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Old Oct 27, 2006, 9:37 PM   #1
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I have a Canon S2IS and looking to upgrade to a DSLR. I have a budget of $800. I shoot a lot of nature, birds and landscapes. I have considered 400d although I would not be able to afford very good glass. Canon lens are not for the budget minded. So I looked into Nikon, more bang for your buck IMO. It seems as though I can get the D70s kit with the 18-70mm lens for $800Or D50 base only plus the 18-70mm lens, it would end up being roughly the same price. Does anyone have any thoughts about these two options? Are there advantages toboth cameras? From what I've seen and heard, the 18-70mm lens is a step up from the standard 18-55mm lens and is probably the way I would want to go.



What is the difference between the D50 and D70s. I have real several reviews and it appears there is not a lot of difference. Any thoughts on this subject?

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Old Oct 27, 2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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Since nobody has responded yet, I'll take a stab at it.

Hopefully, some of our Nikon shooters will see this post and be able to offer more insight.

The D70s is an update to the older D70 model, and it's considered to be a "notch up" compared to the D50 in the Nikon Lineup.

But, the differences may or may not be important to you, and you'll find that some people prefer the D50.

The metering sensor is different in the D50 (not as many pixels in it, but it's a newer design). I've seen comments that the D70 and D70s are less like to blow highlights with their metering (probably because the D50 is geared towards the entry level user more and they'd want better exposed photos straight from the camera with more "punch", even if a few highlights suffered).

But, you could probably get used to it's metering behavior easily (and may even prefer it). You could also tweak either camera's settings to better meet your preferences (exposure compensation, etc.).

The D70 also has some benefits from a flash perspective (able to wirelessly control strobes like the SB800 via the camera's flash). The D70 also has grid lines in the viewfinder (although the eyecup is reportedly better on the D50).

The D70 also gives you finer control of ISO speed (1/3 stop increments versus 1 stop increments for the D50). There are also some differences in control layout (for example, the D70 has a Depth of Field Preview button and the D50 doesn't).

The status LCD has a backlight on the D70s but not on the D50. The D70 uses CompactFlash media and the D50 uses Secure Digital.

There are other differences, too (default color mode, custom functions and more).

The D50 has better high ISO speed performance shooting in JPEG based on most reports. But, I think that some of it might boil down to a slightly brighter exposure from the D50, too. Comparing crops in noise tests from them, the D70 looks a bit better to my eyes. But, most people seem to prefer the noise from the D50 (and it measures better on tests).

I have seen owners of both models report that there is very little difference between them shooting in raw. This part is a bit controversial. There are likely some differences in the sensor and the supporting chipset between these models (as well as differences in the AA filter design) that impact noise levels and more. A lot of it is probably the JPEG processing engine, too. Most people are probably going to tell you the D50 is better for noise.

Another thing to keep in mind (given your stated use for a camera), is that the S3 IS model you have gives you more than 4 times the effective focal length compared to a lens like the 18-70mm. So, you'd be able to "fill the frame" with a subject from 4 times as far away with your S3 IS versus a lens like the 18-70mm on the Nikon.

An 18-70mm lens is not a lens you'd find someone wanting to take a lot of photos of birds using.

Your Canon S3 IS has a lens that gives you the same angle of view that a 36-432mm lens would on a 35mm camera.

When used on a Nikon DSLR, the 18-70mm lens would give you the same angle of view that a 27-105mm lens would on a 35mm camera (you have to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x to see how the angle of view compares to the same focal length lens on a 35mm model). It's longest focal length is about what you'd find on most "3x" zoom compact models. Never go by the x numbers though. Look at the 35mm equivalent focal lengths to see how angle of view/apparent magnification compares.

That lens would probably work great for landscapes and many other uses (and it starts out wider than the lens on your Canon). But, there is a HUGE difference compared to your existing camera's lens in apparent magnification on the long end if you want to take lots of photos of wildlife and birds.

So, you may want to look at a longer zoom for that purpose to supplement it, based on your stated use (you did mention nature and birds).

One thing to keep in mind is that you're not locked into the camera manufacturers lenses either. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and others make Autofocus lenses in Nikon mount that would work with these models.

The used market is also a good place to look if you're on a tight budget (or even if you're not on a tight budget). Just look for Autofocus Lenses in Nikon Mount (and I'd ask about any lens you consider in the Nikon Lenses Forum you'll find here for advise on what may work best if you decide to go that route).

The same thing would apply if you decide to lean towards Canon instead (since I see you mentioned looking at their cameras but were concerned about lens prices). The major third party lens manufacturers (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina) all make lenses for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Konica Minolta/Sony DSLR models.

If you go with used lenses to keep within budget (or just because they've already depreciated, to make it easier to change later), here are my favorite vendors for used gear:

http://www.keh.com

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

http://www.adorama.com

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Old Oct 28, 2006, 2:22 AM   #3
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I think this review does a particularly good job of comparing the 2:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ni...ew/index.shtml

There's a nice chart up top that details the feature advantages of the D70s. And near the bottom there's an image comparison which shows the D50 looking better at ISO 1600 (and with more contrast and saturation in out of camera jpegs as well).


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 6:55 AM   #4
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When you all want to study high ISO outputs by those cameras, it is better to study imaging-resource's test images; theyhave the most accurately tested & measured images that I've come to seefrom a review; (Dpreview was even more inaccurate then those)

Finally, use your own God gifted eyes, not depending on what the reviewer say.

D70s ISO 1600 - 2 secs exposure:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...D70SLL1607.HTM

D70s ISO 1600 without N.R. >>> (2 secs exposure)

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...SLL1607XNR.HTM

D50 ISO 1600 - 2 secs exposure:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD.../D50LL1607.HTM

D50 ISO 1600 without N.R. >>> (2 secs exposure)

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...0LL1607XNR.HTM




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Old Oct 28, 2006, 8:45 AM   #5
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BenjaminXYZ wrote:
Quote:
When you all want to study high ISO outputs by those cameras, it is better to study imaging-resource's test images; theyhave the most accurately tested & measured images that I've come to seefrom a review; (Dpreview was even more inaccurate then those)

Finally, use your own God gifted eyes, not depending on what the reviewer say.

D70s ISO 1600 - 2 secs exposure:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...D70SLL1607.HTM

D70s ISO 1600 without N.R. >>> (2 secs exposure)

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...SLL1607XNR.HTM

D50 ISO 1600 - 2 secs exposure:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD.../D50LL1607.HTM

D50 ISO 1600 without N.R. >>> (2 secs exposure)

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...0LL1607XNR.HTM



I wouldn't get too hung up on these tests. 2 second exposures at 1600 isoare a rare shooting situation and quite extreme...likely one you'll never encounter in real life, especially for the style of shooting you have mentioned you will be doing.

I own both cameras. The D50 is more than capable and matches up well with the D70 in most areas. The one significant difference is control. For tough lighting or studio situations, the D70 is the better choice, as the additional control features (dual command wheels, selectable iso in 1/3 stops, ability to use Sb600/Sb800 off camera) allow the experienced user to achieve specific effects. For the casual shooter, the D50 will do everything you need it to do. Also, image quality has a bit more punch right out of camera.

The problem you will have is you will need an additional lens to shoot birds. The 18-70 will be fine for landscapes, but not have nearly as much reach as you need for birding. There are several inexpensive lenses (by nikon and third parties) in the 70-300 range that will get you closer to where you need to be.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 9:05 AM   #6
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I think the biggest difference is the price.

Although the D70s is a great camera. I wouldn't spend an extra 300$ on it if I can get the D50...

The difference will lie in handling, as has been said before, but I can assure you the D50 doesn't handle bad either.

I would get the D50 and use the difference in price to get a nice lens on the 2nd hand market. (300$ is worth a lot on ebay / keh)

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Old Oct 28, 2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Alright, here is the same set of test images at 1/8 seconds (ISO 1600)

Nikon D70s >>>

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...D70SLL1603.HTM

Nikon D50 >>>

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD.../D50LL1603.HTM

Enjoy.


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 1:40 PM   #8
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So what's your point? That the D50 takes less noisy photos than a D70s of test pattern cards at ISO 1600? How does that relate to a skilled photographer with knowledge of their equipment shooting 99.99% of their actual subjects in the real world?
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 2:22 PM   #9
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except for the exposure (D70s seems a little brighter) I don't see any difference.

They both have noise, and in a realistic situation (not a test chart) you will notice none to few difference.

My point is that if the better handling of the D70s isn't worth the extra money for you I wouldn't get it.


Now, that being said, the D70s with the 18-70mm is a pretty good deal. Although I do think you should be able to get a better deal for the D50 with the same lens...I'm thinking around 500-600$...

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Old Oct 28, 2006, 3:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Now, that being said, the D70s with the 18-70mm is a pretty good deal. Although I do think you should be able to get a better deal for the D50 with the same lens...I'm thinking around 500-600$...
It looks to me like that will be more like $750-$800.

I only see a difference of about $100 in the US for those cameras ("body only") right now, at places like beach camera or butterfly photo (about $510 for D50, $610 for D70s). And I can't find that lens for less than $250--and that's at a vendor I'm not sure if I trust. At sigma4less it's about $290.

So by the time you add that lens, there's little difference in price, maybe $50. So it really is a matter of which camera you prefer. I think I'd go with the D70s. I assume you can tweak the in camera settings if you do want a bit more contrast or saturation in the jpegs out of camera (similar to D50)?

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