The short answer is, not in a million years.
Yet, someone who I thought was rather level headed just posted a terrible comparison between the two cameras. As I said … I thought this fellow was one to not do such things, but I am forced now to deconstruct the test to show why people who are not familiar with the methods required to create one that actually tests something (and not the photographer’s competence) should simply avoid publishing tests.
Here is the F200EXR image:
Now, that image was shot with poor settings, but this is not his fault. In fact, the F200EXR chooses very high aperture values and very low shutter speeds through really poor algorithms for its EXR sensor. The EXIF data here is:
Aperture: f/11 (!)
Flash: not fired
The f/11 reading is usually a risk. There is every chance that there is some effect here from diffraction. A too-small aperture softens images. It’s not a major effect at f/11 on the F200EXR, though, because in fact that aperture is achieved partially with a slightly smaller physical aperture and mostly with a neutral density filter. So this image is probably pretty close to as sharp as the F200EXR can shoot. Base ISO, shutter speed more than adequate for 28mm equivalent, and minimal diffraction.
Now, how about that D40 image?
That image does not look much like a dSLR image. What could be happening here? Well, as it turns out, a couple of serious flaws happened …
The author of the test admits he screwed it up, but then publishes it anyway in the grand tradition of member lloydy …
Two photos taken at approximately the same time from nearby locations. The DSLR image is significantly worse because the ISO was set too high, although even when set lower it wasn't better than F200EXR images, just wider. Both downsampled 50% with no edits.
First, let’s review the EXIF: … No, wait … first, let’s note that there is actually a better dSLR shot as suggested by the phrase “although even when set lower it wasn’t better than the F200EXR, just wider.” Now why do you suppose we are seeing the worst of the shots, rather than the best? Beats me too …
Anyway, now let’s look at the dSLR EXIF:
Aperture: f/22 (!! definitely in the diffraction zone here)
Shutter: 1/500” (strange that it did not go higher in order to reduce aperture, Nikons always boost shutter much higher when allowed to)
ISO: unknown – but he says it is too high … wish he’d come clean with how high though …
Flash: fired (!!!) WTF? This is why shutter was limited to 1/500” …
Now … what’s wrong with this picture? The flash was fired on the dSLR, limiting its shutter speed, which forced aperture too high and into diffraction territory. Thus, the image is automatically softer. Second, the ISO is set too high by his own admission. That softens the image slightly as well.
Third … *both* images are shot without compensation, which of course blew out the white caps, rendering both images kinda crappy from the get-go.
Fourth … the images were shot 4 hours apart (a long time where lighting is concerned) and the framing is very different, which tricks the meter.
So, as is so typical in tests posted to the small sensor Fuji Talk Forum, the large sensor of the D40 is disadvantaged pretty strongly by poor technique.
And, of course, the king of bad tests jumped in with a mention of the D40 test he posted some time ago, and for which he was savaged by most on the forum. It was actually worse in many ways than this test, which at least attempts to shoot the same subject from a similar angle.
... You'll stir up a hornets nest
Still, I did a comparison between the S100 fs and a D40 some time back. Must say the D40 did not impress me. Others mileage may vary though.
He has not yet learned to avoid posting bad tests, but he has been pounded so much for it that he at least acknowledges the possibility that others will see things differently :-)
Bottom line: If you want to publish a comparison between cameras, then take the time to shoot them together and post accurate EXIF, either embedded in the image or explicitly stated. Equalize variables as best you can … ISO is the most important. Shoot each cam at its best settings (hint, flash was not useful for this test, super high aperture is a disadvantage, higher ISO is a disadvantage, etc.)
Also explain what you see so that the reader has a shot at figuring out what you are trying to test. Even better, figure that out before running and publishing the test in the first place :-)
Edit on 13 Sep: I am stunned … the dSLR shot was emailed to the poster of the comparison and he has no idea why the ISO was pushed so high … probably is not even aware as to what the ISO actually was. Anyway … this comparison is compromised on so many levels that it is ludicrous. Please, please, please! never post such a comparison. If you did not shoot the images, you have no business posting a comparison … if you have no idea whether the variables have been controlled, then you have no business posting the comparison … if the images on either side were clearly shot incompetently, then you have no business posting the comparison …
I’m serious here. Much time is wasted looking at and then debunking this sort of garbage. And some people (you listening Dave?) will then repeat post such poor comparisons over and over regardless of how many times they have been debunked in a fit of supreme obstinacy …
Edit 2 … same day: It gets better.
No, I was just puzzled that the D40 was capable of such bad results, and produces photos no bigger than M (medium!) size from the F200EXR.
How is one puzzled by the fact that a camera – any camera – can be shot incorrectly -- the highlights blown out; the aperture too high; the ISO much too high; and the flash on at the wrong time? Some people are simply incompetent. Either because they are extremely inexperienced or because they choose to never learn anything. It really does not matter because there are lots of them out there. So being puzzled that they exist is staggering naiveté.
And as for producing photos no bigger than the F200EXR at half size … at 12mp the pixels on the F200EXR are poor when compared to the pixels from a properly shot 6mp D40. Second, 6mp is more than enough to produce excellent 13x19 images *if the quality of the pixels is high enough* … as they would normally be from the D40.
The mind continues to boggle …