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Nikon D40 Performance

Timing and Performance

Good speed for a consumer digital SLR.

Power on
to first shot
~0.4 second
(0.9 second for display to become active)
Boot time. The D40 is able to take a shot before the display becomes active.
0.1 second
Simple shutdown.
Buffer clearing time
2 seconds
(1 second buffer clearing in LF JPEG)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
0.1 second
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
1.0 second
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.
recorded image
0.1 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.26 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.26 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
0.098 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.20 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.19 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.60 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, buffer clears in ~1 second.*
Single Shot mode
Small Basic JPEG
0.60 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, buffer clears in ~1 second.*
Single Shot mode
0.57 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, buffer clears in ~2 seconds.*
Early shutter
No (Yes with flash)
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer. The D40 only "penalizes" an early shutter press if the flash is enabled.
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.40 second (2.5 frames per second);
12 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first; buffer clearing time for 20 shots, since buffer takes far longer than 20 shots to fill.
Continuous mode
Small Basic JPEG
0.60 second (1.67 frames per second);
1 second to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode
0.40 second (2.5 frames per second) for 3 shots, then slows to 0.59 second per shot;
2 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 3 shots.
Flash recycling
4.8 seconds
Flash at maximum output.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
2153 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Nikon D40's performance is excellent overall. Start-up time is good, and shutter lag at wide angle and telephoto is very good. "Prefocus" times (half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure) are quite fast as well, with a shutter delay in that condition of only 0.098 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are also good at about 0.6 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera captures frames continuously at this rate. Continuous-mode speed is close to being as stated with noise reduction off, coming it at 2.5 frames per second. With noise reduction on, however, it's quite a bit slower, at about 1.65 frame/second. The flash recycles at about 4.8 seconds after a full-power shot, which is commendable, particularly given the excellent range of the D40's flash. Connected to a computer, download speeds are vert fast as well, so you won't feel a need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the Nikon D40 is very responsive, good for wiggly kids and most sporting events. Though Continuous mode speed could be a little faster, the camera at least captures frames continuously at that rate, seemingly without any buffer limitation. Great results overall.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Good battery life with the custom LiIon battery pack.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery

The Nikon D40 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery pack for power, and comes with a charger. Even though runtime is quite good, I strongly recommend picking up a spare battery pack and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings. (Digital camera batteries are firm believers in Murphy's Law, always running out of juice just as the best photo ops of the day are available!)

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

The Nikon D40 accepts SD/MMC cards, though no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity with
512MB SD Card
3,008 x 2,000
File Size
3.6 MB
1.9 MB
983 KB
7.5 MB
8.5 MB
2,256 x 1,496
File Size
1,504 x 1,000
File Size

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/MMC memory card at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB or larger one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so there's no reason to skimp.)