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Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

The Nikon D50 and the Sony Alpha A3000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2005 and August 2013. The D50 is a DSLR, while the A3000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Nikon D50   Sony A3000
Nikon D50 Sony A3000
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-1600 ISO 100-16000
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.0" LCD, 130k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g 128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g

Body comparison: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D50 and the Sony A3000 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 – the D50 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D50 and Sony A3000
Compare D50 versus A3000 top
Compare D50 or A3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A3000 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Nikon D50. Moreover, the A3000 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the D50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D50 nor the A3000 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D50) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A3000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A3000, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D50 gets 400 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the A3000 can take 470 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D50» 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Sony A3000« 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Nikon D5200« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 percent) than the D50, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A3000 is 4 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.

Nikon D50 and Sony A3000 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A3000 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 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 4.25μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the A3000 is much more recent (by 8 years and 4 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.

The Nikon D50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600 The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

D50 versus A3000 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 A3000 offers substantially better image quality than the D50 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.8 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.

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
Sony A3000« APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
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 D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A3000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the A3000 can use is 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A3000 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the D50 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D50, the Sony A3000, and comparable 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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D50»optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
Sony A3000«202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
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 D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
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
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

The D50 writes its imaging data to SD cards, while the A3000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

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 Sony Alpha A3000 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
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Nikon D50»Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
Sony A3000«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Nikon D5200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5200
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

Both the D50 and the A3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the A3000 does not have a direct successor.


Review summary: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D50 and the Sony A3000? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D50:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A3000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 81%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (230k vs 130k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (128x91mm vs 133x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 209g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A3000 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 2 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 02:15 A3000

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D50 or the A3000. 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.

Expert reviews: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

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
Sony A3000«Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
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 D60« »80/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D70s« »---rev5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D70« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D50 vs Sony A3000

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D50 Sony A3000
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2005 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 329
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.2 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 357.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5 1.5
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.25 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 5.55 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-16000 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Resolution n/a 202k dots
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 130k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SD cards MS or SDXC cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type EN-EL3 power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    128 x 91 x 85 mm
    (5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 411 g (14.5 oz)

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