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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.

If you pick the 'Nikon D40' from the 'Compared to' drop-down you will see that the D40X delivers the same color response as the D40. The D40 and D40X use the slightly higher saturated color mode IIIa which helps to give a little more appealing landscape blues and greens.

Nikon D40X Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
NormalSofterVividMore vivid
PortraitB&WCustom Mode IaCustom Mode IIa
Custom Mode IIIa

Artificial light White Balance

The D40X delivers approximately the same performance as the D40, pretty poor automatic white balance in incandescent / tungsten light. If you like the 'white should be white' appearance to indoor shots then you'll need to use white balance presets or better still a manual preset from a white or gray card.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 10.5%, Blue: -16.0%, Poor
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: 0.5%, Blue: -1.7%, Good
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: -1.9%, Blue: -4.8%, Average
Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red: -2.4%, Blue: 0.5%, Good

Long Exposure noise reduction / Night shots

Our typical thirty second long exposure / night test shot at ISO 100 produced no noticeable hot pixels in the image, hence enabling the optional 'dark frame subtraction' noise reduction made no difference in this instance.

Noise reduction Off Noise reduction On
ISO 100, 30 sec, F10 ISO 100, 30 sec, F10

Flash

The D40X's overall flash performance was good, well metered and not under or over-powered. Even our white background color wedge chart didn't upset flash metering. There's also no evidence of any white balance or color cast issues.

Built-in flash Built-in flash

Overall Image Quality / Specifics

The D40X is a fairly significant jump in resolution over the D40, those four million pixels of course mean a tighter pixel pitch, hence smaller photosites. However that's clearly not the whole story here, from the results of our tests it's fair to say that the advances in sensor technology from the design of the six megapixel CCD in the D40 to the ten megapixel in the D40X has gone some way to mitigating the potentially negative effects of a smaller pixel pitch.

Firstly dynamic range, not only maintained but indeed improved, the D40X clearly demonstrates better highlight range and a softer 'roll off' just before the clipping point. Next noise, which while slightly higher than the D40 certainly isn't something you'd ever be able to distinguish, even in a big print. Next lets consider processing time which apart from a 0.3 second slower record review is essentially unchanged. Lastly, moire, the six megapixel sensor in the D40 exhibited some clear moire, this issue doesn't trouble the D40X.

So it's interesting to see that just sometimes the step up in megapixels delivers other advantages with few if any tradeoffs. Other than that already covered in these photographic tests we found no other image quality issues with the D40X worthy of additional testing or reporting.

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