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Nikon D3400 vs D40

The Nikon D3400 and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2016 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D3400 has a resolution of 24 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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3400 versus Nikon D40
Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
1200 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
124 x 98 x 76 mm, 445 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 D3400 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon D3400 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3400 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the D40 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D40
Compare D3400 versus D40 top
Comparison D3400 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 somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Nikon D3400. However, the D40 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the D3400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3400 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.

Concerning battery life, the D3400 gets 1200 shots out of its EN-EL14a 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 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.

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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
 
Nikon D3400 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Canon SL2 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Nikon D3500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 12.9 oz 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
 
Nikon D5600 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D500 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i
 
Nikon D5500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D7200 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199i
 
Nikon D3300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D3200 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5200 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749i
 
Nikon D3100 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D40X 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 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.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.

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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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 1 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.

Nikon D3400 and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D3400 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.91μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the D3400 is much more recent (by 9 years and 9 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 D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 Nikon D3400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. 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.

D3400 versus D40 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under review, the D3400 provides substantially higher image quality than the D40, with an overall score that is 30 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.8 bits higher color depth, 2.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Nikon D7200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
 
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

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D3400 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3400 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3400 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 D3400 has a higher magnification than the one of the D40 (0.57x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3400 and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D500optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D7200optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel 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

The D3400 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The D3400 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.

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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 Nikon D3400 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
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D500YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D7200YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---

Both the D3400 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the D3400 was followed by the Nikon D3500. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D3400 better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Nikon D3400:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 6MP) with a 100% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (30 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
  • 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 (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 77g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 9 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.
  • 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 D3400 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

D3400 16:02 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3400 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 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 D3400 or the D40 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

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.

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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
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Nikon D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D500+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D7200+ +84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5200+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
 
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 review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D3400:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3400 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 Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2016 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 86 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.8 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.9 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1192 561
    Screen Specs Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 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 SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3400 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
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon D3400 Nikon D40
    Battery Type EN-EL14a EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 98 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 445 g (15.7 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

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