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Nikon D50 Image Samples Compared to Nikon D70s
and Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D kit



 

June 6th, 2005.

With the introduction of the Nikon D50 digital SLR, we have received a number of emails asking us how the camera compares to both the Canon Digital Rebel XT and the Nikon D70s digital SLR's.

We have now had the opportunity to test the Nikon D50 versus the Canon Digital Rebel XT and the Nikon D70s DSLR's side by side, using the lenses supplied in their respective kit packages, and have posted comparison images taken outdoors in Auto Scene Mode and under lower lighting conditions at 1600 ISO. See how the cameras performed below.

June 10th, 2005

Update: Nikon D50 DSLR kit versus Canon Rebel XT kit side by side image comparison taken with manual exposure settings added below.


Nikon D50 DSLR Kit Image Samples Compared to
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D Kit in Manual Exposure Mode


Nikon D50 Kit Sample in Manual Exp Mode

.

Canon Rebel XT Kit Sample in Manual Exp Mode

  • Nikon D50 with Nikkor DX AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED (Nikon D50 kit lens)
  • Manual Exposure Mode with Multi-Pattern
    Metering
  • 1/40 sec at f8 based on camera meter
  • ISO 200
  • sRGB Colour Mode IIIa with hue adjustment +3°
  • Auto White Balance
  • Auto Sharpening

Click here to see larger Nikon D50 image

 
  • Canon Rebel XT with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
    (Rebel XT kit lens)
  • Manual Exposure Mode with Multi-Area
    Metering
  • 1/50 sec at f8 based on camera meter
  • ISO 200
  • sRGB with Parameter 1
  • Auto White Balance
  • Auto Sharpening

Click here to see larger Canon Rebel XT image

Nikon D50 Kit Sample in Manual Exp Mode
Unsharp Mask in Photoshop

.

Canon Rebel XT Kit Sample in Manual Exp Mode
Unsharp Mask in Photoshop

Same settings as above. Nikon D50 image processed in Photoshop with Unsharp Mask applied (same as XT)
 

Same settings as above. Rebel XT image processed in Photoshop with Unsharp Mask applied



 

Nikon D50 Image Samples Compared to Nikon D70s
and Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D kit in Auto Scene Mode


Nikon D50 kit Image Sample in Auto Landscape

.
Canon Rebel XT kit Image Sample in Auto Landscape

  • Nikon D50 with new Nikkor DX AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED (Nikon D50 kit lens)
  • Landscape Mode with Multi-Pattern Metering
  • Note: In Auto Landscape Scene Mode, the Nikon D50 choose to select Auto 400 ISO

Click here to see larger Nikon D50 image

 
  • Canon Rebel XT with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
    (Rebel XT kit lens)
  • Landscape Mode with Multi-Area Metering
  • The Canon Digital Rebel XT was set to 200 ISO in Auto Landscape Scene Mode

Click here to see larger Canon Rebel XT image

Nikon D70s Image Sample in Auto Landscape

 
Nikon D70s Image Sample Post Processed

  • Nikon D70s with Nikkor DX AF-S 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (Nikon D70s kit lens)
  • Landscape Mode with Multi-Pattern Metering
  • 200 ISO Sensitivity
  • Note: The Nikon D70s applies a much more conservative in camera processing approach compared to the Nikon D50 digital SLR

Click here to see larger Nikon D70s image

 
  • Nikon D70s sample image after post processing.
  • Unsharp Mask applied in Photoshop
  • Levels adjustment in Photoshop

 



Nikon D50 compared to Nikon D70s and Canon Rebel XT at 1600 ISO

Download larger Nikon D50 vs Canon Rebel XT vs Nikon D70s side by side comparison crop

  • From left to right, 1st sample is from the Nikon D70S with the AF-S DX 18-70mm Nikkor, the image in the middle is from the Nikon D50 with the AF-S DX 18-55, and the last is from the Canon Rebel XT with the EF-S 18-55mm lens.

  • The three D-SLR's were all set to Program Auto Mode to see how well these cameras would perform with basic user friendly settings.

  • The exception to this setup, was that we decided to use White Balance (WB) preset to see how the cameras would respond in terms of saturation and color when treated evenly.

    Nikon D50 at 1600 Color Chart Test (Large File)

    Canon Rebel XT at 1600 ISO Color Chart Test (Large File)

EXIF for the Nikon D70s sample

  • Program Mode at 1/5 sec and f/4.5
  • ISO 1600
  • WB Preset
  • Colour Mode Ia sRGB

EXIF for the Nikon D50 sample

  • Program Mode at 1/5 sec and f/4.8
  • ISO 1600
  • WB Preset
  • Colour Mode Ia sRGB

EXIF for Canon Rebel XT sample

  • Program Mode at 1/5 sec and f/4.8
  • ISO 1600
  • WB Custom
  • Parameter I

 


Looking to buy the
Nikon D50 or the Canon Digital Rebel XT ? We recommend B&H Photo.


Image Comparison Analysis:

Comparing the results from the Nikon D50 digital SLR with the Nikon D70s and the Canon Rebel XT, a number of conclusions can be made.

In our opinion, the Nikon D50 provides the most consistent and "best" straight out of camera results. The in-camera processing that occurs in the Nikon D50, in terms of sharpening and tone adjustments, produces images that are very pleasing to the eye when viewed straight out of the camera. Ideal for users who want to go directly to print without having to worry about software post processing in a computer.

The Canon Digital Rebel XT comes in a close second, however, the Rebel XT by default applies less in camera sharpening, which has a tendancy to make the images look a little softer. We did notice that even after post processing, the Canon Rebel XT images did not look as sharp as those from the Nikon D50, indicating that Nikon's new AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED lens is a bit sharper than the Canon EF-S lens that comes in the Rebel XT kit. Nevertheless, the Canon Rebel XT produces very good image quality in its own right.

In comparison, the images from the Nikon D70s have a tendancy to look a little flat and softer than those from the Nikon D50, when viewed straight out of the camera. Nikon has adopted a much more conservative approach to in-camera processing with the Nikon D70s, realizing that there are certain disadvantages as opposed to proper post processing with external software applications, such as Nikon Capture or Adobe Photoshop.

As can be seen in the sample images above, the Nikon D50 produces images that are very pleasing out of the box. When compared with the Nikon D70s image that has been post processed, however, you can see that there are blown highlight details in the Nikon D50 image that are still well maintained in the Nikon D70s shot. We suspect that the intended users of the Nikon D50 will find that the advantage of being able to have very good image quality out of camera by simply using Auto settings, will outweight the negatives as mentioned.

Applying a slight unsharp mask and levels adjustment in Photoshop to the Nikon D70s "Landscape Mode" image, produces results that outperforms both the Nikon D50 and the Canon Digital Rebel XT with their respective kit lenses. To be fair, the Nikon D70s comes bundled with a superior (and higher priced) lens, the AF-S DX 18-70mm f3/5-5.6G IF-ED Nikkor zoom, so the results should not be surprising.

With respect to the 1600 ISO noise comparison, it can be seen that the Nikon D50 image is cleaner compared to the Canon Rebel XT depending on the colour channel. The Nikon D70s images at 1600 ISO are noisier than both the other models.

We feel that this is as a result of less in camera high ISO noise reduction being applied in the Nikon D70s, as well as the fact that both the Nikon D50 and the Canon Rebel XT feature a different sensor design compared to the Nikon D70s. If you are going to cover indoor events and rock concerts, at higher ISO settings the Nikon D50 might just be the answer.

With respect to the Auto White Balance (AWB) setting, the Nikon D50 produces slightly warmer tones compared to the Digital Rebel XT and the Nikon D70s. All three cameras did a pretty good job when set to AWB in our tests, however, nothing beats setting white balance based on manual presets if possible.

Bottom line, if you are looking for very good image quality overall and a user friendly camera system, you can not go wrong with either the Nikon D50 or the Canon Rebel XT DSLR kit package.

If you have a preference for Canon, for those that are planning to use the camera for more advanced applications you might want to take a closer look at some of Canon's step up zoom lenses with the Rebel XT, and as a better option due to improved performance and overall durability, the popular Canon EOS 20D DSLR.

Likewise, for advanced amateurs and those with professional applications who are looking to buy a Nikon, and want the creative control that post processing offers and desire the absolute best output in comparison, in our view there is simply no doubt, seriously consider the Nikon D70s kit with Nikon's AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens. Otherwise, in our opinion, the Nikon D50 kit package looks like a great choice.





Related Links

Nikon D50 Compared to Nikon D70s and Canon Rebel XT Spec's

Nikon D50 DSLR Image Samples and Nikon D70s DSLR Image Samples

Canon Rebel XT Compared to Canon Digital Rebel

See our earlier review of the Nikon D70 Digital SLR


 
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