The Minolta 5D vs The Nikon D50

Ladeez and Gentlemen! It's time for the main event: the Minolta 5D vs the Nikon D50.

These two cameras are evenly matched, so it's going to be a close contest.

In this corner, weighing in at 23.6 ounces, the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D!

And in the other corner, weighing in at 21.9 ounces, the Nikon D50!

Let's get ready to rumble!

(I've always wanted to start a camera comparison this way)

Feature Comparison

Right at the sound of the bell, let's do a quick feature comparison.

 Minolta Maxxum 5DNikon D50
ISO Range100-3200200-1600
Max Shutter1/40001/4000
Crop Factor1.51.5
Continuous Shots3fps2.5fps
LCD Size2.5 inches2.0 inches
Memory CardCompact FlashSD
Special FeaturesAnti-shakeColor capture

Those are the numbers. Let's break them down so that they make some sense.


As you can see from the table, these two cameras are very similar to each other. They have identical numbers for many of the features in the list. Click the links if you're not sure what a feature means.

  • Megapixels - the number of megapixels is the same, so you'll be able to print at nice large sizes with both cameras
  • Crop Factor - neither camera is going to help much when it comes to wide-angle photos
  • Maximum Shutter - this is the fastest the shutter can open and close. In this case it's 1/4000 of a second for both
  • LCD Size - the difference between a 2 inch LCD and a 2.5 inch is not really all that much
  • Continous Shots - there is not a huge difference between how fast the two cameras can take rapid consecutive photos


So how in the world do you tell these two cameras apart?

Aside from the fact that one is made by Minolta and the other by Nikon, how do you make up your mind when you're comparing the Minolta 5D vs. the Nikon D50?

Hopefully some of the following points will help you out.

Special Update: as of January 2006, Minolta is no longer producing digital SLR cameras, and the company has sold its production facilities to SONY. This may impact customer support, and will affect the availability of new 5D cameras.

Minolta Advantages

The Minolta 5D Has a Built-in Anti-shake System

Anti-shake reduces camera vibration resulting in clearer photos. You can use any lens with the 5D and benefit from this.

Anti-shake also lets you take clear photos in low-light conditions when you're holding the camera in your hands.

Can you get this feature on the Nikon D50? Yes, sort of. To get anti-shake with the D50, you have to purchase a special Vibration Reduction (VR) lens.

A typical VR lens costs about $500, which makes the total price of the Nikon $1,100 while you can get the Minolta 5D with a lens for about $700.

The 5D Takes Black and White Photos

If you really love the look of black and white, you can get it with the 5D and you can't with the Nikon D50.

While all photo programs will let you change a color photo into black and white, this is an artificial change. Images that are originally captured in black and white look much better.

The Minolta Maxxum 5D has a mode that lets you capture photos in black and white as you take them.

It's very easy to switch to this mode and then back to color again.

The photo here is an example of the black and white capture of the Maxxum 5D. You can click the photo to see a larger version.

With the Nikon D50, if you want black and white photos, you're going to have to use software to get them.

This is just another subtle difference that you'll find when comparing the Minolta Maxxum 5D vs. the Nikon D50.

The 5D is Very Easy to Use

Like no other digital SLR, the Minolta 5D lets you start taking photos with a minimal learning curve.

All of the main camera settings are very easy to change, and the menus are intuitive.

The large LCD on the back of the camera lets you clearly see what you are changing, so there's less chance of making mistakes.

Nikon Advantages

OK, I've said a lot of nice things about the Maxxum 5D so far.

What about the Nikon D50? Doesn't it have any redeeming qualities? You bet it does!

The Nikon D50 Captures Beautiful Colors
Nikon D50 ISO 1600

I was really struck by the color in the Nikon photos that I took.

Primaries are especially vibrant, and leaves turning fall colors really turned out well.

The colors in the Minolta 5D seem more washed out and didn't pop as much as I hoped they would.

This accurate color reproduction makes the Nikon well-suited for portrait and landscape photographers.

Nikkor Lenses

Many pro photographers will tell you it's not the camera that makes the photo - it's the lens.

With that in mind, a distinct advantage of the Nikon D50 is that you can choose from over 50 compatible Nikon-made lenses and a host of 3rd party lenses.

If price is a limiting factor, then pick a lens from a 3rd party manufacturer like Tamron, Sigma or Tokina, who all make lenses for Nikon cameras.

If you only care about the quality of the image, then there are plenty of Nikon lenses that will do the job.

Whether you are a portrait, landscape, macro, night, action or widlife photographer, you will be able to find the right lens to match your photography style.

Even if you're not sure what you want to photograph, start with a simple lens and rest easy knowing that your lens choices won't be limited when you're finally ready to upgrade.


That was a lot of analysis, so let's quickly sum up the differences between the Minolta Maxxum 5D vs. the Nikon D50.

  • The Minolta 5D is better for low-light photography
  • The Nikon is ideal for portrait and landscape photography
  • The 5D can take black and white photos, while the D50 can't
  • The Nikon D50 gives you a lot of choice when it comes to lenses

I'm not sure that we've declared a clear winner here, but at least now you know how these two very similar cameras are different.

More Information

If you'd like to read more about each camera, check out the in-depth guides:

If you're more interested in price, here's how they differ:

MinoltaMaxxum 5D with 18-70mm lens $ 650.00 (discontinued)
NikonD50 with 18-55mm lens $ 640.00
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