Is this a good idea, for my daughter taking a college photography course?

chrisv2

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There's really no way I can afford to buy her a new camera for college -- so I have to surf craigslist to try to find something.

Someone near me has this:

NIKON D50 with 28-105 F3.5-4.5 lens, and it says it has 'internal focus macro' (which I honestly don't know what that means). It's a 6.1MP camera, if I believe the ad. They say (and it looks to be) in excellent shape.

Complete kit, charger, battery, cables, etc. $150

Do you guys think this would 'cut it' in a 2013 college photography course? Or will she get assignments that will require more pixel density and/or a different lens? She is trying to get to the professor as well, to find out specs the course requires...you'd think they would state them in the course guide but of course not :)
 

cptkid

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A D50 really is not going to cut it now days.

In principle, yes, she could learn using it, but its features are very outdated now.

I would look in to getting a more recent entry level DSLR, such as a d3100, d5000 or d5100
 

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The D50 is an older 6.1 MP Nikon entry-level camera, but it was built relatively solidly for an entry-level camera. It tended to produce pretty vibrant JPEG images, straight out of camera. The lens is a decent, film-era-origin 28 to 105mm lens that focuses "closer than normal" for its type, hence the macro designation. The lens does not go very "wide-angle", since the D50 and all other small d-slrs in that type/class have a 1.5x FOV factor, meaning the lens is like a 42mm on 35mm film "equivalent" FIeld of View--basically, it has a semi-normal, not-very-wide-angle view at 28mm, but it does offer excellent zoom-in.

It ought to be a decent camera for a college level course...the "camera" part is not really the most essential aspect--it's the brain-work and the "doing" of the work.
 

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It's built pretty well. It's older tech but if used with good glass and within its limitations- you should be able to make excellent photos. I still use my d40 from time to time. Just watch the cropping.
 
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chrisv2

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ok perfect -- thanks for that feedback; I will also continue to look for more recent vintage examples of Nikon used cameras. There are also a lot of Canon 'rebel' cameras out on the used listings sites.
 

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Why do YOU need to be the one buying it for her. Just tell your daughter how much money you are willing to contribute to the purchase of a camera, SHE can then choose if she wants to buy the cheaper old camera or is SHE wants to work and add money of her own to purchase a better camera.

She is going off to college why not treat her like an adult and include her in the decision.
 

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Do you guys think this would 'cut it' in a 2013 college photography course? Or will she get assignments that will require more pixel density and/or a different lens?
It's a camera, there is a lens. The camera would allow her to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture....that's really all she needs for a photography course.
As mentioned, it should be about how to use a camera (any camera)...not about modern technology.

As for the 'internal focus motor'...that is a feature that older and larger Nikon cameras have. It means that the camera is more compatible with older lenses (in terms of autofocus)...so it's a good thing. The successor models to the D50 do not have the internal focus motor, and thus, will not auto focus with some of Nikon's AF lenses.
 

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Wait, a photography degree or just a class? If it's just a class, I'd wait till she finds out exactly what's needed for the class. Also, the school's photography department should have cameras to loan. She can use it for the first assignment while looking for the right equipment for the class herself.
 
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chrisv2

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Why do YOU need to be the one buying it for her. Just tell your daughter how much money you are willing to contribute to the purchase of a camera, SHE can then choose if she wants to buy the cheaper old camera or is SHE wants to work and add money of her own to purchase a better camera.

She is going off to college why not treat her like an adult and include her in the decision.

lol! for the same reason I don't let her buy a used car or a computer without helping her. Same with her mom...if the two of them went to the local camera store they would walk out with $1000 worth of equipment they don't need. We all have our gifts in life and so far I've been doing pretty well as the family technology guy ;-)

When it comes to picking a vacation spot or which charities we support, mom and daughter are on top of their game -- I suck at that stuff :)
 
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chrisv2

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Wait, a photography degree or just a class? If it's just a class, I'd wait till she finds out exactly what's needed for the class. Also, the school's photography department should have cameras to loan. She can use it for the first assignment while looking for the right equipment for the class herself.

great points -- will have her investigate that.
 

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Why do YOU need to be the one buying it for her. Just tell your daughter how much money you are willing to contribute to the purchase of a camera, SHE can then choose if she wants to buy the cheaper old camera or is SHE wants to work and add money of her own to purchase a better camera.

She is going off to college why not treat her like an adult and include her in the decision.

lol! for the same reason I don't let her buy a used car or a computer without helping her. Same with her mom...if the two of them went to the local camera store they would walk out with $1000 worth of equipment they don't need. We all have our gifts in life and so far I've been doing pretty well as the family technology guy

Umm your statement basically makes it sound like you think your daughter and wife are not capable of making their OWN decisions.

Like I said talk with your daughter and say I will contribute X amount of money, if she wants to spend more then SHE will be the one that has to come up with that money.
 
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chrisv2

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You are exactly right! They are not capable of making technology decisions, at all. They would be at the mercy of the commissioned salesperson across the counter and even if I said here's the budget $200, they would come home with $1,000 in equipment with my daughter contributing $800 out of her part time job money. What good would that do anyone?

Same with me, I'm totally incapable of making clothing decisions and we all know it. One time I tried to buy a suit on my own and it made the Hindenburg crash look like a minor fender-bender. I do not make any clothing decisions without one or both of them in the middle of it.

Does this make me a bad person?
 

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Light Guru, I don't think he came here to ask for opinions on how to be a parent.

Chrisv2 if your daughter's class is an intro, it's likely that it may be a black and white photography class that will involve learning to use the dark room. If this is the case, any film SLR will do (some has auto exposure). The darkroom part will be taken care by the school. She will then need to buy photo papers and film. Anyways, I'd sweat it now. Let her find out what the teacher wants her to get. Often you don't find out about this until the first day of class.

If the class is for digital cameras, it's a different story then.
 

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You are exactly right! They are not capable of making technology decisions, at all. They would be at the mercy of the commissioned salesperson across the counter and even if I said here's the budget $200, they would come home with $1,000 in equipment with my daughter contributing $800 out of her part time job money. What good would that do anyone?

WHOA WHOA WHO I did NOT say they are not capable of making technology decisions.

They ARE capable of making decisions, just because YOU may not like those decisions does not mean that they are not capable of making them. Part of making ones own decisions is learning to accept the consequences. You not letting your daughter make her own decision means that she cannot learn the consequences of using some of HER own money, meaning that she will not have that mony to spend on other things.

Same with me, I'm totally incapable of making clothing decisions and we all know it. One time I tried to buy a suit on my own and it made the Hindenburg crash look like a minor fender-bender. I do not make any clothing decisions without one or both of them in the middle of it.

You CAN make clothing decisions. But you have learned that those clothing decisions have consequences and thus have chosen to ask for help with clothing decisions.

If studying photography is really important to your daughter then she really should be involved in the decision.
 

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