Nikon D50 vs Ricoh GR
The Nikon D50 and the Ricoh GR are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2005 and April 2013. The D50 is a DSLR, while the GR is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 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 Ricoh GR? 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 Ricoh GR are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth 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 Ricoh GR is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Nikon D50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D50 nor the GR are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR has a lens built in, whereas the D50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D50 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D50 gets 400 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the GR can take 290 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GR offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D50. This megapixels advantage translates into a 64 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GR has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the GR is much more recent (by 7 years and 11 months) than the D50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 Ricoh GR are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the D50 is build around a CCD sensor, while the GR uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the GR offers substantially better image quality than the D50 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.
|3.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|14.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|15.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The GR indeed provides for movie recording, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the GR can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D50 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D50, the Ricoh GR, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic GM1||none||n||3.0 / 1036||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Ricoh GR 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 GR uses SDXC cards. The GR 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 Ricoh GR 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.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D5200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic GM1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
Both the D50 and the GR have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the GR was followed by the Ricoh GR II. Further information on the features and operation of the D50 and GR can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D50 Manual (free pdf) or the online Ricoh GR Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D50 better than the Ricoh GR or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Ricoh GR:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 130k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x61mm vs 133x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D50).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GR is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 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 Ricoh GR place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D50 and the GR in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||..||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D50 vs Ricoh GR
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||Ricoh GR|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||April 2005||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D50||Ricoh GR|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.9||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||560||972|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D50||Ricoh GR|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||130k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D50||Ricoh GR|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SD cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D50||Ricoh GR|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D50||Ricoh GR|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
117 x 61 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
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