Just in time for the holidays, Nikon has officially unleashed the Nikon D40 compact digital SLR (you may have already seen the rumors/leaks). The D40 is targeted squarely at the entry level market with a good price point, compact size, and great feature set. Nikon's market research has shown that people who choose not to get a digital SLR do so for the following reasons: the camera is too complicated, too big, and too expensive. The 6.1 megapixel Nikon D40 will be available at the beginning of December. It will be shipped with a 18-55mm lens for an estimated selling price of $599.
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So I mentioned that Nikon is trying to get people, who think digital SLRs are too complicated, to buy this camera, but I haven't mentioned how yet. The most noticeable difference is a redesigned graphical interface. Nikon, like many others, have dropped the backlit "info" LCD on the top of the camera and redesigned the main display to show all of the information. They've done a nice job of letting the user choose the best interface layout for their purposes. You can choose from "graphical", "classic" and "wallpaper". For novice digital SLR users, I think the graphical interface is going to be a hit. While it does contain more information than a simpler point and shoot camera, the information is laid out very simply. The classic view shows all the information that you need to know. The wallpaper mode lets you choose one of your images as wallpaper behind a layout similar to graphical mode. Shots of the interfaces are below.
Nikon has also attempted to address the concern of some people that think digital SLRs are too big. So, the D40 is one of the smallest digital SLRs on the market.
In addition to some of the newer features that may attract that first time digital SLR buyer, the D40 still sports all of the features that make a digital SLR nice in the first place, including speed of operation. The camera has a start up time of 0.18 seconds and you can shoot in continuous mode at 2.5 frames per second. If you want, you can take up to 100 shots continuously in JPEG Normal mode.
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