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Nikon D40X vs D50

The Nikon D40X and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2007 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D40X has a resolution of 10 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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D40X versus Nikon D50
Nikon D40X Nikon D50
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 130k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
520 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40X 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 Nikon D40X 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D40X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D50 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D40X vs Nikon D50
Compare D40X versus D50 top
Comparison D40X 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 notably larger (16 percent) than the Nikon D40X. Moreover, the D50 is markedly heavier (19 percent) than the D40X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40X 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D40X gets 520 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the D50 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

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.

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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.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
2.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
4.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
5.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
6.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
7.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
8.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
11.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
15.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 D40X was somewhat cheaper (by 3 percent) than the D50 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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 smaller. 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.

Nikon D40X and Nikon D50 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D40X offers a higher resolution than the D50 (6MP), but the D40X has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, the D40X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the D50, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D40X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D40X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 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 D40X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D40X versus D50 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 D40X has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D50 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
2.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
3.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
4.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
5.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
6.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
7.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
8.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
9.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
10.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
11.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
12.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
13.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
15.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Neither the D40X nor the D50 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D40X 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D40X has a higher magnification than the one of the D50 (0.53x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D40X, the Nikon D50, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(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.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
4.
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The D40X writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D50 uses SD cards.

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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 Nikon D40X 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-420Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the D40X and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the D40X was followed by the Nikon D60 . Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D40X and the Nikon D50? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 6MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.50x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 130k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 98g or 16 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (520 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the D50).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D50:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D40X is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 1 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.

D40X 12:01 D50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40X and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D40X 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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
2.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
4.
 
Canon 400D..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
5.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
6.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
7.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
8.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
11.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
15.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Nikon D40X:
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D40X 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 Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2007 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 729 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.4 20.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 516 560
    Screen Specs Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.50x
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D40X Nikon D50
    Battery Type EN-EL9 EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)520 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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