Dusting Off An Oldie But Goodie, The Nikon D40

I bought a refurbished Nikon D40 five years ago, and at that time, it was already a 2-year old model (introduced in 2006). But the D40 had (and still has) a cult following. The Nikon website still lists the now discontinued D40 in the archive section, and it has a 4.5 star rating with over 1200 reviews. Here’s a sampling of some of those reviews:


Sam (May 19, 2013) 5 stars —  “Compact and easy to use.” – I have used this camera under a wide range of conditions including sports under poor light condition and always with good results. Ex. High School Basketball (with a AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8 G lens.

DS1987 (June 29, 2012) 5 stars — “Perfect camera” — This camera exceeds my expectations, for a long while i favored my old canon 35mm slr over the new digital slr’s. But when i bought this to replace it i quickly found that i can get great quality pictures faster and easier no 35m film required. perfect camera for hobbyist or professionals.

ShaldonB (May 15, 2012) 5 stars — “Totally Flabbergasted By My D40” — Some photographers out there ([particularly] people who are new to the art) always think more is better; bigger is better. Fortunately, in reality, that is not the case. The simple design of the D40 makes it perfect for anyone from amateur to pro. It is truly capable of handling anything a professional grade camera is -if you know how to use it [correctly] that is. Because it is compact and light weight it goes anywhere! (up rock walls and mountain sides!) And because it is no longer in production (sadly), it is easy to find one in immaculate condition and [extremely] well priced second hand. I love mine! There may come a day when my D40 fails me and I will have to find a new camera to shoot, that will be a sad day, but until that time I wouldn’t choose to shoot anything else!

The Nikon D40 enjoyed a long production run of over 2 years before being superseded by the D3000. And I used my trusty D40 for close to two years before moving on the greener pastures (the D7000) in late 2010. Since that time, the D40 has been sitting in a camera bag, possibly never to see the light of day again.

For a good while after buying the D7000 I would take it pretty much anywhere I went. The idea was simple, you can’t take any photos if you don’t have your camera with you. But eventually I grew tired of lugging around the weight of the D7000 and a few lenses every where I went, and I didn’t exactly like the idea of leaving it in my car if I didn’t feel like carrying it on a particular day. So I stopped taking the D7000 with me everywhere I go, and that was about 8 months ago now.

But recently I’ve returned again to the thinking that a photographer should always have a camera nearby, but I’m still not crazy about taking the D7000 everywhere (unless on a specific photography outing). So I decided the D40 was to be resurrected. After all, it is a perfectly capable camera, and it has the added benefit of being compact and lightweight, and I’ll have no problem keeping it in my car when necessary. So that’s the plan, the oldie but goodie D40 will now be my every day walk around camera. Now I just need to decide what lens (or lenses) to keep with it. I still have the 18-55mm kit lens, and the 55-200mm VR zoom (which have also sat idle for quite some time). So I’ll definitely keep those in the D40 bag. But given the D40’s low light limitations, I think I will keep my 35mm prime lens with it as well. In fact, that prime lens (AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G) might just be the lens I keep on the D40 most of the time. I loved that combination when the D40 was my primary (and only) camera body.

And for anyone who might be skeptical of this new plan, here’s a shot taken with my D40 a few years back (yes, some post-processing in Lightroom):


My alternate naming for this photo is "Walking Towards The Light." This was taken at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. on October 30, 2010.

My alternate naming for this photo is “Walking Towards The Light.” This was taken at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. on October 30, 2010.

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