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-   -   Nikon d50 vs Canon Rebel XT for a beginner? (

Glorindel Mar 24, 2006 3:14 PM

Hi, I'm looking to upgrade from my Nikon Coolpix 3100 to a DSLR. I've narrowed down my desires to either the Nikon d50 or the Rebel. I'm looking to spend right around $1000. My question is: As a beginner should i go with the cheaper d50 and spend the extra money on another lens?

The reason I'm upgrading (besides having the money) is I want to be able to take low light shots without a flash(around the house and at holidays). I want better focus control, really hate great pictures that are a tad out of focus. And of course the flexibilty my point and shoot lacks.

Anybody have any suggestions on why I would want to pick the Rebel over the d50? I'm still planning on going and trying both out before i make up my mind, but from reading all I can find, they seem really similar. I'm not pixel-crazed so I don't mind the d50 being less. I don't 'think' the slightly larger size of the d50 would turn me off. And i've read several posts about the d50 having nice low noise at higher iso settings. I'm about 70-30 in favor of the d50 right now.

Any insight-comments-emotional outbursts are welcome.

mtclimber Mar 24, 2006 3:54 PM


As a Digital Camera Instructor for our state university, if a student posted that question, I would immediately counsel with the adage, that is a huge leap! My next question would be, how much gear are you willing to carry? Because for every dSLR camera there, you generally findthree or four lenses to go with it. So your ultimate cost is more like $2,000 not $1,000.

I would be more at peace with a switch from a Nikon 3100 to a great camera like the Canon A-620, which has shown photo quality approaching the Canon Rebel 350D/XT, or if you want low light level photos, take look at the soon to be released Fuji F-30, which will have dSLR ISO settings. It will be ideal for no flash photos, with very little noise at all.

I won't say no, to your proposal, instead I will tell you that you had better be ready for a long and protracted learning curve, and a few setbacks as you traverse that learning curve.

If I were in charge of selection, I would pass on the Canon XT, I don't like the grip at all. However, the grip is OK with my husband, so he uses the XT.


monx Mar 24, 2006 11:01 PM

I would recommend getting a Nikon D50 with a 50mm F1.8 Prime. That will give you great low light without having to rob a bank. ( prime approx 100$ )

Otherwise take a look at KM 5D.I myself am a Nikon buyer, but in low light i must admit antishake + iso3200 does look hard to beat.:-)

A third alternative Pentax *ist DL( and a cheap one indeed, I read in a different post in the pentax forum, prices seen as low as 487$ with a kit lens :cool:) It will also give you iso 3200. Another great alternative seing as you can use all the old pentax lenses on this one, allowing you a cheap path to your desires.

Again i just think the EOS 350 DidnĀ“t feel right in my hands, and the the pricewas higher than the alternatives.

mtclimber Mar 25, 2006 9:02 PM

I would think that the very best way to approach this, if you must have a dSLR camera, is to purchase a refurbished body at the cheapest price.I found a refurbished Nikon D-50 body for $399 at Beach Camera and BuyDig. I must be honest and say that I truly don't think you know what you are getting into. I apologize if I have offended you, I did not mean to do that. These no flash photos at ISO 1600 are not going to be anything great. Room lighting leave hollows and shadows around people's eye sockets. But, if that is where your heart really is, then go for it. Please just understand that the average dSLR user usually has the "walk around" lens, as well as two others.


tommysdad Mar 26, 2006 6:39 PM

mtclimber wrote:


I won't say no, to your proposal, instead I will tell you that you had better be ready for a long and protracted learning curve, and a few setbacks as you traverse that learning curve.


I`ll second that MT.

Also forget those short strolls with thePoint and shoot that fits nicely into your pocket( 1 lens does all , macro, landsape,zoom etc) ,,,instead expect a full blown expedition with backpack,lens cleaning equiptment,extra lenses for different focal lengths,and expect to change lenses often.The worst thing for me is missing a shot because my lens won`t reach that far.

Knowing what I know now, I would buy my D50 and all lensessecond hand/refurbished.


Glorindel Mar 26, 2006 8:41 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I went ahead and purchased a Nikon d50 from a local Photo store for $699 with the standard 18-55 lens, and I got a 'zoompack' with 70-300 lens, a Camera bag and the 2year warranty extension for $269(edit-wow, I shouldn't be allowed out of the house with a credit card..looks like I paid about $100 more than I couldl've online for that). I probably could have done myself better by buying a body only and some lenses online but I wanted to support the local Camera shop as there are only a few left around here.
You are exactly right MT, I don't know what i'm getting into(and I appreciate your candor). But I'm eager to learn and I'm loving the camera so far. I can already tell i'm going to want a couple of more lenses but will wait 6 months or so until I know what i'm doing. the 70-300 is probably too much lens for me to handle well at this point but when I tried it out in the shop it was just too cool to pass up. I should probably look into taking a course at the local university but I don't know if I can talk myself into it.

mtclimber Mar 27, 2006 10:16 AM


Please just understand that there will indeed be a measurable learning curve to get you to a point where you can use all the features and possibilities of the Nikon D-50. Certainly a course or several good books will go a long way toward helping you along with that learning curve.


me2 Mar 27, 2006 3:26 PM

There is a learning curve with a DSLR, as I, as a new D50 owner, am finding out. And yet there isn't.

If you don't know what you are doing, buy a D50 and put it into one of the scene modes. The pictures won't be as nice as what you can take in P,A,S or M modes, controlling everything, but they will be a lot better than a digicam in its scene modes. The D50 has better lenses, lower noise, better focusing, better whitebalance, etc, even when in the scene modes. Plus, you can override some things in the scene modes, like ISO, flash, etc. So, as a P&S camera, the D50 is still very, very good. BTW: The D50 offers much more flexiblity than the Rebel in the scene modes. The Rebel offers no adjustments at all.

Then, when you get better/comfortable/more knowledgeable, you can move into the advanced "creative" modes and shoot to your hearts content. I'm finding two things with the D50. The exposure is more finicky than a film SLR. But I am getting that figured out. And the instant feedback is a huge, huge advantage when you are learning. The cycle time of taking a picture and reviewing it on a D50 is seconds. I may get the exposure wrong on the first image, but by the 3rd I have things nailed. And if you shoot in raw, you can correct even quite bad whitebalance and exposure mistakes quite easily. BTW: With the D50 you can shoot raw in the scene modes.

I highly recommend the D50 for beginners, even if they use it in the scene modes for the first while. But be prepared to do a little reading and learning to get the most out of it in the creative modes.

This image was taken by me with a D50 and a 50f/1.8 in manual mode. I've had the camera a week and only played with it in my spare time.


sti_sti Mar 29, 2006 3:00 AM

I've had a Nikon D50 for a few weeks now, and am quickly getting used to it (had a manual film SLR 30 years back). Coming from manual and film cameras, I never even gave it any thought to use the scene modes that the previous poster writes about. I started out with fully automatic mode, but then quickly moved on to either P or A which I currently use most of the time now.

P mode gives you most of what auto gives you, perhaps the greatest advantage here is that the built in flash will not activate unless you want it to. A mode lets you set the f stop to what you think you want to use, e.g. for depth of field, while the camera metering will then make sure the exposure is correct for you (supposedly of course). Both these modes are easy to use, and should not take a beginner too long to get used to.

I still have much to learn myself, but I find it easy to learn on the Nikon.

Steve, Denmark

SuzF Mar 29, 2006 3:12 PM


I was glad to hear you say you wanted to support your local camera store even though you ended up paying more. I think they are an invaluable source of help, and I hate to see that they are disappearing. I too support mine.

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