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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2007
After many hours searching for the "best" DSLR in the market, i came across the Nikon D40. Firstly, however i must say that if you are planning on buying a DSLR, buy it for your own personal needs, and try not to be influenced by anyone elses.

Ok so onto the review. The most important thing ill start with first is the image quality. The Nikon D40 produces EXCELLENT images in good light, and if you can compensate for bad lighting conditions with the Manual setting or flash then you can get equally great results. My first few shots were really sharp, and you can really notice the difference in quality, especially if you have just moved from a compact camera to a DSLR. Whenever you say "6 megapixels" to anyone, they usually say "oh.." quite sympathetically, but with the Nikon sensor and 3D matrix metering system there really isnt any difference from say, the Nikon D40X that is also on the market at a more expensive price, despite having 10 MPX.

For £328.00 in my opinion it was a bargain, because as an amateur i needed to start at the beginning, but with the Nikon D40 it allows you to progress from a novice, to an expert in months with all the detailed features the camera possesses. If your a "novice" then the camera has numerous inbuilt modes to suit the occassion, no tweaking needed. However, like me, if you like to be "experimental" with your photography the camera certainly allows you to be, with spectacular results in modes such as Shutter & Aperture Priority, Program mode and Manual.

Aesthetically, the camera looks great. Its slightly wider than the Canon EOS 400D, which is a good thing, and for me (someone with medium sized hands) it sat perfectly in my hands with no problem. The layout of the buttons is ergonomically sound; ie: they are placed so that the consumer has little to do in order to get the result they desire. The LCD screen, as mentioned is a MASSIVE 2.5 inches, compared to my friends' Nikon D100,D200, D50 AND Canon EOS 350D, you can really tell the difference, and its really bright too, which is a good thing.

The Nikon D40 can only mount AF-S or equivalents (sigma HSM's etc) due to its lack of a body motor drive. This is not a problem, as Nikon and Sigma (Tamron and Tokina too i think) are constantly developing new lenses for the future of digital photography, so dont worry about that.

The package comes with the body, 18-55mm DX lens, a neck strap, charger, manual, photo editing software / firmware, battery, lens caps, USB cable etc (Just off the top of my head.

For the needs of an amateur / intermediate photographer such as myself, this gem of a DSLR allows me to be so creative with my photography, with GREAT results if you know what your doing. I chose this because it was the best value for money, and will suit my needs as a novice photographer for a few years, until i decide to splash out on a more expensive body.

Hope i helped...
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on 28 February 2008
As most other reviews have said, this camera is great value and produces excellent quality pictures.

Before buying, I was still a bit uncertain about the megapixels argument. Camera makers' advertisements seemed to be saying 10 is significantly better than six. But photographers seemed to be saying, "Take no notice, it makes no difference for the amateur."

So I looked at it this way. A 6 Mp camera produces shots around 3000 pixels long by 2000 wide (3000 multiplied by 2000 equals six million). A 10 Mp camera produces shots of around 3800 x 2590.

This means the D40 can produce prints at 300 dots per inch that are 10 inches long, whereas the 10 Mp camera can produce prints at the same resolution that are around 12.95 inches long. The difference of less than three inches isn't that significant for me since I hardly ever print above 10 inches anyway. So I went ahead and ordered one.

After I got the camera, to test out the practicalities of the argument, I took a portrait picture and cropped the original - the result happened to be reduced to 2000 x 1500, or three megapixels. I then had it enlarged to 10 inches by eight. The result was stunningly pin-sharp. And that's from just three megapixels. I know readers aren't going to be completely convinced without being able to see the print themselves. But, as it happened, I also had another 10x8 print made at the same time. This one was taken by a professional wedding photographer with a £1,400 Canon 5D plus probably an equally expensive lens. The file I sent to the developer was 13 megapixels, compared with the three megapixels from the cropped D40 image. So, same processor, almost certainly using the same processing machine at the same time. And the result? The professional 13 Mp picture was, if anything, slightly less sharp than the D40 picture!

Please note that I am not saying the D40 is better than the Canon 5D or that I'm a better photographer than a professional. The 5D is reputedly a great camera and obviously preferable to the D40 - if you want to spend five times as much. Other factors must have been involved. Maybe the professional chose a soft focus on purpose. Maybe the lighting was less suitable. However, what I am saying is that (1) the D40 can produce excellent results with its six megapixels and its kit lens and (2) there are all sorts of other factors (eg. lighting, flash accuracy, how sharp the lens is, how accurately focussed, how slow the exposure was, how steady the camera was held) that are more important in getting a sharp picture than (in this case) quadrupling the megapixels.

Before I bought the camera, I didn't realise how much bigger the sensor is on a digital SLR than a compact digital. It's around 16 times bigger in area! A typical compact has a sensor approximately 6mm by 4mm, whereas the Nikon DX format sensor on the D40 (and D40X) is approximately 24mm by 16mm. That's 24 sq mm on a compact, compared with 384 sq mm on a DSLR. This is one of the reasons the quality is so much better on a DSLR than on a compact.

After three months of using the camera, other things I like about the D40 are:

1. You can set it to adjust the ISO rating automatically. This means you can take pictures in poor light without flash and the camera will automatically raise the sensitivity of the sensor up to 1600 ISO from its standard 200. This adds hugely to the flexibility of the camera.

Some compacts have auto ISO settings but they don't go much above 200 or 400 because the picture quality from the small sensor starts to deteriorate significantly above around 400 ISO. On the D40, 1600 ISO shows hardly any difference in quality from 200 ISO. Other DSLRs can be set at high ISO ratings but not all can be set to choose a high rating automatically as you take the picture if low light needs it.

This is a fantastic feature. It revolutionises the way you take pictures. It means you can often take better pictures inside without flash than with flash. (Though if you set the dial to Auto, the flash will always fire when light is low. You need to choose a non-auto setting to stop the flash firing.)

Confusingly, there are two entries in the menus for auto ISO. This one is under the Custom Setting Menu, item 10, ISO auto. And amazingly for such a revolutionary feature, the factory default is "Off". Turn it on straightaway if you're going to use manual settings.

2. It has a high flash sync speed of 1/500. This means you can use fill-in flash at faster shutter speeds than on, for example, the D40X (only 1/200) for sports shots or portraits on a bright sunny day. (You need a fast shutter speed if you want to freeze action, or if you've set a wide aperture for a portrait in bright light).

3. I'm impressed by the kit lens. Maybe I've been lucky with the example I got but my experience isn't in line with those who say the kit lens is inadequate or the weakest part of the system. If anything, I've found it's one of the strongest parts. But, as I say, maybe I was just lucky with this example.

4. The camera feels nice to handle. My daughters say it sounds nice too! Its shutter makes a nice professional sounding noise as you press the button (as long as you turn off the artificial beeping noises.)

In summary, I'd certainly recommend the camera. And for the price, it's great value for money.
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on 29 January 2008
Not an in-depth review, more a comment on the relatively small 6 megapixels of the D40.

I recently upgraded from a compact canon powershot a620, which actually had 7 megapixels. The reason was that I had stopped enjoying the act of taking pictures (though I was relatively pleased with the resulting photos). The combination of instant zoom (by turning your hand - no waiting for a motor to move the lens), zero shutter lag, and the satisfying noise of a real shutter, mean that using any SLR is infinitely more enjoyable than a compact, and makes it a hard toy to put down. In regards to the number of megapixels, I rarely blow up my prints to a size where more than 6 are needed. But the other reason why it is not a concern is that an SLR's instant zoom and "real life" viewfinder mean that you compose your pictures properly in the first place, meaning that I don't need to crop large sections like I did with the compact. Please bear this in mind if it had put you off buying the D40.

Everything else has already been said. If this is your first DSLR, then you will love it and I have no hesitation recommending it. It is an absolute joy to use, and you will love taking the pictures as much as looking at the results. The same may apply to any other DSLR, but with the amount I love this model, I don't see any reason for a beginner to buy a more expensive one (and that includes the 10 megapixel D40x).

To conclude:
1)You NEED an SLR. Compacts are so nasty in comparison.
2)Don't let the 6MPs put you off. You won't need any more than that.
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on 4 June 2007
So you've decided to step up into the big bad world of digital SLR cameras?!

Then look no further than this camera. Any DSLR is a big investment so make sure you shop around and know what you're buying. Go into shops and pick them all'll be amazed how some cameras have a better feel than others...and this D40 is one of the better ones out there.

Couple this with it's convenient size and weight and you have the perfect camera. I wasn't going to buy a SLR because I always thought they were too bulky. But try this one.

If you're a seasoned pro photographer then this camera is probably not for you. It might make an ideal 2nd camera for a pro but this is really aimed at first time SLR users.

The price is excellent too! OK so it only has 6 megapixels compared to most of the new SLR's that have 10. But consider the fact that with this camera you can easily blow up to A4 or even A3 with little or no noticeable difference...and on top of that (and most importantly) you're saving around £150, it's a no brainer. This is one of the best cameras out there.

The quality is amazing. And if you've never used a SLR just set it to AUTO and shoot away. When you're ready to start playing with ISO, exposure etc then this D40 help you into this arena. It basically grows with you. You can fully use it manually or not. The choice is yours.

Some other cameras have rubbish kit lenses, but this one is actually ok and will do the job fine. I researched for over 6 months trying to decide which camera to buy. I've taken over 1000 photos with this and I think it's the best.
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on 26 July 2007
While I can't possibly grant this camera five stars, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it either. Performance-per-pound is incredible and unmatched. If you are upgrading from a typical compact camera, you will not be disappointed.

Response is as fast as it gets. The D40 can take shots the moment you switch it on and it can continue shooting at 2.5 frames per second until the card fills up. Shutter lag is none existent and focusing and flash recharge is almost immediate. The d40 comes with an 18-55mm lens which gives you a very useful 27 to 83mm focal length. For wide angle shots, compacts are often useless with many starting at 36mm. The difference between 27 and 36 mm is huge and is of great importance if you take shots in tight spaces or enjoy landscape photography.

Because sensors are bigger on SLRs, the quality of the shot is far greater. Per-Pixel sharpness is better and low light shots using ISOs as high as 1600 still produce completely usable prints. Many compacts boast high ISO settings but struggle to produce anything decent above iso 200. Don't be sucked into the great mega pixel debate. More mega pixels does not always mean better photos and with small sensor bearing compacts been overloaded with more pixels than ever before, the photos are actually getting worse. Three mega pixels will give you an A4 print. How many people print larger than A4?

Having dropped the camera 2 feet onto a boulder and watched it bounce down a rocky path I can verify the build quality is exceptional. The battery is good for over a week's worth of solid holiday use and the screen and controls are sublime. This camera is not worth 5 stars because it lacks image stabilisation and there are better cameras out there, namely the D8O and EOS 30D. I bought the D40 because it was small, less than half the price of the D80 but offers 90% the performance. It takes amazing photos with minimal effort while still offering full manual control over ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance and metering, enabling my skills to grow.

However, if you are interested in buying buckets of lens, Photoshop CS3 and getting up at 4 am to take pictures of butterflies mating, this camera may not be serious enough.
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on 25 April 2007
Have been thinking about purchasing a DSLR for awhile - purchased the D40 one saturday after reading several good online reviews, charged the battery and popped a 2gb memory card in, and spent the whole of sunday taking pictures. I'm sure there're no magazine cover shots in there, but the quality of my photos was a million miles better than I've ever taken with a compact, and the ease of use was stunning - there's a manual (pretty user-friendly, too, from what I've seen so far) that I want to get into to learn how to get the best from this camera, but if I only ever left it on automatic and used it as a point-and-shoot, I doubt I'd find anything easier or more gratifying to use. An incredible bit of kit.
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on 8 March 2007
I have been considering getting a DSLR for some time now but wanted one that my wife would find easy to use, take great photos, offer good value and allow me to do more with the manual settings. I have had the camera for a week now and the Nikon D40 ticks all of the boxes. The photos as far superior to the point and shoot digital that we have been using for some time now and I have rediscovered my love of photography (I never could get used to using a camera without a proper viewfinder). My wife is extremely happy with the quality of the photos of her work that she uses for her web site and ebay. I can highly recommend this camera to anyone who is looking to step up from a point and shoot or bridge camera.
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on 10 May 2008
Hi - First to set the scene, I am not a photograpy expert...far from it actually.
I wanted to buy a new camera because I found that my old digital Cannon powershot was not giving me good quality anymore (may be I became more fussy).
I hesitated months...I mean it... probably around 8 months.
I initially thought I would buy a Cannon EOS SLR but in the end, the Nikons felt better; I was also put off by a series of reports on fault on the cannon and poor inside lighting pictures.
I then hesitated on the DX40 but since I am a total amateur, It was a lot of money. I decide on the D40 because 2 people told me that 10M versus 6M pixels really makes little difference if you do not plan to print on large format (I print nothing pretty much).
I then made the jump and bought it just before going on vacation to the US and the result is around 300 pictures - all prefect, impressive colors etc... The machine is easy to get started with (menus are simple etc...) and it just works. It is also very quick to take a picture so when the tourists around you are moving and are about to go in the frame, you manage to avoid them because the camera is quick.
Don't forget to buy some memory (I went for 4Gb at around 19GBP): perfect too.
So bottom line, if you can afford it and you want a nice SLR camera just because that what you want or for whatever other hesitation.
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on 13 May 2007
I have used point & shoot cameras for many years, starting with film and switching to digital a while back. I recently lost my old digital point & shoot camera, so took this opportunity to venture into the world of digital SLR. I bought the Nikon D40 as it was the cheapest digital SLR available.

With today's modern point & shoot digital cameras you can do most of the things that SLRs are characteristically strong at, such as controlling shutter speed and aperture. This is true especially with some of the higher-end point & shoot cameras, many of which have a higher megapixel count.

However, as SLRs are physically bigger, the controls for accessing these features are easier to reach. Whereas on a point & shoot you would typically have to go through several layers of menus to access advanced settings, a SLR would have dials or buttons easily reachable on the body.

Another advantage of SLRs is that you can change the lens to suit your intended shot, such as a wide-angle lens, zoom lens, or macro lens. These do, however, add to the cost of the hobby!

Finally, because the sensor and lens aperture are bigger on a SLR, it is possible to take shots with more shallow depth of field.

The D40 is a good performer. It has most of the features that someone starting out with dSLR would want. It is easy to use, once you have read through the manual. The manual itself is well-written and has excellent explanations of all the various modes and settings.

The kit comes with a standard lens which would be adequate for most beginners.

The battery life is OK - on a full charge you can do a day's shooting without worrying about recharging, although I do start to feel a little nervous when the bars start to go down! I bought a 2Gb memory card which can hold about 2000 JPGs at the smallest size and lowest quality, or about 270 RAWs.

I also bought a cheapie UV filter to protect the lens, which I think was a good investment.

The only feature I have found lacking is the omission of an auto-bracketing option. This is however really only an issue if you want to take HDR photos.

So in summary, this is a good camera for hobbyists who want to experiment with a dSLR.
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on 29 June 2007
I have owned several cameras in my time, but only the point and shoot idiot proof type. I recently decided that it was about time to take the plunge and try a DSLR camera. After some research, the D40 seemed a good choice for a starter. Out came the credit card and I parted with my cash. As soon as I got it home I charged the battery. This took less than an hour so as soon as this was done I tried the camera. I had not looked at the instructions, but putting it into auto and clicking away gave me some very impressive results. the shutter lag time is almost non-existant and when you turn the camera on, it is almost instantly ready to use. I have not used it in any of the manual settings yet, but I am looking forward to trying them out. If you are a pro then there appear to be a lot of better cameras on the market. However, for the price, this is a very good camera.
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