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Nikon D50 vs Olympus E-400

The Nikon D50 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2005 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D50) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D50 VS Olympus E-400
Nikon D50 Olympus E-400
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1600 ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 130k dots 2.5" LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D50 and the Olympus E-400? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D50 and the Olympus E-400 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D50 vs Olympus E-400
Compare D50 versus E-400 top
Comparison D50 or E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Nikon D50. Moreover, the E-400 is markedly lighter (30 percent) than the D50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D50 nor the E-400 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D50) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-400).

Concerning battery life, the D50 gets 400 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the E-400 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D50» 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Olympus E-400« 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Nikon D5200« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749iNikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 E-400 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the D50 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D50 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D50 and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-400 offers a higher resolution of 10 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 4.74μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the E-400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the D50, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D50 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch 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 Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D50 versus E-400 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 2000none20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........Olympus E-400
 
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 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955Panasonic L10
Neither the D50 nor the E-400 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D50 and the E-400 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 D50 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-400 (0.50x vs 0.46x), 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 Olympus E-400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

The D50 writes its imaging data to SD cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D50 only has one slot.

 

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 D50 and Olympus E-400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D50Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D50
 
Olympus E-400Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D70sYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70Ynonenone--none1.0---Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-420Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L10

Both the D50 and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the E-400 was followed by the Olympus E-410. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D50 and the Olympus E-400? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D50:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.50x vs 0.46x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2005).

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Advantages of the Olympus E-400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • 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 (215k vs 130k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x91mm vs 133x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 185g or 30 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-400 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 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.

D50 06:09 E-400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D50 and the Olympus E-400 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D50 or the E-400 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Nikon D5200+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749iNikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D6080/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D50:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-400:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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.

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    Specifications: Nikon D50 vs Olympus E-400

    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 D50 Olympus E-400
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date April 2005 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D50 Olympus E-400
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 560 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D50 Olympus E-400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x 0.46x
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 130k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D50 Olympus E-400
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SD cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D50 Olympus E-400
    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 D50 Olympus E-400
    Battery Type EN-EL3 BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)

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