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Nikon D40X Review (Still a Good Camera in 2024?)

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 9 min read
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The Nikon D40X was a bit of a flash in the pan. It wasn’t on the market for long and is now all but forgotten about. But is that a fair assessment? Or is it still a good camera in 2023?

It didn’t exactly change the medium of photography forever, but the Nikon D40X has its charms. It was designed as an entry-level digital camera for beginners and casual enthusiasts. And it still meets that brief in 2023.

Let’s take a look at the specs and find out if the Nikon D40X is still a good camera in 2023.

We Highly Recommend
Nikon D40X
Nikon D40X
Discover exceptional image quality and fast shutter response with the Nikon D40X, perfect for beginners and casual enthusiasts seeking a high-performance digital SLR that’s easy and fun to use.

Nikon D40X Overview and Specifications

Nikon D40X

Nikon D40X
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Nikon F DX
10 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
3 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization

Released as an upgrade to the Nikon D40, the Nikon D40X had a short production run between 2007 and 2008. D40 users were not satisfied with the 6 MP image sensor, so Nikon had to make a change. The D40X, with its improved 10 MP sensor, was quickly brought into production.

But the D40X’s time in the spotlight was short-lived. Nikon brought out the D60 as their new leader of the beginner DSLR market in 2009. This left the D40X in the shade.

Despite its brief time on the shelves, it made an impression.

The D40X is easy for beginners to use. The controls are simple and you can easily navigate the menu screens. The camera body is lightweight and ergonomic. And the images are excellent.

This camera does the basics very well. You can pick up the D40X and start shooting immediately. There’s no need to get lost in manuals. There’s nothing better for a beginner.

The camera has been out of production since 2008, so you can’t buy one brand new. But you can buy quality used ones online. And at prices that might surprise you!

image of a forest by a river

Nikon D40X—An Affordable Camera for Beginners

In terms of modern DSLR cameras, the Nikon D40X is basic. If you’re a professional or enthusiast, or even an advanced beginner, you can find a much better camera than this.

But basic doesn’t equal bad. This camera was designed for beginners. If you’re getting started with photography as a hobby, the D40X is a great place to start.

The controls are easy to use and the LCD monitor is big enough to see the menus clearly. It’s a great place to start for older adults and young photographers.

The quality and ease of use make it an excellent camera for experimentation. You can use it to try street, portrait, still life, and studio photography.

It does have its limitations. Action and sports photographers won’t be pleased with the slow 3 fps burst mode. And wildlife photographers will find the shutter sound frustrating.

Non-professionals will still appreciate the compact and lightweight body. You can take the D40X out shooting without being weighed down. And you won’t need any extra equipment like a tripod.

image of green field with a bridge in the background

Key Features of the Nikon D40X

To better understand the Nikon D40X, let’s take a look at the camera’s features.

Highly Compatible Lens Mount

The D40X has a Nikon F-type lens mount, which is common to many of Nikon’s SLR and digital cameras.

The F-mount has been used since 1958, which means there are many F-type lenses available. It gives you excellent flexibility when selecting lenses.

The camera doesn’t have a built-in autofocus system. The lens mount doesn’t have the mechanical focus drive pin you find on other Nikon models. If you do want to use autofocus, you’ll have to attach a lens with a built-in AF motor.

The two lens groups you should look out for are the AF-S and AF-I. These allow you to use autofocus with the D40X.

As this is a camera for beginners, there isn’t much point in spending loads of money buying lenses for it. In many cases, the lens will be more expensive than the camera itself.

This camera is to get people started with photography, so it’s best to stick to the AF-S and AF-I lenses. These are enough to get you started in photography. And you won’t break the bank buying one if they aren’t included with the camera.

image of a forest with a bridge and foggy background

Good Sensor and Image Quality

The Nikon D40X has a 10.2 MP APS-C sensor. 10.2 MP is a modest number compared to most modern DSLR cameras. But the image quality is still very good.

The camera has the Nikon Image Processing Engine, which you will also find in the D80 and D200 models. This is more than capable of meeting the needs of a beginner.

The ISO isn’t bad either—it ranges from 100 to 1600. The D40X might fail you in the dead of night, but you can capture some excellent images in lower-light settings. The camera also has a built-in flash for when things get dark.

A bonus for anyone learning about photography is the help suggestions displayed on the LCD screen. If your scene is too dark, it will suggest using the flash. If the image is overexposed, it will suggest changing the f-stop or shutter speed. This is an excellent way of learning as you go.

The D40X also has options for in-camera editing. There is D-lighting for shadow and highlight enhancement, red-eye reduction, and image overlay. You also have a selection of filters to choose from.

This may not be professional-level stuff, but they are fun to play around with. And the results are good. The image quality will feed your enthusiasm for photography.

two people standing by a wooden fence in a green field

Burst Mode and Autofocus

The 3 fps burst function isn’t the best out there. But it’s enough if you’re new to continuous shooting. And the D40X’s burst mode will shoot until the card is full if you’re shooting JPEGs.

If you want to capture professional action or sports shots, this burst won’t be fast enough. But it’s a great tool for learning about burst mode on DSLR cameras.

As stated above, the autofocus system only works if you have a lens with an AF motor. If you are using such a lens, the D40X has a Multi-CAM530 three-area AF sensor. This will keep your subject in focus if they’re moving only slightly. But it has limitations and it will struggle with a lot of movement.

The autofocus is fast and reliable when things are steady. You can concentrate on getting the right image while the camera and the lens take care of the focus.

You can also use manual focus with AF-S and AF-I lenses. These have the solid build quality you expect from Nikon lenses. The same applies if you are using a different Nikon F-type lens.

Unfortunately, the D40X has no video features to speak of. This is a notable disadvantage compared to modern entry-level DSLRs.

image of a stream under a bridge with a dirt trail

Lightweight and Portable Body

The Nikon D40X has a compact and lightweight body. It’s mainly made of plastic and isn’t weighed down by lots of hardware and components.

The body has an ergonomic design that fits neatly into your hand. You won’t experience any fatigue or discomfort even if you’re out shooting all day.

The D40X has a 2.5-inch 230,000-pixel LCD monitor. It displays your images with excellent definition so you can see if you need to retake the shot. It will also highlight areas of over or underexposure.

The screen does not work as a viewfinder, which is a letdown. But the optical viewfinder is great and the camera’s low weight means it’s easy to hold up to your eye.

There is no touchscreen. You need to use the control panel in order to navigate the menu. But the control panel is simple, so it won’t take long to master.

The controls for the ISO and different modes on the top of the camera are also easy to use. There is only one dial and everything is clearly labeled. It won’t take long to find the setting you need.

The battery life is excellent. If you go out with a fully charged battery, you probably won’t need to take a spare.

image of green fields

Comparison to Modern Counterparts

If we look at this camera’s closest relatives, the D40X is the best of the bunch. It’s superior to the D40 in nearly every aspect. The upgraded APS-C sensor has an extra 4 MP resolution.

The Nikon D60 was the next edition in this range. The D60 had improved features, but the D40X always remained a better value for money.

The leading competitor in the modern market is the Nikon D3500. It’s Nikon’s current beginner DSLR camera. And it’s one of the best around.

The D3500 has an APS-C sensor with a 24 MP image resolution. That is more than double that of the D40X. It also has a 5 fps burst mode and 1080p video capabilities.

There is also the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. It has a 20 MP sensor, an expanded ISO range, and full HD video. The 65-point autofocus system also sets it apart from the competitors. It’s Canon’s best DSLR camera for beginners.

Time hasn’t been good to the D40X. Modern DLSRs have surpassed its technology and functions. But the Nikon D3500 and the Canon EOS 7D MII will cost a lot more. If you find the right D40X, you could be in for a bargain.

two people walking in a trail through a field

Is the Nikon D40X Still a Good Camera in 2023?

If you’re getting into photography in 2023 and looking for the best camera for beginners, you are better off with something more modern. The D3500 is Nikon’s best DSLR for beginners right now.

Modern cameras have better functions and features. They’re still easy to use but offer more versatility. If you’re serious about getting into photography, then the D3500 or the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are worth the extra expense.

Yes, the D40X is outdated. But it is still capable of capturing excellent images. You can find a bargain and have some fun!

If you’re new to photography and want to hone your skills, check out our Photography For Beginners e-book!

We Highly Recommend
Nikon D40X
Nikon D40X
Discover exceptional image quality and fast shutter response with the Nikon D40X, perfect for beginners and casual enthusiasts seeking a high-performance digital SLR that’s easy and fun to use.