Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nikon Upgrades D40 to 10.2 Megapixels

It’s only been four months since Nikon brought out the D40, but Nikon is already taking a step beyond the entry-level consumer digital SLR with the D40x, a new model that overcomes the original’s biggest shortcoming by jumping from 6.1 megapixels to 10.2 megapixels.

Nikon says the D40x maintains the same compact size, portability and ease-of-use as its already successful sister camera, the D40, and adds features like higher 10.2 megapixel resolution, faster continuous shooting capability and wider ISO sensitivity.

Nikon says the $800 D40x will be available in April but gave no indication that the $600 original D40 will be discontinued, apparently hoping to appeal to customers at two price points.

“The D40 has become a runaway success for Nikon because it effectively addresses so many of the concerns shared by those who take pictures to preserve family memories and for all-around fun,” Nikon Inc. General Manager for SLR System Products Marketing Edward Fasano said. “The D40 and the new D40x eliminate common annoyances such as shutter lag and inaccurate viewfinders while answering our customers’ needs for superb image quality, fast handling, compactness and, most important of all, simplicity. Now with the D40x, anyone has the choice of higher resolution so they can do even more with their pictures.”

“Whether people want to make poster-sized prints or make special enlargements from a smaller area of a picture, the D40x can produce images that have superb clarity, outstanding detail and vibrant colors,” Fasano said. “Even regular 4x6 inch prints and pictures reduced in size for e-mailing are visibly better when captured with a more capable camera.”

The D40x powers-up in 0.18 second and can shoot up to 3 fps for up to 100 shots, recording to an SD memory card. That compares with 2.5 fps on the D40. The ISO range is 100-1600, plus HI-1 (actually 3200, but we’re not sure why Nikon doesn’t call it that), compared with 200-1600 plus HI-1 for the D40. The D40x features 3D Color Matrix Metering II and an improved image processing engine. Battery life is improved to 520 images per charge.

The back of the D40x is dominated by a 2.5-inch color LCD screen that displays everything from menu options, pictures in playback mode and Nikon’s new visually-intuitive information display system that presents camera and shooting information in a user-friendly, graphically represented way. The camera also features a built-in help menu that can be accessed at the touch of a button and new Assist Images that help users select appropriate settings for many camera features by displaying a sample image typical of that setting.

The D40x’s automated, scene-optimized Digital Vari-Program modes allow amateurs to capture nearly any type of scene without needing to understand the fine points of photography. The D40x includes eight preset modes, including a new Flash Off mode that shuts off the camera’s flash and boosts its ISO so users can easily take pictures in places where flash photography is not allowed, inappropriate or when they prefer the look of naturally lit pictures. Once beginners gain experience – or for experienced photographers picking up the camera – the D40x offers standard Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority modes.

The D40x’s Retouch menu offers exclusive in-camera image editing features that add to the D40x’s “fun factor” by providing greater creativity without the need for a computer. Included in the Retouch menu is Nikon’s D-Lighting, which brightens dark pictures and Red-eye correction that automatically detects and corrects red eye. Image Trim allows for cropping of an image and creates smaller files for easy e-mailing. Other features include Image Overlay, Small Picture, Monochrome (Black-and-white, Sepia, and Cyanotype) and Filter Effects (Skylight, Warm filter, Color balance).

The D40x comes packaged with the same 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens as the original D40. The D40x is also compatible with all of Nikon’s AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses but still suffers from the original D40’s other major shortcoming – lack of autofocus compatibility with older AF lenses. Autofocus is supported only with AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses, which are equipped with built-in motors. As with all Nikon SLRs since the original Nikon F, virtually any Nikon F-mount lens ever made can be used if you don’t mind giving up autofocus and metering features.

The D40x will be available throughout the United States beginning in April for an estimated street price of $729.95 for body only or $799.95 packaged with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor. That compares with $599.95 for the original D40 with the same lens.

The Nikon press release is available by clicking here. A brochure and other details are available by clicking here.

Copyright 2007


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