- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2007

The last time I reviewed a Nikon camera in this space was at the end of 2002. Then, I pronounced the 6.1-megapixel, $3,000 D100 a great value that made me want to be a better photographer.

What a difference a few years make: the recently released Nikon D40x — in Nikon world, model numbers run down, not up — is smaller, lighter and far more powerful than the D100.

At $799 for the 10.2-megapixel camera body and a basic lens, you’re getting about 60 percent more pixels than with the earlier model, for roughly 74 percent off the 2002 price.

Not a bad deal, wouldn’t you agree? Especially when you consider, as with all the Nikon “Ds,” that the D40x is a digital, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, capable of handling a variety of Nikkor lenses.

The camera could easily be the foundation of a solid, important photography system for a dedicated amateur, budding professional or a growing family.

The images that come out of the Nikon D40x are nothing short of amazing: They make the shooter look very good, perhaps as sharp as the pictures themselves. Though some claim any 5- or 6-megapixel camera can do quite nicely for family snaps, and even for publication, having the greater level of detail is not a bad thing.

On an outing in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, for example, I was able to grab a shot of a butterfly, and while the supplied 18-55 mm lens didn’t allow me to get as close as I might have liked, it was close enough that I could enlarge the section of the photo where the butterfly was and get a decent image.

Greater success was had with some flowers growing out of a rock at one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive; zoom in on those blossoms in the photo and it’s a joy to behold.

The camera, on its own, is good at handling outside lighting, and has a small built-in flash both for “fill” outdoors and for some use indoors. A more serious photographer would buy an external flash to mount on the D40x.

A tremendous plus of the D40x is the 2.5-inch liquid crystal display on the back of the camera. It lets you review your work on the fly, zoom in on an image, perform red-eye reduction on the spot, and even crop images. Just having a large digital display of the finished photo is good enough, however.

The camera uses the Secure Digital, or SD, card format to store images. I found a very nice SanDisk Ultra 2 gigabyte SD card for less than $30 at a local office-supply store; at the highest JPEG setting, the D40x’s information display indicated I could shoot 264 pictures, equal to roughly 7.3 of the old 36-exposure rolls of color 35 mm film. Prices for SD media are very good.

Equally impressive is the rechargeable lithium-ion battery; it refreshes in about 90 minutes, and should power you through a day of shooting. The camera’s controls are easy to use and understand; the menu is very logical.

My only “quibble” is with Nikon’s highest-quality setting, NEF, which is that firm’s implementation of a photo industry standard known as “RAW.” To get this to work with Apple Inc.’s IPhoto, you’ll need the $140 “Nikon Capture” software; for me, I just used the highest JPEG resolution and my shots flowed into IPhoto just fine.

Overall, though, I’m swooning again: Nikon has a winner here, and at a great price.

• Read Mark Kellner’s Tech Blog at www.washington times.com/blogs.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide