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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Nikon D40 DSLR

Nikon Digital Cameras


Nikon D40 DSLR Review

Review Date: Jan 3, 2007

Category: Family DSLR

Nikon D40


This Nikon D40 Review is based on a production model. All sample images are unretouched, except where specified.

This review has been submitted to DIWA Awards [Total: 81%].

Le Marché
Le Marché

The Nikon D40 DSLR is an affordable Family DSLR that gives excellent image quality and provides an easy step up from point-and-shoot (P&S) digital cameras. Photographers tired of the limitations (especially low-light) of P&S digital cameras will welcome this compact and lightweight DSLR with the performance and responsiveness characteristic of much more expensive digital SLRs.

At under US $600, the Nikon D40 is excellent value for money. Nikon has not compromised at all in any respects and the D40 is solidly built and handles beautifully. It provides the standard AUTO mode, plus Scene Modes for more challenging lighting situations. For more advanced photographers, P (Program auto), S (Shutter-priority auto), A (Aperture-priority auto) and M (Manual) modes provide the fine level of control they desire.

You get a large, bright, clear optical viewfinder and a large LCD screen with enhanced text fonts and graphics display. The Nikon D40 accepts SD memory cards, including the large capacity SD HC cards (up to 4GB). The D40's Nikon F mount maintains compatibility with the many high-quality Nikkor lenses, but autofocus is supported only with the newer AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses, which are equipped with built-in motors.

Consumers are starting to realize that more megapixels do not necessarily mean better image quality, especially in digital cameras with tiny image sensors. The Nikon D40 has a large APS-sized image sensor and the 6.1MP is more than enough for large beautiful prints. Wisely keeping the megapixels in check has allowed Nikon to equip the D40 with very good to excellent image quality: noise is low and details are preserved up to ISO 800, with a very usable ISO 1600. This is what allows the D40 to shine in low-light situations. So do not let the 6.1MP resolution fool you: the D40 image quality and low-light capability put many DSLRs with higher resolution to shame.

What I particularly like:

  • Excellent image quality, though a tendency for blown highlights
  • Compact, lightweight; comfortable handling
  • Excellent performance and responsiveness
  • Large and bright viewfinder
  • Large LCD screen with enhanced text fonts
  • Custom Auto ISO
  • On-board flash is able to light a large room (so maybe you won't need to buy an optional external speedlight)

Improvement Suggestions:

  • Correction to prevent blown highlights
  • Gridlines (horizontal and vertical framing lines)
  • AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing), useful especially with camera's propensity to clip highlights
  • Larger viewfinder exposure read-outs (especially for those wearing glasses)
  • LCD protector (or get a good case for the D40)
  • Fine JPEG with RAW (currently only RAW+Basic JPEG available)

See if you fit the Nikon D40 User Profile below:

Nikon D40
User Profile
Desire a quality 6.1 MP resolution digital SLR camera with excellent image quality and low-light capability.
Want exceptional response times with virtually no shutter lag.
Want fast and precise auto focus.
Want a full-featured digital camera with many pro features.
Want interchangeable lenses.
Want ability to add on optional accessories, including powerful external flash.
Want an affordable DSLR the whole family can use.


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