Nikon D40x

Nikon D40x

If it weren’t for some limitations with the lenses you can use, the D40x would be totally perfect.

 

Just months after Nikon debuted the D40, the D40x appeared on the market. The primary difference is the resolution: X marks the spot for 10 megapixels, versus 6 megapixels on the D40. And when it comes to low-cost digital SLR cameras, the D40x is the king of the hill.

 

Physically identical to the D40, the D40x is a compact, solidly built digital SLR with a plethora of features. The D40x comes to life in less than a second after you turn it on, and the lithium-ion Nikon battery powered the camera for more than 500 shots in our tests. The 2.5-inch LCD is crisp as ice and was visible even in bright daylight. The design of the interface for controlling all camera functions is wonderful; everything is cleanly organized and arranged so that you can familiarize yourself with the myriad options quickly and painlessly. While the LCD can be used to look at shots you’ve already taken, there’s no live display of the lens view - just like an old-style SLR, you need to press your eye up the viewfinder in order to frame shots. If you have a fast SDHD card, the D40x can shoot up to 3 frames a second (in JPEG mode) for as many frames as can fit on a card. This opens up all sorts of cool creative possibilities and is a boon for sports and nature photography.

 

When it comes right down to it, we could go on about the specs of this camera for the length of this review, but it all comes down to the image quality. The NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) RAW files that come out of this camera are stunning, and the JPEGs are also sharp, showing fewer JPEG artifacts than we’re accustomed to with consumer cameras. Noise sensitivity is quite good, with noticeable noise only showing up at the highest ISO settings. (The D40x goes from a tight ISO 100 up to ISO 3,200, which comes in quite handy for low-light shooting.) Color fidelity is exceptional, with a slight skew toward oversaturation, especially in areas of intense blue (such as skies), something easily corrected in image-editing software. There’s a setting in the camera that lets you simultaneously save dual files for each shot, one in NEF, the other in the basic JPEG quality. It would be really nice to be able to change the quality of the secondary JPEG file to Fine, but given that it’s accompanying an uncompressed NEF file, it’s not a deal breaker. Overall, the images that emerge from the D40x are sharp, vibrant, and beautiful.

 

The major drawback of this camera is that it uses lenses with the autofocus motor built in, which limits your selection of lenses that will work with the D40x. This probably won’t be a major drawback for most consumers, who will likely be happy as clams with a couple of Nikon’s excellent AF-S lenses (we tested the D40x with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses in the AF-S series). Other Nikon lenses can indeed be used with the camera, but without autofocus or advanced metering support. If you’re a longtime Nikon fan and have amassed a vast collection of Nikkor lenses, you might want to consider higher-end Nikon bodies such as the D80 or D200.

 

The bottom line. If you’re looking for a DSLR that will last you for the next five years, you won’t find a better candidate than the D40x. It’s just about the best value proposition in the under-$1,000 digital SLR category. In a crowded field of contenders, it’s a standout winner.

 

COMPANY: Nikon

CONTACT: www.nikonusa.com

PRICE: $729.99 (body only)

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS X, USB

Excellent size and form factor. Gorgeous photos. Exceptional user interface. More features than an airplane.

Autofocus only supported with AF-S and AF-I lenses.

 

 

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Anonymous

I don't doubt the D40X is sensational. I recently bought a D80 due to its higher specs but seriously considered the lower model. As both use many of the same internals you can expect the D40X to produce stunning images - the menu is very user-friendly and I rate Nikon as the best DSLR I've ever used. I recommend attaching a Sigma 10-20 lens (with a Nikon mount) for pro-like shots from an inexpensive kit! No - I don't work for Nikon. I simply admire quality, such as the Mac!

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Thumbs

I hate auto focus lenses. using a D40 with a old manual lens is a dream. Metering? Who needs it? If you have half a brain you can judge semi-accurate exposures and bracket if you're off a bit.

Autofocus and metering sucks. Why don't the camera manufactures make an all manual camera? God, I would love that.

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jonathan

Mr. Biedny writes that the Nikon D40x is, "just about the best value proposition in the under-$1,000 digital SLR category." I'm glad he qualified that with the phrase "just about". MacLife recently reviewed the Pentax K10d, which is in the "under-$1000" DSLR category. It will produce images equal in quality to the Nikon, and has the following additional features:
• weather-sealed body
• in-body shake reducton, which makes every lens mounted an image-stbilized lens. This can save you thousands of dollars, and make some old glass highly desirable again.
• compatibilty with every lens in any Pentax mount made in the last fifty years. Some will lose auto-aperture function, but most work well with the body"s metering system.

We have used Canon equipment for over thirty years, but switched to Pentax for these reasons, plus they have bigger, brighter viewfinders than the competition.

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