While geared for the entry-level market the D40 packs enough features into its diminutive frame to keep serious enthusiasts interested as well.
Nikon resisted the temptation to keep chasing megapixels and instead appear to have concentrated on what makes a good camera, a decent viewfinder, short shutter lag, very short viewfinder blackout. Thanks to the compact ergonomics of this camera, and the fact that it weighs a mere 17 ounces, I had no problems carrying it around all day without any discomfort.
If you’re looking for a great Nikon camera to make great photos, especially of moving kids or sports or indoor plays and concerts, this is it- compared to any fixed-lens camera.
The obvious shortcomings of compact cameras and the shrinking prices of entry-level digital SLRs have spurred a huge growth in the DSLR market. We're proud to support the photography community through the Photocrati Fund, which gives $5000 grants to photographers working on humanitarian and environmental projects.
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Participate in our blog series, and share your photography with other photo enthusiasts around the world! The Photocrati Team is filled with photographers, developers, and WordPress gurus is spread out across the United States, Canada, and Europe. This lengthy article will teach you to be an expert on the Nikon D40's controls and menus. Many tricks are in the pages below, like inserting your © and contact info automatically into every file, Secret RGB Histograms and Auto ISO.
Many of these menu options are shown only after you select the FULL MENUS option in the Setup Menu and are often deactivated in anything except the P, S, A and M modes.
I reset everything every time I use my camera, much as a pilot uses a checklist before flight to prevent any switches from being in the wrong position. See my D200 Quality Settings page for more explicit detail and examples of these settings on a D200.
I set my exposure compensation to -0.7 because my D40's metering firmware is defective, just like the D80's meter. I explain how to set Auto ISO and select the shutter speed at which the ISO starts to increase and the maximum ISO to which it will increase in the Custom Setting 10. I set Auto ISO to 1,600 max because the noise from the D40 at ISO 1,600 looks much better than blur.


Seeing how poor the matrix meter has become in the D40 (it requires constantly varying levels of compensation) I intend to try center weighted metering. Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, battery charger, USB cable, PictureProject, rubber eyecup, camera strap, body cap, eyepiece cap, accessory shoe cap. All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community. As with previous models, the D40 sits comfortably in your hands, while the durable polycarbonate body has a professional look and feel to it. If sports is your full time obsession, then you’ll want a faster camera (5 frames per second) like the Nikon D200 or now-inexpensive Canon 20D or 30D.
We work with some of the world's leading photographers, including Michael "Nick" Nichols, Steve McCurry, Art Wolfe, and Jim Brandenburg. If you wish to use the PDF to print for yourself, please send me $5.00 per copy, a fraction of what you'd pay for other guides.
When I don't check first, I often have left my D40 in some screwy mode from shooting in the dark the night before. My D40 does about the same thing, but lacks the Optimize Quality JPG Compression mode I prefer on my D200, and its image sizes are one size smaller.
It's no big deal: just look at the image on the LCD and click it towards the left (+) to lighten the image, and to the right (-) to darken it for the next shot. I get one shot with one press of the shutter, and if I hold the shutter button my D40 shoots 2.5 frames per second. With my intimate knowledge of the Zone System, it might let me nail the correct exposures more quickly.
The graphical interface displays all of the camera settings, but the information is laid out very simply.
Sure, there are things about this camera that you could nit-pick, but I think that a package like this, with the quality and value that it provides, will be responsible for getting more people into using a digital SLR than any previous digital SLR. The camera’s plastic body is well-built but a bit small for anybody with large hands, although most controls are easy to access.
Nikon has proven once again that they know how to suck every last little bit of quality out of the 6mp sensors they’ve been using for more than four years.
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For most people not shooting hundreds of throw-away images a day, feel free to leave it in NORMAL, the default. This is why I prefer my D200, which has a superior meter because it rarely needs any fiddling.
I adjust the lowest shutter speed setting in the AUTO ISO menu if I change conditions or lenses. That would be a big step backwards; center weighting went obsolete in the mid 1980s then the Matrix meter was invented. I’ve really enjoyed shooting with it, and would seriously consider it as a second camera to something like a D80, D200, or 30D. Interestingly, this is the first Nikon DSLR body without an AF motor; the D40 only supports autofocusing with AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses that have their own built-in motors.
But the impressive thing about the D40 is that it is arguably the best-designed small camera to date. NORMAL makes files twice as large with a tiny bit less blockiness if you're looking closely at the files printed 3 feet (1m) wide. For most shots of moving things I fire several rounds and pick the one with the best expressions and gestures.
The wallpaper mode lets you choose one of your images as wallpaper behind a layout similar to graphical mode. The D40 would be a great buy for an amateur photographer who wanted to move up from an advanced digicam to a DSLR or for anyone who wanted to learn more about digital photography. But the reason the D40 still comes recommended is because of its low price, friendly help system and virtually foolproof metering which gets it right almost every time. Of course I use a professional sorting tool on a 30" screen to make selecting files trivial. I rarely use the warmer Shade setting on my D40 while I used Shade often on my D1H and D70. If it looks different in print or on your computer, your printer or computer are out of calibration.



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