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Canon G1 X vs Nikon D50

The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2012 and April 2005. The G1X is a fixed lens compact, while the D50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and an APS-C (D50) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 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 G1 X
versus
Nikon D50
Canon G1 X   Nikon D50
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Nikon F mount lenses
14.2 MP, 1.5" Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 2.0 LCD, 130k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.9 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
117 x 81 x 65 mm, 534 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 PowerShot G1 X 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 G1 X 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 G1 X vs Nikon D50
Compare G1X versus D50 top
Comparison G1X 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 considerably larger (43 percent) than the Canon G1 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the D50 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens built in, whereas the D50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D50 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1X gets 250 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D50 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
13.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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. 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Nikon D50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D50 is 41 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 1.5. The sensor in the G1X has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D50 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X and Nikon D50 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G1 X offers a higher resolution of 14.2 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 4.30μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the G1X is much more recent (by 6 years and 8 months) than the D50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon G1 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G1X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D50 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

G1X versus D50 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under review, the G1X has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D50 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
2.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
7.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
8.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
10.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.811.150143
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.711.043042
13.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
14.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
15.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G1X indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the G1X can use is 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1X 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G1 X, the Nikon D50, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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
1.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 650Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
8.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 500Doptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
10.
 
Canon 450Doptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
The G1X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D50 does not have a selfie-screen.

The G1X writes its imaging data to SDXC 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 PowerShot G1 X and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 650DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 500DYmono / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 450DY- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 4Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---

Both the G1X and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the G1X was followed by the Canon G1X Mark II. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon G1 X better than the Nikon D50 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 6MP) with a 51% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 130k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x81mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D50).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D50:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G1X is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 points). 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G1X 12:04 D50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1X or the D50. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon 500D..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 450D..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 4............ Sep 2012 949i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 3............ Dec 2011 949i
13.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Canon G1 X:
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 G1 X 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 G1 X Nikon D50
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2012 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D50
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1.5" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 18.7 x 14.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 261.8 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 23.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.85x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 14.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4352 x 3264 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.30 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 5.43 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 60 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 20.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 644 560
    Screen Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D50
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 74% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D50
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.9 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D50
    Battery Type NB-10L EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 81 x 65 mm
    (4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
    133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 534 g (18.8 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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