Nikon D50 vs D500
The Nikon D50 and the Nikon D500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2005 and January 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D50 has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the D500 provides 20.7 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 D50 and the Nikon D500? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D50 and the Nikon D500 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 size dimensions 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 Nikon D500 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Nikon D50. Moreover, the D500 is substantially heavier (39 percent) than the D50. It is noteworthy in this context that the D500 is splash and dust-proof, while the D50 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. 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.
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 D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|2.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|3.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|5.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|8.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|9.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|10.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|11.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|12.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|13.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|14.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|15.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|16.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|17.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D50 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the D500, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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. 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 D500 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the 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 4.22μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the D500 is much more recent (by 10 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 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 D50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D500 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-1640000.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the D500 offers substantially better image quality than the D50 (overall score 28 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 3.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional 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.
|6.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the D500 can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D50 and the D500 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 viewfinder in the D500 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D50 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D500 has a higher magnification (0.67x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D50 and Nikon D500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|3.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D50 has one, while the D500 does not. While the built-in flash of the D50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon D500 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 D50 writes its imaging data to SD cards, while the D500 uses SDXC or XQD cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D50 only has one slot. The D500 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 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 D50 and Nikon D500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D5200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D50 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D500 (unlike the D50) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The D500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D50 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D50 was succeeded by the Nikon D40. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D50 or the Nikon D500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x102mm vs 147x115mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 240g or 28 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 85%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (28 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.67x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 130k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1240 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the contest (27 : 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 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 D50 and the Nikon D500 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D50 and the D500 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
|1.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|2.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|3.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|5.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|8.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|9.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|10.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|11.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|12.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|13.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|14.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|15.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|16.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|17.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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
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Specifications: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D500
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 D50||Nikon D500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2005||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D500|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 1,640,000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.9||24.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||560||1324|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||130k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SD cards||SDXC or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D500|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D500|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||1240 shots per charge|
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||860 g (30.3 oz)|
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