ad
ad
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Canon M vs Nikon D40

The Canon EOS M and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and November 2006. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D40 is a DSLR. Both cameras 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon M
versus
Nikon D40
Canon M   Nikon D40
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g
Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M 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 M and the Nikon D40. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D40 is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Nikon D40
Compare Canon M versus D40 top
Comparison Canon M 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 considerably larger (62 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the D40 is substantially heavier (75 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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 M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
10.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
11.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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 D40 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the Canon M, 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

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 D40 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Canon M) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M 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 Canon M is much more recent (by 5 years and 8 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 M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 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 M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. 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.

Canon M versus D40 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the Canon M 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, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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 M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
6.
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
7.
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
9.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
10.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
11.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
12.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
13.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
15.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D40 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
3.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1/s Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6/s Y n
5.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon 100Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
7.
 
Canon 700Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
9.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GF6none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the D40 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D40 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 M 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G7 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon 100DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 700DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
9.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

Both the Canon M and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. 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 the Canon M better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

ilogo

Advantages of the Canon EOS M:

  • 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 (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • 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).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 124x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 224g or 43 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • 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 count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 5 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.

Canon M 15:05 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon D40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 Canon M and the D40 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon 100D4/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon 700D......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
10.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
11.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
17.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
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.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Canon M 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 M Nikon D40
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon M Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    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 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 561
    Screen Specs Canon M Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Nikon D40
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Nikon D40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 M Nikon D40
    Battery Type LP-E12 EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)
    Canon M:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D40:
    Check Ebay offers

    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 M vs Nikon D40