Nikon D40 vs D70s
The Nikon D40 and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2006 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 6 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|6 MP, APS-C Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-1600 (200-3200)||ISO 200-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.5" LCD, 230k dots||2.0" LCD, 130k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|470 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g||140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D70s? 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 D40 and the Nikon D70s are illustrated 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70s is notably larger (33 percent) than the Nikon D40. Moreover, the D70s is markedly heavier (30 percent) than the D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the D70s 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 D40»||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D70s«||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D3400« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200« »||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D3100« »||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D3000« »||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D40X« »||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D80« »||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|Nikon D100« »||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|Panasonic L10« »||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||Panasonic L10|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 D70s, 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 6 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the D40 and the D70s have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D40 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the D70s, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
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 D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 D40 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D70s (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 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 D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|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 D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D40 and the D70s 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 D40 has a higher magnification than the one of the D70s (0.53x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D40 and Nikon D70s in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|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 D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L10|
The D40 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D70s uses Compact Flash 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 D70s and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|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 D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Panasonic L10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
Both the D40 and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, while the D40 was followed by the Nikon D40X. 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 D40 and the Nikon D70s? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.50x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 130k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 157g or 23 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the D70s).
Advantages of the Nikon D70s:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2005).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D40 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 3 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D70s 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D40 or the D70s. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
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.
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.
- Canon 10D vs Nikon D70s
- Canon 1D C vs Nikon D70s
- Canon SX60 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D70s
- Nikon D40 vs Olympus E-M1X
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon D40 vs Sony RX100 V
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic G6
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic G80
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic GF7
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic ZS80
- Nikon D70s vs Sony NEX-3
Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Nikon D70s
|Camera Model||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2006||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200-1600 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||561||529|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5 inch||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D40||Nikon D70s|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||522 g (18.4 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|