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Old 19-04-2006, 07:01 AM
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CometGuy
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Brisbane
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I have just been through the same exercise myself. It wasn't an easy decision especially because the D50 is $200 cheaper.

The level of noise in the D50 is reduced over the D70 and this is real - i.e as ISO is increase detail is maintained. Because the pixels are large compared to the Canon and noise is now very low so I believe that the D50 may actually be more sensitive than the 350D.

However, for astrophotography the D50 has several disadvantages (enough for me to choose the 350D over the D50 despite the cost advantage of the Nikon):

1. The D50 has the trademark Nikon 'star eating' filter (as Michael Covington calls it) is applied to all long exposure images even in raw mode. It seems to be more a problem with very sharp optics. It can be worked around in Noise reduction mode, by switching off the power when the dark frame is made. But what a pain!
2. The dark point is set to near 0 in images, this means the dark frames are damaged since many pixel values will be below 0 and are clipped.
3. There is no wired remote. With the 350D a simple stereo plug wired to a switch will activate the shutter. The IR release to me is inconvenient, especially for doing automated exposures.
4. D50 doesn't have mirror lockup, unlike the 350D.
5. Lenses I. I already have a canon 300D and some EF lenses.
6. Lenses II. Canon IMO has an unrivalled range of Canon telephotos - the 200 f2.8 comes to mind as a superb performer that is very sharp and well corrected. Nikon's rival is both more expensive and not as well corrected. You can also use Nikon, Zeiss lenses with the Canon with appropriate adapter, but not the other way.

The above factors may matter less to you and you might chooses the D50 for other reasons. There is no reason you can't take astrophoto's at least as good as the 350D but be aware of the points I have given above.

My biggest gripe with the 350D is due to some poor ergonomic design choices (compromises to make the camera as small as possible). The worst part being the cramped handgrip (some people purchase the battery grip).

Terry
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