06
Mar
08

Introduction to the Nikon D40

As posted on megapixel.net  This intro provides a wealth of information about the Nikon D40 and its numerous features

The Nikon D40 takes over for the D50, becoming the new starting point for Nikon’s line-up of digital SLR cameras. This sharply-priced camera offers a 6.1 megapixel resolution, a 2.5-inch monitor, but to keep it at this price point, some of the functions offered on other models are absent.
The organization of the controls that top the grip is typical of Nikon SLR cameras, starting with a chrome, two-stage shutter release — providing auto focus and auto exposure when pressed to the halfway point — surrounded by the On/Off switch.Immediately behind the shutter release, in an area highlighted by a lighter grey area, are two buttons:
On the left is the shooting information button, which serves to display a screen that shows all current camera settings on the monitor, and then turn it off. Worth noting, the camera can be configured to turn on this display screen as soon as it is turned on, turning it off only while the shutter release is pressed.Another function for this button is indicated by a green dot : when pressed in conjunction with the playback zoom button (see further) for more than two seconds, it serves to reset all the settings of the D40 to their factory defaults.
The button on the right controls Exposure Compensation when pressed in and the Command Dial at the top of the camera’s back (see further) is rotated. A compensation range of ±5 EV in 0.3 EV increments is available.
In addition, when the D40 is set to Aperture Priority or the Manual mode, the button serves to adjust the aperture when pressed and the Command Dial is turned.

Next to the eyelet for the camera strap, the focal plane symbol indicates the internal position of the CCD, useful for photos that require precise focus distance measurements from the subject to the focal plane.

The Mode Dial is to the left, near the viewfinder. It has 12 positions, grouped into 2 zones. One zone contains the four advanced modes which are encompassed in a grey area:

The Program mode allows the camera to select the aperture and shutter speed. Alternate combinations of aperture and shutter speeds that would also result in a correct exposure but which would either favour the capture of movement, or the depth of field can be selected using the Command Dial.
Shutter priority mode offers control over the shutter speed using the Command Dial while the camera selects the aperture. The shutter speed range covers from 1/4000 second to 30 seconds.
Aperture Priority mode allows control over the aperture — and therefore the depth of field — while the camera selects a matching shutter speed. The aperture range depends on the lens used.
The Manual mode gives the user complete control over the exposure, adding a Bulb (B) mode that allows unlimited exposures and by an exposure mode labelled only as [--] which can be as long as 30 minutes, both of which require the use of the optional remote control. Using the Manual mode, shutter speeds are selected directly with the Command Dial, while selecting apertures requires holding down the Exposure Compensation button () while the Command Dial is rotated.

The other zone contains 8 automatic modes that are referred to as Digital Vari-Programs:

The Auto mode puts the D40 in charge of nearly all settings when capturing images, but still allows the user to set the Sensitivity, AF mode, Flash mode, Continuous mode and the image quality.
Auto Flash Off is similar to the Auto mode but does not use the flash, even if the ambient light makes it necessary. The mode selects the focus area containing the closest subject, and the AF Assist lamp is used to ensure focus.
Portrait mode gives preference to a large aperture to help blur the background — and effect that is more pronounced when a telephoto lens is used — focuses on the closest subject, and enhances skin tones.
The Landscape mode automatically turns off the flash and the AF Assist lamp and focuses on the closest subject. Sharpness, colour and contrast are accentuated.
Child mode serves to capture quick moving subjects. The camera selects the nearest subject, and renders skin tones vividly.
Sports uses a high shutter speed to freeze motion. The camera focuses continuously while the shutter button is pressed halfway, tracking the subject in the centre focus area. The built-in flash and AF Assist lamp are turned off automatically.
Close Up mode is intended to capture subjects such as insects, flowers, etc. The camera focuses on the subject in the centre focus area, but other focus points can be selected using the Multi selector.
Night Portrait mode is designed to balance a flash exposure of the foreground with a dimly lit background. The flash opens automatically and fires in Slow Synch mode with Red-eye Reduction.
The D40 is equipped with a penta-Dach mirror type viewfinder that uses, instead of a five-sided prism of solid glass, five mirrors that produce the same view but weigh a lot less. The viewfinder of the D40 is bright, shows approximately 95% of the frame, and offers an 18 mm eyepoint — the distance from which one’s eye can be from the exit pupil of the viewfinder and still see the entire field of view the viewfinder provides — and is trimmed with a removable rubber eyecup. A viewfinder cap, to prevent stray light from entering the camera, is also provided for use during long exposures, as is a diopter correction on the right side of the exit pupil.
The viewfinder of the D40 is less advanced than those of other Nikon SLR cameras: it does not offer the possibility of superimposing a composition grid, and only has 3 AF points that light up red briefly when the camera is focused. The information area below the monitor, however, presents the same level of information as it does on other Nikon SLRs:
  • Focus indicator
  • Focus brackets
  • Battery indicator
  • AE Lock
  • Flexible Program indicator
  • Shutter speed
  • Aperture
  • Exposure scale
  • Flash exposure compensation
  • Exposure compensation
  • Auto ISO indicator
  • Number of shots remaining
  • Number of shots remaining before the buffer fills up
  • “K” (which appears when more than 1000 shots can be captured)
  • Flash ready indicator
  • Warning indicator

A flash shoe is provided above the viewfinder with the necessary contacts to communicate with Nikon Speedlight SB-400 (designed for the D40), SB-600, SB-800 and SB-R200 (to control wireless flash units). The D40 is compatible with i-TTL flash metering that takes into account the focal length in use and the distance to the subject. Nevertheless, the D40 is able to use older flash units, albeit without i-TTL.

A large, 2.5-inch monitor (6.3cm) occupies a significant portion of the D40’s back. Composed of 230,000 pixels, it is the camera’s primary interface, showing menus as well as information, and providing a means to change settings.

A number of controls are positioned on both sides of the monitor. On the left side a column of four buttons control:

Playback mode displays the last captured image. Pressing the button twice returns the camera to the capture mode.
Calls up the D40’s menu which is composed of five sections. The options contained in the menu are detailed in the Characteristics and Interface and Software sections of the review.
The third button serves to return to a full screen view of the image in playback when the image has been magnified on the monitor, or present images as a 9-thumbnail index screen.
And, while the camera is set to the Auto mode or one of the Digital Vari-Programs, the button serves to display help screens that explain a mode, offer guidance on how to capture a photo, or simply explain the function of a specific option.

The last button of the column also has three functions:

First, it serves to magnify an image under review up to 19X for large images.
Third, in the capture modes it displays a screen that shows all the camera’s current settings, and when the button is pressed again, makes it possible to modify some of the capture parameters.

  • Image Size and Quality (see the Characteristics section of the review).
 
  • White Balance: Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade or White Balance Preset (evaluated under ambient light).
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto (if activated in the menu, this option is also available for the P, S, A, and M modes), 200, 400, 800 or 1600 ISO. Moreover, a HI 1 setting allows pushing sensitivity up to 3200 ISO.
 
  • Shooting Mode:
    • Single Frame: captures a single image each time the shutter release is pressed.
    • Continuous (Burst Mode): allows the D40 to capture images at 2.5 frames per second while the shutter release is pressed for up to 3 RAW images and without limit for JPEG Fine images, for as long as there is space on the memory card.
    • Self-Timer: provides delays of 2, 5, 10 or 15 seconds.
    • Delayed Remote: inserts a delay when the optional ML-L3 Remote Control is used.
    • Quick Response Remote: releases the shutter immediately when the optional ML-L3 Remote Control is used.
  • AF Mode:
    • AF-A: allows the camera to automatically detect whether the subject is stationary or moving, adapting the focusing mode to the situation. The shutter release can only be released if the camera has focused.
    • AF-S: focus occurs when the shutter release is pressed halfway, and the shutter can only be released when the camera has focused.
    • AF-C: allows the camera to focus continuously, maintaining focus on a moving subject.
    • MF: manual focus, which offers focusing assistance with the Focus indicator in the viewfinder.
 
  • AF-Area Mode:
    • Closest Subject: the camera finds the closest subject in any one of its three focus areas.
    • Dynamic Area: allows the user to select the focus point, but if the subject moves the camera automatically tracks using the other AF points.
    • Single Area: allows selecting the AF area using the Multi selector.
 
  • Flash Mode:
    • With the D40 set to P, A, S or M: Forced On (Fill-in), Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync with Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync and Slow Sync with the Rear Curtain.
    • With the D40 set to Auto or or one of the Digital Vari-Programs: Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction, or Forced Off.
  • Exposure Compensation: over ±5 EV in 0.3 EV increments.
  • Flash Exposure Compensation: over a range of -3.0 to +1.0 EV in 0.3 EV increments.
  • Metering: 3D Matrix using 420 segments, Centre-Weighted or Spot.

Moreover, this button can also be used in conjunction with the Exposure Compensation button () to reset the D40 to its factory defaults, as indicated by the green dot .

Two controls are located on the upper right side of the D40’s back: the Command Dial, on the right, used to change a number of camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed and some other parameters when used in conjunction with specific buttons; and to the left, near the viewfinder, a button with a dual function:

In a capture mode the button serves to Lock the Auto Exposure settings and the Auto Focus, which avoids having to hold the shutter release at the halfway point. This behaviour, however, can be customized (see the Characteristics section of the review for more information).
With the D40 in Playback mode, the button serves to protect images from an accidental erasure.
Lower down on the back is the Multi-selector, which is used to select the AF point, navigate the menu, and, in the Playback mode, move from one image to another and control the level of information superimposed on an image:
  • File Information, which offers basic image data;
  • Shooting Data Page 1, which offers detailed shooting data;
  • Shooting Data Page 2;
  • Retouch History;
  • Highlights, which makes the potentially overexposed areas of the image blink;
  • Histogram, which displays a graph showing the distribution of brightness in the image.

And at the centre of the Multi-selector a small round button labelled OK serves to confirm selections made in the menu.

The last button on the D40’s back is the Delete button, used to delete unwanted images. Next to it is a small green LED that indicates memory card activity.The last two external controls of the D40 are on the front of the camera, on the left side of the lens mount:

The Flash button has three functions:

  • It serves to open the flash when the camera is set to one of the advanced modes, as with the D40 set to the Auto mode or one of the digital Vari-Programs it opens automatically. The pop-up flash has a Guide Number of 17 m (55 ft) at 200 ISO.
 
  • By holding down the button and rotating the Command Dial, the flash mode can be selected directly without having to use the monitor.
  • In addition, with the camera set to P, S, A or M, pressing this button in conjunction with the exposure compensation button simultaneously allows adjusting Flash Exposure Compensation (over a range of -3.0 to +1.0 EV in 0.3 EV increments).
The Function button is set by default to activate the Self-Timer (with a Custom menu selected delay of 2, 5, 10 or 15 seconds). An option in the Custom settings allows assigning a different function to it if desired: Continuous mode, Image Quality, Image Size, ISO Sensitivity, or White Balance.

The ergonomic design of the D40 is excellent. In hand, the camera is a bit of a surprise because of its small size and feather weight (with the kit lens). The layout of controls is intuitive and very quickly comfortable to use. Moreover, the Shooting Information Display can be customized if desired, useful since it is the only means of verifying settings on the D40, and the monitor is bright and very legible. However, two small regrets can be expressed: there is no viewfinder composition grid, and there is no Depth of Field Preview.

 

05
Mar
08

Quantaray 6x Cross Filter

6xCross, originally uploaded by Cameraaddict.

So they were having a sale over at Ritz Camera (buy 2 get 1 free) on Quantaray Filters so i decided to pick-up a few for my Nikon D40.

Before and After shots taken of one of my desktop PC’s with and without the Quantaray 6X Cross filter.

01
Mar
08

Sunset on the river

Sunset, originally uploaded by Cameraaddict.

I just got my new Nikon D40 SLR camera and it is amazing! This is the first Nikon I’ve bought since having previously been given a “hand-me-down” F1 from 1970’s with the old aluminum body.

I took this shot on my way home from work while standing along the banks of the Connecticut River.




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