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Old Mar 19, 2006, 4:58 AM   #1
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Hi,

I just bought a Nikon D50 + 18-55mm kit lens, my first DSLR and my first SLR since my college days 30 years ago! I am coming from a KM-6530 which gives excellant pictures for its type of camera.

So far I am extremely happy to have an SLR in my hands again, but need to learn all about the digital SLR world.

Can anyone help me with two newby questions?

1) I am confused about the ISO range. On the Nikon D50 this goes from 200 to 1600, yet in making my decision about whether to buy a superzoom P&S or the DSLR, I noticed that many camera have ISO 80 as a standard setting. Can someone explain to me the difference in these minimum values for these two types of cameras? Why, for example, is the Nikon DSLR minimum a value of 200?

2) I read that it would be a good idea to get a fast prime lens for this camera, and for me an affordable one would be the 50mm 1.8 lens. And with my first SLR I also had a 50mm lens as main lens. But because of the 1.5 factor for digital SLR, the 50mm is really 75mm. So is this really the best prime lens to have? Or would it be better to get something like 35mm which would then be equivalent to 52mm in an analog camera (but i can see that the price is much higher for these).

Thanks for any help!

Steve, Denmark
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 6:19 AM   #2
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DSLRs have higher ISO because they have larger sensors better able to work at these levels without introducing noise. The D50 has a minimum ISO of 200 as Nikon determined that the sensor produces it's best results at this ISO and doesn't need a lower setting to improve it.

The 50mm lens is still a good lens. It gives a narrow field of view on the D50 but the same depth of field characteristics. It depends on what you want it for and what you feel it will give you that the 18-55 doesn't.
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 6:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

Ok, that explains to me the ISO lower limit.

Regarding the lens, well, I am just assuming now with no experience so far, that I would like to have a faster prime lens as a supplement to the 18-55mm kit lens that I got with the camera. I assume the image quality of a fixed focal length lens is better and I assume that for "around the house" pictures, I will be happy to have a faster lens. I don't suppose I would travel anywhere with the 50mm lens because I am not the type that likes to lug around a lot of lenses, so for away from the home shooting, I would probably use the 18-55mm lens.

But its the economics, sigh! I am now reading these forums and pondering over what to wish for next, and am undecided between the 50mm 1.8 prime lens or a telephoto lens, and in the case of the latter, whether to do what would be more affordable for me at the moment and split my range (55 or 70-200mm) or wait until I can afford a more versatile range such as the 18-200 VR that I am now reading about.

Steve, Denmark
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 7:08 AM   #4
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Don't worry about the higher minimum iso. Noise at 200 is nonexistant, and barely noticeable at 400. This gives you a little better performance in lower light, and allows for faster shutter speeds overall. The only issue you may have is in really bright light when you want to select a larger aperature. A ND filter will usually solve this problem. Often on the smaller point and shoots, the lowest iso will be the only one you can get clean images, and they will often have traces of noise present anyway. Nikon just feels their sensor performs best at this level and lower iso's would yield no improvement.

A 50mm has always been regarded as a "normal" lens, that is it replicates the field of view of the human eye (approximately). You may find this lens a bit long now on your DSLR, especially when in tight quarters. However, this lens is such a good performer, and so inexpensive I think every DSLR owner should have one. I only own two primes, the 50 and a 105 macro. I don't feel I would use a 35 all that much...my normal zoom covers it, and the 50 works in most every situation that I need a bright prime. The 35 is an unnecessary expense. Your mileage may vary.
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 7:16 AM   #5
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I have a 50mm 1.4 I used with my film Nikon (analog?) and I use it mostly for portrates indoors. I have used it at sporting events with good results as well.

I also had a 70-300 Nikon lens as well from the film days. Now you can get them for less than $200. I use the 70-300 more than the 50mm but it's hard to hold at the long end and not get shake, so I think the 200 would be a good choice too. It's good on a tripod but not real sharp at the long end anyway.

Good luck, I did have to work at getting the same results with my D70s as I did with my P&S or E-10. But now the results are generally better as I improve.
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 8:16 AM   #6
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Thank for the replies!

Now that I have been playing around with the camera with some indoor shots with and without flash, I have an observation that leads me to the next newby question about taking pics with the D50.

I have used both the auto setting and the P setting (with flash when needed) and I notice that the pictures look great on the camera's review LCD. But when I transfer the pics to my computer, they are almost always too dark and need editing. I have been using Adobe photoshop, as well as Nikon view. In almost all cases the picture I have taken is not acceptable as is and needs to be lightened considerably, for example using "auto levels" in photoshop.

I am taking my pics using JPEG large normal setting.

Is this usual? That the images I take need quite a bit of post process lightening? Or am I doing something wrong here. Again, the pics look great on the camera's review LCD but much darker on the computer, and I am using the D50's auto or default settings.

Any tips are appreciated!

Steve, Denmark
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 9:04 AM   #7
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But do the higher-end Nikon DSLR e.g. D100 or above, have ISO lower than 200 e.g. 50 for even better noise and details, and for long-exposure?

And what about even in D50 itself, if in Auto mode, would it auto-choose lower ISO than 200???

(Real questions, not challenges
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 9:45 AM   #8
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The D50 will not choose an iso less than 200. It will choose different stops between the full stops (200, 400, 800, 1600) which are not user selectable.

The D100 also starts at 200 iso, and the D200 does have 100 iso. The sensors are optimized to be used at the lowest ISO setting they have. There would be no apprecialbe gain by having the option to choose lower ISO's.
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have used both the auto setting and the P setting (with flash when needed) and I notice that the pictures look great on the camera's review LCD. But when I transfer the pics to my computer, they are almost always too dark and need editing. I have been using Adobe photoshop, as well as Nikon view. In almost all cases the picture I have taken is not acceptable as is and needs to be lightened considerably, for example using "auto levels" in photoshop.

I am taking my pics using JPEG large normal setting.

Is this usual? That the images I take need quite a bit of post process lightening? Or am I doing something wrong here. Again, the pics look great on the camera's review LCD but much darker on the computer, and I am using the D50's auto or default settings.

First, make sure you have calibrated your monitor. All monitors need some calibration to insure they are displaying images properly. I would try printing some of your images (any big retailer or drug store will have the equipment for you to make prints cheaply...I wouldn't use a printer as they need sometimes need calibration too). If the prints look fine, then your monitor is at fault. Most editing software have a monitor calibration function. If the prints look dark, you then may need to play with exposure settings on your camera. DSLR images typically need more post work than the P&S digicams as less in camera processing is done to maintain more detail and give the photographer more control over the final image. DSLR's also do very little sharpening in camera, so images often appear soft right out of camera.
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Old Mar 19, 2006, 10:58 AM   #9
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Wow! I just looked at all the photos I have taken with my new D50 so far on my wife's computer, and now I am impressed. The monitor on my PC is not only dark, but a lot of the details in the photo do not come out as sharply as on hers. She has a 19" HP monitor and the photos from the Nikon D50 now look extremely good.

I will have to do all my photo work using her screen I guess.

Thanks for replies!

Steve, Denmark
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