Nikon 1 J4 vs D50
The Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and April 2005. The J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J4) and an APS-C (D50) sensor. The J4 has a resolution of 18.2 megapixels, whereas the D50 provides 6 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 Nikon 1 J4 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D50 is provided 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.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the D50 is only available in black.
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 (126 percent) than the Nikon 1 J4. Moreover, the D50 is substantially heavier (167 percent) than the J4. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the J4 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. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|3.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|6.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|9.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|10.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|11.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|12.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|14.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|15.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|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 J4 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 27 percent) than the D50, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 J4 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D50 is 219 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon 1 J4 offers a higher resolution of 18.2 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 2.52μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the J4 is much more recent (by 8 years and 11 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 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 J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|3.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|14.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|16.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The J4 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the J4 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D50 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon 1 J4 and Nikon D50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J4 has a touchscreen, while the D50 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 J4 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 J4 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the D50 uses SD cards. The J4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D50 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Nikon 1 J4 and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the J4 offers wifi support, while the D50 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the J4 and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the J4 was followed by the Nikon 1 J5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon 1 J4 or the Nikon D50 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J4:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (18.2 vs 6MP) with a 74% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 (1037k vs 130k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 388g or 63 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (27 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 6 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 J4 and the D50 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|3.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon 700D||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|6.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|7.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|9.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|10.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|11.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|12.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|14.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|15.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon 1 J4 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 Model||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||20.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||426||560|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||SD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D50|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||232 g (8.2 oz)||620 g (21.9 oz)|
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