Nikon D200 and D40 image processing compared

I used a Nikon 105mm f2 DC lens, which is a very sharp lens, for both shots.

I shot both shots at ISO 200, in aperture priority mode at f4. The D200 exposed the image at one half a second, and the D40 exposed the image at eight tenths of a second.

Before taking these shots I shot a scene out of the window, but decided not to use it because the details were so small that it was difficult to tell what was happening. But what was clear from those shots and from these shown here, is that the D40 shoots warmer.

That is, it reads the color temperature of the subject as being warmer. Therefore the D200 shots tend more towards the blue end of the spectrum, and look bluer, and the D40 shots look more yellow.

This is easily changed in the RAW processor but it worth knowing how the cameras behave ‘out of the box’.

I shot in RAW and converted both shots together in Adobe Camera Raw 4.1.

Once converted to PSDs, I made the crops by using the rectangular marqee tool set to 475×475 pixels, and in each case copied the crop to a new file and then saved using save for web and devices.

The areas covered by the crops are different, one from the other, because the crops subtend a different area of the total frame. This is because the D200 has 10 megapixels, whereas the D40 has 6 megapixels.

D200 crop
D200 crop

D40 crop
D40 crop

I’ve written in other posts, that the 18-55mm kit lens on the D40 seems to produce images that are as sharp at 24mm as the 12-24mm Nikon lens produces on the D200. So now we have the same lens used on both cameras, and the message that shines out to me is:

  • Get out and shoot with the D40 because it is not inferior in image processing to the D200, and
  • Use the 18-55mm kit lens on the D40 because it is sharp.
  • There are other reasons to get the D200 and I will post about these, but for a lightweight camera that is far superior to any compact camera, and which does not cost a fortune, the Nikon D40 is a winner.

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