Contax N Digital vs Nikon D40X
The Contax N Digital and the Nikon D40X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2002 and March 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (D40X) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 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.
|Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||10 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 50-1600||ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 200k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|100 shots per battery charge||520 shots per battery charge|
|152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g||124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D40X? 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 Contax N Digital and the Nikon D40X are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D40X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the N Digital is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40X is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the D40X is substantially lighter (47 percent) than the N Digital. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the N Digital nor the D40X 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.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D40X, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
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.
|Contax N Digital»||6.0 in||5.4 in||3.1 in||34.9 oz||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D40X«||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.2 oz||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D3000« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629||-||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 D40X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 90 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D40X an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40X is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the D40X offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. 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 6.11μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the D40X is much more recent (by 5 years) than the N Digital, 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 Nikon D40X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D40X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inch or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inch or 32.8 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inch or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inch or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inch or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40X are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Contax N Digital»||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||-||-||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D40X«||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||-||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||-||-||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||-||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D3000« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.5||11.4||562||65||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D100« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the D40X 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 N Digital has a higher magnification than the one of the D40X (0.73x 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 Contax N Digital, the Nikon D40X, and comparable cameras.
|Contax N Digital»||optical||Y||2.0||200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D40X«||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D40X|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||optical||Y||1.8||114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D3000« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D100« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n||Nikon D1X|
One feature that is present on the N Digital, but is missing on the D40X 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 N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D40X 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 Contax N Digital and Nikon D40X and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Contax N Digital»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D40X«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Canon 10D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D3000« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D100« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the D40X) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the N Digital and the D40X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40X was replaced by the Nikon D60 , while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D40X? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40X:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 200k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 468g or 47 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (520 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (90 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D40X emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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 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 Contax N Digital and the Nikon D40X 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the N Digital or the D40X. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Contax N Digital»||-||-||-||-||-||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D40X«||79/100||+ +||4/5||o||4/5||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Canon 10D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||+ +||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||-||+ +||o||-||-||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||-||-||-||-||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||-||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D3000« »||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||80/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629||-||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40« »||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D100« »||-||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon XTi vs Nikon D40X
- Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X-Pro1
- Contax N Digital vs Leica CL
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon B700
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon D610
- Contax N Digital vs Olympus XZ-1
- Contax N Digital vs Pentax K-1 II
- Contax N Digital vs Sony A99 II
- Contax N Digital vs Sony RX100 VII
- Nikon D40X vs Nikon D850
- Nikon D40X vs Panasonic TS7
- Nikon D40X vs Ricoh GR
Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D40X
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||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||March 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 7399||USD 729|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||3872 x 2592 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||6.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||2.69 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||50-1600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-3200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||516|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D40X|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||520 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|
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