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Nikon D40 vs Panasonic L10

The Nikon D40 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2006 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D40) and a Four Thirds (L10) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic 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 VS Panasonic L10
Nikon D40 Panasonic L10
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1600 (200-3200) ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 2.5" LCD, 207k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
470 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 135 x 96 x 78 mm, 556 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10? 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 Panasonic L10 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D40 vs Panasonic L10
Compare D40 versus L10 top
Comparison D40 or L10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic L10 is notably larger (11 percent) than the Nikon D40. Moreover, the L10 is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the L10 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (L10).

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.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40» 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Panasonic L10« 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100« » 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D40X« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Nikon D50« » 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Olympus E-420« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699iOlympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Panasonic G1« » 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599iPanasonic G1
 
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the L10, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D40 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic L10 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L10 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D40 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the L10 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D40 and Panasonic L10 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the L10 offers a higher resolution of 10 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 4.74μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the L10 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the D40, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic L10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the L10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D40 versus L10 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
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 D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353Panasonic G1
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Panasonic L1
The L10 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D40 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D40 and the L10 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 L10 (0.53x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D40, the Panasonic L10, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1
The L10 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D40 and the L10 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40
 
Panasonic L10Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D80Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70sYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Olympus E-420Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G1Ynonenone--mini2.0---Panasonic G1
 
Panasonic L1Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L1

Both the D40 and the L10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the L10 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D40 and the Panasonic L10? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 207k dots).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2006).

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (5 points each). 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 05:05 L10

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40 and the Panasonic L10 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 L10 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699iOlympus E-520
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Panasonic G1+ +70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599iPanasonic G1
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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
Panasonic L10:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Panasonic L10

    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 Panasonic L10
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date November 2006 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40 Panasonic L10
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200-3200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 561 429
    Screen Specs Nikon D40 Panasonic L10
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40 Panasonic L10
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    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 Panasonic L10
    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 Panasonic L10
    Battery Type EN-EL9 DMW-BLA13
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    135 x 96 x 78 mm
    (5.3 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 556 g (19.6 oz)

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