Canon 850D vs Nikon Z50
The Canon EOS 850D (called Canon T8i in some regions) and the Nikon Z50 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2020 and October 2019. The 850D is a DSLR, while the Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 850D and the Nikon Z50? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 850D and the Nikon Z50 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Z50 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon 850D. Moreover, the Z50 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the 850D. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z50 is splash and dust-proof, while the 850D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The power pack in the Z50 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 850D||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Nikon Z50||127 mm||94 mm||60 mm||450 g||320||Y||Oct 2019||859|
|3.||Canon RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|9.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|10.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|11.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|12.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|13.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|14.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|16.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|17.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 850D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the Z50, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 Z50 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (850D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 850D offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20.7 MP of the Nikon Z50. 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 3.72μm versus 4.22μm for the Z50). However, it should be noted that the 850D is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the Z50, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the Z50 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 850D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 850D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Z50 are 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm for good quality, 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm for very good quality, and 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 850D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z50 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.2||6240||4160||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the Z50 provides a faster frame rate than the 850D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 4K/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the 850D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the Z50 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 850D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the Z50 has a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 850D and Nikon Z50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the Z50 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon 850D and the Nikon Z50 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 850D and the Z50 write their files to SDXC cards. The Z50 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the 850D can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 850D and Nikon Z50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
Both the 850D and the Z50 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The 850D replaced the earlier Canon 800D, while the Z50 does not have a direct predecessor. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 850D better than the Nikon Z50 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 850D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20.7MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the Z50).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z50:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/30p versus 4K/24p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.51x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 7.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (127x94mm vs 131x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 65g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2019).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z50 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 850D and the Nikon Z50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 850D or the Z50 perform in practice. 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 850D||4/5||+||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Nikon Z50||5/5||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2019||859|
|3.||Canon RP||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||..||o||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|9.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|10.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|11.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|12.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|13.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|14.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|16.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|17.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 850D vs Nikon Z50
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 Model||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2020||October 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 859|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/4000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 850D||Nikon Z50|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
131 x 103 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
127 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||515 g (18.2 oz)||450 g (15.9 oz)|
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