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Canon XSi vs Nikon D40

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 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 12.2 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 XSi versus Nikon D40
Canon XSi Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 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 Rebel XSi 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 XSi 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon XSi vs Nikon D40
Compare XSi versus D40 top
Comparison XSi 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 notably smaller (8 percent) than the Canon XSi. Moreover, the D40 is slightly lighter (0 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi 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 (XSi) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40).

Concerning battery life, the XSi gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the XSi, 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 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (XSi) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon XSi and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon XSi offers a higher resolution of 12.2 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 5.19μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the XSi is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the D40, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Canon XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 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 EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. 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.

XSi versus D40 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 XSi has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D40 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.3 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
The XSi offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D40 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XSi 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%), but the viewfinder of the XSi has a higher magnification than the one of the D40 (0.54x 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 XSi, the Nikon D40, and comparable cameras.

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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
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XSi and the D40 write their files to 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 Rebel XSi and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---

Both the XSi and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the XSi was followed by the Canon T1i. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon XSi better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP) with a 42% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the D40).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi is the clear winner of the match-up (6 : 2 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.

XSi 06:02 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XSi or the D40 perform in practice. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XS82/100+ +3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Canon XSi 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 XSi Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 561
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Nikon D40
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi Nikon D40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Nikon D40
    Battery Type LP-E5 EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

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