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Canon EOS 40D versus Nikon D90

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The article originally featured in January 2009’s ‘Amateur Photographer’.

The Canon EOS 40D has halved in price since its release.  Is it the ultimate bargain, or inferior to the video-enabled Nikon D90?

The ‘mid-range’ DSLR sector has changed a lot in the past 18 months, with more and more manufacturers aiming to grab a share of the sub-£1,000 enthusiasts’ market. Companies such as Sony and Samsung have taken the battle to Canon and Nikon with extremely competitive cameras at hard-to-beat prices, and with increasing pressure on retailers, manufacturers’ list prices have ceased to mean very much beyond the first few weeks after a camera’s introduction.

The Canon EOS 40D is a good example of a camera aimed at semi-professional users that barely a year ago was on sale for around £1,000, but can currently be found on the high street for around half that price. The Nikon D90, on the other hand, is a new addition to the marketplace, aimed squarely at the budget-conscious enthusiast, and priced accordingly, but bursting with features that we are more used to seeing in more expensive cameras.

The D90 was the first DSLR to feature HD video when it was released, and remains the only non-professional model with this capability. Now that its price has dropped following the release of the 15-million-pixel EOS 50D, the Canon EOS 40D is in direct competition at a high-street level with the D90. Is it the best bargain out there, or is it doomed to be outpaced by Nikon’s newer, flashier still/video hybrid?


The Key specifications of the Canon EOS 40D and Nikon D90 are fairly similar. Both are APS-C-format DSLRs, with effective focal length magnifications of 1.6x (Canon) and 1.5x (Nikon). The Canon EOS 40D offers an effective resolution of 10.1 million pixels, creating images that measure 3888x2592 pixels.

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