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Nikon D40 vs. Canon 5D

Manish Bansal , May 12, 2008; 03:37 a.m.

One of the reasons that Canon 5D has such great picture quality is because of its huge pixels (8.2 micron). Shouldn't then Nikon D40 come close which has a pixel size of 7.9 microns? Or may be it already does? I have been doing a lot of search on google for this but didn't find anything relevant. Thanks!

PS - Both of these cameras came out at almost the same time so the sensor technology should be comparable.


Ralph Jensen , May 12, 2008; 05:13 a.m.

Well, if pixel size was all that mattered, a 1-megapixel full-frame camera would have better picture quality than the 12-megapixel 5D, but there is of course no 1-mp SLR, for a reason:

The "huge pixels" are only "ONE OF" the reasons the Canon 5D has such great picture quality, as you say.

There are many other factors involved in Image Quality besides pixel size, and trying to judge IQ based solely on specs - or on brand name, or on anything other than actual images - will be a dead end.

Fortunately, plenty of direct comparisons of images taken by different cameras are available online. See this page, for example -


... and you can compare images between any two popular SLRs here:


Steve Solomon , May 12, 2008; 08:10 a.m.

Manish, another reason why the 5D image quality is superior to that of the Nikon D40 is that the 5D sensor is larger and covers full-frame (approximately 36x24mm), whereas the Nikon D40 uses a "cropped sensor" design. So, not only are the pixels larger in the 5D, but there are more of them on a physically larger area. So you're not comparing comparable cameras, it's really comparing apples and oranges.The Canon 5D and the Nikon D3 would be a more valid comparison, if one just goes by sensor size. And here, I think the D3 would win, especially in terms of high ISO sensitivity. Have fun! ~Steve

Larry Cooper , May 12, 2008; 10:00 a.m.

There are MANY more variables to picture quality than the size of the pixels. Many.

Ralph said it already: such simplistic comparisons are a dead end.

Peter Foiles , May 13, 2008; 10:34 p.m.

You need to do a lot more research. The 5D was released a full year before the Nikon D40 and cost in excess of $3000 when released compared to less than $600 for the D40. You get what you pay for. 5D CMOS sensor, D40 CCD sensor. The sensor tech between the two is most certainly not comparable.

touristguy87 tg87 , May 14, 2008; 01:42 a.m.

"The Canon 5D and the Nikon D3 would be a more valid comparison, if one just goes by sensor size. And here, I think the D3 would win, especially in terms of high ISO sensitivity. Have fun! ~Steve"

the true comparison is the 5D and the 30D since they both have the same sensor technology and pixel pitch.

David Manzi , May 14, 2008; 05:12 p.m.


5D vs 30D? Same sensor size? Huh?

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