|Nikon D40 DSLR camera - INFO-button & Menu
The Nikon D40 makes a clear difference between matters you need to adjust often and less often. The first group can be approached directly underneath the INFO button and also appear continuously on the screen. The others can be found in the menu that is extraordinarily well arranged. Different colours indicate where you see it in the menu. You can say if you want to see many or few settings. I can imagine that if you've just started off taking photographs, you don't want to be bewildered by an overdose of settings. If certain things are important to you, you can arrange them yourself. This is a real luxury and something that I would like to see in more cameras. Three cheers for Nikon!
Nikon D40 SLR - Retouch menu & D-lighting function
There's no need to mention all of the menu functions, suffice to say that there are more than enough for both experienced photographers and beginners. One special feature is the retouch menu, which you can use to adjust the photograph in the D40. A copy in JPEG is then always made. This means that the source always stays intact, as it should. One of the most remarkable functions is the D-lighting. It is especially handy with very high contrasts. For example, a photo of a terrace café from outside with a dark interior. There are three levels: subdued, normal and high. Depending on the level, the dark parts are made lighter and the light bits are made a bit darker. The result is a photo with maybe less contrast, but you can see something everywhere on the photo. With D-lighting you can conjure up what your eyes have seen but the image sensor hasn't. It's not entirely painless. As well as the loss of contrast, and however beautifully everything has been arranged, there is more visible noise in the dark parts of the photo. But even here, the Nikon D40 manages to find a beautiful balance.
Nikon D40 digital SLR camera - Picture on Picture function
The picture on picture function is also very special. It only works if you are taking photographs in RAW (which Nikon calls NEF) and the result is a NEF file. It is a pity that it isn't in JPEG. This function works very simply. You select two pictures and the camera fits them on top of each other. As well as these special functions the retouch menu can make black/white or sepia photos or use colour filters. Red eye can also be removed with software and you can make a crop of a photo. It is well worth your while to play around with these possibilities, as they can come in useful.
Nikon D40 digital reflex camera - ISO sensitivity
Another important setting is the ISO sensitivity. It determines shutter speed and aperture, therefore whether or not you can take a sharp picture. The shorter the shutter speed, the less chance you have of movement on the picture. The disadvantage is that you get noise at high ISO. The Nikon D40 can go up to ISO 3200 which is called Hi-1 to show that it is not a calibrated value. The D40's normal range runs from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. Unfortunately, there is no ISO 100, a familiar feature of the image sensor used. The Nikon D40 is an excellent achievement in this respect. Nikon has really got to grips with the image sensor. Even at ISO 1600 there is hardly any noise. You can only see slight noise in long times in smooth parts. It is almost as good as or at least as good as its big rival Canon. This is one of the advantages of not having too many pixels; light sensitivity is better and noise is less of a nuisance. More pixels is not always an improvement. I took a lot of photos at ISO 1600 so as not to spoil the atmosphere of the picture and to avoid using a disturbing flash. The photos were fantastic and useful - it was actually surprisingly good.
Nikon D40 entry level SLR camera - White balance
The Nikon D40 hardly has any bother with the white balance. The automatic white balance only goes wrong regularly in incandescent light, giving a too red (warm) picture. You can correct this eventually with the white balance. If you set the white balance on incandescent, it gives a pretty accurate balance.
|The manual white balance however is more accurate. Nikon should be congratulated for making this so simple. You can indicate in the menu if the white balance has to be used for a new or existing photograph. If you choose a new photo, point the camera at a piece of white paper and press the release button. If the picture is good, it doesn't have to be saved and the camera will announce "information received" and the white balance is made. At the same time, the white balance is also set manually, so that you don't forget. It's so simple; I wonder why every manufacturer does not do this.
Nikon D40 DSLR camera - Auto focus & Light metering
The Nikon D40 offers enough choices both for auto focus and light metering. Normally, it selects a broad auto focus field, whereby all three sensors act as one. It then focuses on the nearest point. You can also select a focal point yourself for a dynamic auto focus. It then focuses on a point chosen by the user, but if the subject moves to another focal point, that focal point will take the auto focus over. You can also choose if the focus works once or continuously or if the camera switched between both stands depending on the subject's movements. You don't actually need more options. This also applies to the light metering, as well as the matrix metering, which gives excellent results 99 times out of 100, centre weighted metering or spot metering. However, you will have to learn to work with this.
Nikon D40 digital SLR camera - AdobeRGB colour space
Of course, you can also set things like sharpness, saturation, contrast and colour settings. A very luxurious feature for an entry level camera like the D40 is the possibility of recording the photos in the Adobe RGB colour space, a welcome setting, especially for people occupied with picture processing. Personally, I set everything as neutrally as possible in Adobe RGB, so that I can get the most out of it afterwards. But if you never rework photos on your computer, it would be a good idea to try seeing which setting fits best with your tastes.
Nikon D40 SLR camera - Pictograms & Green setting
Experienced photographers are often scornful of the green setting and pictograms on a camera. However, a lot of users of these sorts of cameras use this possibility. Of course, they are often very handy as you don't need to think. On the down side, you have a lot less control. I would advise anyone to learn how to use the P, S, A or M settings as quickly as possible. If you are a beginner, the pictograms are a good start and are also useful if you don't feel like thinking too much. One new pictogram setting is flash off. If you use the green setting, the flash folds out automatically, which can be rather irritating. Now you can set the camera on P and it will work almost as it would in the green setting but without the automatic ISO, which you do have in the new pictogram setting. It's a cross between P and the green setting and is a very valuable addition.
Nikon D40 digital SLR - Excellent image quality
The general picture quality given by the Nikon D40 is simply excellent and although we were already convinced of the fact that more pixels doesn't equal better quality, the Nikon D40 proved this once more. We could do anything we wanted with all of the pictures. Whether we were image processing, making enlargements of a crop or printing large format pictures, the resolution of the Nikon D40 gave us more than enough information. The image sensor's quality has been improved considerably and we could see this at once in the pictures. If you want to get everything out of the camera, you will have to play with the NEF files, although the JPEG quality will be enough for most users!