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.
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 D40 and the Nikon D5500? 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 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.
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 (10 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.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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.
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.
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 resolution advantage of the Nikon D5500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5500 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 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).
In terms of underlying technology, the D40 is build around a CCD sensor, while the D5500 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
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.
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.
|1.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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 Nikon D5500 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 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 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 D40 and Nikon D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D5200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
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 provide 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. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D40 or the Nikon D5500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? 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 a 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- 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. 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 D40 and the Nikon D5500 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 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|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.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D40
- Leica TL vs Nikon D40
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic LX10
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic TZ200
- Nikon D40 vs Sony A7S II
- Nikon D5500 vs Nikon D7100
- Nikon D5500 vs Nikon W150
- Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon D5500 vs Panasonic GX850
- Nikon D5500 vs Panasonic S1H
- Nikon D5500 vs Sony A5100
Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Nikon D5500
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 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 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|
|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 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 3,200 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%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D5500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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|
|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 Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||820 shots per charge|
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)||470 g (16.6 oz)|
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