Ur-Leica Tamron Camera Comparison
Leica 1600mm Soligor Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Canon 30D vs Nikon D40

The Canon EOS 30D and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2006 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 30D versus Nikon D40
Canon 30D Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Nikon D40? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Nikon D40. 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 Canon 30D vs Nikon D40
Compare 30D versus D40 top
Comparison 30D or D40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40 is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the D40 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the D40 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (30D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40).

Concerning battery life, the 30D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

scroll hint
Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
12.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
13.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
14.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
Notes: 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. The D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the 30D, 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.

ad

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D40 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (30D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 30D and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 30D offers a higher resolution of 8.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D40. 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 6.42μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). Moreover, it should be noted that the D40 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the 30D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 30D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 30D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 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 Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.

30D versus D40 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
5.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
8.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
9.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
12.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
13.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
14.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
15.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
Neither the 30D nor the D40 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.
ad

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 30D and the D40 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 30D has a higher magnification than the one of the D40 (0.56x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Nikon D40, and comparable cameras.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
5.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the 30D, but is missing on the D40 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards.

ad

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 Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
8.
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 350DY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the D40) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 30D and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the D40 was followed by the Nikon D40X. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

ad

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 30D better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 30D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (8.2 vs 6MP) with a 17% higher linear resolution.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.53x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2006).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 263g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 30D is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 4 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 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.

30D 09:04 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Nikon D40 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 30D or the D40. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D5/5+79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon 400D..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon 350D..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
12.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
13.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
14.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 30D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
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.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Canon 30D vs Nikon D40

    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 Canon 30D Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 561
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Nikon D40
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Nikon D40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 30D Nikon D40
    Battery Type BP-511A EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Canon 30D vs Nikon D40

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.