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Canon 40D vs Nikon D3000

The Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D3000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and July 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 40D   Nikon D3000
Canon 40D Nikon D3000
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D3000? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D3000 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.

Size Canon 40D vs Nikon D3000
Compare 40D versus D3000 top
Comparison 40D or D3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3000 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the D3000 is substantially lighter (35 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the D3000 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 (40D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000).

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D3000 can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9a 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
 
Canon 40D» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D3000« 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
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 D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
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
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 D3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the 40D, 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

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. 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3000 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (40D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 40D and Nikon D3000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 40D offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D3000. 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 5.73μm versus 6.11μm for the D3000). Moreover, it should be noted that the D3000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the 40D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon EOS 40D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The Nikon D3000 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

40D versus D3000 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. 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Nikon D3000« APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-----Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
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 D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
The 40D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D3000 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 40D and the D3000 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 40D has a higher magnification than the one of the D3000 (0.59x 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 40D, the Nikon D3000, 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Nikon D3000«optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the D3000 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 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3000 uses SDHC cards.

 

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 40D and Nikon D3000 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
 
Canon 40D»Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Nikon D3000«Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »Y-----2.0---Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the D3000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 40D and the D3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the D3000 was followed by the Nikon D3100. 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.


Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Nikon D3000? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x 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 (6.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) 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 August 2007).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3000:

  • More compact: Is smaller (126x97mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 286g or 35 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 40D emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 4 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. 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.

40D 07:04 D3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D3000 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the D3000. 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

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D»+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D3000«+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »82/100+ +3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »-+ +-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D3100« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »81/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers

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: Canon 40D vs Nikon D3000

    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 40D Nikon D3000
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 July 2009
    Launch Price USD 1299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Nikon D3000
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 563
    Screen Specs Canon 40D Nikon D3000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 40D Nikon D3000
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 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 40D Nikon D3000
    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 40D Nikon D3000
    Battery Type BP-511A EN-EL9a
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 536 g (18.9 oz)

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