Nikon D3200 vs D40
The Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2012 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D3200 has a resolution of 24.1 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.
|Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 200-1600 (200-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||2.5 shutter flaps per second|
|540 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|125 x 96 x 77 mm, 505 g||124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3200 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 Nikon D3200 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Nikon D3200. However, the D40 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the D3200. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3200 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon D3200»||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D40«||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D5200« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||500||n||Nov 2012||749||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D5100« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3100« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D3000« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D40X« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Sony A58« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||3.1 in||17.4 oz||690||n||Feb 2013||599||Sony A58|
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 D40 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D3200, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 4 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D3200 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 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 3.85μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the D3200 is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 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 Nikon D3200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inch or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inch or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inch or 50.9 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3200 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 D3200 provides substantially higher image quality than the D40, with an overall score that is 25 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3200||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D5200||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.2||13.9||1284||84||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D5100||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3100||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D3000||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D40X||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Sony A58||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.3||12.5||753||74||Sony A58|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3200 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3200 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3200 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%), as well as the same magnification (0.53x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3200, the Nikon D40, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Sony A58||1440||n||2.7||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y||Sony A58|
The D3200 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The D3200 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 D3200 and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3200||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D5200||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D5100||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D3000||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D40X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Sony A58||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A58|
Both the D3200 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the D3200 was followed by the Nikon D3300. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3200 or the Nikon D40 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3200:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 6MP) with a 100% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (25 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 (921k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:
- 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 number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3200 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 2 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 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 Nikon D3200 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 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 D3200 and the D40 in practical situations. 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 4000D vs Nikon D40
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3200
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D40
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Nikon D3200
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D3200 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon D3200 vs Panasonic GH3
- Nikon D3200 vs Sony A7R IV
- Nikon D3200 vs Sony RX100 III
- Nikon D40 vs Olympus E-620
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic G1
- Nikon D40 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D40
|Camera Model||Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2012||November 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.2 x 15.4 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||357.28 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.85 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.74 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1131||561|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|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 D3200||Nikon D40|
|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||Nikon D3200||Nikon D40|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
125 x 96 x 77 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||505 g (17.8 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|