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Nikon D40 vs D80

The Nikon D40 and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2006 and August 2006. 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 D80 provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D40 versus Nikon D80
Nikon D40 Nikon D80
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k 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 charge600 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D80? 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 D40 and the Nikon D80 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D40 vs Nikon D80
Compare D40 versus D80 top
Comparison D40 or D80 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Nikon D40. Moreover, the D80 is markedly heavier (28 percent) than the D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the D80 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 D80 can take 600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the D80, 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

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D80 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 D40 and Nikon D80 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D80 offers a higher resolution than the D40 (6MP), but the D80 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). It is noteworthy in this context that the D40 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the D80, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 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 D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

D40 versus D80 MP

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 consideration, the D80 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D40 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced 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 D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Neither the D40 nor the D80 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D40 and the D80 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 D80 has a higher magnification than the one of the D40 (0.62x 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 D80 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 D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 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
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D40 and the D80 write their files to SDHC cards.

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 D40 and Nikon D80 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 D40Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the D40 and the D80 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D80 was replaced by the Nikon D90, 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D40 or the Nikon D80 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 146g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the D80).


Advantages of the Nikon D80:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.62x vs 0.53x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D80 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 4 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.

D40 04:07 D80

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D80 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D40 or the D80. 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 expert reviews are important. 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.

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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 D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D80:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Nikon D80

    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 D40 Nikon D80
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2006 August 2006
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D80
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 561 524
    Screen Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D80
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.62x
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D80
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D40 Nikon D80
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 D80
    Battery Type EN-EL9 EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 668 g (23.6 oz)

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