View Full Version : D50 + what lens? New to dSLR & budget conscious...

Pancho Urbano
02-05-2006, 11:21 AM

I'm working with a small budget here ($600 - $700), and with a new baby and some returns of a couple of christmas gifts, I am looking to move into dSLR. I was considering the Pentax *istDL which can be had for under $600 with the 18-55 kit lens because my brother has a couple of Sigma lenses for his old Pentax film SLR I could use. But the D50 sure does feel great in my big hands and I'm completely seduced by the bang for the buck with this little Nikon.

I was looking at the current prices - $600 for the D50 with the 28-80mm lens, and about $650 for the 18-55mm lens. Then I saw the body only for less than $500, and thought I could pick up the body plus the 50mm f/1.8D for the same price as with the kit lens - and it seems that all you folks really admire that 50mm lens. What would you recommend? What might be my next lens (bang for the buck)?

I will be taking plenty of shots indoors with the baby, but I really like landscape shots and I'm looking for versatility and quality. I don't like using a flash indoors if I don't have to.

Thanks for your thoughts.

PS - I also have a couple of old lenses from my Yashica camera - are those compatable with anything?! Cool film camer, though.

02-05-2006, 01:44 PM
I would suggest the D50 and kit lens. While the kit lens isn't the best, it will work until you can get a replacement and will produce some nice pictures. The 50mm prime is a great lens for portraits and low light shooting, however it doesn't offer much flexibility (you have to move to get the image in frame), I would suggest this lens in addition to the kit (or other zoom lens).
While the pentax is a nice camera the quality of the D50 will be better and you will be able to grow into the lenses. What most new buyers don't understand is that the body isn't the investment, the lenses are. The body will be replaced a few times over the next 10-15 years, but the lenses (unless they change mounts) will not be. Good Luck and make sure you post pictures of your new baby :)

Pancho Urbano
02-05-2006, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the advice. What do you think is the better choice regarding the kit lens for the D50, and why (18-55mm or 28-80mm?)

Are the kit lenses comparable to the 50mm in terms of quality?


02-05-2006, 06:43 PM
Pancho, you may find these threads helpful:




It helped me to know that the "normal" (read: equivalent to human eye) lens for a DSLR is 33mm. Post to let us know what you think of your new camera!

02-06-2006, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the advice. What do you think is the better choice regarding the kit lens for the D50, and why (18-55mm or 28-80mm?)

Are the kit lenses comparable to the 50mm in terms of quality?


The 18-55 would be the better choice between these two as a day-to-day lens. I assume that you know that the sensors in most dSLR's are smaller than 35mm frames by a factor of 1.5 (1.6 for Canon). This is know as the "crop factor multiplier" or just crop factor.

This means that an 18-55 lens has the same equivalent field of view as a 27mm-82.5mm lens on a 35mm camera (similar to the 28-80 on 35mm), and consequently the 28-80 lens is now 42-120 35mm equivalent.

The kit lenses are probably pretty close in quality to the 50mm f/1.8, at f/8 to f/11, but with these small aperture settings they are not very good for low light shooting without a flash. Whereas the 50mm f/1.8 is very clean by about f/2.8 allowing 3 full stops more light to the sensor. A very good low light shooter, but as has already been mentioned foot-zoom is required.

After using the (excellent) 18-70 DX kit lens that came with my D70 for a few months I decided that I needed a little more range, so I opted for the Sigma 18-125 f/3.5-5.6. A sharp lens (center to about 90% of the edge/corners), but vignettes (dark corners) at 18mm wide open (f/3.5), but by f/5.6 this is not a problem. For shallow DOF (bokeh), and low light non-flash situations I have the 35mm f/2 and 50mm/f1.8 to fill the gap on a budget.

I found that buying the SB800 compensated very nicely for not having a fast zoom lens, and is accurate enough so that with practice (and reading the manual) indoor photos are very nice, and as a side benefit provides excellent outdoor fill-flash as well. Also by using a diffusor, or bouncing the flash, I get very few "blink" shots. The SB600 will give similar results at a lower cost, but does not have the built-in Commander mode, and is a little less powerful.

Bottom line: The 18-55 kit lens seems to work well from about f/8. Combined with a decent flash (SB600/800) and diffused, or bounced, and a little practice, you should get great shots with very little flash intrusion. Add the 50mm f/1.8 and you should be ready for just about anything. If you want a little more reach the Sigma 18-125 is a thrifty solution at ~$270.

Most people don't want to learn how to use a speedlight, so they simply dismiss it with excuses. For candid shooting a fast lens is still a good answer, but with reasonably priced advanced speedlights available, time spent learning may be money and time saved.;)

Pancho Urbano
02-06-2006, 02:15 PM
Thanks for the lens info. The 18-55mm kit lens coupled with the 50mm prime might be a great combo until I can move deeper into the lens budget.

At the same time, I now see the Pentx *ist DL with their kit lens 18-55 for under $550. Seems like a good camera - not as fast AF as Nikon, but same Sony sensor. Cheaper pentax lenses of good quality? Pentax are not the Dynamic Duo in today's market (Canon & Nikon), but the camera seems more than compentent, yes?


02-06-2006, 02:36 PM
The Pentax has the same sensor, but the results it gives a very different. Nikon uses rather strong in camera processing, while pentax does the opposite, their photos seem a bit flat and soft before post prosessing. The Pentax *istDS(2) gives better results than the *istDL, and should be preferred, not in the least for its better view finder.

Nikon has the stronger lens lineup, something to take into consideration.