I'd recheck the reviews here and at Dpreview when considering the D50 versus D40 versus a competitor. I haven't really been looking at the D40/D50/xt level cameras as they weren't suitable for my interests. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond40/ One thing that you may want to do is actually handle the cameras some, check the way controls feel, look through the finders, etc. I don't think I'd get too wrapped up by the passionate adherents who will tell you that brand A is the only way to go or that Brand B isn't suitable because they don't have an equivalent to some $500 flash unit or $5000 lens of some sort...
One thing that all the D40 reviews mention is the significantly lower price of the D40 as compared with the D50. However, the D50 kit (with 18-55mm lens) is now selling many places for $550 or so (including Ritz Camera brick and mortar stores), often for a few bucks less than the D40. If the prices are equal, does the D40 show so strongly? What does the IR team think?..
The D40/D50 and Rebel XT are all very good. I have the Rebel XT, and the kit lens is not so great, particularly if you've used any other lenses before on another digital SLR. So I would check if you would be satisfied with the lens that comes with the camera, and factor the price of a new lens into the equation if necessary. This site might also help you in deciding: http://www.vsxl.com/cameras/Nikon_D40_vs_Nikon_D50.html..
I have the D50 and the Rebel and for my money, I'd take the D50 any day. The quality of my photographs is definitely better and the D50 is more convenient in the long run. For example, on a long day of shooting, I have to change batteries at least once in the Rebel, but not in the D50. I can upload from the camera to the computer much faster with the D50. I also do not have a problem of pin being bent in the D50 as I did with the Rebel a year ago. Michael..
Hey, George, thanks much for that dpreview link. It looks like gold mine of answers about the D40 versus the D50. In particular, about the lenses. Ive been annoyed that the D40 won't take my two non-AF lenses. But one of the users on dpreview pointed out that the longer the camera is out, the more parties will make lenses (and, quite likely, the less theyll cost). Ive been tempted by the Olympus Evolt E500, because for $50-$70 more than the D40, it comes with two kit zooms.
One user also said the image quality is actually better on the D40 than the D50. Has that been your experience?..