Body & Design

The D50 looks so similar to the D70 that the uninitiated could be forgiven for mistaking them for each other. The main visible differences (apart from size) are the lack of a front command dial and DOF preview button on the front of the camera, a subtle re-arrangement and loss of a couple of buttons on the rear of the camera. The other noticeable tell-tale is the new DK-20 viewfinder eyecup which is noticeably larger (and better) than the DK-16 of the D70. The overall feel of the camera hasn't changed much from the D70, it still feels solidly put together with tight panel gaps, no creaks and a slightly more professional feel than Canon's EOS 350D.

Side by side

Below you can see the D50 beside Canon's EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT) and Pentax's *ist DS. Weight wise the D50 is heavier than both cameras but lighter than the Olympus E-300, size wise it's larger than both of these cameras but smaller than the D70. Below the table you can see a direct comparison of the D50 and the D70s (same size as the D70).

Camera Dimensions
(W x H x D)
Body weight
(inc. battery & card)
Pentax *ist DS 125 x 93 x 66 mm (4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 in) 605 g (1.3 lb)
Canon EOS 350D 127 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in) 540 g (1.2 lb)
Nikon D50 133 x 102 x 76 mm (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in) 620 g (1.4 lb)
Olympus E-300 147 x 85 x 64 mm (5.8 x 3.4 x 2.5 in) 624 g (1.4 lb)
Pentax *ist D 129 x 95 x 60 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.3 in) 650 g (1.4 lb)
Nikon D70 / D70s 140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in) 679 g (1.5 lb)
Canon EOS 20D 144 x 106 x 72 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in) 770 g (1.7 lb)

In your hand

The rubber material used on the hand grip of the D50 feels exactly the same as the D70, along with the shaped thumb grip on the rear it provides a good hold of the camera. In your hand it immediately feels more comfortable and better proportioned than the Canon EOS 350D (who's grip is just a little too thin for my hand). Control layout is logical and easy to get used to.

Design changes compared to the D70

Place your mouse cursor over either image below to compare the design of the D50 to the D70. As you can see the D50 is more compact than the D70 in almost all dimensions, it also (to me) looks a little cleaner and better balanced.

LCD Monitor

The D50 has a new larger 2.0" 130,000 pixel LCD monitor which has the same resolution as the D70's 1.8" monitor. In use the monitor seems bright and detailed. Unlike the D70 the D50 does not have a clip-on protective cover and there does not appear to be any clip points for one.

Status Panel

The D50's status panel is on top of the camera on the right side, it appears to be identical to that used on the D70 but lacks a backlight (slightly disappointing as some settings can only be made on this panel). The panel provides information about both the photographic (exposure, focus, drive etc.) and digital (image size, white balance etc.) side of the camera.

A detailed breakdown of displayed information can be found on the diagrams below.