Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
The Canon EOS 600D (called Canon T3i in some regions) and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 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 17.9 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.
|Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 200-1600 (200-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.7 shutter flaps per second||2.5 shutter flaps per second|
|440 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 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 600D 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: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
The physical size and weight of the Canon 600D and the Nikon D40 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 D40 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon 600D. Moreover, the D40 is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the 600D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 600D 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 (600D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40).
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, 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.
|Canon 600D»||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon 600D|
|Nikon D40«||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Canon 77D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon 760D« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon 1200D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 100D« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||-||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Canon 1100D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon 550D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon 500D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3100« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D40X« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||-||Nikon D50|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D40 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the 600D, 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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 D40 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (600D) 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 600D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 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 4.31μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the 600D is much more recent (by 4 years and 2 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 600D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 600D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 600D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the 600D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D40 (overall score 9 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon 600D»||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65||Canon 600D|
|Nikon D40«||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Canon 77D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon 760D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon 760D|
|Canon 1200D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 100D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon 650D|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Canon 1100D« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon 1100D|
|Canon 550D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon 550D|
|Canon 500D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D3400« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3100« »||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D40X« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 600D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the 600D can use is 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 600D 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%), as well as the same magnification (0.53x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 600D and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 600D»||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon 600D|
|Nikon D40«||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Canon 77D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon 760D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 760D|
|Canon 1200D« »||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 100D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 650D|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Canon 1100D« »||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1100D|
|Canon 550D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon 550D|
|Canon 500D« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D3400« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3100« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D40X« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
The 600D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
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 600D and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 600D»||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 600D|
|Nikon D40«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Canon 77D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon 760D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon 1200D« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 100D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon M« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Canon 1100D« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon 550D« »||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon 500D« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D3400« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3100« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D40X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
Both the 600D and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the 600D was followed by the Canon 650D. 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: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 600D or the Nikon D40 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 600D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 6MP) with a 72% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D40:
- More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2006).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 600D is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 600D 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 600D 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: Canon 600D vs Nikon D40
This is why expert reviews are important. 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.
|Canon 600D»||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon 600D|
|Nikon D40«||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Canon 77D« »||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon 760D« »||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon 1200D« »||+||-||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 100D« »||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||-||Canon 100D|
|Canon 700D« »||-||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon 650D« »||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon M« »||+||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Canon 1100D« »||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon 550D« »||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon 500D« »||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D3400« »||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3100« »||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D40X« »||79/100||+ +||4/5||o||4/5||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||-||Nikon D50|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 600D 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 Model||Canon 600D||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 2011||November 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||793||561|
|Screen Specs||Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 600D||Nikon D40|
|Battery Type||LP-E8 power pack||EN-EL9 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||570 g (20.1 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|
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