Nikon Coolpix A vs D50
The Nikon Coolpix A and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2013 and April 2005. The Coolpix A is a fixed lens compact, while the D50 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Coolpix A has a resolution of 16.1 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 Coolpix A 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 Coolpix A 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Coolpix A can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 (91 percent) than the Nikon Coolpix A. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Coolpix A nor the D50 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the Coolpix A 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 Coolpix A||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|2.||Nikon D50||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||5.0 in||2.9 in||2.0 in||15.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||5.0 in||2.9 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|6.||Leica X Vario||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|7.||Nikon D60||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|8.||Nikon D40||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|9.||Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|10.||Nikon D70s||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|11.||Nikon D70||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|13.||Ricoh GR||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5R||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-6||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||12.2 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.1 oz||470||n||May 2012||599|
|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 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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon Coolpix A offers a higher resolution of 16.1 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 4.78μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the Coolpix A is much more recent (by 7 years and 10 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 Coolpix A has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon Coolpix A implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Coolpix A for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 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 Nikon Coolpix A has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the Coolpix A provides substantially higher image quality than the D50, with an overall score that is 25 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|6.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Coolpix A indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the Coolpix A can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from 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 Coolpix A relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Coolpix A can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DF-CP1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon Coolpix A and Nikon D50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
The Nikon Coolpix A has 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.
The Coolpix A writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D50 uses 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 Coolpix A and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the Coolpix A and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the Coolpix A does not have a direct successor. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon Coolpix A and the Nikon D50? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix A:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP) with a 64% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (25 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p 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 (921k vs 130k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm 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).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Coolpix A is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 6 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 Nikon Coolpix A and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Coolpix A or the D50 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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 Coolpix A||4/5||+||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|2.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||5/5||+||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|6.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|7.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|8.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|9.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|10.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|11.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|13.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-6||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon Coolpix A 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 Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/2.8||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2013||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.78 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||20.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.8||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1164||560|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Nikon D50|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
111 x 64 x 40 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||299 g (10.5 oz)||620 g (21.9 oz)|
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