Help me pick out a D50?
July 25, 2006 12:28 AM   Subscribe

I'd love some help choosing a specific D50...please!

Hi there, I'm keen to buy a Nikon D50 in time for a holiday in a week. There are a couple on eBay UK at the moment, and I'd love some advice if anyone has the time or inclination.

Specifically I'd like to know if what I'm looking at is good value for money, or if it's not.

These (I think) are all the D50s on eBay at the moment

and I am specifically interested in:

this one, from an Edinburgh photography shop, comes with two lenses (18-55 + 55-200) but priced at a massive(?) £530 inc p&p. Ends in a few hours

this one, from a seller who hasn't sold much at all, seems like it has the same two lenses as the above. currently at £265.00 but there are two days to go. p&p £15. Would I even get it in time though...

Any suggestions would be more than welcome. I'm going to sell my Nikon Coolpix 4500 to raise part of the funds.
posted by dance to Shopping (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I really prefer buying things like this from stores, even if it's a little more expensive, just because of the risk factor with ebay. That said, I'm paranoid, and maybe retail is absurd in the UK.

Either way, you'll love your D50! I just got one a little over a week ago.
posted by cellphone at 12:43 AM on July 25, 2006

Actually, the damn thing is on Amazon UK with a lens, delivered free for £380?! Is there some catch?!

I feel an impulse purchase coming on unless I get some advice to the contrary!

Thanks all.
posted by dance at 1:38 AM on July 25, 2006

Buy it on amazon, right away. You'll want the non-grey market stock for warranty purposes later, and you're much better off dealing with Amazon in the case of fraud or breakage. Just do it!
posted by fake at 1:56 AM on July 25, 2006

amazon all the way
posted by sophist at 1:59 AM on July 25, 2006

Oh my, oh my!!! Here we go!

any thoughts on whether 'free super saver delivery' will get it to me on or before Tuesday?
posted by dance at 2:01 AM on July 25, 2006

Pay for the fast shipping. You're saving a bundle anyway.
posted by fake at 2:04 AM on July 25, 2006

Thanks all, I did it!

Amazon UK for:
Nikon D50
18-55mm lens
1GB 66X SD card
posted by dance at 3:39 AM on July 25, 2006

Can anyone advise on why the bundled 'kit lens' is so bad? This question comes of reading through past AskMefi questions.
posted by dance at 5:46 AM on July 25, 2006

Can anyone advise on why the bundled 'kit lens' is so bad?

Generally, it's because the lens is designed to be cheap, not good. Generally, it's the sort of thing that someone just starting out with a lower-end SLR will find useful, not designed for pro photographers.

This isn't to say the lens is useless; for the average person just getting started with an SLR (who is likely to just use the auto mode on the camera most of the time), the lens is "good enough." It might be a little soft, and it might have some issues with color and light at the edges of the lens, but this is mostly going to be at wide-open aperatures, which most cameras generally don't select in auto mode, except in low light (when the picture isn't likely to come out well anyway).

Basically, it's my understanding that the kit lens is designed to make buying the camera more attractive, because you can get the kit (with lens) for less than just the body plus a separate lens, but they don't want to make the lens too good, or else people wouldn't buy other lenses.
posted by Godbert at 6:31 AM on July 25, 2006

The kit lens is mostly considered bad in comparison to the D70's kit lens - which is an excellent but relatively inexpensive lens. In and of itself the 18-55 is fine. You'll want to upgrade eventually but it'll serve you well in the mean time.
posted by voidcontext at 6:50 AM on July 25, 2006

There is a discussion in the D50 Flickr group on this very lens. I purchased the kit a couple months ago and have been happy with it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:00 AM on July 25, 2006

Generally agreeing with Godbert, but the quality of kit lenses has increased dramatically and are, as in this case, usually a decent enough zoom lens covering the most commonly used focal lengths. I'd say play around with it, discover its strengths and limitations, and, most importantly, decide what your next lens will be based on what and how you're shooting.
posted by docgonzo at 7:08 AM on July 25, 2006

Start saving for the Nikon 18-200 VR.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 7:10 AM on July 25, 2006

This is brilliant, thank you all! I hadn't thought my tag-on question would get much attention and I would have to wait a week!

What I really want to do with this camera is take some striking b/w portraits. Now that would be cool.
posted by dance at 7:20 AM on July 25, 2006

We're moving into an entirely different question here, but that's what makes AskMe beautiful . . .

The 18-55mm refers not to a digital sensor, but to a full 35mm film plane. On your D50, the lens will act as a 27-85mm zoom. This souldn't affect your photography at all, but it's something to bear in mind.

The main reason I avoid kit lenses (I also use a D50) is their incredibly poor speed. They simply can't take decent images under many lighting conditions. As I prefer to shoot in natural light on the street, this is huge for me. I'll not go into a protracted discussion of apertures and shutter speeds here, but you'll want to read up on this if you to make full use of your DSLR.

I use the f2 35mm and f1.8 50mm lenses with my D50 and am thrilled with the results. These cover about the same range as the 18-55 kit lens but allows me to shoot in the subway, late into the evening, in shady conditions, etc. That simply wouln't be possible with the kit zoom lens without using the dinky, built-in flash.
posted by aladfar at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2006

FWIW, the 18-55mm DX lens is actually a very nice walkaround lens.

Yes, primes are quicker and perfom better in low-light conditions, but you sacrifice the conveniece of the single lens. I also have 35mm and 50mm lenses, but I wouldn't trade them for my 18-70mm. Sometimes I don't mind carrying 3+ lenses; but most of the time I don't feel like dragging all my equipment with me.
posted by bhayes82 at 8:34 AM on July 25, 2006

dance writes "Can anyone advise on why the bundled 'kit lens' is so bad? This question comes of reading through past AskMefi questions."

It's only "bad" in comparison to other Nikon stuff in the same range (but for way more money). For a zoom it's not a bad lense, optically it's probably better than 99% of the P&S digitals. Mechanically it has a lot of plastic components which means it isn't as durable as all metal lenses. On the other hand it is a lot lighter.

If you plan on building a kit and you are going to have any low light on your vacation pick up a 50/1.8 AF-D. It's fast, cheap like borsch and far and away the best bang for you buck of any new Nikon glass. Plus with the D50's crop factor it is a decent portrait lense. You'll be able to compare pictures taken with it to those taken with your zoom and make your own decision on the adequacy of the kit lense.

Have fun and try to force yourself to take at least a 100 pictures per day.
posted by Mitheral at 8:36 AM on July 25, 2006

The 18-55mm refers not to a digital sensor, but to a full 35mm film plane. On your D50, the lens will act as a 27-85mm zoom.

Just to clarify the language a bit here:

Lens focal lengths are customarily quoted in "real" mm. Since most digital camera targets are smaller than the 24x36mm of a traditional 135 film frame, a multiplication facter has to be applied, to get an "effective focal length" which fits with photographers' experience and expectation.

So the above quote is slightly misleading.

The "real" focal length of the lens is 18-55mm, but to a 35mm photographer, it will "feel like" a 27-85mm zoom.

And yeah: 18-200 VR. Wow.
posted by baylink at 8:48 AM on July 25, 2006

Tag on: what next lens would the experts here recommend? I have the D50 w/ the kit lens and yeah, it's OK, but I am thinking of saving up for either a better lens or a better flash. (I should have bought the D70, but it totally wasn't an option at the time.)
posted by peep at 9:11 AM on July 25, 2006

D50 owner here too. You'll love it.
I must agree on the 18-200, it took a while to get it, but WOW I love it. The Kit lens isn't bad, it's just not as nice as what the camera can do. A 50mm F1.8 is another great lens, it'll take very nice portraits! When I first got the D50, I used an even cheaper zoom lens, it was an old autofocus lens I had with my Nikon N2020. I took some fantastic shots with it before I spent any additional money.

What I'm trying to say is, you will not be disappointed with the kit lens, just remember that you may want to look at something "better" in the future. I say "better" because depending on what you do, "better" can be a whole range of things. Enjoy the camera!
posted by defcom1 at 9:16 AM on July 25, 2006

peep writes "I am thinking of saving up for either a better lens or a better flash. (I should have bought the D70, but it totally wasn't an option at the time."

It really depends on what you want to do. Landscapes require a tripod rather than a flash. Wildlife photography requires long lenses. Macro photography is easiest done on your body with one of the Micro Nikkor lenses. Faster lenses are almost always better but certian looks require the low depth of field of a 200/2.8.

Photo Net is probably a better place to ask these questions. It's Metafilter for photography (despite the Marketing-MBA name).

If you start looking at Nikon lenses your going to want to know what the smeg do all those letters mean.
posted by Mitheral at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2006

And yeah: 18-200 VR. Wow.
posted by baylink

That is some cost @ c.£500! Presumably it's pretty versatile...?
posted by dance at 6:32 AM on July 26, 2006

The 18-200 is popular but it is slooow at the long end (F5.6) and not all that quick on the wide end. VR only helps with camera shake not object movement. It might be a good choice for a single lense to take on vacation but I'd want at least one fast lense and something with a bit more reach as well.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 AM on July 26, 2006

Can anyone advise on whether it's okay to cancel the pop-up flash by holding it down? Thanks!
posted by dance at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2006

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