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Nikon D50 versus Nikon D60

The Nikon D50 and the Nikon D60 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2005 and January 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D50 has a resolution of 6 megapixel, whereas the Nikon D60 provides 10 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D60

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D50 and the Nikon D60 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the D50 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D50 vs Nikon D60
Compare D50 versus Nikon D60 top
Compare D50 and Nikon D60 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D60 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Nikon D50. Moreover, the Nikon D60 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the D50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D50 nor the Nikon D60 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 find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D50 gets 400 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the Nikon D60 can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D50» 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D60« 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D5200« » 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« » 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D40« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D70s« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Olympus E-420« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

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 Nikon D60 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 16 percent) than the D50, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D60

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 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 Nikon D60 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.

Nikon D50 and Nikon D60 sensor measures

With 10MP, the Nikon D60 offers a higher resolution than the D50 (6MP), but the Nikon D60 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). Yet, the Nikon D60 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the D50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

D50 versus Nikon D60 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 consideration, the Nikon D60 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D50 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D50» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
Nikon D60« APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
Neither the D50 nor the Nikon D60 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.
 

Feature comparison: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D60

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D50 and the Nikon D60 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D50, the Nikon D60, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D50»optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
Nikon D60«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

Both the D50 and the Nikon D60 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the Nikon D60 was followed by the Nikon D5000.

Review summary: Nikon D50 vs Nikon D60

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D50 or the Nikon D60 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D50:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D60:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • 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 (126x94mm vs 133x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 98g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (16 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Nikon D60 is the clear winner of the contest (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.

D50 01:12 Nikon D60

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D50 or the Nikon D60. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D50»78/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D60«80/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D5200« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« »HiRec76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D70s« »---rev5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

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 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 use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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