Nikon D40 review

Price when reviewed

Nikon’s lowest-cost DSLR has been around since the end of 2006. During that time the competition has moved fast, but the D40 has fought back by almost halving in price.

Nikon D40 review

The age of the basic design shows in several areas. The lack of any mechanical sensor-dust removal – a standard offering this month on all other cameras bar the similarly old Fujifilm S5 Pro – is just one. It also lacks live-view, a feature manufacturers such as Sony are exploiting to get digital-compact users to move to DSLRs. There’s no image stabilisation, either in the body itself or the standard 18-55mm kit lens. Finally, it offers what now seems a meagre 6.1 megapixels.

So, the situation isn’t looking too good for the D40 if you’re only taking headline specs into account. But handle one and look at the results it can offer, and some light starts to appear on the horizon. The body is light and compact – it’s even narrower than the diminutive Olympus E-420 – but the chunky handgrip means normal adult hands won’t feel like they’re handling a piece of jewellery. Onscreen shooting information from the 2.5in LCD is among the most easily digestible around, and menus are clear and uncluttered by gadget-fetish options. It’s logical, easy to use and if you get used to it, upgrading to a more expensive Nikon body in the future won’t give you any surprises. The lens attaches to a standard Nikon F mount. That means if you buy more lenses, you can upgrade to a different body later and they’ll still work.

With only six million pixels, those obsessed with specs should opt for one of the Sonys. But the quality of the D40’s output belies the pixel count, and with its above-average 18-55mm kit lens it can produce excellent quality images, as long as you stick to ISO levels of 400 or lower – the boosted ISO 3,200 option is more or less unusable. The pixel count will only become an issue with heavily cropped pictures – in that case, anything printed at over A4 in size may show its limits.

Finally there’s the price – only the Sony A200 compares. Based purely on features, there’s no doubt the Sony blows the D40 clean out of the water. But for a way into photography for those who may become more serious in the future, the D40 is a good low-cost way to go about it.


Image quality4

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating6.1MP
Camera screen size2.5in
Camera optical zoom range3.0x
Camera maximum resolution3,008 x 2,000

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions125 x 140 x 95mm (WDH)


Battery type includedLithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard)470 shots
Charger included?yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash?yes
Aperture rangef3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance0.28m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)27
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)82
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/4,000
Bulb exposure mode?yes
RAW recording mode?yes
Exposure compensation range+/- 5EV
ISO range200 - 3200
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Manual/user preset white balane?yes
Progam auto mode?yes
Shutter priority mode?yes
Aperture priority mode?yes
Fully auto mode?yes
Burst frame rate2.5fps
Exposure bracketing?no
White-balance bracketing?no
Memory-card typeSD card
Viewfinder coverage95%
LCD resolution230k
Secondary LCD display?no
Video/TV output?yes
Body constructionPlastic
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typeMini-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual?yes
Software suppliedNikon Picture Project

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