The D50 was available from June, 2005, and was in production for less than 18 months. It was designed as a stripped-down version of the D70, but in fact it is a better camera, particularly in rendering highlights, and in its automatic focus capability.
You have to be quite determined to injure the D50. Although it’s made of plastic, it’s tough and robust. Consequently it’s a very lightweight camera whilst having professional characteristics such as the ability to use the early generation of Nikon AF lenses which are screw-driven by a motor in the camera (i.e. backwards-compatible). Also, there is an LCD screen on the top plate. Both these features were abandoned when Nikon introduced the D40 as their new ‘starter’ digital SLR. Significantly, the D40 had two fewer AF points: three, compared to the D50’s five. The D50’s highest flash-sync shutter speed is 1/500th second. The superior D90 is limited to 1/200th. In many respects the D50 is a very well specified camera. Battery life between charges is impressive, especially with the EN-EL3e variant.
The real test of a digital camera is the quality of the images it delivers. Obviously this depends to some extent on the lens you use, but disregarding that, many reviewers have remarked on the capability of the CCD sensor of this camera. From 200 to 800 ISO there is no discernible noise and even the fastest setting of 1600 ISO is very useable. You’ll have to look long and hard to find chromatic aberrations, and the saturation resembles the kind of colour transparencies that Velvia provided. The D50 does an amazing job rendering JPEG files. Its performance in this respect is probably better than raw. For straight-out-of-camera photographs with strong colour fidelity and saturation, it’s marvellous.