Nikon 1 J5 vs D40
The Nikon 1 J5 and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2015 and November 2006. The J5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D40 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J5) and an APS-C (D40) sensor. The J5 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the D40 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 Nikon 1 J5 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 J5 and the Nikon D40 is provided 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 J5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the D40 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 D40 is considerably larger (98 percent) than the Nikon 1 J5. Moreover, the D40 is substantially heavier (126 percent) than the J5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the J5 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.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|2.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|3.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|8.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|9.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|10.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|11.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|12.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|13.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|14.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|17.||YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The J5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D40, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 J5 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D40 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40 is 219 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon 1 J5 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 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 2.37μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the J5 is much more recent (by 8 years and 4 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 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 J5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 J5 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 0.1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|7.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|8.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|17.||YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The J5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the J5 can use is 4K/15p.
Apart from 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 J5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon 1 J5, the Nikon D40, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J5 has a touchscreen, while the D40 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The J5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D40 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 J5 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The J5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The J5 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.
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 Nikon 1 J5 and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the J5 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 J5 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the J5 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 Nikon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 J5 and the Nikon D40? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 J5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 6MP) with a 85% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/15p 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 (1037k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x60mm vs 124x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 291g or 56 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 250) 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 J5 is the clear winner of the match-up (22 : 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon 1 J5 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the J5 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|2.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|3.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|8.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|9.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|10.||Nikon D3000||..||+||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|11.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|12.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|13.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|14.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|17.||YI M1||..||..||69/100||..||..||Sep 2016||349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Nikon 1 J5 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||Nikon 1 J5||Nikon D40|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||November 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Nikon D40|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.37 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.79 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/15p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||479||561|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J5||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||1037k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Nikon D40|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Nikon D40|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Nikon D40|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
98 x 60 x 32 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||231 g (8.1 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|
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