and unplugs.

I'm pretty sure that the d70s is USB2. At least, I don't get a message box in Windows when I do plug it in saying that a USB 1.1 device was found.

Personally, I shoot in RAW + Jpeg. That way I can easily upload stuff to my website (well, when it's functioning), plus have a high quality RAW when I want to blow it up to a larger size. It makes archiving a lot easier too, since I just dump the RAW files in a sub folder of the jpegs on my website.

Foodfreak said...

If you want to go Nikon, for gods sake buy the D70. If you want to reconsider(*g*) you might want to try Canon's 350 D(or in the US Rebel XT) which has a nice CCD sensor and make sfine pictures - well, that's what I am planning to buy... and if you buy a cam look out for neat bundles.

Can't wait to see the new pix from the new cam. I agree, try to shoot RAW and JPG at the same time.