Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
The Nikon D1 and the Canon EOS M50 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 1999 and February 2018. The D1 is a DSLR, while the M50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the Canon provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Nikon D1||Canon M50|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO 200-1600 (200-6400)||ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|2.0" LCD, 120k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel touchscreen|
|1.5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g||116 x 88 x 59 mm, 390 g|
Body comparison: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Canon M50 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 width, height and depth measures 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 Canon M50 is considerably smaller (58 percent) than the Nikon D1. Moreover, the M50 is substantially lighter (65 percent) than the D1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1 is splash and dust resistant, while the M50 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.
As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon D1»||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||-||Nikon D1|
|Canon M50«||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449||Canon T7|
|Canon 77D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||37.7 oz||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499||-||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D1H« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1X« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 M50 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 86 percent) than the D1, 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: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
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 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 M50 is 10 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.5 (D1) and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the M50 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. 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 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the M50 is much more recent (by 18 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The M50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.
The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M50 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200..
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D1»||APS-C||2.6||2000||1312||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1|
|Canon M50«||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||-||-||-||-||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Canon T7|
|Canon 77D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Nikon D4« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||APS-C||4.0||2464||1632||-||18.9||10.0||352||40||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D1H« »||APS-C||2.6||2000||1312||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1X« »||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M50 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the M50 can use is 4K/24p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D1 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D1, the Canon M50, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D1»||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||16000||1.5||n||n||Nikon D1|
|Canon M50«||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n||Canon T7|
|Canon 77D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Nikon D4« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||7.0||Y||n||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||optical||Y||2.5||211||fixed||n||8000||8.0||n||n||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D1H« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||16000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1X« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||16000||3.0||n||n||Nikon D1X|
One feature that is present on the D1, but is missing on the M50 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 M50 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The D1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the M50 uses SDXC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
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 D1 and Canon EOS M50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D1»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1|
|Canon M50«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T7|
|Canon 77D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Nikon D4« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D1H« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
It is notable that the M50 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D1 does not offer wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the M50) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The M50 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D1 was succeeded by the Nikon D1X.
Review summary: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D1 better than the Canon M50 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 June 1999).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M50:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 201%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
- Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (1040k vs 120k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (116x88mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 710g or 65 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (86 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 18 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M50 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 7 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the D1 and the M50 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Nikon D1»||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Jun 1999||5,499||-||Nikon D1|
|Canon M50«||Rec||79/100||-||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||rev||-||3.5/5||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||Canon T7|
|Canon 77D« »||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Nikon D4« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||HiRec||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||-||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300« »||HiRec||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Jul 2003||3,499||-||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D1H« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Feb 2001||4,499||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1X« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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Specifications: Nikon D1 vs Canon M50
|Camera Model||Nikon D1||Canon M50|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 1999||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 5499||USD 779|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||22.3 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||2.6 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2000 x 1312 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.93 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||200-1600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200-6400 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||n/a||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||n/a||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/16000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Type||EN-4 power pack||LP-E12 power pack|
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
116 x 88 x 59 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
|Camera Weight||1100 g (38.8 oz)||390 g (13.8 oz)|
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