Monday, September 23, 2013

Test of Time Review: Nikon D50

Rewind to 2005 and you'll find that Canon and Nikon were locked in a pretty heated war over the entry level segment of the DSLR market. While Canon tried reaching for the bottom first with their $900 feature-crippled 300D in 2003 to compete with the Nikon D70 and their own 10D, they later backpedalled and launched the higher-spec'd 350D in 2005. At that point, Nikon was left with only their higher-end D70/D70s, and lacked anything that could compete on price. Enter the D50 that same year, a body that could best be considered a 'D70 lite', giving users most of the important features, while reducing the price to a more mass-market level. Nikon would continue this strategy over the next few years, offering the D40 as the D50's replacement.

But when the D40 came out, it omitted an important feature that had been present on all other preceeding Nikon DSLRs - the built in AF drive screw. Without it, any lenses that didn't feature 'AF-S' in their name would be manual-focus only, including Nikon's range of D lenses, and virtually all of their primes. Since then, no entry-level Nikon body has had a screw-drive motor, but at least they started rapidly updating they lenses to the newer G type, so the lack of an in-body drive isn't too much of a problem. Nevertheless, there's a huge selection of good quality D lenses on the used market that can be had for cheap. One can get a D50  and a 50mm f/1.8D for about the same price as the G version of the 50/1.8. Plus, many of Nikon's older macro and telephoto lenses can be had for significantly cheaper than their updated counterparts. Current users of the D3XXX and D5XXX series will likely find it cheaper to a D50 as a second body than upgrading to a D7XXX if they want to dabble in D lenses.

These days, that budget-conscious market for the D50 hasn't changed since they can often be found for around $100 used. But with low resolution and dated tech, does it still perform well in 2013? Read on.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nikon Lens & Body Brochure 2006

It's a long weekend, but I don't feel like writing too much so it's time for another retroscan entry. This time it's the back few pages of a 2006 Nikon system booklet. A lot's changed since then, that's for sure.