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Canon 10D vs Nikon D50

The Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2003 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 10D   Nikon D50
Canon 10D Nikon D50
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 200-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 118k dots 2.0" LCD, 130k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
150 x 107 x 75 mm, 850 g 133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D50? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon 10D and the Nikon D50 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 10D vs Nikon D50
Compare 10D versus D50 top
Comparison 10D or D50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D50 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Canon 10D. Moreover, the D50 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the 10D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 10D nor the D50 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (10D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D50).

Concerning battery life, the 10D gets 500 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the D50 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D» 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D50« 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
 
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« » 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
 
Canon D60« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Nikon D60« » 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« » 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D50 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the 10D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D50 is 8 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (10D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 10D and Nikon D50 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 10D offers a higher resolution of 6.3 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D50. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 7.38μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). Moreover, it should be noted that the D50 is much more recent (by 2 years and 1 month) than the 10D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon EOS 10D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

10D versus D50 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D» APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Nikon D50« APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
 
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon 300D
 
Canon D60« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-----Canon D60
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
Neither the 10D nor the D50 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 10D and the D50 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 10D has a higher magnification than the one of the D50 (0.55x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 10D and Nikon D50 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Nikon D50«optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
 
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
 
Canon D60« »optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon D60
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D100

One feature that is present on the 10D, but is missing on the D50 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The 10D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D50 uses SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Nikon D50«Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
 
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
 
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 300D
 
Canon D60« »Y-----1.1---Canon D60
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 10D (unlike the D50) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 10D and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 10D was replaced by the Canon 20D, while the D50 was followed by the Nikon D40. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.


Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 10D better than the Nikon D50 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 10D:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.50x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2003).

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Advantages of the Nikon D50:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (133x102mm vs 150x107mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 230g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 10D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (6 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

10D 06:06 D50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 10D and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 10D and the D50 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»-+ +-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D50«78/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Canon 7D II« »+84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
 
Canon 70D« »+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
 
Canon D60« »-+ +o-- Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Nikon D60« »80/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40« »81/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« »---o5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »-+ +-o- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »-+ +oo- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 10D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D50:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 10D vs Nikon D50

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 10D Nikon D50
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2003 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Canon 10D Nikon D50
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 57 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.1 20.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 571 560
    Screen Specs Canon 10D Nikon D50
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.50x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 10D Nikon D50
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 10D Nikon D50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 10D Nikon D50
    Battery Type BP-511 EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 107 x 75 mm
    (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
    133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 850 g (30.0 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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