NancyKrause2 9:01pm, 31 July 2016
Is the Nikon D40!still a good camera to purchase? I'm looking to get started in photography and have seen a few used D40 and thinking about it. Thank you
jpr_me Posted 5 years ago. Edited by jpr_me (member) 5 years ago
It's still a good camera, but all of the D40's specs have been superseded by later cameras. All the major manufacturers, i.e., Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, etc., made quality gear back in that time period, but I'll stick with suggesting Nikons because that's what you mentioned.

For what you'd pay for a D40 in good-to-excellent used condition, you can get a good used D200 (just a suggestion - there are lots of good, used cameras in that price range) that will give you much better low light shots and larger images. There's not much difference in price. Avoid the D100 and D70 - like the D40, they're just too old and outmoded to be considered. You should be able to find a D200 in good to excellent condition for around $125. The D200 is also a very old DSLR, but it's a rugged beast, and would be a good way to jump into photography with a very modest investment. I'm suggesting getting a D200 because it has a reasonable pixel count, has a relatively modern layout that is compatible with later models, and is built like a tank. Stick with it until you know the basics and know better what you want.

Have a look at used cameras at They're highly reputable. Knowing you can trust a photographic dealer is very important, as there are a lot of shady characters dealing in photo gear. KEH is among the best. Oh, and avoid Ebay for now, especially anything described in auctions as "mint," or "minty." Mint is a place where coins are made, and isn't a description of a piece of photo gear.

Pick up what's called a "kit" lens - Nikon's 18-55mm is a normal kit lens, and covers moderate wide angle to normal focal lengths. The 18-55mm is also very inexpensive. It comes in two varieties, VR and non-VR. Pick up the VR version, as you will love image stabilization. Stick with that for a while - don't go jumping into buying lenses willy-nilly - you can do very well with the 18-55mm. Despite having a lot of haters, it's really a damn good lens, and is one of the best bargains out there.

Edit: You will probably get twenty guys here all telling you to get the latest D5xxx or D3xxx and Nikon prime lenses, or this lens or that lens. No two photographers like the same thing, and none of us agree on anything. What I'm saying is to take it slow, take it easy, learn photography, and don't worry about the gear you don't have. You can make wonderful images with old, outdated cameras and lenses. Avoid GAS (Gear Acquision Syndrome)!

And, don't forget to pick up an older Nikon film camera and shoot some film! Film is NOT DEAD.
jaerwin 5 years ago
See if you can find a camera that supports screw focus lenses. (The D40 was Nikon's first camera released without an auto focus motor.) Screw focus lenses usually end up being cheaper, especially on the used market.

For instance, the AF 50mm 1.8D is $130. The AFS 50mm 1.8G (which is, in many ways, a better lens) is $216.
Mervyn S 5 years ago
I still use my D40 occasionally, I usually use my D5100. The lenses are more important; on my last vacation, I used my D40 with my AF-S 10-24mm, and my D5100 with my AF-S 18-105. I found that I liked more of the D40 pictures even though I took about half of the pictures with this compared to the D5100.

Looking at your photo stream, it looks like you already have a Canon dSLR, any reason why you wouldn't spend more on Canon? Seems to me that you'd do better by putting more into Canon lenses rather than a new dSLR from a different company.
Karl Gunnarsson 5 years ago
Yeah, and Canon has some really nice low price lenses.

Although I'll have to say that within its limits, my D40 could make some very nice image files. Not that I miss it.
NancyKrause2 5 years ago
Would I just do better and get a Nikon D3300?
Mervyn S 5 years ago
For sure the D3300 would be better than the D40

I am guessing you no longer have your Canon dSLR? My vote would be to stick with Canon unless you no longer have it.

If you are using your dSLR for casual social situations and you end up getting a Nikon, also try the AF-S 35mm f/1.8 DX and a small flash unit.
Shane Jones Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Shane Jones (member) 5 years ago
nancyk60: A great camera to start with and learn the principles of photography. I'd highly recommend it and I used one as a first camera for several years. Don't go for anything more complicated until you understand the basics of exposure (shutter, aperture and ISO), framing, depth of field, composition, etc. Get a few lenses and then upgrade to a body you want and need based on where your photography has taken you. Newer more complex cameras have more features that will only distract and complicate initially - get out and shoot.
jpr_me 5 years ago
Shane, that's why I mentioned the D200 as a possible upgrade to the D40. It's simple, does a wonderful job, and is tough. And, it's very inexpensive, which is usually a major concern. As a beginner to photography, Nancyk60 doesn't need the latest and greatest, as you know. While I have nothing against the D3300 - or other new cameras in Nikon's vast array of digitals - I can't see dropping hundreds of dollars on a camera unless she's absolutely positive she's going to use it to its full potential. An older camera such as the D200, in excellent condition, makes more economic sense to me. In addition, the layout of the camera is more in line with Nikon's higher-end cameras, so an eventual upgrade wouldn't be as jarring.
There are lots of "buts" here... if you're going to be using the camera in low-light situations a lot, then the latest sensors have moved on in leaps and bounds from the D40. Consider budget, and then see what is available. If you just want a basic DSLR and are not fussed about features/performance in less than ideal conditions then the D40 is OK but don't forget that it lacks a focus motor so a similar aged D80 or D200 may be a more prudent purchase, although it may have lived a harder life. With any used camera body, you do take a chance.....
Have you considered paying a bit more for a Nikon refurbished body / kit lens? Maybe a D3000 or D3200; in the UK they come up from time-to-time at very reasonable prices
Lyn Chapman 5 years ago
I'm still using my D40 and to be honest I don't think I'd be in any hurry to swap it out. I may just have been luck but the glass in my lenses are excellent. The biggest drawback I've found is the lack of IS in low light.
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