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Nikon D40x Gordon Laing, May 2007

Nikon D40x results : Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

Outdoor scene - Nikon D40x vs Canon 400D / XTi with kit lenses

  To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Nikon D40x and Canon 400D / XTi within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and lowest ISO sensitivities.

To reflect typical usage, each camera was fitted with its most common kit lens option, respectively: the Nikkor DX 18-55mm II and Canon EF-S 18-55mm. Each lens was adjusted to capture identical fields of view.

The image above was taken with the Nikon D40x at 26mm f8, with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 4.53MB; the Canon 400D / XTi image measured 4.67MB. The Canon 400D / XTi underexposed this scene, so we applied +2/3 EV of exposure compensation to better match the output from the D40x. The crops are taken from the upper left, centre and lower right portions of the originals and presented here at 100%.

There are several differences noticeable between the two cameras below. Most obviously they have quite different approaches to image processing, with the D40x clearly applying much greater contrast and saturation for punchier results straight out the camera - whether you like this is a personal preference, but it shows while the D40x has the D80's sensor, it has the D40's default processing.

Processing along with differences in their kit lenses reveal further variations. The D40x exhibits a little coloured fringing on the mountain ridge in the first crop and the snow detail is also less defined than the Canon. More refrained processing has also benefitted the Canon in the second crop, although the 400D / XTi's kit lens once again lets it down on the third row of crops where the foliage on the Nikon sample is much better defined. Some of this is due to greater sharpening on the D40x, but the Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens is also simply superior to the Canon 18-55mm. To compare the D40x standard lens options, check out our Nikkor kit lens group test. To see how the D40x performs in studio resolution tests, head to the next results page.

Nikon D40x
Using DX 18-55mm II
Canon 400D / XTi
Using EF-S 18-55mm
Nikon D40x - crop 1
Canon 400D / XTi - crop 1
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
Nikon D40x - crop 2
Canon 400D / XTi - crop 2
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
Nikon D40x - crop 3
Canon 400D / XTi - crop 3
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO

Nikon D40x JPEG versus RAW comparison

To evaluate the effect of the D40x’s in-camera processing and compression, we recorded a best-quality JPEG followed by a RAW version of the same scene immediately afterwards. The JPEG and RAW files measured 4.53MB and 8.87MB respectively.

The D40x may have the same sensor as the D80, but different image processing makes it and its NEF RAW files unique. So since neither Adobe Lightroom nor Camera RAW supported the D40x at the time of writing, we converted the RAW file using the supplied Nikon Picture Project 1.7 software. We used the default settings and exported the image as a 16-bit TIFF, before opening in Photoshop CS2, converting to 8-bit then cropping and saving using the same JPEG settings as above.

Nikon D40x JPEG versus RAW, using DX 18-55mm II
Nikon D40x JPEG
Nikon D40x RAW
JPEG, 1/200, f8, 100 ISO
RAW conversion, 1/200, f8, 100 ISO

The crop from the RAW conversion on the right reveals greater sharpening using Picture Project's default settings, bringing out detail that's lacking in the JPEG. Of course as always, different source material, not to mention different RAW converters may deliver different results.


Nikon D40x results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

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