Well here it is the Nikon D40 this was my first camera and has servered me well for learning photography.But the downside to this is once you start to get more serious about photography this thing quickly starts to show its weakness's.So let me just start by telling you my story behind me even considering this camera to buy.
As you all know iam a graphic artist but for years i needed a camera for making 3d textures and stock photos for web designs.So finally i decided to take the leap forward and buy a camera but i had a very small budget and just needed somthing i could just get by with but still have a professional look.So after lots of research on the net i found this camera and bought it off ebay.Oh!! and here is a HUGE warning i learned the hard way DONT BUY FROM EBAY UNTIL YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH ON THE SELLER tons of people have fallen for those cheap prices only to be ripped off so i advise you do a google search on the seller first for any rip off reports on there business.If they check out ok go ahead and buy.But long story short i got my camera eventually.
Ok so here is what this sucker looks like:
Overview of the Nikon D40
The Nikon D40 comes in 2 different models the D40 and the D40x.The only difference between the two is the D40x just has more mega pixels 10 megapixels rather then the D40s 6 mega pixels.I own the regular D40,Once you start to use this camera you will notice that its made for a beginner because it has alot of help menus and visual descriptions of what every thing does. So this definately helped me out.Before i get into all the internal features let me take a step back and tell you about the exterior buttons it has check out the images below
What all those Buttons do
1.Power Switch: this is the on / off switch that moves left and right to turn the camera on
2.Aperture / Exposure: this button controls both the aperture and exposure.
3.Shooting Information:This button will display the shooting information screen and will cut the LCD off once pressed again while at the shooting information screen.But if you ask me its just a on/off switch for the lcd.
4.Modes Dial: This dial lets you choose certain preset modes that best fit your shooting conditions like close ups,out doors, sports, portrait and many more but if you lazy or just have no idea what your doing you can leave it on auto there are 12 modes total to choose from.Here are all the shooting modes you have to choose from Auto, Auto (flash off), Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close up, Night portrait, P, A, S, M
5.Command Dial: This dial is just a nice little thing to use to make navigating the menus and setting easy and faster.
6.Flash / Flash Compensation: This button has 2 purposes, the first is to activate the flash on the top of the camera and second is to control the brightness of the flash.
7.Shot Timer: Does exactly what it says, it sets a timer for your shots so that all you have to do is hit this button then the take your photo and it will count down from 10 seconds and then shoot.
8.Shutter Release: This button is where all the magic happends.This is the button you press to take your photos.How ever if your not use to new digital cameras how this works is you hold the button half way down to auto focus in on your shot then press it the rest of the way to take your shot.
9.Playback: This button lets you view all the photos that you have taken that are currently on your sd card.
10.Menu: Does exactly what it says.Press this button and the menu will be displayed
11.Zoom out / Help: This is another 2 purpose button, first its lets you zoom out of a photo while in the playback mode and second it will display help information whenever you see the ? icon flashing.
12.Multi Selector: Kinda looks like a part of a game controller, but this thing you will use alot and it lets you navigate thru all the menus and options within your camera.
13.Delete: This button lets you delete a photo while your in the playback menu
14.Diopter Adjustment Control: This control lets your adjust the focus of the view finder.
16.AE-L AF-L: This button lets you lock and unlock the focus you have on your subject.This is a handy button if some one moves in your photo and you dont want to refocus your shot.
17.Zoom in: Pretty simple button here, Press this while in the playback menu and you can zoom in on your photos
Ok that covers all the buttons on this camera, but you should also know that many of these buttons can be used in combinations for other functions but i wont get into that here, most of them are just short cuts for different settings.
Alright guys now comes the good stuff.Its time to get into all the menus, now when you first turn this thing on this is what you will see (or similar to this)
this menu is called the shooting information display.As you can see it gives you a nice graphic display of the aperture and some setting to the right of it.Having a graphic like this really helps the beginner because you get to visually see whats happening inside your camera. Here is a break down of what every thing does in this display
1. Indicator Area: alright now this isnt the official name for this area but thats just what i call it and what happends here is the camera will display a icon showing what setting you have activated.For example from the picture above you can see a little note with a cross thru it, this means the beep sound is cut off when the shot is focused.
2.Shutter Speed: Ok now this is displayed in 2 areas of the lcd the first being the number 250 you see and secondly the circular dash lines you see next to the aperture graphic.Now if your not a photographer yet what this means is that the higher this number is or the more dashes you see means a faster shutter speed (the click sound you hear when you take a photo).
3. Focus Area: This tells you where your shots are focused and as you can see there are 3 plus sign icons.On this camera you have 3 focus points which are left right and middle.They are also diplayed when you look thru the viewfinder which whatever focus area is highlight is where your focus point currently is.
4.Aperture: This is another part of the interface where it is diplayed in 2 areas the first to the left of the Screen as a grey circular graphic and to the left as F8 just like the shutter speed one is a graphic and one is a number.As you increase the aperture this number the graphic aperture will close and as you decrease this number the aperture will open.Dont know what a aperture is yet? well what it does is determines how much light comes into the camera to develope your pictures.
5.Flash compensation: This diplays much brigther or dimmer you want the flash to be a + number will make the flash brighter and a - number will make it dimmer 0 is the defualt
6.Exposure compensation: This displays how much exposure you want in your photo.The higher the number the more exposure.The exposure is also displayed as a graphic right under the shutter speed number (250) as a series of bars starting and with a + sign and ending with a - sign.
7.Photos Left: This tells you how many shots you have left.
8.Flash sync mode: This displays the current flash mode your in.There are 5 flash modes to choose from and they are
-Red Eye Reduction
-Slow + Red Eye Reduction
8.Mode: This simple just shows what shooting mode your are currently in.
9.Image quality:The image quality lets you choose from 5 image qualities which are.
-Nef (Raw) + JPEG Basic
This setting is used to control the compression of your images Nef (Raw) means no compression.This is mostly used to cut down on file size to fit more images in your SD card.
10.Image Size: This controlls the size or Mega pixels of your images.You have 3 choices with this setting which are
-LARGE ( 3,008x2,000 6 Mega Pixels )
-MEDIUM ( 2,256x1496 3.3 Mega pixels )
-SMALL ( 1,504x1000 1.5 mega pixels )
11.White Balance: This controlls the white balance and what white balance means is lets the camera know what color is white in your photos.You have 8 choices here and you should choose which one best fits your photo before you start shooting
-PRE white balance preset
12.ISO Sensitivity: This setting determines how sensitive your camera is to the light meaning, lets say you took a photo and the shutter is open for a long time like 3 seconds well during that 3 seconds light is coming into the camera making your photo brighter and brighter now if your iso is very high or at its max number this means the camera will be highly sensitive to light and make the image bright very quickly and vise versa for a lower number.This setting is usefull when you are in a very dark room.The choices you have here are
If you dont know what number you should use dont worry because this camera will display example photos telling you which setting best fits the photo.
13.Shooting mode: This lets you tell the camera how to take photos and the choices you have here are....
-Single Frame:Takes one photo at a time.
-Continuous:This Takes photos continuously but how ever there is a limit to this and starts to slow down after a few shots because of the time it takes to develope a photo in the camera (the frame rate is 2.5 fps)
-Self timer:This simply counts down from 10 then takes the shot
-2s:This is for if you have a remote with your camera.This will take a shot after a 2 second delay
-Quick Remote: Same as the 2s setting but with no delay
14. AF Area Mode: This setting determines how the focus area(the crosshairs in the viewfinder)is selected when auto focusing.You have 3 choices here which are...
-Closet Subject: The camera will select the focus area automatically based on the subject closest to the camera
-Dynamic Area: Lets you choose the focus area manually but if the subject leaves the focus area the camera will focus on the second best focus area.
-Single Area: Lets you choose the focus area, and the camera will only focus on that area.
15.Focus mode: What this does is determines how the camera will focus.This setting comes in 4 setting which are
AF-S: This will auto focus your shot and then lock untill the shutter release button is pressed
AF-C: This will continuously auto focus untill the shutter release button is pressed
-AF-A: This will do both of the above but will judge between the 2 on its own
-MF: Lets you Focus Manually
16.Metering Mode: This lets you determine how the camera sets exposure.This has 3 setting to choose from which are...
-Matrix: This will meter a wide area of the photo and sets exposure based on brightness,color,distance and composition for natural results (i have no idea what the hell that means but this is what the manual said it does)
-Center-Weighted: This will meter the the entire photo but assign its greatest weight to the center.
-Spot: This will meter in your focus area only
That covers the general menu stuff iam not going to get into the rest because there is just so much of it. but if you have any question post them in the forum or in the comments.
What i didnt like about it
The quality of the photos are good but if you seen some of the camera's above it you know your missing out on alot of detail in your photos.
I dont know if this is just my camera but some times the internal sensor to tell if the camera is held side ways kicks in even if your holding it normally it results in a verticle picture.This doesnt happen often but i noticed it happends every once in a while.
It only has 6 mega pixels which leaves you at a huge disadvantage if your a beginner photographer and want to start doing big print photos.Yes you could get the d40x for more mega pixels but for how much they want for it you could get a better camera completely.
This camera doesnt auto focus with older lens.If you own a lens without a internal motor you will have to manual focus with it on this camera.
Now this one was a big problem for me and its that you dont get to see what your aiming at in the LCD screen.It may not seem like a big deal but believe me there are going to be times when you have to stand in a awkward postion and getting your eyes focused in that small view finder will be hard.It would be a hell of alot easier if you could just point and look at the LCD.
Who should buy this camera
This is definitely a beginners camera but if your going to do big poster size printing stay away from this camera.But if your like me and need a camera for website images, textures, family photos and things like that and want a professional look then go with this camera if your on a tight budget.
How much i paid for mine
$478 "included 18-55mm lens, 2gig SD card & card reader, Camera Bag, Tripod & cleaning kit"
Pictures i took with this camera
"All these photos come straight from the camera, i did not alter or adjust any of the colors what you see is exactly what i shot, i even included some of my worst shots so you can see the camera does at its best and worst"
A shot of a Church Stage
This is a shot a took before a concert at a church.When i took this shot i left the shutter open for very long because it was very dark in this room and this is what i got (not to bad eh).
10 ft High Barack Obama Doll
Yea yea i know its strange but hey barack did win but i dont think it was because of this thing .This is one of my bad shots taken from inside a moving car with the windows up.
will he bite? A shot i took of a cute doggy chained outside.This was a quick point and shoot shot i took on a cloudy day.The photo could of been sharper but i was in a hurry.
Red Berries i think ?
I have no idea if you could eat these things but there the sorta stuff you see growing in your backward.I took this shot to test how well this camera handles close ups and depth of field and it handles it pretty well.
Black Doggy watching TV
My big black doggy watching tv.Ok now this is a shot you will be faced with alot and thats mixed lighting. in this shot you can see alot of tan & yellow to the right and thats a incandescent lamp in the room.In this shot i used the flash and set the camera to auto mode and let the dice roll. As you can see its not that bad but this is what you can espect to get with mixed lights in dark room.
Ok guys those are some of my pictures i took with this camera some good some bad but i just want you to get a feel for what your buying.All these shots were taken with no planned setup of lights or anything, just a simple point and shoot.But if you did decide to use lights and plan ahead iam sure you can do way better then what i just showed you.
1.Great Camera for the beginner
2.Display/Interface gives you info on what all the settings do and recomends to you how to make your photos better
3.Small camera for a DSLR and pretty light
4.Lcd is very bright and big
5.Very Low priced DSLR camera
1.Every shot you take you will have to use the view finder to aim, the lcd does not diplay your shots till after they are taken.
2.This camera does not have a internal focus drive motor, you will only be able to auto focus with AF-S and AF-I lenses which means if you have older lens that does not have a built in motor you will only be able to manual focus.
3.Only 6 mega pixels ( Maximum image size is 3008 x 2000 )
Nikon D40 price as of now (January 3, 2010) Brand new $500 used around $325 and up.