Nikon D40 vs Sony A7R IV
The Nikon D40 and the Sony Alpha A7R IV are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2006 and July 2019. The D40 is a DSLR, while the A7R IV is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D40) and a full frame (A7R IV) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 60.2 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 A7R IV? 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 A7R IV. 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 measures 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 A7R IV is notably larger (6 percent) than the Nikon D40. Moreover, the A7R IV is markedly heavier (27 percent) than the D40. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7R IV is splash and dust-proof, while the D40 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7R IV). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A7R IV, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
Concerning battery life, the D40 gets 470 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the A7R IV can take 670 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The power pack in the A7R IV can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D40||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|2.||Sony A7R IV||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||23.5 oz||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|3.||Nikon D3400||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|4.||Nikon D3300||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|5.||Nikon D3100||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|6.||Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|7.||Nikon D60||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|8.||Nikon D40X||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|9.||Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|10.||Nikon D50||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|11.||Nikon D70s||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|12.||Nikon D70||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|13.||Sony A7S III||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.2 in||24.7 oz||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499|
|14.||Sony A7R III||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A9||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|16.||Sony A7R II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 86 percent) than the A7R IV, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D40 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7R IV a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7R IV is 130 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 60.2MP, the A7R IV offers a higher resolution than the D40 (6MP), but the A7R IV has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). Yet, the A7R IV is a much more recent model (by 12 years and 8 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R IV has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 47.5 x 31.7 inches or 120.7 x 80.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 38 x 25.3 inches or 96.6 x 64.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 31.7 x 21.1 inches or 80.5 x 53.6 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 A7R IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the D40, the A7R IV has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (241MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
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 A7R IV are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
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 A7R IV offers substantially better image quality than the D40 (overall score 43 points higher). The advantage is based on 5 bits higher color depth, 3.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.6 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 |
|2.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|13.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|15.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A7R IV indeed provides for movie recording, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the A7R IV can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7R IV has an electronic viewfinder (5760k 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 A7R IV 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 A7R IV has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.53x), 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 Sony A7R IV, and comparable cameras.
|2.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0||1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D40 has one, while the A7R IV does not. While the built-in flash of the D40 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A7R IV is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Sony A7R IV 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 A7R IV uses SDXC cards. The A7R IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D40 only has one slot. The A7R IV supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), 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 A7R IV and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7R IV 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.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A7R IV (unlike the D40) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The A7R IV is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the D40 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D40 was succeeded 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 and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D40 better than the Sony A7R IV or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 143g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (86 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7R IV:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (60.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 216%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (43 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 (0.78x vs 0.53x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (670 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards on both slots.
- More modern: Reflects 12 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R IV is the clear winner of the contest (33 : 6 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 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 Sony A7R IV place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 A7R IV. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 A7R IV||5/5||+||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|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.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499|
|14.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|16.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Sony A7R IV
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 A7R IV|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2006||July 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 3,499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A7R IV|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||35.7 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||849.66 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||42.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||60.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||9504 x 6336 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||7.09 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 3,200 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||99|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||14.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||561||3344|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A7R IV|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A7R IV|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A7R IV|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D40||Sony A7R IV|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||670 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
129 x 96 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||522 g (18.4 oz)||665 g (23.5 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.