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View Full Version : D50 vs D80? Should I go with a D80? Have you any experience with the differences?



morkys
07-05-2007, 03:29 PM
[Flame suit on!]
Yes, I know, another comparison thread! Sorry folks. I am buying my first DSLR. I could get the D50 and the 18-70 or the D80. I have used a Nikon FE film SLR camera and a Canon S1 and S2 IS. I find I am enjoying photography more and more and I like taking all sorts of pictures. Landscape and random scene shots and wildlife. I want to enjoy using the camera and I want the camera which produces the best images. I would like to be able to crop wildlife shots where I "couldn't get any closer" before the "(fill in the blank wildlife)" flew or ran away.

Any thoughts as to what I should consider? I am willing to invest in good glass and get a nice zoom a little later on. I can get the D50 used for $499 CDN and the D80 is $1069 CDN new. It's a combo gift/purchase meaning if I go for the D80 I'll be spending some of my own cash, which I won't mind if it gets me good results.

What I'm looking for is for people's experience comparing the two camera bodies with the same glass. Looking for comparisons of camera handling and convenience, image noise, contrast, colour, WB, exposure, focussing, metering, file format results, etc etc. What did you like or dislike about either camera and with which body could you get the results you wanted? Did it require post processing etc?

Lot's of questions, but just let me know what you think about these two bodies and why I should choose one over the other.

thanks in advance for any feedback...
[Flame suit off!/]
:)

Sambru
07-05-2007, 03:50 PM
I am new at this as well, I bought the D80 body only because I have2 a 35-70mm Nikkor AF, 70-210 Nikkor AF already and I bought a 18-70 mm Nikkor Dx along with a 70 -300 Nikkor VR . I really enjoy my D80 I cant seem to want to put it down, It too had an FE then switched to a Nikon 601 then to the D80, from what I hear the D80 is an "improved D50" but what do I know.

fionndruinne
07-05-2007, 04:09 PM
Now, I haven't had much experience with either of these lens choices... but I'd say, save your money on the 18-70mm by getting the 18-55mm kit (I believe it's less pricey), and for your telephoto, get a new 55-200mm VR. I've heard some negatives about the 18-70mm, but the new VR lens is a killer bargain.

coldrain
07-05-2007, 04:37 PM
There are a number of differences between the D50 and D80.
The D50 has an older 6.1 mp sensor. It has a tad less dynamic range, but that is not noticable under most circumstances.
the 10.2 mp of the D80 obviously have one advantage: when you crop, you have a bit more room. So, that seems to be a plus in your case.

Both are good at higher ISO, the D50 maybe just a tad better... but this difference can hardly make a difference in your decision.

Exposure wise, both are bright. The D50 maybe is a bit too bright, but that is easily compensated. Colour wise, both deliver very staturated results standard. Both also allow you to change the settings of sharpness, saturation and contrast to your liking.
The D80 allows for more precise control over white balance.
The D80 has the more advanced AF system, this might be an important plus too, especially when tracking wildlife/birds.

About file format results... the D50 has quiet good JPEG results, the D80 too, but I find the D80's noise reduction a bit intrusive in JPEG.
In RAW both offer the same...

RAW of course will require some post processing (it needs to be 'developed'), do take into account that you will need a good RAW convertor for that. If you own Photoshop CS2/3 you already have access to good RAW processing.. otherwise you will have to factor in the costs of a RAW convertor. Nikon's own Capture NX costs $150 USD. There are many good RAW convertors on the market, both for Windows and for Mac OS X.

You can set both to your personal liking, so with JPEG you can minimize post processing with both cameras.

The D80 has a bigger, brighter view finder and 2 exposure settings wheels.
It also allows for checking depth of field, and has a semi-mirror lock up function.

All in all, I have the idea that in the long run you will be happier with the D80, if you can afford it. But the D50 is capable too.

As for lenses, you will need a lot longer than the proposed 55-200 lens above, for wild life. A 400mm lens would be a better idea.
400mm zoom lenses "on a budget" worth considering:
Sigma 80-400mm OS (~$950 USD)
Sigma 135-400mm (~$600 USD)

morkys
07-05-2007, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the advice and feedback folks. Here is what I ended up with:

Used D50 with only minor wear/cracking on the rubber eye-peice.
Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor.
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR Nikkor.

The D80 is probably a better camera, and the D200 better still, but for now, the D50 is a great affordable start. Maybe I'll like it enough to keep it for quite a while and then if the upgrade bug bites later, perhaps by then there will be a newer D80 or D200.

The 18-70 doesn't seem to have bad enough reviews for me to skip. I bought it used at $269, so the value seems to be there.

70-300 VR zoom for wildlife is what I could afford and I got 10% off!

thanks for the feedback folks,

:)

P.S. I asked for this advice 2 hours before going out to check out the used D50 and 18-70 and make a decision, so I didn't have much time to check the comments here. It was a last minute attempt at helping me decide. Frankly, the body and 18-70 were a birthday gift and I bought the 70-300 myself. The D80 seemed quite a bit more than the used D50, so it didn't seem affordable. Having lot's of good quailty glass to start seemed more important.

...Now, who knows, I may turn around and sell or otherwise swap the D50 for the D80 within the next few weeks. I'll see what I think. :)

tcadwall
07-05-2007, 11:23 PM
Yeah, next time do your research earlier... You sound like one of the people that I would recommend the D80 over the D50.

The D80 has more dedicated controls. That is big. The D80 having two wheels (as CR mentioned) for exposure saves you from having to double up functionality of the wheel while you are setting exposure. You have Shutterspeed under your thumb and aperture under your middle finger. VERY convenient.

The other thing you might be interested in with the D80 would be its ability to have full i-TTL control over remote flashes. The D50 lacks this as well.

I am certain you will get good results with the D50, but I would almost bet that you will also be upgrading sooner than most.

coldrain
07-06-2007, 02:13 AM
That is a nice setup to start with, morkys.
Since you are on a budget, the choice for the D50 is understandable.

I hope you will enjoy your new toys!

morkys
07-06-2007, 03:25 AM
Yeah, next time do your research earlier... You sound like one of the people that I would recommend the D80 over the D50.

The D80 has more dedicated controls. That is big. The D80 having two wheels (as CR mentioned) for exposure saves you from having to double up functionality of the wheel while you are setting exposure. You have Shutterspeed under your thumb and aperture under your middle finger. VERY convenient.

The other thing you might be interested in with the D80 would be its ability to have full i-TTL control over remote flashes. The D50 lacks this as well.

I am certain you will get good results with the D50, but I would almost bet that you will also be upgrading sooner than most.

I did lot's of research over the last few weeks and the D80 did sound good, but for now, the D50 was more affordable and the money I spent on lens can be carried over to a D80/D200 or similar when the time comes. This message I posted was for additional last minute advice. Plus, the camera and 18-70 was a borthday gift to me, and so, well, you get the idea :)

tcadwall
07-06-2007, 06:40 AM
I didn't mean to rain on your decision. It is still a great camera that takes great pictures.

I can't argue with getting good glass that is for sure. Stick around and post some pics in the Picture of the Day thread. Ask more questions... etc.

Just in case you wait til the last minute to ask about flash, do a search on this forum, you will see that a SB600 or SB800 will be a great addition for the D50 AND for the future, since both of those have capability to be controlled remotely...

morkys
07-06-2007, 02:18 PM
I didn't mean to rain on your decision. It is still a great camera that takes great pictures.

I can't argue with getting good glass that is for sure. Stick around and post some pics in the Picture of the Day thread. Ask more questions... etc.

Just in case you wait til the last minute to ask about flash, do a search on this forum, you will see that a SB600 or SB800 will be a great addition for the D50 AND for the future, since both of those have capability to be controlled remotely...

How do you like the 18-200 VR II and how does it compare to the 18-70 and 70-300 for image quality?

tcadwall
07-06-2007, 08:51 PM
How do you like the 18-200 VR II and how does it compare to the 18-70 and 70-300 for image quality?
LOL - I don't think you realize how tough of a question you just asked! :D

How do I like it? For the money, and for the convenience, and yes, considering those, for the IQ - I love it!

Now, this means we are talking about compromise. We are talking about a consumer level lens. We are talking about an extreme focal range, and we are talking about quite acceptable IQ.

I have a lot of respect for thom's opinions http://www.bythom.com If you go to his site, and click on the Nikon tab, you will see a lot of lens and camera reviews. While he might be a tad Nikon-centric he does put Nikon to task on certain things - but he also keeps in mind target audience for each product he reviews - something that is very rare.

I have not done any comparisons, but what I consider downsides to the lens? At 200mm it *can* be soft. I am not even sure why, because it is likely my shooting more than the lens - since sometimes the sharpness suprises me.

This lens allows you to go on vacation and get any type of shot you need without changing lenses. Not perfect at every shot, but very respectable. VR is EXTREMELY effective and cannot be blown off.

Personally, I need this lens. I use it for my business. I must go from very wide angle shots, to very close up shots. I am framing small items, large items, rooms, buildings, landscaping, etc. AND time is the critical factor. I must be fast. Everything about my business is about efficiency. Switching lenses? That is something that I just can't afford to spend time doing. Converting from RAW? no time for that either (but all my personal shots are raw). It is all about workflow, and I would be very unhappy with any other setup. It is a major plus that it does the great job it does, in quite varying lighting conditions, with and without a tripod / lighting.

NOW, indoor rec-league basketball... Don't even put it on the camera. Rec-league baseball under the lights, you are pushing it. Daytime outdoor sports - it does a decent job, but better glass would still be nice.

So - the long answer above, the short answer here - If you like the idea of not having to change lenses often, but are shooting a large variety of pictures, this lens rocks. If you aren't in a hurry, and want the best zoom lenses, go with a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8, and a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Add a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro. Then again, maybe you want something wider as well... Don't forget the 50mm f/1.8 Hehehe... Ok.. I think you get the point... The 18-200mm VR - for what it does it does it very well. It is considered the best lens with that focal range, but if you don't mind spending a TON more, and switching lenses, then you might choose to buy more.

I don't think that it is going to hurt up against the lenses you mention. They aren't pro glass or anything - but they probably do as well or slightly better. But - again, it isn't only about having the top-notch quality. Remember this lens still fairs pretty well on 10+MP sensors.

morkys
07-06-2007, 11:19 PM
Ok, I'll stick with the 70-300 ED VR for now I guess. May migrate to the D80 sooner than I thought though :)

longroad
07-06-2007, 11:42 PM
Ok, I'll stick with the 70-300 ED VR for now I guess. May migrate to the D80 sooner than I thought though :)

That lens on the D80 is a killer combo for those on a budget ;)

morkys
07-07-2007, 08:23 AM
I notice that many people find no use for film SLR once they go with digital SLR. Any thoughts on that and roughly what my kit would be worth used?

Nikon FE
Nikor 50 mm 1.8
Sigma mini-wide II 28 mm
Sigma DL Zoom 75-300 mm

thanks,

:)

longroad
07-10-2007, 06:29 AM
I notice that many people find no use for film SLR once they go with digital SLR. Any thoughts on that and roughly what my kit would be worth used?

Nikon FE
Nikor 50 mm 1.8
Sigma mini-wide II 28 mm
Sigma DL Zoom 75-300 mm

thanks,

:)

Alot of people still love film and I see alot of people on forums who use both film and digital.
If you want to sell that equipment I suggest going to the Nikonians forum. There are alot of old school and very experienced photographers there who love their film and would no doubt be interested in purchasing it.