Nikon D40 Opens Up DSLR Cameras

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras took off in 2006, offering new options to amateur, pro-sumer, experienced, and even professional photographers tired of the point-and-shoot world. Now Nikon is ready to start doing battle in the DSLR world on the basis of both features and price, announcing its new D40, which will swoop into the low end of the company’s DSLR line, offering both a 6.1 megapixel resolution and an 18-to-55mm Nikkor zoom lens for just $599.95.

“Digital SLR cameras have gained substantial interest among consumers looking for higher-quality pictures and faster handling response,” said Edward Fasano, Nikon’s general manager for marketing SLR System Products, in a statement. “But perceived complexity and bulkiness of some models has discouraged some customers. With the D40, Nikon addresses these challenges with incredible ease of use, compactness and a remarkable range of features and technologies. Consumers can enjoy the satisfaction of Nikon digital SLR quality by simply pressing the shutter button and getting beautiful pictures with vibrant colors, stunning sharpness and outstanding detail. With the D40, even first-time digital SLR camera users will be thrilled with their results.”

The D40 takes over the entry-level slot in Nikon’s DSLR line (although the D50 will remain available); it also marks a change in the DSLR market by shipping with a zoom lens—most DSLR cameras ship “body only” without lenses (or with a “kit” lens), presuming that any photographer experienced enough to want an SLR mechanism has already spent a small fortune hoarding lenses, filters, and accessories. The D40 is positioned to be a “first” DSLR camera for photographers upgrading from point-and-click and pro-sumer digital camera offerings, and comes with a 18–55 mm ƒ3.5-5.6 ED II AD-S DX Zoom-NIkkor lens offering 3× zoom. Of course, the camera supports a range of existing lenses as well, including Nikon AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses.

Other features in the D40 include a 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder (which can also pop up a graphical display of exposure details, so users no longer have to look to the top of the camera while getting their shot), an ISO range from 200 to 3,200, shutter speeds ranging from 30 to 1/4,0000 of a second (and the capability to snap 2.5 frames a second), and a pop-up flash. The D40 stores images to SD cards (with SDHC support), and offers a number of built-in image editing, exposure correction, and enhancement functions which may appeal to consumer photographers, including image cropping, monochrome, red-eye correction, filter effects, and tools to find good exposure settings.

Although other DLSR offerings tout resolutions from 8 to 11 megapixels, the D40’s 6.1 megapixels should be more than enough of consumer photographers’ needs, and even meet the demands of many semi-pros. And it’s hard to argue with the price: $599.95 with the zoom lens.

The D40 will be available in December.

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