Nikon D50

Nikon's 6.1-megapixel D50 digital SLR model fits nicely into the latest digital camera trend: making interchangeable-lens photography accessible to shooters who don't have deep pockets.

The choice between the D50 and the 6.1-megapixel $1999 (with 18-70mm lens) D70s is an interesting dilemma. The two Nikons are near twins in look (both have 2in LCDs), function, and megapixel count. The D50 is a bit smaller and lighter, though, and it accepts SD (Secure Digital) media cards exclusively (the D70s accepts Microdrive and CompactFlash).

The D50 also lacks some controls as compared with the D70s. You'll still get most of what a hobbyist photographer might look for, though, and intermediate photographers should find the D50 easier to use than the D70s. Shooting in automatic mode, our shipping D50's images were brighter and had livelier colour. According to Nikon, this is by design: the D70s is biased toward underexposure by default, while the D50 is tuned for those photographers who want to minimise the time they spend tweaking their shots on a computer

The D50 supports Nikon lenses you might already have from a film camera but in Australia, you can't buy the body new on its own. Instead, we have silver or black Nikon D50 kits which include the body and an 18-55mm lens ($1599) or body and 55-200mm lens ($1899). Purchases made before September 30 receive a free 70-300mm lens (worth $365) and three years technical support. Not bad.

Verdict The D50 is a fine entry-level digital SLR, particularly if you own some Nikon lenses. We suggest you also take a look at Canon's EOS 350D, but if you're set on the D50 then get in before September 30 for the extras.

Nikon D50
Price: $1599 (with 18-55mm lens); $1899 (with 55-200mm lens)
Distributor: Maxwell Optical Industries
Phone: 1300 366 499
Specs: 6.1Mp SLR camera; 3008x2000 max resolution; SD-card slot (no card provided); 2in LCD viewfinder; 55mm max focal length; 3.5 1/f max aperture; 200-1600 ISO settings; 30s-4000 1/f shutter speed; internal or accessory shoe flash; 400mAh Li-Ion battery; USB; 540g (without battery); 133x102x76mm.

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