Price (RRP): $1,399
Reviewer: Byer Gair
As it’s the smallest model in the Nikon DSLR range, the D40x is an ideal camera for a newbie looking for digital SLR quality. Following on from the D40 model, the some significant improvements include larger CCD capacity, a faster burst mode and other features.
Flip the pages in the average IT catalogue and you’ll be drenched in claims of more power to the zoom, more megs to the pixel, a bigger LCD and so on. Often missed in the advertising wrangle that surrounds digital cameras is the quality of the image captured by the camera. This is an area in which factors like dynamic range and bit-depth of colour come into play, and digital SLRs can claim to be superior to compacts in these areas.
With a 10.2 million pixel CCD, the D40x is able to shoot a maximum image of 3872 x 2592 pixels. Such an image will deliver a 44 x 29 cm print, more than 1.5 times the final print size of the previous D40 camera.
True to the SLR concept, the viewing is done through a real image, top-mounted, optical viewfinder and a large, rear-mounted 6.4 cm LCD screen. Seriously accurate focusing is possible via the optical finder, while all menu functions and post-shoot previewing of images is done with the LCD screen.
There is no image stabiliser built into the body; Nikon believes this function is better built into its lenses. Opposition makes such as Olympus, Pentax and Sony have all built stabilisers into the camera body, possibly to their market advantage.
The camera is well-balanced, thanks to a conspicuous speed grip, which also houses the power button, metering/exposure options and mode dial – close to the right forefinger and thumb. The weight of the body and a Nikkor 3x zoom lens totals 740 grams – by no means a heavy, nor bulky burden to carry around.
The D40x has the usual metering options of matrix, centre-weighted and spot – all determined TTL (Through The Lens). Actual exposure determination can be made in auto fashion, via Program AE, by shutter and aperture priority or by a manual setting. The more timid photographer can rely on eight Vari-Program modes to handle the more challenging situations, like macro subjects, sports, night portraits and others.
The focus department is well set up: you can choose from AF on stationary or moving subjects, or you can select manual focus and roll the lens ring to ensure maximum sharpness. If the light is low an auto assist light beam flashes on to help the AF system. The AF area can also be fine tuned to operate in any of three modes.
The LCD screen displaying the menu options is arguably one of the clearest around, with large text, clearly set out.
The D40x is a much improved camera, not only because of its higher resolution CCD but also due to the introduction of a whole array of other improvements.
An excellent starter camera for those who want to get serious with a DSLR and enjoy the Nikon’s excellent picture quality.