Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button

The D40 is here, and we've got an unboxing, and some impressions. If you've forgotten, the D40 is Nikon's latest budget DSLR, and it actually comes in cheaper than what we'd expect. I'd say it nestles in a great little niche, between SLRs and Big Point and Shoots.

It's as small as it is cheap. Yes it is...you're a liddle-widdle DSLR, aren't you! That's because this Nikon's lost the LCD up top that shows settings for exposure. And it loses its built in lens motor, so it can't autofocus except with those lenses using built-in motors. Still, this camera is way less expensive than Canon's budget DSLR, the XTi, even with a lens. (That's $599 vs $799 for the Xti Body only.) Sure, it has 6MP instead of 10, but I'd take the extra stop of light sensitivity (3200 vs 1600 on the XTi) over the extra useless megapixels, anyday. In theory, anyhow.

Of course, I have a few issues with this cam. Read on for sample shots, or click through the gallery to see the shiny new cam in all its cuteness.

Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button

I'm not a pro photographer, but I almost was. So, I cannot live without the LCD that shows me shutter speed, aperture settings, etc, though. Having said that, the amateur will appreciate the fact that this camera gives advice when a photo is set to be under or overexposed. See:

Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button



If you're going to use this thing in a semi-automatic or fully automatic mode, though, fire away. It was clear that every shot was vibrant and rich. Exposure was terrific. Maybe post processed with some sort of "LIFE IS AWESOME" filter. This chair top, which I snapped accidentally, is NOT supposed to be that red:

Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button

Low light performance was not on par with the Canon 30D I use that has an equivalent 3200 ISO rating. Basically, the grain goes out of control at 1600 and beyond, and I couldn't use it in good conscience at this level. Colors remained good, but maybe that was the bright LCD on the back of the camera talking. (Take my critique of color accuracy with a grain of salt then.) See these photos. The grainier one is the Nikon, while the Canon is the more expensive 30D. But this is what you're not getting:

Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button

Nikon D40 DSLR Unboxing and Review: Cheap, Imperfect, Cute as a Button



The LCD is a lot brighter on the Nikon than on my 30D. And the Camera's lens feels entry level, and is a bit on the slow side. And it takes SD cards instead of CF, which is cool for amateurs.

In the end, let the fact that I'm comparing this $600 dollar camera to a full featured DSLR say something. It's a steal. At this price, you could get one instead of a point and shoot. You might miss the video functions most pocket cams rock these days. But if you're in it for photography's sake, your pictures will be nicer for it.

Just my two-cents. If you're a photography wonk, you'll likely want a deeper review. For that, head on over to a site like DPreview.com or DCresource.com. They'll do you right once their reviews are up.

Nikon D40 [Gizmodo]