Best Nikon D40 Memory Cards

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: November 16, 2019
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Best Nikon D40 Memory Card Compatibility

The Nikon D40 has a single card slot that supports SD memory cards. It is compatible with SD cards up to a maximum of 32GB in storage capacity.

An error code will be displayed if you try to use an SD memory card that is 64GB or larger. You will be required to purchase multiple SD memory cards if you have a need for increased storage space. The transfer speeds of SD memory cards are the primary specs to look at.

Faster transfer speeds can save time if you are transferring many photos, especially if your Nikon D40 gets regularly used. Currently, a UHS-I card and compatible SD memory card reader are the fastest way to copy photos.

Getting a top level SD memory card also helps to future proof the SD memory card for use in another camera or device. This will help you avoid a situation where you are unable to use a feature on a camera or device, such as shooting 4k video, due to the card not being fast enough.

Do you have a suitable focal length lens for the type of photography you are going to do? Take a look at the best lenses for the Nikon D40.

Here's my recommendation for the best SD memory card for the Nikon D40:

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB

  • Best SD card available
  • Largest compatible storage capacity.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s.
  • Write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.

Best SD Cards

Since the Nikon D40 was released, memory card prices have fallen and capacities have become larger. The difference in price between the fastest card and a cheap one is unexpectedly small. The price is more tied to storage size, with the larger cards having a higher price.

Buying the highest capacity cards makes sense if you are going to capture a huge amount of RAW files for wildlife, sports, events, or action photography. Another reason could be if you intend to upgrade your camera or use the SD memory card in other devices.

In my opinion, the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of SD memory cards are often the best option for most conditions. They have very fast read and write speeds, which means they have the best chance of being compatible with future digital cameras or devices that also use SD memory cards.

PNY Elite Performance And Lexar Professional are other cards that I have also had excellent experiences with. I have not had files or images become corrupted or lost on these brands. If that situation did happen, all of them have image recovery software available.

Troubles I have experienced have been with generic SD cards. Being a bundled accessory or a low price are the main attractions. However, this is also the most common kind of SD card to be advertised incorrectly.

A sticker that claims Class 10 speed is really easy to put on a Class 4 SD card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is destined to be an error or corrupted images if the card's write speed is not fast enough.

One of the biggest controls over cost you have is the storage capacity. You'll be better off by going one step down in capacity to reduce cost instead of going with a relabeled brand. Read and write speeds are important as they will impact your satisfaction with the Nikon D40.

Recommended SD Cards

Lexar 633x 23GB UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

Lexar Professional 633X 32GB

  • High-speed, Class 10 performance.
  • UHS-I technology for a read transfer speeds up to 633x (95MB/s).
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow.

The Lexar Professional is close in performance to the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card when used in the Nikon D40. The only difference is that the Lexar SD card has a slower write speed.

There can be a big difference in cost between the Lexar and SanDisk SD memory cards. I would not pay more for the Lexar, but also would have no problem picking it if it was substantially cheaper.

SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Ultra 32GB

  • Good value to save some money.
  • Quick transfer read up to 80MB/s.
  • Class 10 rating for Full HD video (1080p).
  • Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray Proof, magnet-Proof, and shockproof.

The SanDisk Ultra is a lower tier than the Extreme Pro with respect to performance. The benefit from that is that it has a smaller price.

You will not notice a difference in workflow except if you need to write a large number of files onto the card. It's not the ideal pick if you plan to use the card to record 4k video in the foreseeable future.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB

  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.

Memory Card Reader

UGreen 4-in-1 Card Reader
There's a bright blue LED that bothered me. It is now covered in gaff tape.

The UGreen 4-in-1 memory card reader works with four memory card formats. These cover everything camera manufacturers make use of in all but their newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN memory card reader has a USB 3.0 connection. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer rates than what the Nikon D40 can reach in USB transfer mode.

There are plenty of positive customer reviews for the card reader, which I agree with. I would recommend it because the reader has been recognized by all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have plugged it into.

The cable prevents memory card slots from getting in the way of other accessories or devices that are being used in another USB or nearby port.

When I looked for a card reader that would be lighter for travel, I needed to return a couple of orders. I came across the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the card readers were not recognized by my computer.

The card reader can be used with the memory cards below:

  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards (UHS-I supported)
  • Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
  • MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards

Nikon D40 SD Card Compatibility

The D40 uses SD memory cards. Secure Digital (SD) cards come in 3 different specifications. Each new memory card specification increased the maximum storage capacity of the cards.

All of the cards are compatible with newer cameras and devices. Newer SDXC cards are larger than an older camera, like the D40, can use.

  • Secure Digital (SD) - Up to 2GB cards will work.
  • Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) - Up to 32GB cards will work.
  • Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) - The D40 cannot use these cards as they are 64GB or larger.

Nikon D40 Memory Card Full Error

Using a memory card that is larger than 32GB in the D40 will cause an error. The camera will show that the card is full on the top LCD screen.

To fix the problem, you need to use an SD card with a capacity of 32GB or smaller.

If you are having issues with a card that is 32GB or smaller, format the card in the camera. Using a computer or other device to format a memory card can cause problems. It is a best practice when using DSLRs to always format memory cards in the camera.

Another way to make sure your Nikon D40 does not have any problems is to make sure that you are using the latest firmware. You can download the firmware from Nikon. Make sure you have a fully charged Nikon EN-EL9 battery if you go through the upgrade process.

Image Capacity

Nikon SD Memory Card Contacts

Image quality settings on the Nikon D40 will influence the number of image files you can store. Higher image quality settings will produce bigger image sizes.

If you're looking to shoot loads of RAW files, it can be worth the money to get a larger capacity card.

If you shoot JPEGs, you would likely be much better off getting an additional battery rather than a larger card. An SD memory card that comes with 32GB of space should have more than enough room for days of photographs that would require the batteries to be recharged several times.

In fact, the controlling part of just how many images you can capture will likely be your camera batteries. Remember that, any time the Nikon D40 is powered on, even if you are just navigating through menu settings or using the live view, that will still lower the battery life.

For low light conditions, like indoors or at night, the flash built-in to the camera can be handy. Without the flash, shutter speeds will not be fast enough to prevent motion blur. Using the built-in flash will fairly quickly deplete the camera batteries. These settings are when it's good to own at least a couple of Nikon EN-EL9 rechargeable batteries for the camera.

The following is an approximation of the number of high-quality JPEG images you will be able to save on a SD card for the given capacity:

  • 4GB - 1,160 images
  • 8GB - 2,320 images
  • 16GB - 4,640 images
  • 32GB - 9,280 images

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

Speed ratings for SD cards are determined by sequential read and/or write speeds. The speed of the card is important when many images need to be written or read from the card.

Speed Class Rating

Example of where to find SD Card Speed Class
The 10 inside of the C means the card is Class 10.

Sustained write speeds of 2MB, 4MB, 6MB, or 8MB per second means the card has a speed class of 2, 4, 6, or 8. Cards that have write speeds of 10MB/s or faster are rated as Class 10.

Every brand name SD card that you can find for sale today will have a Class 10 rating. You can double-check by looking for a number inside of a C on the label of the card.

Ultra High Speed (UHS)

Example of an SD memory card with a UHS-I rating.
The UHS rating of a card can be determined by a Roman numeral I, II, or III on the label of the card.

The Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus allows for faster data transfer. Like the speed rating, there are different standards. Ratings of UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III, can be found on SDHC and SDXC cards.

To figure out the rating of a card, look at the label. If there is a Roman numeral I, II, or III, that is the UHS rating of your card. The Roman numerals should be close to the SD logo on the label.

Maximum transfer rates are:

  • UHS-I - 104 MB/s
  • UHS-II - 312 MB/s
  • UHS-III - 624 MB/s

Now that you know why the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB is the best Nikon D40 memory card, you'll be able to pick out the best SD card for any future camera.

Here are more pages on cameras related to the D40:

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