Nikon D40

Looks like it’s real. Here’s the page for a German retailer that has the D40 with 18-55. The price was likely wrong, so I won’t list it here.

Relevant Specs:

  • 6.1 Megapixels
  • Compressed 12-bit NEF, JPEG
  • 3 AF points [Cross-type AF sensors?!]
  • 2.5″ 230K pixel LCD
  • Up to 19x magnification? (Thanks Erik37!)
  • TTL (ISO 200 – 1600, HI1)
  • 3 metering modes (420px meter):
    • 3D Color Matrix Metering II
    • Center-weighted metering (75% of center field)
    • 8mm spot
  • Program modes including flash… (Portrait, Landscape, Night, Spot, Child, Night Portrait)
  • i-TTL compatible
  • 1/500 Flash Sync
  • USB 2.0
  • SD, SD-HC
  • Lithium-Ion EN-EL9
  • 94x126x64 mm
  • 475 grams without battery, memory card, LCD cover or body cap (Thanks Rogier Janssen!)

If comments are right then the D40 is only compatible with AF-S lenses. From a manufacturing and marketing standpoint this makes perfect sense, allowing Nikon to skip the in-body focus-motor with its associated weight and cost. The question that the eternally curious ask is “Does this mean that Nikon is transitioning their entire lineup – including primes – to AF-S?” One can hope :)

I’ve also stored some product shots of the D40 locally and you can see them below. Click the pictures for full-size versions. Please note that these came from the above retailer’s site.

Sorry guys, I blew through 80% of my bandwidth in 5 days…had to take these down. They should be all over the net now.

Comments

  1. Ed - November 3, 2006 @ 00:50

    To me this would be an idiotic move, I don’t want to buy new AF-S primes, I am more than happy with the AF and AF-D primes I own how the heck a photographer like me can sell all his primes (and with a reduced price since the camera change will lower the demand on them thus making this AF and AF-D primes cheaper) to replace them with new and expensive AF-S primes, would Nikon be so Naive and Insane

    .. also moving from 5 to 3 AF points is kind of an idiotic move , No monochromatich LCD panel? just great following the stupid trend of Canon and Sony!!!! 6.1 again????

    …. overall a camera like this sucks too much when compared to the nikon D50 or D70s I would rather buy a D70s than this crippled camera!!!.

  2. Allen George - November 3, 2006 @ 06:06

    I’ll point this out again:
    You are not the target market.

    This model – if the specs are spot on – is targeted towards people moving up from point & shoots. Buyers in this category won’t have AF lenses. They’d probably buy the D40 in a 1 /2 lens kit configuration and be perfectly happy. For them, an in-body AF motor is useless.

    For the record, I think it’s a logical – and good – move on Nikon’s part. It shaves manufacturing costs, leverages their AF-S lineup advantage – something that other manufacturers (Sony, Pentax) may not have and positions a viable entry-level product. I wouldn’t mind seeing the “no AF motor” trend move up the body lineup either. Anything that reduces the weight and form-factor of the gear I’ve to carry is welcome.

    I find the other points you’ve mentioned confusing… If you’re looking for features then of course – the D70s, D50 etc. are the cameras you’ll be interested in. This is not your camera. Also, entry-level bodies have to sacrifice something. If the rear LCD is done well, I can’t see the target market missing the top one at all. And…3 AF points is good enough for a majority of the casual snapshots out there.

  3. Jukka - November 4, 2006 @ 03:28

    I’m new to the DSLR world and I couldn’t care less about supporting stoneage museum lenses, which are available second-hand only. I doubt, that hardcore photographers would “upgrade” to a camera of this type. Besides, transitions happen in technology whether you like it or not and sometimes the old legacy has to be dumped.

  4. Mark - November 4, 2006 @ 17:10

    Allen thanks for the scoop! As the owner of 3 film Slr cameras as well as 3 digital ones-2 prosumer from olympus I have been waiting for the price to come down before I took the next dive. It is easy to forget that the price of film SLR’s ranged from 190 on up while digital starts at $600. This price is hardly our of reach for a somweone who counts photography as a hobby but most people do not, and instead by cheaper point n shoots. Nikon is correctly aiming at this huge market with a simple small and cheaper camera. As far as legacy lenses go-they have to go. USB will soon be the only port on computers and the new lenses make sense for Nikon. They are in the business of making money and if they have a new an improved product to sell (AF-S lenses) that it what they should do.

  5. Allen George - November 4, 2006 @ 22:05

    Jukka, AF lenses aren’t “stone age” :) That said, you’re right, the future is some sort of ultrasonic motor – aka. SWM, HSM, USM, SSM or any other 3 letter acronym the manufacturers can come up with.

    Your statement about hardcore photographers not upgrading to this camera is spot-on, which is why all the screams about the D40 are so out-of-place. Existing D50, D70, D80 owners aren’t the target audience at all!

    I’m all for legacy being dumped – almost to a fault ;)

  6. Allen George - November 4, 2006 @ 22:12

    Mark, I agree with all your comments on photography and the D40.

    On a personal note, I hope this small and light camera’s a success. I’d love to have a light, small-gripped carry-everywhere DSLR with an AF-S prime. I hope that someday I’ll see a Nikon exactly like that…

  7. Lak - November 5, 2006 @ 04:53

    Actually, there is already another sub $500 DSLR in the market – Pentax K110D. It’s available at $400 body only or $470 with kit lens. It is slightly bigger and heavier than D40, but it has 11 point AF (9 cross sensors). And the price could come down even further.

  8. Allen George - November 5, 2006 @ 10:07

    Good point about the K110D Lak. The 9 cross sensors on the Pentax cameras is something I really want to see on the Nikon cameras.

    Unfortunately evaluating AF performance is one of those subjective realms that depends as much on operator technique as anything else :) I don’t know if Nikon doesn’t use more cross sensors simply because performance is equivalent without it, but…adding it is still nice!

    Yup, there’s definitely room for prices to drop further.

  9. Maxwell - November 5, 2006 @ 20:57

    Could you give an estimate on price?

  10. Allen George - November 5, 2006 @ 21:49

    Not really – and this isn’t me being mean.

    The price I saw on the website was listed in euros. US dollar prices are usually far lower and not just that, the euro price included VAT. Also, there’s a strong suspicion that the listed price was wrong. Both the single lens and 2 lens kit were the same price. Obviously that doesn’t make sense.

    If you want an idea, the kit’ll probably be cheaper than the current closeout D50 kit price…

  11. Shekhar - November 6, 2006 @ 00:28

    Thanks for the photos.. Any inkling on the release date? I would love a Christmas release. Heard on the net about a Nov 16 launch – but sounds like unsubstantiated rumor.

  12. Allen George - November 6, 2006 @ 05:20

    No, I’m sorry. I personally know nothing about the release date.

    But:

    • It’s an entry-level consumer model
    • And based on other rumor sources ;)

    It’ll be available for the Christmas buying season.

  13. Tracer - November 6, 2006 @ 15:24

    Looks like dpreview has a front page post about it.
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0611/06110601nikond40.asp

    DPreview always knows this info ahead of time, so they’re admitting without admitting that it is true.

    This camera makes a lot of sense. I’d never buy one, but it’s exactly what Nikon needs to push the more profitable SLR format to consumers. This thing will be cheaper than a lot of the higher end P&S models.

  14. Allen George - November 6, 2006 @ 18:57

    Yeah. Makes sense.

    There are very isolated mentions of a November 8 announcement of something but no one knows what.

    Well, we’ll see if it’s successful. I think it’s got very stiff competition.

  15. Maxwell - November 6, 2006 @ 22:27

    Well if I can get it for a decent price this may just be my first DSLR???

  16. Allen George - November 7, 2006 @ 00:40

    Maxwell – I’m curious – what would you consider a decent price?

  17. Robert McLaughlin - November 7, 2006 @ 02:37

    Value-wise, this is a $399 camera. If it is more, and needing AF-Slenses, then Nikon has fallen to the levels of Topcon and Petri and they are destined for the dustbin of photographic history.

  18. Allen George - November 7, 2006 @ 08:35

    [shrugs]

    I think that’s a strong and incorrect assertion. I also question the implied connection between “needing AF-S lenses” and “fall[ing] to the levels of Topcon and Petri”. There is none.

    Nikon hasn’t released an AF lens since the 10.5 DX fisheye. Canon, the market leader, uses in-lens motors exclusively. Frankly the storm over dropping AF support is overblown especially considering the target product.

    A camera maker has to target all market segments to remain viable. This is good business sense and doesn’t mean you’ve lost your photographic ‘purity’.

  19. Maxwell - November 7, 2006 @ 22:20

    Well since this would be my first DSLR camera, uhhh I would buy it for five hundred and no more then six fifty.

  20. Allen George - November 8, 2006 @ 21:23

    [puzzled]

    You should be able to find quite a few DSLRs in that price range (assuming USD)

  21. Maxwell - November 10, 2006 @ 18:30

    Oh see I don’t know anything about this stuff!

  22. Allen George - November 12, 2006 @ 10:33

    Hi Maxwell,

    I hope you look around but you should be able to get the Nikon D50 at a nice closeout price right now – with/without lenses. Also, the Pentax K100D, K110D systems are floating around in that price range. The market gets even more interesting if you start looking at older models, refurbs or used DSLRs! Till recently Cameta was selling refurb E-1s on eBay for $600 body only – and we’re talking about a camera with a build head-and-shoulders above anything else in that price range.

    In other words, there’s a lot out there and it really depends on what you find important.

  23. digicam news man - November 16, 2006 @ 20:29

    I think this a quite interesting camera. But compared to the EOS 400D I would prefer the Canon one because it offers 10 Megapixel for about the same price and size. Greetings, Markus

  24. Allen George - December 2, 2006 @ 09:34

    They’re aimed at different markets Markus. 6MP is nothing to sneeze at. Most people would never print large enough to see the limits of that resolution.

    Keeping the sensor at 6MP allows for larger photosite size – crucial for high ISO and dynamic range performance. It also allows the camera to be discounted well as it ages.

    Also notice that the camera’s features are targeted towards newcomers – detailed help, excellent visual displays. It’s something I’d feel comfortable handing my Dad (who’s not photographically inclined) to use.

    [grins]

    Besides, I find the grip on the 400D uncomfortable…pinched is the right description.

  25. mr. pressrelease - December 15, 2006 @ 12:32

    @Allen George: I agree with you about the handgrip of the Canon Cameras, even the 5D doesn’t have a useful one. So you always have to buy an additional one. But if you use den 400D with handgrip it’s quite a useful tool. I my case I am just thinking of buying a replacement for my 350D because I would like to sell my cheap lenses and buy better ones. And here it possibly would make sense to change to a D80 and use that relatively cheap VR 18-200 …

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