Nikon D40 vs Sony A68
The Nikon D40 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2006 and November 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A68? 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 Sony A68. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth 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 Sony A68 is notably larger (28 percent) than the Nikon D40. Moreover, the A68 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the A68 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|2.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|4.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|5.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|6.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|7.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|8.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|9.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|10.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|11.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|12.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|15.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: 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 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 29 percent) than the A68, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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 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. 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A68 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 A68 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 A68 is much more recent (by 8 years and 11 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A68 offers substantially better image quality than the D40 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.
| DXO |
|14.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A68 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the A68 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A68 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D40 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the A68 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D40 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A68 has a higher magnification (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 Sony A68 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|14.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One feature that differentiates the A68 and the D40 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A68 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D40 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The D40 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A68 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|14.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the D40 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the A68 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D40 better than the Sony A68 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 88g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2006).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 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 (2.5 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A68 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Sony A68 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 A68 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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|
|2.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|4.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|5.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|6.||Nikon D3000||..||+||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|7.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|8.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|9.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|10.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|11.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|12.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|15.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|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. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Sony A68
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||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2006||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A68|
|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||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||561||701|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A68|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A68|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A68|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||522 g (18.4 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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