Nikon D40 has finally reached our shores, and I managed to play with a retail version of the D40. The D40 kit box opens with 3 compartment, 1st Cables and Battery, 2nd Body, 3rd Kit lens. without further delay, i quickly assembled the 1000mAh battery and AF-S DX 18-55 mm F3.5-F5.6 G II lens up, followed by time zone and date settings, wala, the camera is ready to take some actions.
Initial holding you can tell it is smaller than D50 and lighter as well, the grip is ok and feels very much like Canon 400D. 1st thing I was curious to test is the high ISO performance, at a glance I couldnt find the ISO hot key in the buttons, obviously nikon engineer decided to omit and only allow user to change it in the Menu. After setting ISO 1600 and i quickly snapped some test shots, I found the Auto Focus module is sensing the AF area by itself from the 3 points available. Further checking the AF mode is a new mode call AF Auto, and default set on Closest Object, that means the camera will automatically Focus on the closest Object in the Viewfinder. The AF speed is fast and accurate, the Focusing Indicator is the Red LED Type similar to CAM2000 used in Nikon D2 series and different to D50, D70, D200 type of Red Illuminated Frame.
After some shots, time to review the ISO 1600 performance, to review it press the Review/Play button and I found another difference in d40 Hot keys, nikon has put dedicated button for Zoom In and Zoom Out, compare to Press + Dial In/Dial Out to zoom. The 2.5 LCD is bright and detailed, I found the D40 ISO 1600 to be cleanest among the Nikon Digital Body, seems to me that Nikon has perfected the Sony sensor that they are so familiar with.
Now time to explore the Camera menu, I can see they have implemented Filter Effects, D-lighting, Trimming, Small Picture (for email) and Image Overlay, which is nice for User who like to do Little Post Processing and focus more in taking great pictures.
After been using D50, D200 and D2X body, I found the D40 to be sufficiently well made and designed, I like the 2.5 LCD screen is big and bright, the ISO 1600 is very well done, the new 3 point AF CAM 530 is fast enough. The only thing I can complaint is I cant have AF when attach with AF D lens which typical Nikon owner will have a 50 1.8 AFD lens for low light photography.
Remarks: Default Colour Mode in D40 is Mode IIIa
Below is the test shot
1. ISO 1600
2. ISO 3200