Canon 40D vs Nikon D80
The Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and August 2006. 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.
|Canon 40D||Nikon D80|
|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||2.5" 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 charge||600 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g||132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D80? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D80 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the D80 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the D80 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 (D80).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon 40D»||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D80«||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Canon T3« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||5.0 in||3.9 in||2.6 in||17.7 oz||500||n||Jun 2008||449||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D3000« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D80 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the 40D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 D80 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 40D offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D80. 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 D80). However, it should be noted that the 40D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the D80, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
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 D80 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|Canon 40D||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.1||11.3||703||64||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Canon T3||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||none||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||none||..||..||..||..||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||none||21.9||10.8||692||61||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.1||11.0||664||62||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||none||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D3000||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 40D and the D80 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 D80 has a higher magnification than the one of the 40D (0.62x vs 0.59x), 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 D80, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|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 D3000||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the D80 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 D80 uses SDHC cards.
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 D80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 40D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Canon T3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D3000||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the D80) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the D80 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D80 was replaced by the Nikon D90, while the 40D was followed by the Canon 50D. 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 40D better than the Nikon D80 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- 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 600) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the D80).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D80:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.62x vs 0.59x).
- More compact: Is smaller (132x103mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 154g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2006).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D80 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 40D and the D80 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 40D vs Nikon D80
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 Model||Canon 40D||Nikon D80|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||August 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 1299||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D80|
|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|
|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|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||703||524|
|Screen Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D80|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D80|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 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 D80|
|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 D80|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||668 g (23.6 oz)|
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