Canon SX530 vs Nikon D40
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and November 2006. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the D40 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and an APS-C (D40) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SX530 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size 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 larger (18 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the D40 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX530 has a lens built in, whereas the D40 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D40 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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.
|1.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|2.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|3.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|4.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|5.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|7.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|8.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|10.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|12.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|13.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|14.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|15.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX530 was launched at a lower price than the D40, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX530 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D40 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40 is 1221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX530 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D40 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX530 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 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 1.33μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the SX530 is much more recent (by 8 years and 1 month) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX530 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX530 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX530 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 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 PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 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.
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX530 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX530 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D40 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX530 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX530 and Nikon D40 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX530||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|3.||Canon T6||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon SX540||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
The SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 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 PowerShot SX530 HS and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX530||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T6||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX540||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX530 offers wifi support, while the D40 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX530 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the SX530 was followed by the Canon SX540. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon SX530 better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 6MP) with a 59% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 (461k vs 230k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D40 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 124x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D40).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D40 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D40:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2006).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX530 comes out slightly ahead of the D40 (13 : 12 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 SX530 and the Nikon D40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX530 or the D40 perform in practice. 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 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.
|1.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|2.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|3.||Canon T6||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|4.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|5.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|7.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|8.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|10.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|12.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|13.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|14.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|15.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|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, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 450D vs Nikon D40
- Canon M50 vs Nikon D40
- Canon SX1 vs Nikon D40
- Canon SX530 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon SX530 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Canon SX530 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Canon SX530 vs Panasonic G5
- Canon SX530 vs Panasonic GH3
- Canon SX530 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon 1 V1 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic LX7
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic ZS100
Specifications: Canon SX530 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 SX530||Nikon D40|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2015||November 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon D40|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||561|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon D40|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon D40|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1.6 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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 SX530||Nikon D40|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon D40|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|
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