Nikon D50 vs D5500
The Nikon D50 and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2005 and January 2015. 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 D5500 provides 24 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 D5500? 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 D5500 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.
The D5500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 D5500 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon D50. Moreover, the D5500 is markedly lighter (32 percent) than the D50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D50 nor the D5500 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|2.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|4.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|5.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|6.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|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 D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|10.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|11.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|12.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|13.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|14.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|15.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|16.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|17.||Samsung NX30||127 mm||96 mm||58 mm||375 g||360||n||Jan 2014||999|
|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 D50 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D5500, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D5500 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D5500 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.91μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the D5500 is much more recent (by 9 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 D5500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 D50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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 consideration, the D5500 offers substantially better image quality than the D50 (overall score 29 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.2 bits higher color depth, 3.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D5500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5500 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D50 and the D5500 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 D5500 has a higher magnification than the one of the D50 (0.57x 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 D5500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5500 has a touchscreen, while the D50 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The D5500 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 D50 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D5500 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 D5500 uses SDXC cards. The D5500 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 D50 and Nikon D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the D5500 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.
Both the D50 and the D5500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the D5500 was followed by the Nikon D5600. 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? Is the Nikon D50 better than the Nikon D5500 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).
Advantages of the Nikon D5500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (29 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.2 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 (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.50x).
- 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 (1037k vs 130k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a 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 (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x97mm vs 133x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 200g or 32 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (820 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 modern: Reflects 9 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5500 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 3 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 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 D50 and the Nikon D5500 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D50 or the D5500. 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 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 D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|2.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|4.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|5.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|6.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|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 D3000||..||+||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|10.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|11.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|12.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|13.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|14.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|15.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|16.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|17.||Samsung NX30||3/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D5500
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 D5500|
|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 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D5500|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||84|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.9||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||560||1438|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D5500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||130k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D5500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D5500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D50||Nikon D5500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||820 shots per charge|
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||420 g (14.8 oz)|
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