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Jewish World Review
May 18, 2007
/ 1 Sivan, 5767
Digital splendor, 74-percent off
The last time I reviewed a Nikon camera in this space was at the end of
2002. In that ancient epoch, I pronounced the 6.1-megapixel, $3,000 list
D-100 a great value that made me want to be a better photographer.
What a difference about half a decade makes: the recently released Nikon
D40x - in Nikon world, model numbers run down, not up, it seems - is
smaller, lighter and far more powerful than the D-100. At $799 for the
10.2-megapixel camera body and a basic lens, you're getting about 60
percent more pixels than with the earlier model, for roughly 74 percent
off the 2002 price.
Not a bad deal, wouldn't you agree? Especially when you consider, as with
all the Nikon "Ds," that the D40x is a digital, single-lens reflex (SLR)
camera, capable of handling a variety of Nikkor (stet) lenses. The camera
could easily be the foundation of a solid, important photography system
for a dedicated amateur, budding professional or a growing family.
The images that come out of the Nikon D40x are nothing short of amazing:
they make the shooter look very good, perhaps as sharp as the pictures
themselves. Though some claim any 5- or 6-megapixel camera can do quite
nicely for family snaps, and even for publication, having the greater
level of detail is not a bad thing.
On an outing in Virginia's Skyline National Park, for example, I was able
to grab a shot of a butterfly, and while the supplied 18-55 mm lens didn't
allow me to get as close as I might have liked, it was close enough that I
could blow up the section of the photo where the butterfly was and get a
decent image of the insect. Greater success was had with some flowers
growing out of a rock at one of the overlooks on Skyline drive; zoom in on
those blossoms in the photo and it's a joy to behold.
The camera, on its own, is good at handling outside lighting, and has a
small built-in flash both for "fill" outdoors and for some use indoors. A
more serious photographer would buy an external flash to mount on the
A tremendous plus of the D40x is the 2.5-inch LCD display on the back of
the camera. It lets you review your work on the fly, zoom in on an image,
perform red-eye reduction on the spot, and even crop images. Just having a
large digital display of the finished photo is good enough, however.
The camera uses the SecureDigital, or SD, card format to store images. I
found a very nice SanDisk Ultra 2 Gigabyte SD card for under $30 at a
local Staples store; at the highest JPEG setting, the D40x's information
display indicated I could shoot 264 pictures, equal to roughly 7.3 of the
old 36-exposure rolls of color 35mm film. Prices for SD media are very
good; you could carry a fistful of these cards and undertake a global
photo safari with ease.
Equally impressive is the rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery; it refreshes
in about 90 minutes, and should power you through a day of shooting. The
camera's controls are easy to use and understand; the menu system is very
My only "quibble" is with Nikon's highest-quality setting, NEF, which is
that firm's implementation of a photo industry standard known as "RAW."
(stet) To get this to work with Apple Inc.'s IPhoto, you'll need the $140
"Nikon Capture" software; for me, I just used the highest JPEG resolution
and my shots flowed into IPhoto just fine.
Overall, though, I'm swooning again: Nikon has a winner here, and at a
great, great price.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com