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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Nikon D40 digital SLR

Nikon Digital Cameras


Nikon D40 DSLR Review

Review Date: Jan 3, 2007

Nikon D40
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Category: Family dSLR

The Nikon D40 digital SLR is targetted squarely to those who desire the image quality that is only possible with a dSLR but who nevertheless wants an intuitive, easy and worry-free digital camera. The D40 is Nikon's lightest and most compact DSLR ever with 6.1 MP for large prints, a large 2.5-in. LCD monitor for image playback, a large and bright viewfinder and a long-life rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can take approx. 470 images/charge. There is even an optional remote Wireless Remote Control.

Like the D50 which it replaces, the D40 provides outstanding image quality on a large APS-sized image sensor.

Major features of the Nikon D40:

  • The lightest, most compact Nikon digital SLR ever, D40 is ergonomically designed, featuring intuitive controls.
  • A large 2.5-inch LCD monitor enables image playback at up to 19 times magnification (for L-size images), while large fonts and easy-to-view menus with carefully designed colour schemes help simplify changing camera settings.
  • Large, bright viewfinder with 0.8x magnification ensures clear view for precise composition.
  • Long-life rechargeable lithium-ion battery allows up to 470 images* in single-frame shooting mode on a single charge.
  • Handy assist images are available to help the photographer choose the right settings for each scene.
  • Optional Accessories: Wireless Remote Control ML-L3, AC Adapter EH-5 (an AC Adapter Connector EP-5 is required, available separately).
  • 6.1-effective-megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD imaging sensor (3,008 x 2,000 pixels) images.
  • Nikon 3D Colour Matrix Metering II automatic exposure control.
  • White Balance: Auto; Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, and Shade; and user-defined preset (custom).
  • Near-instant 0.18-second power-up.
  • Continuous shooting at 2.5 frames** per second allows the capture of up to 100 simultaneous JPEG images (FINE L-size or smaller).
  • Advanced 3-area AF system with AF-assist illuminator.
  • Shutter Speed range from 30 to 1/4000 sec., plus bulb.
  • Fast image data transfer and recording to SD memory cards of up to 4GB capacity (SDHC compliant).
  • Eight Digital Vari-Programs adjust settings automatically, controlling ISO sensitivity, White Balance, Sharpening, Tone (Contrast), Colour, Saturation and Hue. Selections include Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up, and Night Portrait.
  • P (Program auto), S (Shutter-priority auto), A (Aperture-priority auto) and M (Manual) modes.
  • Automatic control over ISO-equivalent sensitivity from ISO 200 to 1600 plus HI 1 can be set manually.
  • Simultaneous recording of NEF (RAW) and JPEG images.
  • Built-in Flash with i-TTL flash control: Auto Flash, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync and Rear Curtain Sync. Flash exposure compensation is also available.
  • D-Lighting -- ideal for correcting backlighting, insufficient flash or other situations that produce under-exposed images.
  • Red-eye Correction automatically detects and compensates for the annoying red-eye effect frequently seen in flash pictures.
  • Trim allows for creative cropping of an image and produces smaller files for easy sharing, emailing and Internet use.
  • Colour Effects: Monochrome (Black-and-white, Sepia, Cyanotype)
  • Filter Effects: Skylight, Warm filter, Colour balance.
  • Image overlay merges a pair of selected RAW (NEF) files taken with the D40 to create a new composite image that can be saved in RAW or JPEG format.
  • Compatibility with world famous, high-quality Nikkor lenses* with Nikon F mount with AF coupling and AF contacts***
  • Supports Nikon Creative Lighting System when using the SB-800, SB-600, SB-400, SB-R200 or the R1C1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight system, delivering accurate exposures via i-TTL flash and versatile wireless operation.

Nikon's PictureProject software (included) lets photographers easily share, organize and edit their pictures with ease. Capture NX (available separately) is Nikon's new photo editing software for those who want to shoot in RAW file format. U Point™ technology, by Nik Software, simplifies the editing and enhancement procedures to a few clicks of the mouse, without calculations and guesswork.

A new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II lens comes standard with the Nikon D40 as a lens kit:

  • 18-55mm (picture angle equivalent 27-82.5mm lens in the 35mm format) 3x optical zoom.
  • Compact SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for quiet and smooth autofocusing.
  • An ED glass element minimizes chromatic aberration, while a hybrid aspherical lens element minimizes astigmatism and other forms of distortion.
  • Seven-blade rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural.

Photographers would also want to add the optional Nikon SB-400 speedlite. It is compact, looks cool and has a titltable head that allows bounce flash for pleasant natural lighting:

  • Compatible with i-TTL and D40's M mode
  • Flash head can be tilted in four steps: horizontal, 60, 75 and 90 degrees
  • Flash shooting distance range: 0.6m - 20m (depending on the ISO setting)
  • Guide number: 30 [ISO 200, m, 20*C]
  • Angle of coverage: 18mm (with Nikon-DX format cameras), 27mm (with Nikon F6)
  • Depending on the camera in use, the following flash modes are available: Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction, Red-eye Reduction with Slow Sync, Rear-curtain Sync, FV Lock, Exposure Compensation, M (manual, only with D40 camera)
  • Power source: two AA-size 1.5V batteries (also compatible with lower voltage batteries)

* CIPA standard, with Built-in Flash used for 50% of the shots.
** Photographs taken at an ISO sensitivity of HI 1 are automatically processed to reduce noise, increasing recording time by about 1 second per frame.
*** Autofocus is supported only with AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses, which are equipped with built-in motors.).

The Nikon D40 digital SLR falls into our new "Family dSLR" category -- a new category that targets families who desire the SLR experience and image quality combined with point-and-shoot ease-of-use.

Read our Nikon D40 review...
Nikon D40
QuickFact™ Sheet
  Nikon D40CAN | USA | UK  
  Type of Camera Single-lens reflex 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 3,008 x 2,000 [L], 2,256 x 1,496 [M], 1,504 x 1,000 [S]  
  ISO 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-inch, 230,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment

  Playback Menu 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


  Text Input

Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi selector; stored in Exif header


Compatible Lenses*1

*1. Excluding lenses for F3AF

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

  Picture Angle Equivalent in 35mm [135] format is approx. 1.5 times lens focal length  

Fixed-eyelevel penta-Dach mirror type; built-in diopter adjustment (-1.7 to +0.5m-1)

  Eyepoint 18mm (-1.0 m-1)  
  Focusing Screen

Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark V with superimposed focus brackets

  Viewfinder Frame Coverage

Approximately 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

  Auto Focus

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 Modes

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 Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 EV  
  Exposure Metering Range 1) 0 to 20 EV (3D Color Matrix or center-weighted metering); 2) 2 to 20 EV (spot metering)  
  Exposure Modes 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 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 Modes 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 Flash 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 1/3 EV

  Accessory Shoe Standard ISO hot-shoe contact with safety lock provided  
  Self-Timer Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds  
  Remote Control Via optional ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control  
  Auto Exposure Bracketing Three frames ±2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps  
  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)


Included Accessories

*Supplied accessories may differ depending on country or area.

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.  
  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  
  Dimensions (W x H x D)

Approx. 126 x 64 x 94mm /
5.0 x 2.5 x 3.7 in.

  Weight (Camera body only)

Approx. 475g (1lb. 1oz.) without battery, memory card or body cap


D40 Kit with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Lens: US $599.95 / CDN $589.95

Body only: CDN $489.95

D40 Kit with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 G IF-ED Lens: CDN $789.95

* Dealer may sell for less


Specifications and equipment are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. November 2006 (c)2006 NIKON CORPORATION

Product technical specifications (including MSRP and Included Accessories) are as represented by the manufacturer and subject to manufacturer's change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. Product color availability and included accessories may also differ by country or area. Please verify the latest specs from the appropriate manufacturer's site.

Before you buy, do your homework and verify a seller's reputation. One source you may want to check with is Resellerratings.com. And remember, if a price seems to good to be true, it probably is.


Though we make every effort to strive for accuracy in reproducing these specs, we do occasionally make mistakes, so verify with the manufacturer's site for the latest specs. Also, in the early stages of a product introduction, you can almost guarantee there will be some errors from the manufacturers themselves as they update their sites. If you see any mistakes, please contact us. We do appreciate your writing in with the corrections and thank you in advance!

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Nikon D40
with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Zoom Nikkor Lens






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