D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Started May 28, 2007 | Discussions
Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Of course I expect every reviewer to come to their own conclusions, such is the nature of a review site..paper or on the internet.

But however cute the D40 range of cameras are, is it too cut down to really merit the real contender title?

A list of areas that could be considered minus points:

No in camera motor, limits lens choice.
No exposure/wb bracketing.
3 point AF system.
Reduced on body controls.
No DOF preview

As ever its not all bad...but considering the UK price is about £430, level with the A-100, and a little less than the Canon 400. Does a price of £300 sound a bit more like it? After all if Nikon chopped out so much, to reduce costs, surely the buyer would be able to live with this more.

I find it hard to understand how maker gets high praise for chopping out features (some of which are pretty damn handy...exposure bracketing is an absurd one to leave out) Sure some on the list are not deal breakers...but

Buyers looking to expand their lens range with s/h or non nikon lenses are going to have some serious limitations, who wants to buy an AF lens that wont AF? I could say that this is an interesting ploy to help nikon lens sales

This might be a good camera for someone new to SLR's, a P&S dabbler..or upgrader..might just not care and get the twin lens kit, serious users are going to find that the shortcomings are less easy to live with.

Imagine a slightly larger body (its too small for my hands), and all the issues above addressed.......Nikon could have had a real killer camera here, they missed the chance.

Every camera is far from perfect...Canon 400, Sony A-100, Pentax K100 series all have weak spots, but surely this is a cut down camera too far.

What do you think?

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Tim in upstate NY
Tim in upstate NY Veteran Member • Posts: 7,120
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

Imagine a slightly larger body (its too small for my hands), and
all the issues above addressed.......Nikon could have had a real
killer camera here, they missed the chance.

.........Sounds like the D80

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jackbw Senior Member • Posts: 1,702
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

In my country you can get a D40 kit for £250 equivalent with a free 2GB 150x SD card. A friend of mine relayed a story that while looking at accessories in a store, 3 kits were sold within the 15 minutes he was there. It seems that for the market they are targetting it is doing very well and they are introducing many new DSLR users who would otherwise be buying a A640 or S3IS. For features not present in the D40/x, one can get a D80 or a 400D. I'm just glad that a DSLR like this exists, stripped down so it can be sold inexpensively, though I realize in some countries it is not so inexpensive.

Steve_
Steve_ Senior Member • Posts: 2,876
kind of raises the obvious question

jackbw wrote:

For features not present in the D40/x, one can get a D80 or a
400D.

Considering the 400D is a direct competitor of the D40/x, the 400D would seem the obvious choice. I can live without some things, but when you take out the auto-bracketing and expect me to pay essentially the same money as though you hadn't, you remove the possibility of me buying your product.

It looks like at present the 400D is streeting for $735 in the US, and I expect prices will drop to mirror the D40/x's $699 MSRP soon. But even should they not, I'd gladly pay $35 for the auto-bracketing alone. Never mind the better JPEG output and high-ISO performance.
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Simon Joinson
Simon Joinson dpreview Admin • Posts: 5,019
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

Of course I expect every reviewer to come to their own conclusions,
such is the nature of a review site..paper or on the internet.

But however cute the D40 range of cameras are, is it too cut down
to really merit the real contender title?

A list of areas that could be considered minus points:

No in camera motor, limits lens choice.
No exposure/wb bracketing.
3 point AF system.
Reduced on body controls.
No DOF preview

As ever its not all bad...but considering the UK price is about
£430, level with the A-100, and a little less than the Canon 400.
Does a price of £300 sound a bit more like it? After all if Nikon
chopped out so much, to reduce costs, surely the buyer would be
able to live with this more.

I find it hard to understand how maker gets high praise for
chopping out features (some of which are pretty damn
handy...exposure bracketing is an absurd one to leave out) Sure
some on the list are not deal breakers...but

Buyers looking to expand their lens range with s/h or non nikon
lenses are going to have some serious limitations, who wants to buy
an AF lens that wont AF? I could say that this is an interesting
ploy to help nikon lens sales

This might be a good camera for someone new to SLR's, a P&S
dabbler..or upgrader..might just not care and get the twin lens
kit, serious users are going to find that the shortcomings are less
easy to live with.

Imagine a slightly larger body (its too small for my hands), and
all the issues above addressed.......Nikon could have had a real
killer camera here, they missed the chance.

Every camera is far from perfect...Canon 400, Sony A-100, Pentax
K100 series all have weak spots, but surely this is a cut down
camera too far.

What do you think?

I was recently asked by a friend to recommend an SLR that was a small and easy to use step up from a P&S, and despite it lacking all those 'killer features' I suggested the D40 based on what SHE needed out of a camera and HER level of expertise (and her budget). For her the D40 was perfect and she loves it - and she takes it everywhere. Guess what i'm saying is different strokes for different folks.
S
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Mr Ralf Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Barry's on d40-crusade again

we from the d40-club don't care about specs.
P-mode, ISO-Auto up to 1600 , and the camera does the rest
change the aperture if you want
but that's it
and it does a better job than any KoMiSoCaPeOly-cams

(ever heard about the out-performing metering and Auto-iso from Nikon out there?)

we care about composing good pics. and here's where the cam isn't in the way between us and the pic.

because we don't have to fiddle with tricky buttons and crazy-placed dials and wheels
use the Fn Button for WB, and the rest does the cam.
WB is the only big thing that needs baby-sitting.

By the way:

when you are still setting up your KM5D, my d40 already got 50 Pulitzer-price winning shots on my sd-card.

OP Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: Barry's on d40-crusade again

Mr Ralf wrote:

we from the d40-club don't care about specs.
P-mode, ISO-Auto up to 1600 , and the camera does the rest
change the aperture if you want
but that's it
and it does a better job than any KoMiSoCaPeOly-cams
(ever heard about the out-performing metering and Auto-iso from
Nikon out there?)
we care about composing good pics. and here's where the cam isn't
in the way between us and the pic.
because we don't have to fiddle with tricky buttons and
crazy-placed dials and wheels
use the Fn Button for WB, and the rest does the cam.
WB is the only big thing that needs baby-sitting.

By the way:
when you are still setting up your KM5D, my d40 already got 50
Pulitzer-price winning shots on my sd-card.

Hmmm fair enough..but the last line is a bit dubious!
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OP Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Simon Joinson wrote:

I was recently asked by a friend to recommend an SLR that was a
small and easy to use step up from a P&S, and despite it lacking
all those 'killer features' I suggested the D40 based on what SHE
needed out of a camera and HER level of expertise (and her budget).
For her the D40 was perfect and she loves it - and she takes it
everywhere. Guess what i'm saying is different strokes for
different folks.
S
--
Simon Joinson, dpreview.com

Well hard to argue with that.........fair enough. But I pretty much every SLR has an "auto" mode....aka dont need to think.

Sure not everyone will demand a high feature set......

My only concern is that unsupecting buyers new to SLR land may get less than they bargained for (aka limits on lenses for one thing)

Are people aware of the weak spots?

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KEITH-C Forum Pro • Posts: 14,131
Re: Barry's on d40-crusade again

It is clear that value for money judgements come into play in a big way in the overall conclusion & that is OK provided that new buyers are aware of that particular emphasis. It is strange that the Sony A100 does not get a mention in comparisons.

The images are good although arguably a little oversaturated but new buyers of DSLRs tend to like this approach. The dynamic range seems to be handled very well & there is some evidence of new technology being used in the cameras sensor - this bodes well for future cameras coming out later this year.

PS - I agree with the view that metering does have a significant effect on the perception of sensor noise.

PPS - some nice pictures from Joanna !

Keith-C

PhotoTraveler Forum Pro • Posts: 11,700
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

Sure not everyone will demand a high feature set......

My only concern is that unsupecting buyers new to SLR land may get
less than they bargained for (aka limits on lenses for one thing)

Are people aware of the weak spots?

They aren't weak spots. They are only weak spots if you think they are.

The people buying them aren't aware of them because they don't know about them and never will even if you tell them about them because they don't care since what is your weak spot has no impact on them at all.

You are definitely very bent about this camera. It's not limited, it's a cheap camera, and cheap things only do so much.

For the target people it's aimed at it doesn't even need A, S and M mode. It could just be a P mode only camera and have an on-off button and the bulk of the people using it would be thrilled with it. If haven't had a feature before, or used a feature before, you won't have a sense of missing something.

You have made a lot of post about this thing and I doubt if you talked to a potential buyer they would see the camera any different after talking to you. If you bring up the AF drive issue they would ask you "so does the kit lens work", and once you say "yeah, it works" they would be happy. If you bring up the bracketing they would ask "do I need that", if you say "yes because of bla bla", they would look at you with a bit of a blank stare and then ask "is that important, do I need that for every shot", and if you keep going further on that path the person would either still buy it because they have decided it is as important as video out to them, or they would put it down and go back to P&S cameras where they don't have to think about bracketing because you have just explained how complicated it is to us an DSLR.

OP Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Only Nikon............

Would dream of shutting out their own users.....

CF or SD? Hmmm both.

So Nikon owner wants a backup camera.......ok um damn the D40 wont take my CF cards, and my lenses dont AF!

Come on people..........is this really smart corporate thinking? Making your own camera range incompatible with each other? (yeah sure the lens fits..but who wants MF with an AF lens? Hmm not many)

Sorry but something went wrong somewhere....I am no Canon fan......but can you ever imagine them doing this? There would be a riot at Canon HQ!
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OP Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

PhotoTraveler wrote:

They aren't weak spots. They are only weak spots if you think they
are.

Ok........bit like putting newpaper into a hole in yer car! lol

The people buying them aren't aware of them because they don't know
about them and never will even if you tell them about them because
they don't care since what is your weak spot has no impact on them
at all.

It wont now........it could later on. Why? well.......

You are definitely very bent about this camera. It's not limited,
it's a cheap camera, and cheap things only do so much.

Cheap but not cheap enough in the UK so it would seem.

Can you not see the issues I raise? Why is the AF motor gone? Its to sell Nikon lenses.........that is something of a consumer trap......
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Mr Ralf Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Nikon's smart...

... they named the d40 d40 because of many Canonites buying it, thinking this is the long-waited-for replacement of the 30D....lol....

...and being happy for the first time: a least a Canon that delivers sharp pics! No back/front focus, no underexposure, and real quality feeling!!!!
PS: don't tell them...

Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

I had forgetten about no DOF preview..

That's two exercises in any "Intro to Photography" course the D40 owners will have to work around..

Bracketing..
and DOF.. (though you can take a few seconds to check it in the LCD)

I wonder if any Community college courses will have to * the approved equipment for photography classes

Students may bring any Film or Digital SLR to complete homework (except Nikon D40 and D40x)

The cynical aspect of this is that Bracketing is all firmware.. no extra parts needed.
------------
Ken - KM 5D
http://www.cascadephotoworks.com

Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

jackbw wrote:

In my country you can get a D40 kit for £250 equivalent with a free
2GB 150x SD card. A friend of mine relayed a story that while
looking at accessories in a store, 3 kits were sold within the 15
minutes he was there. It seems that for the market they are
targetting it is doing very well and they are introducing many new
DSLR users who would otherwise be buying a A640 or S3IS. For
features not present in the D40/x, one can get a D80 or a 400D.
I'm just glad that a DSLR like this exists, stripped down so it can
be sold inexpensively, though I realize in some countries it is not
so inexpensive.

And still the guys in Nigeria are making millions on spam emails asking for help transferring millions to the US...

Just because people will bite doesn't mean it is right

This way to the Nikon Egress....
------------
Ken - KM 5D
http://www.cascadephotoworks.com

Mr Ralf Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Bracketing is...

... for cameras with malfunctioning metering resulting in bad exposure...
...like KM5D maybe..?!?! (just guessing here)

Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: Bracketing is...

Mr Ralf wrote:

... for cameras with malfunctioning metering resulting in bad
exposure...
...like KM5D maybe..?!?! (just guessing here)

Ah you must be who they built the camera for... knows nothing and wants to learn less.

I take it that means... that all these cameras have faulty metering?

Canon EOS-1D MarkIII
Canon 5D
Canon 30D

Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200
Nikon D80

I am sure all those Pros out there will be suprised to find the D40 is the first camera that meters Sunsets, Snow, Wedding Dresses etc. perfectly everytime.

The must have been realy fools to pay all that money for defective cameras

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Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 1,858
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

I think it's a cost/benfit issue. The intended market don't need/wont pay for the features so they don't get them.

If a camera needed all features to get a highly reccommended then no P&S or entry level dSLR could ever get a highly reccommended.

Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Simon Joinson wrote:

I was recently asked by a friend to recommend an SLR that was a
small and easy to use step up from a P&S, and despite it lacking
all those 'killer features' I suggested the D40 based on what SHE
needed out of a camera and HER level of expertise (and her budget).
For her the D40 was perfect and she loves it - and she takes it
everywhere. Guess what i'm saying is different strokes for
different folks.
S
Simon Joinson, dpreview.com

As long as she doesn't start having so much fun she starts taking classes all is well, Nothiong worse than being the only one in class with a new camera that can't do all the basic exercises

And bracketing is all firmware... so it is patently cynical crippling of the camera to create more upgrades for users who learn more.-

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PhotoTraveler Forum Pro • Posts: 11,700
Re: D40x........does it deserve such high praise?

Can you not see the issues I raise? Why is the AF motor gone? Its
to sell Nikon lenses.........that is something of a consumer
trap......

Uh, yeah, if it wasn't about selling lenses camera companies wouldn't make the lenses removable and offer them in different sizes. They could just keep the lens integrated and leave you with no options and call it a bridge camera. But they don't they give you the flexibility and they can sell you more lenses. And when you buy the lens, it will work because just about all the lenses a basic consumer would look at are AFS.

It's gone because it's not needed. All nikons new lenses are AFS. The kit lens it comes with is AFS. Thom Hogan would be the best person to go through the stats on lens buying, but to put it simply, if you buy a D40/ D40X and buy a second lens you have massively deviated from just about everyone else who will buy it.

The D40 only came/comes as a kit. The D40X can be had body only, but few will go that route.

And if a person does go to buy a lens for it, the lenses they would buy are AFS. Most the lenses Nikon has not upgraded to AFS are those that few D40/D40X owners would buy, mainly primes. The consumer zooms are AFS.

No consumer has been trapped, it is what it is. Nikon doesn't hide that it needs AF-I, AF-S lenses for autofocus. Lens buying is part of SLRs is you go into wanting more stuff. Nikon has lots of lenses for folks. People buying discontinued lenses, or lenses from 3rd parties is of non interest to them like any company.

You have brought up the whole deal of a back up in other threads. Well for starters, even if it has an AF motor and too CF, there isn't that many folks looking for a back up body. So you would be making a design compromise for a niche. You would mess up those coming from P&S who have SD cards which is who the camera is targeted at. If a person wants a backup to their D80, then they have their SD cards already. A D200 owner is more likely to want a D80 as a backup, not a D40. So they will have AF support there too, and on the cards, well, I don't think to many folks switch their cards between different cameras much. They keep the same cards with the same camera, and when they get a new one, they demote the old camera and only keep a card or 2 formated by that model, the rest go to the primary camera. So if you are using it as a back up, you have Some SD cards for it that are part of your back up, since even if it had a CF slot, you wouldn't take a card out of your D200 and shove it in your D40. Plus memory cards are cheap and small. The whole back up camera path doesn't work. It's a small market, and by designing to it, you hurt it in it's target market of P&S upgraders. Now they would have to buy new memory cards, not to much of an issue, but would be a waste of their old cards unless they keep using their P&S. And the camera cost more now with the AF motor, and weighs more. And yet maybe a few percent of users will ever use that motor.

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