Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm lens)
Manufacturer: Nikon Inc. Part number: 25420
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as of 07/23/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $399.99
- Reviewed by: Lori Grunin
- Reviewed on: 11/22/2006
- Released on: 12/01/2006
The good: Excellent feel and compact size; very customizable menu architecture; nice guidance for dSLR newbies; excellent noise characteristics for high-ISO shots.
The bad: Slow kit lens; occasionally slow to focus; only 6 megapixels; raw editing software costs extra; control scheme can be awkward; no automatic sensor cleaning.
The bottom line: The Nikon D40 is a great transition camera for going from point-and-shoot to your first dSLR.
C-Net gets it wrong again and again and again,,,,,,
by yesmate on November 14, 2007
Pros: Price, weight, lens
Cons: none none none
Summary: It amazes me how C-NET continues to get their reviews so wrong. Recommending the D80 over the D40x is so incorrect. I own both the D40, D40x & the D80. ...
Summary: It amazes me how C-NET continues to get their reviews so wrong. Recommending the D80 over the D40x is so incorrect. I own both the D40, D40x & the D80. Ask any pro photographer and they will tell you to purchase the D40. The D40 is a great camera and is all you need to shoot great photo's. I don't use my D80 anymore because the D40 does everything I need it do. The D40 is faster than the D40x and is $200 cheaper. www.kenrockwell.com is one example of a pro who recommends the D40 over the D40x and even the heavy D80. The price of the D40 is now under $500 and the 18-55mm lens is fantastic. The only item I would recommend as an add is the SB400 Speedlight flash for indoor photos. Side with the Users here who acutally own and use the D40 (not just for 1 hour CNET staff) and get the D40, you won't regret it.Updated
Don't be worried about 6MP's, it is large enough unless you are planning on printing huge poster size photo's. Don't be fooled by the Megapixel race the corporate companies are selling you on. Most consumers don't understand that more Megapixels doesnt necessarily improve picture quality and 6 is more than enough for 99% of consumer users.Updated
Don't be worried about 6MP's, it is large enough unless you are planning on printing huge poster size photo's. Don't be fooled by the Megapixel race the corporate companies are selling you on. Most consumers don't understand that more Megapixels doesnt necessarily improve picture quality and 6 is more than enough for 99% of consumer users.
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
For the money you can't get better...forget the megapixel race.
by Hickeroar on May 2, 2007
Pros: Excellent image quality, wonderful user interface and controls, very solid and high quality feel/construction, Just a joy to use
Cons: Lacks support for semi-older AF lenses (AF-S only), no grid overlay, full auto mode gets the lighting all wrong almost the time.
Summary: I would like to mention, first off, that I take issue with cnet's complaint about it being "only" 6 megapixels. They've obviously not done too much research on ...
Summary: I would like to mention, first off, that I take issue with cnet's complaint about it being "only" 6 megapixels. They've obviously not done too much research on the "megapixel myth." Your normal 10mp point and shoot is using a sensor half the size of my pinky fingernail and capturing at 75-100dpi with an ISO of 50 or 75. That's a recipe for cruddy images. This is delivering a resolution of 300dpi with a full size sensor using a minimum ISO of 200 (which is a GOOD thing for anyone who knows what that means...) The image & sensor quality of this camera MORE than makes up for the fact that it's "only" 6MP.
Cons first (pros later):
- The lack of support for AF lenses (AF-S only) is a bit of a downer. There are some nice, lower priced AF lenses out there. (for those of you who don't know, AF-S means the focus motor is IN the lens instead of the camera). There ARE, however, a huge variety of lenses available for AF-S and anything that you wanted in AF almost definitely has an alternative in AF-S. AF-S is the way things are heading at the moment for Nikon.
- A grid overlay for the "rule of thirds" would have been nice, although this is a very minor gripe.
- For some reason if you operate in full auto, the lighting always ends up wrong except on almost all occasions. It took about two weeks for me to REALLY figure out how to get great quality images. Full auto still looks good, but picky people like me have to do a good bit of editing to get it to look PERFECT. Using programmed auto or aperature priority is the way to go IMHO. The camera comes with a GREAT manual (better than the Canon XTi one that came with my wife's camera) and it walks you through all the steps regarding the different things you can set up.
- The image quality is just excellent. There's no two ways about this one. They really put a high quality sensor and great electronics in this camera. Entry level or not, they did an exceptional job. Pro reviewers are recommending that you pass up on the 10mp D40x and get this one instead because of it's superior sensor and image quality. Spend the extra $250 you'll save on the 55-200mm lens that Nikon makes (model# 2156).
- The menu and interface drew me in the first time I used it. Nikon REALLY got it right this generation. It's appealing to the eyes and very user friendly. The screen is larger than most and the information readout clearly gives you all the current settings. As is normal, the viewfinder information readout informs you of the current settings as well. I loved all the features about the camera, but the interface and meny system was what REALLY sold me. As soon as I started using it I was instantly sold. You bring up the main interface with one button and with another you enter an "edit" mode which looks just like the information readout. You simply use the d-pad to scroll around the screen and change the setting that you happen to be on. There are also numerous settings that can be changed by simply holding other buttons on the camera and using the scroll wheel.
- The camera itself feels great. It's light, but not too light, and it definitely doesn't have a "cheap" feel to it. Nikon uses a sort-of matte/textured finish on their bodies that hides bumps and scratches very well and adds to the overall "good" feel of the camera.
- The operation is quiet. The shutter is more of a subdued & satisfying "clunk" instead of a high pitched clank and motor sound that a lot of cameras have.
All in all this is an EXCELLENT camera. I've read articles about it from some pros who carry it everywhere since it's light and takes great photos. Ignore the nagging thoughts that 6MP isn't enough. 6MP is more than plenty unless you plan on doing some very heavy cropping on your images. There are still lots of professionals out there using Nikon D70s for their trade...and that's a 6MP camera.Updated
First off, I should have been more clear regarding the statements about the dpi on the cheap cameras. Most of these END UP at 300dpi after interpolation. The main issue is that their sensors are so dinky that the heat noise and area reduces their ability to grab good pixels... There ARE plenty of point a shoots out there using 300dpi sensors. I've had a couple that added pixels...
Also: "For some reason if you operate in full auto, the lighting always ends up wrong except on almost all occasions" should read "For some reason if you operate in full auto, the lighting ends up wrong on almost all occasions." I edited that line at one point and didn't bother to proofread and see that my edit screwed it all up.
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
Sadly An Incompetent CNET Review
by Jimro on December 27, 2006
Pros: See Every Other Test Superb Image Quality etc. etc.
Cons: Legacy Lens Limitations For Some
Summary: It is with sadness that I write about the unbelievably flawed test made by the tester on this site. See the following followed by links to many professional camera testers....
Summary: It is with sadness that I write about the unbelievably flawed test made by the tester on this site. See the following followed by links to many professional camera testers.
First the 'issues' that do NOT exist:
Now for some truly professional tests from universally respected testers:
and one from a reviewer that some respect and others question:
6 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Amazing entry dSLR.
by Cyberpath on December 27, 2006
Pros: Image quality, auto shooting modes great for entry users.
Cons: Advanced controls alien to inexperienced users.
Summary: To start out with, I saw the rave reviews of this camera and it sparked me to become interested in it. I've wanted to pursue photography and I felt ...
Summary: To start out with, I saw the rave reviews of this camera and it sparked me to become interested in it. I've wanted to pursue photography and I felt that an entry level dSLR might help me get my feet wet and enjoy myself. The Nikon D40 is the exact camera to do that with.
A lot of people have complained about the kit lens being a little slow, but ultimately if you're new to using a dSLR, you won't see a whole lot of quirk to it. It'll feel fantastic in your hands and you'll be in awe at the fact that it just took a fantastic picture. And if you don't want to deal with the slowness... use the manual focus. I actually found it quite enjoyable to tinker with my focus manually.
The auto shooting is pretty great. I feel like my camera's getting the good shot for me as long as I zoom properly. Although it's hardly the camera that makes a picture, it feels very comfortable to my hand, and I felt that the camera was the perfect type of comfortable. It's not heavy by any means.
Although... I'm not an experienced photographer and won't admit to be. The manual modes included are difficult and if you don't want to read them right away, stick to the auto shooting mode and just toy around with settings before going head first into the others. If you're willing to learn the included guide is worth it.
I just can't help but feel confident when I use this camera. The best part about it though, is that it's very affordable compared to the others that I looked at. I recommend this HIGHLY to anyone who wants a dSLR but doesn't want to spring for a dramatically expensive camera.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
All you need to make great photos (CNET, pull your act together)
by bkojic on May 23, 2007
Pros: Photo quality, build quality, handling, value-for-money
Cons: Some competitors have IS and dust removal, no RAW editing software
Summary: I read the cnet review of the Nikon D40 with interest and I agree with the overall positive rating it got therein, but I was puzzled with a few factual ...
Summary: I read the cnet review of the Nikon D40 with interest and I agree with the overall positive rating it got therein, but I was puzzled with a few factual and conceptual errors the author has made, to the detriment of this excellent camera.
First of all, I would be deeply disappointed if cnet would join in with the marketing departments of the camera manufacturers, which would have us all believe that more pixels means better pictures. In actual fact, it tends to be quite opposite, because more pixels means smaller pixels, smaller pixels means poorer light absorption capability, and that means more noise in your photos, or more noise processing by the camera's circuitry, which affects the quality. The only reason for the megapixel obsession is that cameras are sold by marketing departments, not by engineering ones. People get easily impressed by numbers, and that's all the manufacturers care. Please do not side with this thinking, and do not promote it. Two megapixels can produce a 5"x7" print, so six cannot be bad by any count. It is because of its reasonably sized sensor that Nikon D40 has a good noise characteristics, so it can afford having ISO 200 as its default sensitivity, unlike its more expensive 10 MP siblings, which have to start at ISO 100 to produce a clean, noise-free image.
Also, the 18-55mm lens is equivalent to 27.5-84mm in film camera terms (x1.525 conversion), not 28.8-88mm (x1.6 conversion, a Canon sensor/lens combination would convert like that). That means (a bit) more wide angle, another rarity in the world of consumer cameras. Speaking of the lens, I compared it with my old 24-85mm f/2.8-4D, the lens that costs 5-6 times the price. I am aware that my old lens is not the best that Nikon could make, despite its price, but was nonetheless impressed with the 18-55mm kit lens, because I could not notice a visible difference in sharpness, and it actually has a visibly smaller distortion at the wide angle end. I know that some would say that the sharpness comparison may be limited by the camera's low resolution, but then we're splitting some really microscopic hairs. Some purple fringing may be there if you insist, but is controlled easily with the aperture. Nothing's perfect, but I can bet this is better than any other lens in the class.
D40 also has the flash synchronization down to 1/500s, which is unique. It provides for a great flexibility of the fill-flash in strong light.
The comment on the handling (with reference to the aperture-priority mode) is superficial. All exposure-related settings can be made with primary commands - dial and buttons, there's no going to menu involved here. Other settings are accessed via one Fn button and via the menu. Accessing a frequently used setting in the menu takes two presses on the same button, as this takes you to the last used setting, which is most likely the one you need. I agree it would be much nicer having a couple of more hard buttons, but it's really not a big deal. Once you have made the one-time adjustments according to your preferences, you are one-, or sometimes two-presses away from most settings you may need in your work, like ISO or White Balance.
I bought this Nikon D40 recently, after having used an F80 (N80 in the USA) for seven years. It should have been natural to go up and get a D80 or D200, which were both well within my budget. I decided instead to do something unusual for a relatively advanced user - go simple and get a D40. I figured I could always upgrade if I need to, and possibly keep D40 as a back-up. Now I don't think that will happen any time soon, and I think I have made one of my cleverest purchases ever.
To see any noticeable difference, you would have to skip the D40x and D80, and get the D200, and then you will get some better handling and more muscle, at the cost of a far greater weight. D40 is featherweight.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Perfect Choice for Those Moving Up from Point-and Shoot
by pilonc on March 4, 2007
Pros: Price, Size, Weight, Photo Quality, Lens, LCD and Menus
Cons: Bad software, AF can lag under certain shooting conditions
Summary: I am glad I did not read the CNET review before I decided to buy this camera. The Nikon D40 is a fantastic camera, much better than the CNET review ...
Summary: I am glad I did not read the CNET review before I decided to buy this camera. The Nikon D40 is a fantastic camera, much better than the CNET review indicates.
I bought the D40 in Jan. 2006 as an upgrade to my 3MP Nikon Coolpix. I am a novice photographer, so the point-and-shoot was fine for awhile. But I became so frustrated with the shutter lag and less than perfect print quality that I stopped using it. When I went shoping for a new and upgraded point-and-shoot, I was again disappointed with what I could get for $300 -$400 so I decided to spend the extra money for what I really wanted, a SLR (quicker shots, better pictures, more manual settings, etc).
I am really happy I went with the SLR and the Nikon D40. The first 200 photos have been excellent. I have received countless compliments from family and friends on the photos of our newborn. Also, the size, weight, and ergnomics of the camera is what initially sold me. It just feels good in my hands, much more comfortable (smaller, lighter) than the other SLR I looked at (Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony). It's small and light enough to bring with you to all occasions(the bulky size of a SLR was one thing I was initially worried about).
And at $599, the price right. Less than the Cannon XT Rebel and the Sony.
The auto focus can be a tad slow, as the reviewer pointed out, but that's usually because I am too close to the subject; probably the result of an amateur photographer. I found the included software to be cumbersome, but in fairness I haven't spent much time with it. But since I spent the money for the camera, not the software, that doesn't bother me so much. Finally, I was a little hesitant about the 6 MP since some of the other entry level SLRs have 8MP. But as the other reviews indicate, 6MP is more than adequate for the Average Joe and the results of my initial photos have been excellent.
If you are looking for an entry level DSL, do yourself a favor and buy this camera. It is a perfect for amateurs like me that want to move up from a point-and-shoot to a SLR without breaking the bank. Listen to the customer comments, not the review, and you will be pleased that you decided to buy this camera!Updated
There are a few minor annoyances that I forgot to mention...no lense cap cord, the viewfinder design is too close to the body which means your face smudges the LCD screen. But these are minor things, which is the only reason I didn't score as a perfect 10.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
by Peter Dominguez on February 27, 2007
Pros: Big display, light weight, inuitive menus, versatile lens
Cons: Only 3 focus areas, can't use old lens
Summary: I did years of 35mm film photograhy with a Nikon FM. With digital SLRs being so expensive ($3K+), I then went through a couple canon point and shoot digitals (like ...
Summary: I did years of 35mm film photograhy with a Nikon FM. With digital SLRs being so expensive ($3K+), I then went through a couple canon point and shoot digitals (like the SD450) and was always dissapointed with the pics.
I had access to a Nikon D50 for about 1 year and was impressed with the photos, easy of use . I was about to buy the D50 when the D40 was released in Dec 06. I was swayed by bigger display screen and smaller body. The D40 also has a updated menu which is much easier to navigate through. The camera is very easy to use. It is set up much like the old film camera, so it is an easy transition.... plus it has all the benefits of the digital era.
This is dubbed an the SLR newbie/ inexpensive entry level camera, but by the time you add in a SD card, carrying case, tax etc, you get to about $900, so it is still a fair cash outlay. Bottom line: a great value and a great camera to get started. Most newbie SLR photographers don't use all the functions on a D70 or D80, so why pay for them. The D40 is a solid choice. If you are a budding Herb Ritts and outgrow it, you can always keep it as backup.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Best entry level dSLR so far ( And so good )
by _Aquarelle_ on December 15, 2006
Pros: Ease of use, reliable, durable, trustworthy.
Cons: Software leaves much to be desired...
Summary: Most "F" mount lenses will fit on this body, so you can find the older manual focus lenses for relatively low prices. They are excellent lenses (among, if not the ...
Summary: Most "F" mount lenses will fit on this body, so you can find the older manual focus lenses for relatively low prices. They are excellent lenses (among, if not the best). As for the megapixel myth; which would you rather have? A 6,1 mp that gives you 300dpi in *.jpg mode (240dpi for RAW/*.nef mode) or an 8, 10 or 12 mp that yields 72dpi in *.jpg mode? Your screen is at 72dpi, most printers are BELOW 300dpi, those that do more either have very high prices or extrapolate.
This camera will give you ease of use and you won't have to hold it at arm's length to focus. The best of all, it's ready to shoot when you turn it on, the response is immediate. You'll soon wonder why you didn't get a dSLR in the first place! Another good point, it will last you a lot longer than any Canon ever will...
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
A great digital SLR for casual users
by Speedo18 on December 19, 2006
Pros: Nice quality feel and good price
Cons: No lens cap retainer cord
Summary: Nikon has a reputation for producing quality cameras. The D-40 fits into this category. It’s a quality camera with all the usual features common to SLR’s. I like ...
Summary: Nikon has a reputation for producing quality cameras. The D-40 fits into this category. It’s a quality camera with all the usual features common to SLR’s. I like the feel. I’ve owned 3 35mm SLR’s and 4 point and shoot digital cameras and this camera has a nice comfortable feel in your hands. I like the smaller size. It’s great for casual photography. The D-40 is a great step up from point and shoot cameras. It took me awhile to get used to the SLR routine – looking through the viewfinder and adjusting the focal length of the lens manually. As for the fact that it’s only 6 megapixels: I’ve taken great photos with a lot less. Print quality is a factor of matching the resolution of the printer to the image. In any event, I would recommend it to anyone.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Light in weight but not features!
by wmdaily on January 30, 2007
Pros: Extremely light and compact, great LCD display, very good battery life
Cons: Not fast enough for sports, no camera raw interface for CS2 (yet)
Summary: I have had a Nikon F-100 digital camera for years and finally made the switch to digital after studying a lot of cameras and reviews. I have a lot of ...
Summary: I have had a Nikon F-100 digital camera for years and finally made the switch to digital after studying a lot of cameras and reviews. I have a lot of big and expensive lenses but realized this 27-83 equivalent works fine for almost everything I photograph. This camera and lens combination is so light I carry it everywhere. The LCD display is excellent and battery life is outstanding. 6 MP is more than enough for everyone except professional photographers. Be sure to go to KenRockwell.com to help get the initial exposure settings dialed in correctly. Go with this camera unless you need a D200 - you can't go wrong!Updated
Quick update - Adobe just released an update of their Photoshop Camera Raw Plug-in for the D-40 and it works great!
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Nikon Inc.
- Part number: 25420
- Description: The D40 is a compact and lightweight high-performance camera that makes it possible for anyone to create stunning images with an SLR. Designed specifically for ease of use, the D40 lets you use the kind of digital and optical technologies that professionals use without the need to deal with complex functions. Whatever you shoot there is an automated Digital Vari Program that lets you achieve fantastic results in any situation. Help menus are easy to navigate and the in-camera retouch menu makes it simple to edit and enhance your images on the large, bright 2.5-inch LCD monitor. Perfect for people who want an affordable camera to explore what it is that makes SLR photography stand out, the D40 is so user-friendly that all you have to do is concentrate on the scene you want to photograph and the camera's advanced Nikon technologies will take care of the rest.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Digital camera - SLR
- Enclosure Color Black
- Resolution 6.1 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CCD
- Total Pixels 6,240,000 pixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 6,100,000 pixels
- Optical Sensor Size 15.6 x 23.7mm
- Field of View Crop Factor 1.5
- Optical Zoom 3 x
- Auto Focus TTL phase detection
- Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty 3
- Image Recording Format JPEG,
- AV Interfaces Composite video/audio
Exposure & White Balance
- Light Sensitivity ISO 200-1600
- Exposure Metering 3D color matrix II,
- Exposure Metering Zones 420
- Exposure Modes Program,
I-TTL program flash,
- Shooting Programs Sports mode,
- Special Effects Warm Filter,
Black & White,
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Sunlight,
- Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec
- Min Shutter Speed 30 sec
- Exposure Compensation ±5 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps
- X-sync Speed 1/500 sec
- Exposure Range EV 0-20 ( ISO 100 )
- Type 3 x x Zoom lens - 18 mm - 55 mm - F/3.5-5.6 G ED II Nikon AF-S DX
- Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 27 - 82.5 mm
- Focus Adjustment Manual,
- Min Focus Range 11 in
- Zoom Adjustment Manual
- Lens Construction 5 groups / 7 elements
- Filter Size 52 mm
- Lens System Mounting Nikon F
- Features Aspherical lens,
Silent Wave Motor (SWM),
- Camera Flash Pop-up flash
- Guide Number (m / ISO 100) 17
- Flash Modes Rear curtain sync,
Flash OFF mode,
- Features Flash +/- compensation,
- Continuous Shooting Speed 2.5 frames per second
- Self Timer Delay 2 sec,
- Flash Terminal Hot shoe
- Additional Features Display brightness control,
In-camera red-eye fix,
Cropping an image,
Text input to Exif header,
Auto power save,
Digital noise reduction,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Viewfinder Type Optical - Eye-level penta-dach mirror
- Field Coverage 95%
- Magnification 0.8x
- Dioptric Correction Range -1.7 to +0.5
- Viewfinder Frames Autofocus frame
- Viewfinder Information Exposure compensation,
Flash charge completion,
- Type 2.5 in LCD display
- Display Features Built-in
- Connector Type 1 x USB,
1 x Composite video output
- Software Nikon PictureProject,
Drivers & Utilities
- Microsoft Certifications Certified for Windows Vista
- Included Accessories Battery charger,
- Supported Battery Nikon EN-EL9
- Supported Battery 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( Included )
Memory / Storage
- Memory Card Slot SD card
- Supported Memory Cards SDHC Memory Card,
SD Memory Card
- Image Storage RAW 3008 x 2000 : 65 VA - With 512MB card,
Fine JPEG 3008 x 2000 : 137 VA - With 512MB card,
Normal JPEG 3008 x 2000 : 260 VA - With 512MB card,
Basic JPEG 3008 x 2000 : 503 VA - With 512MB card,
Fine JPEG 2256 x 1496 : 235 VA - With 512MB card,
Normal JPEG 2256 x 1496 : 444 VA - With 512MB card,
Basic JPEG 2256 x 1496 : 839 VA - With 512MB card,
Fine JPEG 1504 x 1000 : 503 VA - With 512MB card,
Normal JPEG 1504 x 1000 : 839 VA - With 512MB card,
Basic JPEG 1504 x 1000 : 1200 VA - With 512MB card
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 5 in
- Depth 2.5 in
- Height 3.7 in
- Weight 16.8 oz
CNET Labs' Benchmarks
- Labs information All values are expressed in seconds. Please visit our <ref type="link" url="http://reviews.cnet.com/Labs/4520-6603 7-1014358-1.html">labs information page</ref> for information on how digital cameras are tested.
- CNET Labs Flash shot to shot time 0.9
- CNET Labs Raw shot to shot time 0.6
- CNET Labs Shot to shot time typical 0.6
- CNET Labs Shutter lag bright 0.7
- CNET Labs Shutter lag dim 1.6
- CNET Labs Typical burst speed 2.6
- CNET Labs Wake up time 0.3
- Tamron AF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 LD Macro lens (Model 276, Nikon AF-D mount)
- SB-800 Speedlight i-TTL Shoe Mount Flash
- Tamron 572D - telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm
- Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5.0-6.3 Di LD SP FEC IF Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
- Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED lens
- Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens