Abstract: Nikon D50 Digital SLR Preview -Tests - Review

Photography - Canon EOS, digital, nature, Canon EOS 20D

Nikon D50 Digital SLR Preview

Nikon D50 press release

Initial reports and a description of the Nikon D50 were posted on this website on April 8th. Now Nikon have finally made it official with a press release confirming the new Digital SLRs, the D50 and D70s.

The D50 is as reported earlier, a competitor for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. The street price will be $100 cheaper than the Canon Digital Rebel XT. With an 18-55 "kit" lens, the Nikon should sell for $899.99 while the Canon "lists" for $999.99 (the current street price is actually now $949.94). However the Canon is an 8MP camera and the Nikon is 6MP. The 6MP version of the Digital Rebel currently sells for $749.99, making it $150 cheaper than the new Nikon D50.

Looks like things are heating up a little in the entry level DSLR game. Good news for the consumer, though the decision of what to buy is getting a bit harder!

Link to: Nikon D50 Preview

Below is a copy of the official Nikon press release:

 * D50's Ease-of-Use and Attractive Pricing Set to Bring the Thrill of Nikon
          Digital SLR Performance to More Consumers Than Ever Before

  * 6.1-Megapixel D50 Arrives in Stores in June 2005 for an Estimated Street
    Price of $899.95 (D50 outfit, with the new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm
                             f/3.5-5.6G ED lens)

        * Two New DX Nikkor Lenses Offer More Options and Versatility

    MELVILLE, N.Y., April 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nikon(R)
(http://www.nikonusa.com) has taken another bold step forward in redefining
the digital SLR landscape today by introducing the highly anticipated D50(TM)
digital SLR camera.  The D50 is the smallest, lightest and easiest-to-use
Nikon digital SLR camera to date, and is designed for the broadest range of
consumers including family memory-keepers looking to take advantage of the
image quality, speed and responsiveness Nikon digital SLR's offer, as well as
photo enthusiasts and amateur photographers who want to capture brilliant
digital pictures with vibrant color and immaculate sharpness.  The new
entry-level D50 makes exceptional digital SLR photography a reality for
    "With the new D50, Nikon intends to bring a fulfilling digital SLR
photography experience to more consumers than ever before and help them
capture their most precious memories with great quality and ease.  The D50
inherits the high image quality, responsiveness and speed consumers have come
to expect of Nikon's digital SLR cameras, while also embodying a simple,
intuitive and compact design, so anyone in the family can use it without
hesitation," said Steve Heiner, general manager for Digital SLR Camera Systems
at Nikon Inc.  "The attractive price for the D50 will expand the market
substantially and ensure many more people can enjoy shooting with a Nikon
digital SLR this year."

                          The Ultimate Family Camera

    The D50 stands out as ideal for families searching for that perfect camera
to capture timeless memories during important occasions and life events such
as weddings, first homeruns, birthdays, prom night, and golden anniversaries,
among others.  The D50 is the perfect combination of intelligent, easy-to-use
features and impeccable image quality, and at an estimated street price of
$899 (for the D50 outfit with the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
lens), it represents an excellent value for its capabilities.  The camera's
seven Digital Vari-Program modes make capturing the moment easier than ever,
and the new "Child" mode, for example, assures that moms and dads don't have
to be photography experts to capture the most vivid color and contrast when
taking pictures of their children.  The D50's "Child" mode automatically
adjusts several of the camera's settings, including ISO, shutter speeds, and
white balance, to produce optimized images when taking pictures of children.
The D50 promises to be an ideal tool for parents who refuse to let memories
pass them by.
    The D50 also includes a full range of manual controls and custom settings,
so users can grow with the camera, and advanced photo enthusiasts can find
themselves right at home with a D50 in their hands.

                 Hallmark Nikon Image Quality and Performance

    The D50 incorporates several important new Nikon technologies to ensure a
rich, yet simplified experience for consumers.  With a new 6.1 effective
megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD image sensor and a highly advanced image
processing engine, the D50 produces dazzlingly faithful images capable of
tremendous enlargement, yet manageable in overall file size.  Nikon's new 3D
Color Matrix Metering II ensures accurate exposure control in all types of
lighting situations by automatically comparing input from its frame-wide 420-
pixel metering sensor for each scene to a large onboard database of over
30,000 scenes from actual photography. Professionals and amateurs alike rely
on Nikon's exclusive light metering technologies that produce ideal exposures
instantly. Newly developed exposure evaluation methods detect highlights and
shadows in the frame, and compensate for them to help prevent inaccurate
exposure.  Shutter speed choices in the D50 extend from 30 seconds to an
action-stopping 1/4,000 second.  A high-speed flash sync speed up to 1/500
second makes great fill flash photography possible and Nikon's i-TTL flash
technology makes it automatic.

                            Simple Sophistication

    The next evolution of Nikon's popular scene-optimized Digital Vari-Program
modes simplifies picture taking, and helps users take incredible pictures with
very little effort.  The Digital Vari-Program modes also free up the user to
think about capturing special and fleeting moments instead of getting
overwhelmed with buttons and dials. Selecting one of the seven simple icons
from the handy exposure mode dial optimizes otherwise complex settings and
ISO-equivalent sensitivity to produce consistently remarkable results.  The
newly added "Child" mode mentioned earlier makes it easier to take memorable
pictures of the little ones complete with vivid color and contrast that are
ready to print without the fuss of adjustments within the computer.

                            Instant Gratification

    Unlike lesser systems, the Nikon D50 is always ready to shoot when that
special moment or expression presents itself. From the moment the power is
turned on, the D50 is ready to shoot in an imperceptible 0.2 seconds.  The
shutter responds almost instantly when a picture is taken, thereby minimizing
'shutter-lag' and virtually eliminating a common frustration of digital
photography.  Continuous shooting at 2.5 pictures per second* (can be
maintained for a burst of up to 137 pictures, making action photography a
reality. Pictures taken are instantly processed and recorded to a compact SD
(Secure Digital) memory card, and a new USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface supports
faster transfer of images when connected to a computer.

              Compact, Lightweight and Designed to Go Everywhere

    The D50's compact, lightweight design makes it easy to carry the camera
anywhere there's a good moment to capture.  Its smart design and easily
accessible controls provide handling efficiency and ease of operation, helping
bring the fun back to picture taking. Newly designed plain-language menus are
displayed clearly on the large 2.0-inch LCD screen, and intuitive help menus
are available for on-the-spot reference.  A high capacity rechargeable
lithium-ion battery helps extend mobility and convenience by delivering the
power to shoot up to 2,000** images on a single charge.

                 Interchangeable Lenses: The Nikkor Advantage

    One of the unique benefits of shooting with a Nikon digital SLR is the
ability to take advantage of the expansive creative possibilities offered by
interchangeable Nikkor lenses.  With the introduction of the D50, Nikon also
introduced two new DX Nikkor lenses that are ideally paired with the D50 to
offer consumers a broad zoom range, while maintaining a lightweight and
ultra-compact size.  Designed exclusively for Nikon's D-series digital SLR
cameras, DX Nikkor lenses are optimized to achieve outstanding center-to-edge-
to-corner image quality, when used with any of Nikon's digital SLR cameras.
Nikon's DX Nikkor range now includes six high performance lenses that offer
unmatched wide-angle coverage and versatility:

     -- New AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
     -- New AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
     -- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 ED-IF
     -- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF
     -- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF
     -- AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED

    The D50 also offers seamless compatibility with Nikon's extensive family
of over 50 high-performance AF Nikkor lenses, providing the same superb color
reproduction, razor-sharp image clarity and fast and accurate autofocus
performance relied upon by the countless number of professional photographers
who use Nikon's pro digital SLR cameras everyday.

         Managing and Sharing with Nikon PictureProject(TM) Software

    Sharing pictures is fun, and Nikon's new PictureProject software is
designed to eliminate the complexities typically associated with sharing,
managing and editing pictures on a computer.  After conducting exhaustive
worldwide research into consumer habits, expectations and requirements, Nikon
developed its PictureProject software to be a simple, easy-to-use, and
powerful application that addresses most frustrations associated with managing
pictures on a computer.  PictureProject boasts powerful features wrapped into
an intuitive interface that navigates quickly and is easy to master.  The
software allows users to easily transfer images to PC's or MAC's and browse,
organize, and share them.  Pictures taken in vertical orientation are
automatically rotated.  Controls for retouch tasks including brightness and
red-eye correction, are intuitive and fast.  PictureProject's In Touch(TM)
plug-in allows users to share photos with friends and relatives without
attaching them in an email or uploading them to a website.  Instead
Pictureproject in-Touch facilitates a direct transfer of the pictures from the
sender's computer to a recipient's computer.  PictureProject In-Touch is
included in the newest version 1.5 of PictureProject software and can also be
downloaded free of charge via http://www.nikonnet.com.
    With support for JPEG, TIFF and NEF and compressed NEF (RAW) files,
PictureProject also works in close unison with Nikon Capture 4 as the ideal
companion to its powerful feature set.  Capture 4 is Nikon's advanced image
management and editing software designed to offer the most robust and
comprehensive performance with Nikon's NEF (RAW) files.  While PictureProject
is already a dynamic component to Nikon photography, the software also
supports plug-ins, allowing users to add new features, as technology and the
digital camera market evolve.
    As part of Nikon's Total Imaging System, the D50 inherits the advantages
of the various components of this system, including high-quality AF and DX
Nikkor lenses, the SB-800 and SB-600 Speedlights, which enable use of Nikon's
Creative Lighting System, as well as versatile software options, to deliver a
new level of operating ease, expanded creative possibilities, and pure
enjoyment. The Nikon D50 presents the perfect opportunity for anyone to start
enjoying the advantages of Nikon digital SLR photography today.
    The Nikon D50 outfit, including the new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED lens, will be available in June for an estimated selling price
of $899.95***.


    Vivid color and sharp details straight from the camera

    -- New 6.1 effective megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD imaging sensor that
       produces 3,008 x 2,000-pixel images with accurate color, high
       resolution and sharp details for great pictures capable of significant
       enlargement, or cropping for creative effect. File sizes remain
       manageable, making it easier to take and store more great pictures.

    -- Advanced digital image processor that marks a further evolution of
       analog and digital processing and pre-conditioning technologies, \
       producing images that require no preparation in a computer and are
       ready to print straight from the camera. Image quality is optimized,
       including auto white balance, auto tone and color control, and real-
       time processes diminish digital noise to produce beautiful long
       exposure shots.

    -- 3D Color Matrix Metering II ensures accurate exposure control and white

    Instant, precise response

    -- Near-instant 0.2-second power-up, and short shutter release lag
       (response) time.

    -- Continuous shooting at 2.5 frames per second for a continuous burst of
       up to 137 pictures without having to wait for the camera to record the
       images to the SD memory card. (Using JPEG NORMAL - Large settings, and
       a SanDisk Ultra II 256MB SD Card) The number of continuous shots
       possible in a single burst may be fewer depending on the type of SD
       card used.

    -- Fast 5-area AF system with predictive focus tracking and Lock-on(TM)
       delivers greater precision with fast, more consistent subject
       acquisition and improved focus tracking to capture all the action as it
       happens. Automatic AF-assist illuminator helps ensure top AF
       performance in dark situations.

    -- Fast shutter speed with a range from 30 to 1/4,000 sec.

    -- Fast flash sync shutter speeds up to 1/500 sec. for great fill-effects
       under brighter light and back lighted conditions.

    -- Fast data transfer and recording to SD memory cards keeps the D50
       always ready to shoot in any situation.

    Accurate automated and manual control for predictable results

    -- Seven Digital Vari-Program selections for automatic adjustment of all
       the settings necessary to produce incredible digital photographs
       including ISO-equivalent sensitivity, white balance, sharpening, tone
       (contrast), color, saturation and hue for crisp and vivid results that
       match the intended shot. Selections include Auto, Portrait, Landscape,
       Child, Sports, Close up, and Night Portrait.

    -- Image enhancement options optimize sharpening, tone (contrast), color,
       saturation or hue while using Auto Multi Program [P], Shutter-Priority
       Auto [S], Aperture-Priority Auto [A], or Manual [M] exposure modes to
       best match the picture taking situation. The easy to set choices
       include Normal, Vivid, Sharp, Soft, Direct print, Landscape or Custom

    -- Automatic control over ISO-equivalent sensitivity from ISO 200 to 1600;
       can also be set manually.

    -- Optimized exposure with a choice of three TTL (Through The Lens)
       exposure modes: 3D Color Matrix Metering II with 420-pixel RGB Sensor,
       variable Center-Weighted Meter, or choice of Spot Meters.

    -- Auto exposure bracketing helps achieve the exact results desired.

    -- Flash exposure compensation.

    -- A choice of three color modes ensures the best match for the shot when
       operating the camera manually.
        Mode Ia: Renders natural-looking skin tones out of the camera. (sRGB)
        Mode II: Realizes a wider color range suited for processing or
         retouching. (Adobe RGB)
        Mode IIIa: Renders vivid landscape and flora colors out of the camera.

    -- Simultaneous recording of compressed NEF (RAW) and JPEG image files for
       the same shot helps by providing a smaller JPEG image file that can be
       quickly sent via email and a compressed NEF (RAW) file for more
       creative flexibility using Nikon PictureProject or Capture software for
       further enhancement.

    Intuitive handling and operating ease

    -- Light and compact:
         Dimensions (W x H x D): 133 x 102 x 76mm (5.3 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.)
         Weight: Approx. 540g (1 lb. 3 oz.) without battery.

    -- Intuitive and familiar operation with ergonomically designed and
       sensibly located buttons and controls, including the handy multi
       selector and mode dial.

    -- Quality optical viewfinder features diopter correction and information

    -- New large 2.0-inch LCD monitor located directly below the viewfinder
       displays the large fonts of the easy-to-view easy-to-understand menu
       design, and the intuitive help system dialogs that make understanding
       camera settings easy.

    -- Versatile LCD playback options include Single image playback, Thumbnail
       image playback (4 or 9 pictures at a time), Zoom playback, Slide show,
       easy Histogram indication for determining highlights and shadow values,
       and Highlight point displays for even quicker highlight information,
       with automatic image rotation for vertical shots.

    -- LCD control panel on camera top makes it easy to confirm settings and
       camera status.

    -- Long-life rechargeable lithium-ion battery with power to shoot up to 2
       2,000 images** on a single charge.

    -- Custom Settings for personalizing camera operation to match the
       individual's shooting style, or different picture taking conditions.

    -- Wireless remote control of the D50 can be achieved with the optional
       ML-L3 remote control.

    Easy image handling

    -- New Small Picture function for saving photos within the camera at the
       reduced sizes of 640x480, 320x240, or 160x120 for Internet use - either
       for mail attachments or placement on web pages.

    -- In-camera page setup support makes it easy to print directly from the
       D50 to any PictBridge compatible printer via the supplied USB cable.

    -- Up to 36 alphanumeric characters can be entered in each image's EXIF
       header (file information) for personal identification when images are
       viewed in PictureProject software.

    -- Video connector and supplied video cable makes it easy to connect the
       D50 directly to a television for playing slideshows or viewing
       individual images

    Creative and versatile system components

    -- High-quality Nikkor lenses: The unrivalled performance of AF, AF-S and
       DX Nikkor lenses greatly expands creative possibilities.

    -- Built-in auto pop-up flash features exclusive i-TTL flash control, fast
       1/500 sec. flash sync shutter speed, and coverage for lenses as wide as

    -- Supports Nikon's Creative Lighting System when using a SB-800 and
       SB-600 Speedlight mounted on the ISO flash shoe for additional on
       camera flash output in large rooms, or for longer distance picture
       situations. Also allows off-camera multiple flash lighting with iTTL
       Technology with SB-800 and SB-600.

    -- Integrated Nikon Software Solutions:
        Nikon Capture 4 (Ver. 4.3) (optional) is a comprehensive image editing
        and remote camera control package that fully supports NEF**** (RAW),
        TIFF and JPEG data. Among other features, the package offers Image
        Dust Off sensor dust and particle shade removal control, D-Lighting
        for scene-specific automatic dodge and burn control.

        PictureProject is Nikon's versatile bundled software that simplifies
        and improves data transfer, as well as browsing and editing of image
        files. PictureProject features an intuitive user interface, and
        supports optional plug-ins that add functionality and creative

    About Nikon
    Nikon, At the Heart of the Image(TM).  Nikon Inc. is the world leader in
digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally
recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its
award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment.  Nikon Inc.
distributes the Nikon Total Imaging System of consumer and professional
digital SLR cameras, Nikkor optics, Speedlights and System Accessories; Nikon
Coolpix(R) compact digital cameras; Coolscan(R) digital film scanners; 35mm
film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational
optics.  At the heart of every Nikon camera is Nikon's Exclusive Feature
System, making it easy for anyone to take amazing digital pictures. Through
the Nikon Spirit Initiative(TM), the company, plays an active role in
supporting aspiring and advanced photographers through a variety of
philanthropic organizations, educational programs, events and workshops. For
more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit http://www.nikonusa.com, which
links all levels of photographers to the web's most comprehensive photo
learning and sharing communities.

     * (Using JPEG NORMAL - Large settings, and a SanDisk Ultra II SD
        Card (256MB). The number of continuous shots possible in a single
        burst may be fewer depending on the type of SD card used.

     ** 2,000 images per charge achieved under following test conditions:
        Fully charged EN-EL3 battery; temperature of 20 degrees C (68 degress
        F); Zoom-Nikkor AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G SG IF ED lens; continuous
        shooting mode; continuous-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG
        BASIC; image size set to Medium; shutter speed 1/250 sec.; shutter
        release pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from
        infinity to minimum range three times with each shot; monitor turned
        on for five seconds after six shots and then turned off; cycle
        repeated once exposure meters have turned off.

     *** Estimated selling prices listed are only an estimate.  Actual prices
         are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

     **** NEF images taken with the D50 require Nikon Capture 4 (Ver. 4.3) or


Body + 18-55 Body + 18-55
and 55-200
Body Only

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