Having been an enthusiastic (old style, but highest quality) SLR user for many years and having then switched to several digital compacts, from the disappointingly basic (circa 2000) through to the brilliant latest versions (in my case, a 7.0 megapixel Panasonic Lumix), I was intrigued when a professional photographer friend said I should check out the new generation of low cost digital SLRs and, in particular, the Nikon D40x... you'll enjoy it she said... and she wasn't wrong.
First off, the price was only £150 or so more than a top end compact with the same 10 megapixel rating and, in the shop, it turned out to be smaller and much lighter than the old, dramatically more expensive SLRs I used to lug around... so, worth the plunge?
A resounding yes, not only does it deliver the most beautiful, high quality photos but the control options over virtually all aspects of shot selection, including a powerful built in flash unit, are quite incredible - far better and much, much more comprehensive than I'd expected - with the ever present, wholly effective, compact-style "point & shoot" option if you can't be bothered. Plus, you get a large preview screen and extensive "in camera" editing features that allow a wide range of post-shot manipulation if you don't have access to your PC. Just amazing... everything, plus a huge amount more, that I got from my previous SLRs.
Could it get any better? Well yes, because the stock Nikon autofocus zoom lens that comes with the camera (rated at 18-55 mm new digital style and equivalent to a just about perfect 26-83 mm old style) is now matched with Nikon's new, low cost, autofocus DX VR lens (rated at 55-200 mm new digital style and equivalent to 83-300 mm old style) which really does cut out camera shake to allow genuine "point & shoot" at its higher focal lengths. In other words, for a total cost of well under £600 I got a stunningly powerful and flexible camera plus a "tripod-less" combination of two lightweight autofocus Nikkor lens covering a full 26-300 mm range... which is nothing short of sensational for any "old style" SLR user like me.
SLRs are a different world from compact cameras - you definitely can't fit them in your pocket - but for anyone wanting to move up to a higher level for not much more, or for anyone wanting to rediscover the lost joys of their SLR past at an incredibly cheap entry price, the Nikon D40x is a "must have" option... certainly it's got one more very happy user.