Long renowned for its high-end pro film and digital cameras, Nikon has now introduced one of the lowest-priced D-SLRs ever. The new D40 is an entry-level model with simple operation, very good performance, lots of features and a list price less than $600, including an 18-55mm Nikkor zoom lens. It’s also light and compact, so you can carry the D40 on just about any outdoor photography outing.
Easy to learn and use, the D40 nonetheless includes such advanced features as spot metering, a top flash-sync shutter speed of 1/500 sec., 36-character text input and speedy 0.18-second startup.
For newer D-SLR users, it’s point-and-shoot simple to make sharp, well-exposed photos. The bright 2.5-inch LCD monitor includes a new advanced help menu with “assist images” that show what the various settings do. Eight Digital Vari-Programs set the camera for shooting portraits, landscapes, action, close-ups and more. The built-in pop-up Speedlight couples with Nikon’s i-TTL flash system to provide well-balanced exposures in a wide range of shooting situations automatically.
For more advanced users, full manual control of everything is easily accomplished, ISOs from 200-1600 can be selected (plus one setting beyond 1600), new SDHC memory cards can be used, and the camera is compatible with powerful accessory Nikon Speedlight flash units. The Retouching menu provides access to in-camera cropping, red-eye correction, monochrome and filter effects, D-Lighting (to improve shadow detail) and image overlay (which merges a pair of RAW images into a composite shot in-camera).
Because the D40 doesn’t incorporate an AF motor, autofocusing is available only with lenses that have one: AF-S and AF-I Nikkors. (Other AF-Nikkor lenses can be used on the camera, but won’t autofocus.) This isn’t a big deal because few D40 buyers will already have an arsenal of older Nikkor lenses, and Nikon offers 22 AF-S lenses, from 12-24mm to 600mm, plus three AF-S teleconverters (1.4x, 1.7x and 2x). Taking into account the camera’s 1.5x focal-length factor, this means 35mm camera-equivalent focal lengths of 18mm to 1800mm are available—with autofocusing—to D40 users.
The D40 accepts a number of Nikon accessories, including one of special interest to bird and wildlife photographers: Nikon’s Fieldscope Digital SLR Camera Attachment FSA-L1, which allows you to attach a Nikon Fieldscope spotting scope to Nikon D-SLRs (including the D40) for “digiscoping”—the equivalent of getting a (somewhat slow) extreme telephoto lens for a fraction of the cost.
The D40 includes the 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S Zoom-Nikkor lens and a long-life rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger. List Price: $599.
Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikondigitalusa.com.
[ Specs Of Note ]
Image Sensor: 6.1 megapixels
Power Source: EN-EL9 Li-Ion with charger
Metering: 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Flash Sync: Up to 1/500 sec.
Built-In Flash: Yes
Continuous Firing Mode: 2.5 fps with 100 JPEG frame burst
Dimensions: 5.0×3.7×2.5 inches
Weight: 17.0 ounces
1 Nikon image quality with 6.1-megapixel sensor