Nikon D40 vs. D90, Prime Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 vs. Zoom 35-55mm F/3.5-5.6

I was curiouse what exactly the difference is between the two Nikon bodies D40 and D90. Furthermore I took the chance and tested two lenses: The first one is a prime lense by Nikon: The first one is a prime portrait lense, Nikkor 50mm F/1.8, which has been subject of many positive reviews. The secound one is a standard zoom shipped with the D40 body, 35-55mm F/3.6-5.6.

Please note that this is no professional, commercial, scientific, accurate or what-ever reliable test. This is just a quick-and-dirty field-experiment, so please don’t blame me for anything. Only instrument to measure differences was my eye, so this could be rather a subjective view. THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE DATA AND THE RESULTS PRESENTED HERE AT ALL! However, there was no post-edition carried out on the images but some shrinking using GIMP.


Now here is what I did: I took some shots of a typical outdoor scene and was interested in the high-contrast area and the distant details. Here is the result:

Review Nikon D40 / D90 and Nikkor 50mm F1.8D

So far, I could not determine any big difference in quality. However, let’s have a closer look at the details. Mind the red boxes marking some areas of the upper left image. Here’s the zoom:

Details of Nikon D40 vs D90

As far as -1- is concerned, I am quite satisfied with all results – I cannot see any chromatic aberration. All the lines are sharp. The overall impression is that, at ISO200, 8.0f and 1/800s, there is hardly any difference. This is good for me, since these are the most common settings I use. However, keep in mind that this result may (and propably will) change drastically when changing any of the mentioned parameters, in particular when rising the ISO value or when opening the shutter.

In -2- I think the D40 using Nikkor 50mm is slightly less sharp, however, my overall impression is again that there is hardly any difference.

I don’t want to make any conclusion here – open the pictures and make your own conclusion. However, for such a scene (a daylight outdoor scene) I’d say that both bodies and lenses provide similar quality. And remember: This is my personal view and THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE DATA AND THE RESULTS PRESENTED HERE AT ALL!


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