Best Digital SLR of 2005

It wasn't easy for me to pick the best digital SLR of 2005.

There were several very nice cameras released in 2005, each with strengths and weaknesses.

Here's the list:

  • Canon EOS 350D Rebel XT
  • Nikon D50 and D70s
  • Minolta Maxxum 5D
  • Olympus EVOLT E-500
  • Pentax *ist DL

So which one of these came out on top?

And The Winner Is...

My pick for the best digital SLR of 2005 is the Nikon D50.

The following analysis will clarify why I think so highly of this digital SLR camera.


  • The Nikon's 6 megapixel sensor provides enough information to make high-quality prints without eating up a lot of memory card and hard drive space
  • Despite its size, the D50 is light and easy to carry around
  • Color is exceptional, as displayed on the LCD and as captured by the digital sensor
  • The camera is responsive, turns on instantly and has a fast autofocus system, even in dim light
  • A setting for child portraits is ideal for parents

The D50 has two stand-out features: ISO and flash synch.

The ISO setting on a digital SLR camera lets you increase the camera's sensitivity to light. Setting a high ISO lets you take photos in dim lighting conditions.

High ISO settings usually add a lot of "noise" or "grain" to the image.

Not so with the Nikon D50. Even at ISO settings of 800 or higher, noise is minimal. This makes this an ideal camera for low-light photographers.

The second stand-out feature is the D50 is more obscure: it has a flash synch speed of 1/500.

You don't always have to use your flash when it's dark - you can also use it in broad daylight. This is called fill flash and is used to reduce harsh shadows caused by bright sunlight.

The only problem is that the shutter speed of your camera is limited when you're using the flash.

For most digital SLRs, the fastest shutter speed you can use is 1/250th of a second when using flash. With the Nikon D50 it is twice as fast.

This additional speed is a real benefit if you want to use flash even when there is plenty of light.


Canon EOS Rebel XT

While the Canon Rebel XT has 8 megapixels vs. the 6 megapixels of the Nikon D50, I found the Canon too small to hold comfortably.

The Canon is also more expensive, so you have to be sure that the extra 2 megapixels is worth it before you spend the extra cash.

Minolta Maxxum 5D

The built-in anti-shake feature on the Minolta 5D makes it a contender for best digital SLR of 2005, but not if you want to take action photos.

Anti-shake won't help get sharp pictures of fast-moving subjects: only a fast shutter speed can do that.

You can get fast shutter speeds by boosting the ISO on a digital SLR camera - since the Nikon D50 takes great photos at high ISO settings this makes it a good camera for action photos.

Olympus E-500

The reason the Olympus isn't my pick for best digital SLR of 2005 doesn't have to do with the camera.

All Olympus digital SLR cameras use a new mount system for the lenses, called a 4/3 system.

Since it is new, there are a limited number of lenses that will work with this camera, and none of the old Olympus SLR lenses are compatible.

With the Nikon D50, you can choose from over 50 compatible lenses, and you can also find great bargains on old SLR lenses that will still work with this camera.

Pentax *ist DL

The Pentax and the Nikon really aren't in the same league.

The *ist DL is a great entry-level camera with a great price, but it lacks the speed and responsiveness of the D50.

The image quality of the Pentax also falls apart at high ISO settings, while the Nikon's images at ISO 800 and higher are exceptional.

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