Nikon D40 SLR Review

By Movable Type Admin



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Nikon D40


Review posted 1/26/07

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Nikon D40 SLR
Click to take a QuickTime tour of the D40


Nikon's D40 is the latest addition to its comprehensive line of digital SLRs. Designed to bring the performance, excitement and experience of Nikon's dSLRs to more customers than ever before, the D40 is an ultra-compact, lightweight 6.1-megapixel dSLR that offers simplified new features, exceptional speed and a redesigned, visually-intuitive menu system, bringing consumers a whole new level of simplicity in a digital SLR.

The D40 combines sophisticated exposure automation with options for complete user control to help make it the ideal camera for anyone ready to explore their creative potential. Using Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, the D40 assures accurate exposure control, even in difficult lighting conditions. Its frame- wide 420-pixel sensor instantly and automatically assesses and compares each scene's brightness, contrast and color with a built-in database of information from over 30,000 real-world lighting scenarios, before setting the accurate exposure. For those who want more control over their shots, alternative metering options, such as spot and center-weighted metering as well as exposure compensation, are also available.

Once you've captured a shot you can check sharpness, exposure and focus on the large 2.5-inch, 230,000-dot high-resolution color LCD monitor, which provides the ability to enlarge your shot up to 19 times. The operating menus have been carefully designed with color schemes and large fonts for quick, easy navigation through the camera's options. Also, the newly introduced assist images help you select the appropriate settings for many camera features by showing illustrative end-result images typical of that setting.

The D40's innovative information display can be shown in Classic format or with the new Graphic and Wallpaper formats for Digital Vari-Program modes and Program Auto, Shutter-priority Auto, Aperture-priority Auto and Manual (P/S/A/M) exposure modes.

The D40's 3-area autofocus system also adds to the camera's overall speed, delivering fast and precise focus under varying shooting conditions. Incorporating Nikon's advanced Multi-CAM 530 AF Sensor Module, the three-area AF system, with central cross-type sensor operation, adds effective new focusing options and ensures greater ability to capture that perfect shot.

Photographers will enjoy the camera's Image Optimize menu options that tailors results to the scene at hand, the intended use of an image or to the photographer's custom preference. Sharpness, tone (contrast), color, saturation and hue optimization are controlled by the user-selected choice of Normal, Softer, Vivid, More Vivid, Portrait, Custom and Black-and-White.

The D40 also features an image Retouch menu, with exclusive in-camera editing functions that promise to keep D40 shooters engaged when they're not busy shooting. Options within the Retouch menu include:

  • D-Lighting: Automatically balances underexposed portions of an image to enhance detail in these areas, without affecting the highlights of the picture

  • In-camera Red-eye Correction: Automatically removes the annoying red-eye effect sometimes caused by flash.

  • Trim: Images can be trimmed within the camera to produce smaller files with reduced display sizes for easy sharing or greater efficiency for specific end purposes.

  • Image Overlay: Merges a pair of selected RAW files taken with the D40 to create a composite image within the camera as a RAW or JPEG file. This feature is especially useful when trying to create a soft-focus effect with two similar images

  • Monochrome settings: Monochrome settings can be applied to any color image in the camera, to convert it to a pleasing monochromatic picture, either in black-and-white, sepia or cyanotype

  • Filter Effects: Can be used to emulate and apply the effects of a Skylight filter or a Warming filter to any image stored on the inserted SD card. A Customized Color menu within filter effects can also be used to make subtle shifts in color to any image in the camera.

  • Small Picture: Create a smaller version of any image in the camera for easy sharing and faster download.

The D40 is compatible with all Nikon AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses*, and comes packaged with a new 3X zoom 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens that incorporates cutting-edge Nikon optical technologies, such as ED glass and aspherical lens elements. This lens offers users a popular 3x zoom range, which conveniently covers picture angles that meet the needs of everything from tight portraits to wide-angle landscapes.

The D40 is also compatible with Nikon's range of i-TTL technology enabled Speedlights including the SB-800, SB-600 and the recently introduced SB-400. A perfect companion for the D40, the SB-400 is an ultra-compact, lightweight Speedlight which is ideal for photographing subjects at extended distances or illuminating subjects with a softer, more natural appearing lighting effect with its bounce flash capability. With a guide number of over 98 feet the SB-400 provides all of the power and coverage that a D40 customer may demand for shooting group shots and reducing harsh shadows. All of the SB-400's settings can be controlled automatically by the camera's metering system or manually from the camera's built-in menus. Keeping with the D40s remarkable ease-of-use, using the SB 400 Speedlight is as simple as sliding it on, turning it on and shooting.



Nikon D40 Features:

  • 6.1-Megapixel CCD imager yielding 3008 x 2000 pixel images
  • Kit includes new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens
  • Slimmer and more compact body than its predecessors
  • Accepts Nikon F mount with AF coupling and AF contacts Type G or D AF
  • Compatible with Nikon i-TTL technology enabled Speedlights
  • Digital Vari-Program, Program w/shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual
  • Exclusive Nikon 3D-Color Matrix II metering
  • Compressed RAW and JPEG formats in three quality levels and sizes
  • TTL auto white balance, presets and custom set
  • Shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 30 seconds, flash sync to 1/500
  • Continuous drive at 2.5fps with dynamic buffer
  • 3 area AF with Single Area AF, Dynamic Area AF or Closest Subject Priority
  • 2.5-inch color LCD with 230,000 pixels
  • Onscreen menu for Playback, Shooting, Custom functions and Setup
  • New Retouch menu for in-camera editing of stored photos
  • Review with zoomed-playback & pan, RGB histogram and highlights
  • ISO sensitivity from 200 to 1600
  • Noise Reduction circuitry for long exposures
  • SD/SDHC memory card storage
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • USB data and control interface
  • High-capacity EN-EL9 battery and compact MH-23 Quick Charger

The D40 camera and the new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens will be packaged together and are available now for an estimated price of US$599.95**.

Physical Views



Nikon D40 SLR

Nikon D40 SLR

Nikon D40 SLR Nikon D40 SLR

Nikon D40 SLR

Nikon D40 SLR




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Nikon D40 Specifications

Type of Camera Single-lens reflex, interchangeable lens digital camera
Effective pixels 6.1 million
Image Sensor RGB CCD, 23.7 x 15.6 mm; total pixels: 6.24 million, Nikon DX format
Image size (pixels) 3,008 x 2,000 [L], 2,256 x 1,496 [M], 1,504 x 1,000 [S]
Sensitivity 200 to 1600 in steps of 1 EV with additional setting one step over 1600
Storage Media SD memory card, SDHC compliant
Storage System Compressed NEF (RAW): 12-bit compression,
JPEG: JPEG baseline-compliant
File System Exif 2.21, Compliant DCF 2.0 and DPOF
White Balance
Auto (TTL white balance with 420-pixel RGB sensor);
six manual modes with fine tuning and preset white balance
LCD Monitor 2.5-in., 230,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
Playback Function 1 frame; thumbnail (4 or 9 segments); magnifying playback; slide show; histogram indication; highlight point display; auto image rotation
Delete Function Card format, All frames delete, Selected frames delete
Video Output NTSC or PAL
Interface USB 2.0 (Hi-speed) (mini-B connector); SD card slot: supports firmware updates via SD cards
Text Input Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
Compatible Lenses Nikon F mount with AF coupling and AF contacts Type G or D
AF Nikkor: 1) AF-S, AF-I: All functions supported;
2) Other Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported except autofocus;
3) PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D: Can only be used in mode M; all other functions supported except autofocus;
4) Other AF Nikkor*1/AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II;
5) Non-CPU: Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster;
6) IX Nikkor lenses cannot be used *1. Excluding lenses for F3AF
Picture Angle Equivalent in 35 mm [135] format is approx. 1.5 times lens focal length
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level penta-Dach mirror type; built-in diopter adjustment (-1.7 to +0.5m-1)
Eyepoint 18mm (-1.0m-1)
Focusing Screen Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark V with superimposed focus brackets
Viewfinder Frame Coverage Approx. 95% (vertical/horizontal)
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.8x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
Viewfinder Information Focus indications, AE/FV lock indicator, shutter speed, aperture value, exposure/exposure compensation indicator, exposure mode, flash output level compensation, exposure compensation, number of remaining exposures, flash-ready indicator
Autofocus TTL phase detection by Nikon Multi-CAM530 autofocus module with AF-assist (range approximately 0.5-3.0m/1ft. 8in.-9ft. 10in.); Detection range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 at 20 degrees C/68 degrees F)
Lens Servo 1) Autofocus (AF): Instant single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous servo AF (AF-C); auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status, 2) Manual focus (M)
Focus Area Can be selected from 3 focus areas
AF Area Mode 1) Single Area AF; 2) Dynamic Area AF; 3) Dynamic Area AF with Closest Subject Priority
Focus Lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
Exposure Metering System TTL full-aperture exposure metering system: 1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II (type G and D lenses); Color Matrix Metering II (other CPU lenses); metering performed by 420-segment RGB sensor; 2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8mm circle in center of frame; 3) Spot: Meters 3.5mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on active focus area
Exposure Metering Range 1) 0 to 20 EV (3D Color Matrix or center-weighted metering); 2) 2 to 20 EV (spot metering)
Exposure Mode Digital Vari-program (Auto, Auto [Flash Off], Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up, Night Portrait), Programmed Auto (P) with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto (S); Aperture Priority Auto (A); Manual (M)
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 EV
Exposure Lock Exposure locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
Shooting Modes 1) Single frame shooting mode;
2) Continuous shooting mode: approx. 2.5 frames per second*;
3) Self-timer mode;
4) Delayed remote mode: 2 s. delay;
5) Quick-response remote mode*Approx. 1.7 frames per second with Noise reduction turned on and approx. 1 frame per second with ISO HI1
Shutter Combined mechanical and CCD electronic shutter, 30 to 1/4000 sec. in steps of 1/3, bulb
Sync Contact X-contact only; flash synchronization at up to 1/500 sec.
Flash Control 1) TTL: TTL flash control by 420-segment RGB sensor.
i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR and standard i-TTL fill-flash for digital SLR available when CPU lens is used with built-in flash, SB-800, SB-600, and T041;
2) Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 with CPU lens;
3) Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s;
4) Range-priority manual available with SB-800
Flash Sync Mode Auto, Portrait, Child and Close Up modes: 1) Auto, auto with red-eye reduction; fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight;
2) Night portrait mode: Auto, auto slow sync, auto slow sync with red-eye reduction; slow sync and slow sync with red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight;
3) Landscape, Sport mode: Fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight;
4) P, A: Fill flash, rear-curtain with slow sync, slow sync, slow sync with red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction;
5) S, M: Fill flash, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction
Built-in Speedlight Auto, Portrait, Child, Close Up, Night Portrait mode: Auto flash with auto pop-up P/S/A/M: Manual pop-up with button releaseGuide number (ISO 200/ISO 100, m [ft.]): approx.17 [55]/12 [39] (manual full 18 [59]/13 [42])
Flash compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3EV
Accessory Shoe Standard ISO hot-shoe contact with sync, signal and ground contacts and safety lock
Self-timer Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2,5,10 or 20 seconds
Remote Control Via optional ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control
Power Source One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL9; charging voltage (MH-23 quick charger): 7.4V DC, EH-5 AC Adapter (available separately; requires optional EP-5 AC Adapter Connector)
Tripod Socket 1/4 In. (ISO1222)
Dimensions (W x D x H) Approx. 5.0 x 2.5 x 3.7 in. (127 x 63.5 x 93.98mm)
Weight Approx. 1 lb 1 oz (482g) without battery, memory card or body cap
Supplied Accessories* EN-EL9 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, MH-23 Quick Charger, UC-E4 USB Cable, PictureProject, DK-16 Rubber Eyecup, Camera Strap, BF-1A Body Cap, DK-5 Eyepiece Cap, BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cap. *Supplied accessories may differ depending on country or area.
Optional Accessories ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control, Capture NX, Camera Control Pro, EH-5 AC Adapter, EP-5 AC Adapter Connector, EG-D100Video Cable, Semi Soft-Case CF-DC1, Speedlight SB-800/SB-600/SB-400/R1C1

Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.


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