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Nikon D40 vs D5500

The Nikon D40 and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2006 and January 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D40 has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the D5500 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D40   Nikon D5500
Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-1600 (200-3200) ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 3.2" LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel touchscreen
2.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
470 shots per battery charge820 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g

Body comparison: Nikon D40 vs D5500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D5500. 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.

The D5500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the D40 is only available in black.

Compare Nikon D40 and Nikon D5500
Compare D40 versus D5500 top
Compare D40 or D5500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5500 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Nikon D40. However, the D5500 is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the D5500 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 D40 gets 470 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the D5500 can take 820 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40» 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D5500« 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Samsung NX30« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.3 in 13.2 oz 360 n Jan 2014 999- i Samsung NX30

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 44 percent) than the D5500, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D40 vs D5500

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 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 D5500 is 1 percent smaller. 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 D40 and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D5500 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the 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 D5500 is much more recent (by 8 years and 1 month) 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 D5500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon D40 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

D40 versus D5500 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 consideration, the D5500 offers substantially better image quality than the D40 (overall score 28 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D5500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Samsung NX30« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.512.4101476Samsung NX30

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5500 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D40 vs D5500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D40 and the D5500 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 D5500 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 D40 and Nikon D5500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40»optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Nikon D5500«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Samsung NX30« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 9.0 Y n Samsung NX30

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5500 has a touchscreen, while the D40 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The D5500 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D40 does not have a selfie-screen.

The D40 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D5500 uses SDXC cards. The D5500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while D40 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D40 vs D5500

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 D40 and Nikon D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40»Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D5500«YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
 
Samsung NX30« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Samsung NX30

It is notable that the D5500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D40 does not offer wifi capability.

Both the D40 and the D5500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the D5500 was followed by the Nikon D5600.


Review summary: Nikon D40 vs D5500

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D40 or the Nikon D5500 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2006).


Advantages of the Nikon D5500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (28 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" 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 swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 102g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (820 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D40 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5500 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 3 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.

D40 03:19 D5500

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 D40 and the D5500 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Nikon D40 vs D5500

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40»81/100++o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D5500«+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »++79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3100« »++72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« »+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100++4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100++4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« »+++o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »78/100++4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »---o5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »-++-o- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Samsung NX30« »-77/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2014 999- i Samsung NX30
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5500:
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 your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Nikon D5500

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2006 January 2015
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200-3200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 84
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 561 1438
    Screen Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D5500
    Battery Type EN-EL9 power pack EN-EL14a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge820 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 420 g (14.8 oz)

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