Nikon D50 vs Canon 350D


I want to buy a new camera. I don’t have the money at the moment, but when it comes knocking at my door I want to know which camera I should get. Seeing I am a point and shoot photographer I don’t know much about digital SLRs. However, I hope to learn, and one day become a world famous photographer.

Ok, maybe not quite, but I do want to be able to decorate my house with my own personal photos. And I want the photos to have a wow factor.

I think I have narrowed my choice down to two cameras. The Nikon D50, and the Canon EOS 350D. Some people think the decision is easy, one of the cameras is far better than the other, others believe they are both great cameras.

What I want to know is what you, my readers, think? If you’ve got one of these cameras let me know what you think of it. If you have heard stories of one, tell me.

Have your say by commenting below.

Someone who has mastered photography, and must have a great camera, is Sam Basset. His photography is quite unique. Check out his portfolio on his website. Well worth the visit.

Sam Basset Photography

30 responses

  1. my 2c worth…
    I got the 350D, while a colleugue of mine has the D50. And with out a doubt and not being biased, the 350 takes the cake. Picture quality is so much better, and ease of use is a lot better to. To put it into perspective, I asked a photographer friend who photographs weddings for a living(shyte load of money to be made there, learn quick), and he agreed with me, saying that the canon outperformed the Nikon. its your call, but I am canon all the way 🙂

  2. Very interesting. Thanks Marc.

    Keep the comments coming.

  3. Hi Mark,

    I like the site!

    I’ve had a EOS350D for well over a year now and am very impressed with it. The standard kit lens is reasonable, but has not received any rave reviews. For my purposes, it’s not bad, though I’m thinking of upgrading to something that gives me better zoom and wide-angle capability. Being a point-and-shoot user, the 350D offers huge choice with its program modes. There’s no need to get into the intricacies of manual settings until you’re ready, and then there’s a lot of flexibility. Start-up times are excellent and the feature I use most often is burst mode. You’ll need a decent sized CF card that is quick enough to handle the throughput. Build quality is typical Canon quality and the camera should fit well into your hands (provided they’re not too big ;-)). It’s well balanced, too. Overall, I think this is an excellent camera. The Nikon probably has its fans too. My main reason for choosing Canon was simply previous experience with the brand: good printers, camcorders, etc. The best advice I can give is that you try them out at your local store…


  4. Why is everyone getting all these new toys… i need to get paid more! LOL

    Have a look at – it’s an excellent site to do side-by-side comparisons + good reviews.

  5. Thanks for that indepth comment Manfred, much appreciated. The Canon 350d looks like the clear winner so far…

    Thanks for the link Tripeak. That site rocks.

  6. Hi Mark,

    Since you’ve included a link to my site I figured that it would be worth my while to weigh in on this. 😉

    Having used both cameras, I got a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

    In the end, I’d say it comes down to the types of photos that you like to take. For me, the Canon excels at portrait work, while the Nikon is better suited for landscapes.

    Canon cameras tend to produce photos with slightly muted colors and that appear to be a bit “soft” – they require some software sharpening to really look crisp. This actually works well for portrait photographs, and the colors tend to be more natural for skin tones.

    The Nikon colors on the other hand are vibrant – reds, greens and blues come alive. It’s an exceptional camera to take on hikes during the fall and spring when there is color everywhere.

    I did have problems manipulating the controls on the Canon 350D since it is such a compact size. While I don’t have big hands, I do have long fingers, and it just didn’t hold quite as well as some other digital SLRs I have used. I would definitely recommend holding one at a local camera store and seeing how it feels.

    As for image quality – well, I really can’t say that one clearly beats the other. Judge for yourself – here’s an image taken with the Canon 350D ( and here’s a shot from the Nikon D50 (

    Hope this helps – good luck with your choice!

  7. Mark, if you’re a point and shoot photographer but still want the flexibility of a wide angle and a kickass zoom, plus be able to still tinker around with manual settings when you feel the need, why not consider the Samsung Pro815?

    The best feature is that you don’t need to change lenses for wide angle to zoom. Obviously, compared to the canon and nikon, this may also slightly be a drawback (if you want to upgrade to a much larger zoom lens).

    This camera should be able to hold me over for a couple of years…

  8. Wow, so much advice, thanks guys. Appreciate all the time spent.

    Chris your comment has summed up everything beautifully. Its time to start saving.

    Aquila that looks quite a kick ass camera. How much does it retail for? Thanks for making my decision even harder 🙂

  9. My brother bought a 350D and Sigma 300mm lens about 2 months ago, and even though I’m not really too much of a camera geek, I was well impressed by the general feel and ease of use. I have to agree with Chris on the colours, we actually noticed this as well, even though it can be relatively easily tweaked afterwards (if you’re not too obsessed with things like saturation!)

    That being said, the camera almost came second to what he got hold of at the same time: The Kata R103. I hate to give you even more options, but… Man oh man, if you’re the practical type, and need a piece of kit to drool over, this is it. So well designed it’s insane. Pretty expensive for a backpack (Close to R2k), it has to be seen and felt to be believed!

  10. One thing. The 350D kit lens is horrible – it’s very soft, has bad CA, is badly made and is a total pain in the arse to focus manually. I never use mine. Try and get the body only and you can have my kit lens (which I’m sure you’ll give up on soon enough) and rather get a 17-85mm EF-S (which can be had for R4859 because it probably is the best all-in-one lens for this camera.

    See for some very good (albeit slightly dated) advice on buying lenses for the 350.

    I’m going to go buy the EF 50mm f/1.8 next because it’s reeeeeeeeally sharp and hence has lovely colour and contrast.

    By the way, check out I’ve bought from them and they have the best prices and customer service I’ve found.

  11. Hi there,
    I tried out a 350D for 2 weeks and then I took out the Nikon D70s for 2 weeks. A friend of mine owns a well known camera shop – I even got some great lenses to play with. Now I am not a professional photogrpaher but I take a few hundred pics amonth for my work – Let me state right now – that I had a Canon EOS Elan and 300mm lenses plus TTl flashes, the works – it was a fab camera!!!!! Decided to change to digital and was hoping that I could migrate to the 350D as everything was so familiar – The Nikon outperformed the canon when it came down to the shots – colours were superb, photos were crisp, the focussing is awesome on the d70s, the camera is heavy (the 350D just flopped forward with a big lense on), the d70s is more expensive but worth the extra few rands. Whatever you buy – I am sure it wil serve you well but if there are two things you cannot be without – an excellent dedicated flash and a good basic lense (the 350d starter lense is crap) and the d70s starter lense is decent.
    I hope this helps… If you want to see some sample of photos taken with the d70s

  12. Lots of great comments and all on the nail. I’ve had a 350D since they arrived in SA and it rocks. I’ve never used a Nikon, but from what I’ve seen the colors it produces are nice and vivid. The Canon also has a vivid color mode, but I’ve just never given it a try. Kit lens is passable, but you’ll soon discover that buying the camera body is the cheap bit. Lenses are when it’s going to start hurting. I held out and got the 24-105 f4 L IS, which is a great lens, but quite pricey. Check out for great reviews and comments on the lenses that are available.

    As to your comment about Sam Basset having a great camera… when you go to a restaurant and have a great meal, do you compliment the chef by telling him he has a great stove ? 🙂 Having a kickass camera helps, but you can get some really awesome shots using a disposable – it’s all in the shot!

    good luck!

  13. So have you decided yet? I think the Samsung is around R7K excluding extra memory cards – guess a 1 Gig card (which I have) retails around R700 upwards depending on where you buy.

    For my needs (at this stage) it still is the best price/value for money – albeit that I’m limited to future upgrades as my needs increase.

    Have a couple of photographer friends who are really jealous – so that must count for something.

  14. Thanks for the comments Martin, Peter, Steve, Allan and Aquila. I really didn’t think I’d get such a response.

    Still haven’t decided yet Aquila, your camera is very tempting, but then the Canon looks a hot favourite here. The Nikon has had some good feedback, but I think Canon takes poll position.

    When the cash comes in and the decision is made, you’ll here about it right here . . .

  15. Hi
    You haven’t heard from any D50 users yet so I thought I’d join in. I bought a D50 recently. The reason for my decision had a lot to do with the available lenses for each camera system. Initially I was all set to get the 350D but the Canon kit lens is generally accepted to be worse than the Nikon kit lens (18-55). While trying to figure out what lens to get with the 350D instead of the kit lens and reading evaluations at slrgear and fredmiranda I realized that the lens selection (non pro L) was limited as most lens had poor ratings 6/10 or less. Contrast that to the Nikon lens reviews where even the basic lens get fairly good reviews (18-55, 55-200).

    In addition the Nikon flash system is generally said to be superior to the Canon. I am not sure why this is so, but getting an external flash was important to me.

    Lastly, coming from P&S, I really wanted that vivid color that you get with P&S cameras. The D50 has much more vivid colors than the 350D (as well as the D70s) although there are also some more subtle color options available as well as the ability to load custom curves into the camera (for JPEG use).


  16. Fantastic digital SLR at any price! – Nikon D50…

    First of all, I must admit that this is only my third digital camera, and first digital SLR. But it isn’t my first SLR … I have used a Canon Elan IIE for a number of years, and trust me, that camera is no slouch.
    But enough about me ……

  17. Hi

    There is a saying amongst photographers: “Amateurs argue about bodies, professionals argue about lenses, and veterans let their photos do the arguing…”

    If you take that point of view then I would go with the Nikon, because a body is only with you for 2-5 years, if you look after your lenses they can last 20 or more years, and I am pretty shure Nikon make better lenses, and have been doing so from 1930-something. Some people will say that the Canon “L” series lenses are very good, and they are, but so are many of the Nikons, and Nikon glass is much cheaper per performance than Canon, plus Nikon have many lenses with legendary status (the mere mention will make a “salted” photographer reminisce of days gone..), at least more than Canon have.

    You build up a collection of lenses over the years, and like most things its a horses for courses situation: if you want to shoot really wide: as good as the Nikon 12-24mm is the Canon 10-22mm is slightly better, and Canon have better 50mm primes, but Nikon is better at the long ranges (300mm, 400mm, 600mm etc), and if you want range and travel a lot then nothing can beat the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens.

    I return to your comparison: if you get the bundled kit lens, then I aggree with MazG: the Nikon 18-55 is quite a lot better than the Canon kit lens, refer to both ( and and to (

    With regards to noise at high ISO’s see the following:

    I am going to get the D50 for myself for the following reasons:
    1) The difference between 6 and 8 MP is very small ( you would have to print VERY large to notice the difference)
    2) The Nikon’s build-quality is far superior (not that Canon’s is bad, the D50 is just VERY good)
    3) SD memory cards as opposed to compact flash (they are cheaper and just as fast)
    4) Better kit lens and better Nikon lenses for the future, I will save up and get the 18-200mm VR later, and a couple of fast primes (f/1.8 or f/2)
    5) The biggest limit to my pictures would be me in any case
    6) Slightly better noise at all ISO’s except 1600
    7) Ability to shoot continous for more frames

    With regards to some of the above comments: both these cameras are highly adjustable with regard to sharpness, colour output (vividness – It is true that the D50 is more vivid than most because its default colour mode is mode III whereas the D70s is mode I)

    I am shure you will be happy with any one of the two cameras.

    Hope I was of some help.

  18. Thanks Nuudles, that is VERY helpful. I think in the last few weeks I’ve heard more positives about the Nikon. I think I might be changing my mind!

  19. About 7 months ago I spend quite a lot of time on research to decide which DSLR to buy myself. I wanted to get my foot into the Digital SLR market with as little as possible problems or issues and also wanted value for money.

    I compared quite a few cameras and specs. The cameras I initially looked at were the Nikon D50, Nikon D70, Canon 300D, Canon 350D, Pentax *ist DS and the Kodak P880(DSLR like – No interchangeable lenses unfortunately).

    A lot of guys try to shoot down the D50 for reasons like DOF metering, no Battery grip etc. Probably because of the age old war between Nikon and Canon camera fans. 99% of people will never use things like DOF metering, and btw, I get roughly about 1200+ shots per battery charge. I did buy myself an extra battery though, and therefore do not see the need for a battery grip. I sucessfully spend a few days in the Masai Mara and did not run out of batery power (Camping safari)

    My personal opininion and the results of my extensive research, is that the Nikon D50 is by far the best value for money in its class. I spoke to some professional guys (Dudes that do this for a living) and according to them (one even being a Canon fan) the D50 will be very hard to beat as an option in its class. Obviously if your willing to spend more money, there are a few other more professional Nikon/Canon Digital SLR’s to look at, but for me the cost had a big influence.

    At the end of the day there is not much difference between the D50 and the 350D. The Nikon does seem to have a slight advantage though when it comes to picture quality/price.

    Did go head to head with a 350D user at a wedding a while ago. mmmmmm. I think the D50 won there. But at the end of the day it could also just have been the photographers, who knows. I personally think that the right person can take excellent shots with any camera.

    Things I like about the D50.
    -Ease of use.
    -It feels like a camera!! (Nice body design).
    -Dials and buttons are easily reachable.
    -Brilliant photo quality.
    -Excellent built in flash. (Will buy a hotshoe flash later)
    -SD memory cards are cheaper than most other options and just as good/fast.
    -Built in help on camera menu
    -Logical Menu layout.
    -Easy to use.
    -Lightning fast start up.
    -Got mine in Silver!!
    -Excellent RAW.
    -Nice Manual modes.
    -Excellent Red Eye Reduction.
    -Excellent starter Kit lens.
    -The best “entry level” DSLR with Pro capabilities.
    -etc, etc etc etc etc etc etc …………

    Things I don’t like.
    -Accesories (as with most D SLR’s) are expensive, but I understand it’s still mostly cheaper and better than other manufacturers accessories.
    -No Backlight on top LCD. Only an issue if you are using your camera in low/bad light (If it is an issue – buy the D70).

    Have a look at and especially note what their conclusion is.

    Also before buying look at CCD/CMOS Sensor pro’s and con’s, at service centre backup’s (very important), and also at what you are going to use the camera for. If its just mostly a hobby like it is for me, I would suggest value for money to be the deciding factor. Then D50/D70 would do the job perfectly.

    BTW – Try Orms ( for the best prices.

    Hope this is still in time and that it helps.


  20. Thanks TJ. Most informative. I’m steering more and more towards the D50.

    I’m in the UK at the moment so Orms is out of the question.

    I have heard you can pick up some fantastic deals on the internet over here, alternatively Jessops is supposed to be very competitive.

    Thanks again for the help.

  21. […] The most popular keywords, on average each month, are “Nikon d50 vs. Canon eos 350d“, “350d”, “Mark Forrester”, and even occasionally “Growing Weed“ […]

  22. […] I took this pic with my new Canon 350d. Yup, that’s right, I finally bought it! Photographing fireworks without a tripod is a mission. The photo above is actually 2 photos, taken at different times during the night, with different shutter speeds. Together the composition best reflects what we saw over London. Awesome! […]

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  24. Anne-Marie Avatar

    Being very new to (proper) photography and plan to buy a proper camera. Someone told me to either buy a Nikon D50 or Canon 350D, and not being well-informed, i tried “googling” it and stumbled across this blog. Thank you all for the comments and helping me to decide on which camera i should spend my bonus! I think i’ll go with the Nikon… Can’t wait to get ‘snap-happy’ with it! i’ll definitely be back for help in choosing lenses and assessories. Thanks 😉

  25. Mark, thanks for a great site. I have been using my D50 for over a year and some with complete satisfaction. Once I snap on my old 80-200 2.8 Nikkor lens, the D50 produces results as good as any professional model (3x the price) Canon or Nikon body.

    I did try a generic battery grip however this makes for more cumbersome hand cradling of heavier lenses as well as being extremely unbalanced when setting the camera down on a flat surface (I now opt to carrying a backup battery in my pocket). The Nikon D50 does give me more than acceptable ‘quick access’ to white balance and exposure bracketing control and serves it’s purpose well for my needs.

  26. I have my D50 a Year now and i have 1200 photo’s on my website from it.
    I still love it its a rigid camera it fell from my desk and did have no problems.

    My brother got a Canon 350D its a very nice camera but to small and plastic to me

    I think there is no difference in quality that all depends on the photographer
    I have seen D50 photographer that where worser and better than me aswell Canon photographers.

    Ur camera just do what u let it do no more.

    U will find out soon that lenses come more important


  27. I bought a 350D about 12 months ago, as a follow up to my FZ20, and I have been pleased with it, especally the high ISO performance.

    However my 17 year old daughter developed a taste for photography, and insisted on having a Nikon… so I bought her a second hand D50.

    I was really impressed at what a nice camera it was to use – very simple and intuitive controls, feels great in the hands, focussed quickly and took great pictures.

    Well, she is taking some good photos with it, and now telling me she needs a 200D!

    You can’t go wrong with either.

  28. […] previous post I wrote when choosing my Digital SLR camera was very, very insightful and I was amazed at the […]

  29. […] the outdoors and drove down to Richmond park with my mate, Bryce, to snap some shots with our Canon SLRs. 2 degrees it said on the car themometer and 2 degrees it was. My hands could have been used for […]

  30. Rochelle Dodson Avatar
    Rochelle Dodson

    One way around that is to get down to the level of the subject. You might consider this eye-level to a flower, for example. Now this is not always easy to do. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time sprawled on the ground trying to get this sort of shot. That can be uncomfortable; the ground is rarely soft and gentle on your body. Plus there is the challenge of getting up and down.

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