Tech, Tips, and Tutorials.
Reviews, News, and Rants.

Nikon D40 Review (Part 4 of 6)

No image? Try clicking here

A detailed real-world review of the Nikon D40 along with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.

Skip to:
<< Previous Next >>

Speed & Responsiveness

Speed is one of the D40's best assets. Thanks to a lack of delay in use, you never get the impression that you're waiting for the camera to do anything. You feel more "connected" to the camera.

Start-up time is instant. Autofocus in good light is also instant. In low-light, the D40 focuses accurately, and only takes a second or so to lock focus. This is extremely impressive performance for an entry-level model. Moving from image to image in playback mode is also instant.

The D40 can shoot at a max. of 2.5 frames per second, and on my SD card it can shoot roughly 120 shots at NORMAL compression before it pauses for breath. The camera has a great "smart" buffering system. It writes and reads in parallel, meaning it never gets in the way of your next shot. I tried to get the D40 to lock-up (buffer full), for as long a time as possible. Shooting continuous RAW+JPG (8.1MB), I got 4 shots at 2.5fps, which then slowed to ~0.5fps. It writes 4 RAW+JPEGS in 6 secs; which is about 5.4 MB/s. Impressive!

All in all, it's also hard to fault the Nikon D40 in this area. It feels extremely responsive and very much like a mechanical film camera in the way everything just "happens" without any sort of delay.


The D40's meter is the much-marketed 3D Colour Matrix II. It's very rarely fooled, even in difficult situations. It exposes very predictably, and very well. Looking at the histogram, the bulk of the tones is directly in the centre – where they should be. For my style of shooting, I usually add +0.3 to +0.7 exposure compensation, as I like to expose as far to the right as possible.

White Balance performance was also very good. It has a slight warm tint by default for more pleasing output. Auto WB proved to be fairly reliable in all but the worst light. You can tweak the white balance 7 subtle steps ranging from +3 to -3. A negative setting makes photos warmer, while I positive setting makes them cooler. In artificial light I usually set it to Auto WB and +3.

Kit Lens

The Nikon D40 ships with a kit lens. This is called the: Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED DX II. As far as kit lenses go, this is one of the sharpest 18-55mm variants out there. I never found myself needing anything sharper. It's really impressive. The only thing I'd like is for it to go a little longer, maybe to 70-85 mm, and definitely brighter than f/5.6 at full zoom. It balances very nicely on the D40, and weighs next to nothing. AF speed is fast. It distorts at 18mm and has strong-ish purple fringing.

Possibly Related Articles (automatically generated)


Post a Comment