Value never looked so good. The D50 puts a pro-quality digital SLR in reach of ambitious amateurs who want to move beyond snapshotswithout shelling out more than they paid for their first car. With the ability to swap out lenses and go manual, it allows utmost creativity. And cutting-edge technologylike a smart flash that solves tricky lighting for youensures great pics even if you don't know a megapixel from a memory card.
Nikon D50 $760 www.nikonusa.com
1. For roughly the same price as a high-end point-and-shoot, you get a host of pro features like high-speed 2.5-frame-per-second shooting, RAW-format capabilities (for the best image capture), a smart flash, and the versatility to stick any compatible Nikkor lens out front.
2. Capturing fast action is simple with the D50, thanks to a lightning-quick autofocus system that automatically tracks moving subjects. Even on dimly lit forest trails on Vancouver's North Shore, I was able to nail perfectly sharp midair shots of my mountain-biking buddies.
3. Nikon has clearly done its ergonomics homework: With a rubberized grip, intuitively placed buttons, and a soft eyepiece, the D50 felt like an extension of my body minutes after I began shooting. Even the lens it ships withan 1855mm f/3.55.6fits comfortably in the hand.
4. Point-and-shoot ease lets you capture impressive stuff on full automatic pilot, while manual controlover primary features such as focus and exposure, plus the option to tweak details like color saturation, white balance, and contrastoffers unbeatable creativity.
5. The 6.1-megapixel D50's sophisticated pop-up flash simplifies candid indoor shooting by eliminating red eyes, overblown highlights, and ghostly skin tones. It's even smart enough to read challenging backlight outdoors and compensate with a little burst of fill flash.