The 10 Megapixel Nikon D40x is targeted for those who want a relatively compact and light camera yet having most of the important SLR features. The D40 is priced reasonably. In my opinion, if you are still considering whether to get a point and shoot camera or a DSLR, the D40x will be a better choice than any point and shoot camera. But if you are already deciding to get a DSLR or you want more control of the picture taking experience, then I would recommend you to also test the D50, D70s and/or D80 first before deciding to buy the D40x (or the D40). I want you to make sure that you know what you will get (and not get) with the D40x. Don’t get me wrong though, the D40x is an awesome camera, and I don’t think you will regret buying one. There are some limitation with the D40x which shouldn’t bother most people, for example, the D40x doesn’t have dedicated button to change picture quality, white balance or ISO settings (which generally only professional/enthusiast will care). Once you understand (and accept) its limitation, the D40x is a potent and exciting photography machine.
Just like all its (DSLR) siblings, the D40x powers on instantly and take pictures with almost no shutter lag which are the major advantages of a DSLR over a point and shoot camera. In addition to the P,S,A,M mode, the picture quality of the auto settings (auto, child mode, landscape etc) are also very good. With 3 frames per second you can capture movement progress in sports like football, basketball, baseball etc. Also great to photograph your family or child (child mode). The D40x is a great all around camera.
Some notable new features:
1. Auto (no flash) mode. Without this mode the flash will pop-up (on all other pre-programmed mode) even when you don’t want to use flash (which can be annoying). The internal flash will not pop up automatically with the P,S,A,M settings.
2. In camera editing capability such as black and white, sepia and some filter effects etc. While sounds gimmicky, these features are useful especially for those who doesn’t have Adobe Photoshop (or other image editing software).
3. 10.2 Megapixel sensor for 3782 X 2592 on large image size settings. This is enough to print larger than 13 X 19 Inch.
4. 3 frames per second (vs 2.5 for D40)
To date, D40 and D40x are the smallest and lightest among all the Nikon DSLR (even smaller than the Canon Rebel XT/XTi, however the D40 and D40x is more ergonomics). I believe that choosing a camera that fits comfortably with your hands is important. Therefore, I recommend people to test the camera before buying (even if you want to buy online, please do go to a physical store and test the camera first whenever possible).
The D40/D40x has only 3 (horizontal) autofocus point (5 for D50 and 11 for D80). If you know “The Rule of Thirds”, the additional AF points above and below the center focus point (available in D50 and D80) are handy to help create the horizontal third line. However, the 3 horizontal AF point in D40/D40x is still helpful to create the vertical third line. Also one can focus with the middle AF point and after the focus is lock then move the frame upwards/downwards to create the horizontal third line. Just make sure the exposure level is still accurate when you move the frame after you lock the focus.
About the 18-55mm II AF-S kit lens: A good lens producing sharp photos (though not a very fast lens). Also decent for close-up/macro photography. Lens uses internal focus technology and focusing operation is silent. A very decent kit lens.
Lens compatibility: Notice that with D40/D40x, autofocus function will not work for non AF-S/AF-I lens. If you already have non AF-S/AF-I Nikon lenses and want a backup or replacement camera, you will be better off buying D50, D70s or D80. If you buy the D40, it will be convenient to stick with AF-S and AF-I type lenses. I’m not sure why Nikon choose this route for the D40/D40x (whether to enable smaller size camera or from now on Nikon will only make AF-S lens compatible camera). There are a lot of good Nikon AF-S lenses (price range added: low, medium, high) that are fully compatible with the D40/D40x such as:
- Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S (M)
- Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S DX VR (M)
- Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX (L)
- Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR (L)
- Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR (M)
- Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED IF AF-S DX (M)
- Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (H)
- Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX (H)
- Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (H)
- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR (H)
- Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro (M)
- And several other expensive prime tele/zoom lens like 200-400mm, 300m, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm.
High priced lens ($1000+) are usually pro level lens which usually have better construction, faster (f-stop), and produce better quality picture. However, often times, lower price lens will serve your needs just fine. I think it is important to know what you want to use the camera for before deciding which camera and lens to buy.
Image quality of the D40x is very good which is #1 factor that I look for in a digital camera.
Here are the pros and cons of the D40x in my opinion:
1. Nice out of the camera result picture quality
2. 10.2 Megapixel sensor
3. Compact size and light weight
4. Large and bright 2.5 inch LCD
5. 3 frames per second
6. B/W, Sepia, several more in-camera editing features.
7. Instant power on, fast autofocus and no shutter lag
8. Noise is acceptable at high ISO settings. Auto ISO settings available.
9. Great battery life (500+ on a single charge. 1000+ if flash is not used).
10. Auto (flash off) mode available
1. No direct button to change QUAL, WB and ISO settings
2. Grip comfortably but might be a bit too small for some people
3. No top LCD and no front command dial
4. Autofocus will not work with non AF-S or non AF-I lenses (such as the 70-300m G and 50mm f/1.8D lens)
5. No AF/MF switch (have to use the switch on the lens)
6. Only 3 autofocus point
8. No night landscape mode in pre-programmed settings
9. 1/200 flash sync (which is slower than D40′s 1/500)
10. No depth-of-field preview button
Comparing D40x with the D40.I personally prefer the D40 over the D40x due to only minor improvement on the D40x. If you will do a lot of cropping and print larger than 13 X 19 Inch then it might make sense to get the D40x, otherwise use that $200 (price difference) to invest in SB-400 flash or better/more versatile lens (such as upgrading the kit lens to 18-70mm AF-S or 18-200mm AF-S VR or add the 55-200mm AF-S VR zoom lens).If you shoot sports or fast action (in continuous/burst mode) and need more than 3 frames per second then get the D200 with 5 FPS. For enthusiast, 2.5 FPS (D40) or 3 FPS (D40x) is good enough in my opinion.
In conclusion, the D40x is perfect for those who want high quality pictures, more control (than a point and shoot camera), and have a DSLR experience (instant power on and no shutter lag), without having to carry a bulky camera. And unless you are shooting sports/actions professionaly (which faster focusing processor, faster frames per second and larger memory buffer might be needed), the D40x is pretty much all you will need.
The compact Nikon D40x — designed to deliver the picture-taking benefits of adigital SLR, yet is easy and fun to use. The D40x is ready to shoot when you are,thanks to split-second instant shutter response which eliminates annoying shutterlag. Exceptional image quality is made possible by a high resolution, 10.2-effectivemegapixel CCD image sensor and Nikon’s exclusive image processing engine.10.2-megapixel resolution invites creative picture cropping freedom without loss ofpicture quality and delivers the ability to make enlargements of extraordinary size.Additional features include built-in flash with innovative Nikon i-TTL control, In-Camera Editing features with Nikon D-Lighting, Red-Eye Correction, ImageTrimming, Image Overlay, Filter Effects and more. An ingenious HELP Menu with”Assist Images” helps you select the appropriate settings for many camerafeatures.