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Nikon D40, hands-on preview

By dpreview staff on Nov 16, 2006 at 06:02 GMT

As we knew all along the leaks were fairly accurate, Nikon has today announced the six megapixel, compact, 'entry level' D40 digital SLR. This new digital SLR loses some of the D50's features but gains some new ones from the D80. Headline details are a new Multi-CAM530 three area AF sensor, 3D Color Matrix Metering II, custom Auto ISO (same as D80), 2.5 fps continuous shooting, no status LCD and in-camera retouching. The D40 also has lots of nice user interface touches designed to make using the camera an easier experience for first time users. We have a production D40 and have produced a detailed hands-on preview in anticipation of a full review in the next few weeks.

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D40
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)

Press Release:

Nikon announces a digital SLR for the masses

Nikon D40

The D40 combines outstanding picture quality with a smart, lightweight and compact design that will appeal to everyone

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Nikon has taken another huge stride forward with the launch of the Nikon D40, its lightest, most compact and easiest to use digital SLR ever.

The D40 marks a number of important milestones and cements Nikon’s reputation for developing high quality, innovative products packed full of the latest technologies and features.

The D40 is a brand new interchangeable-lens digital SLR that unites the brilliant performance of world-famous Nikkor lenses and the practicality of a remarkably small and light camera body. It boasts handling and performance advantages that do away with the frustrations often associated with compact digital cameras, making it ideal for anyone who wants to capture spectacular digital pictures without fuss or complication.

Thanks to Nikon’s world beating digital and optical technologies, the D40 makes it amazingly simple to capture beautiful pictures in almost any situation.

The D40 – equipped with a specially designed 3x 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens - is light and compact, making it easy to carry anywhere. The camera’s design incorporates fewer potentially confusing controls and other distractions, allowing anyone to take breathtaking pictures while eliminating the need to "learn" photography.

The D40 features a high-resolution 6.1-effective-megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD image sensor and a highly advanced Nikon Image Processing Engine. These combine to produce exceptional image detail with true, vivid colors.

Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II assures accurate exposure control even in difficult lighting conditions and an AUTO ISO feature makes the most of available light by automatically setting the camera’s light sensitivity from the available ISO range of 200 to 1600.

The D40 has remarkably fast responses, with autofocus control algorithms that are inherited from Nikon’s renowned D200 and D80 digital SLRs, delivering more precise focus, faster subject tracking and more accurate autofocus response and detection – even in low light.

The D40 takes just 0.18 seconds to power up, and its almost imperceptible shutter release lag time does away with the frustrating picture taking delay common with point-and-shoot digital cameras – assuring that special moments are captured beautifully.
Nikon’s scene-optimised Digital Vari-Program modes allow the photographer to concentrate on capturing nearly any type of scene without being distracted by camera settings. All eight modes – Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sport, Close Up and Night Portrait – are designed to produce remarkable results by automatically calculating the best settings and ISO-equivalent sensitivity for each scene.

The new mode, Auto (Flash Off), prevents the Built-in Flash from popping up while boosting the ISO, thereby allowing the photographer to take pictures in museums, concerts, school plays, weddings and other low-light situations where flash photography is prohibited.

The D40’s new Retouch menu offers exclusive in-camera image editing features that add to the D40's “fun factor” by providing greater creative freedom without the need for a computer. Included in the Retouch menu is Nikon’s D-Lighting, Red-eye correction, Image Trim and other creative features such as Image Overlay, Small Picture, Monochrome (Black-and-white, Sepia, Cyanotype) and Filter Effects (Skylight, Warm filter, Colour balance).

The kit lens for the D40 is the new 3x 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens, assuring superb picture sharpness and optimum contrast, along with the versatility of a wide-angle to medium telephoto lens.

Included with the camera is Nikon’s PictureProject software to transfer, organise and share images while Nikon’s Capture NX photo editing software is available separately.

The D40 opens up the fun, excitement and superior image quality of digital SLR photography to everyone. Its compact size and ideal ergonomics make it the digital SLR solution for pictures anytime, anywhere. Its bright and sharp viewfinder with 0.8x magnification ensures precise composition. After shooting, the camera’s large 2.5-inch high-resolution color LCD monitor provides a clear view for checking sharpness, exposure and focus by enlarging the picture up to 19 times.

Building on Nikon’s reputation for making the finest digital SLR cameras, the compact D40 offers mobility, easy operation and beautiful pictures to even first-time digital SLR users, making it ideal for anyone ready to experience the difference of Nikon digital SLR photography.

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D40
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)

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