Nikon D40X Review

 
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Nikon D40x Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent speed for a consumer-oriented digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
0.4 second
(1.1s for display to become active)
Time it takes for camera to boot. Photo can be captured before menus are active.
Shutdown
0.3 second
How long it takes to turn off (almost instant).
Buffer clearing time
7 seconds*
(after capturing 6 RAW images)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
0.4 second
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
1.3 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.
Display
recorded image
0.3 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.243 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.250 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Prefocused
0.095 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.196 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.179 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.49 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Single Shot mode
Small Basic JPEG
0.49 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Single Shot mode
RAW
0.33 second
Time per shot, averaged over 6 shots.
Early shutter
penalty?
YES
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.33 second (3.03 frames per second);
7 frames total,
3 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Continuous mode
Small Basic JPEG
0.33 second (3.00 frames per second);
20 frames total,
2 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Continuous mode
RAW
0.33 second (3.01 frames per second);
6 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Flash recycling
5 seconds
Flash at maximum output.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
6,371 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
More than 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Nikon D40x's performance was quite fast overall. Start-up time is slowed to 1.1 seconds (still not too bad) if you wait for the LCD display to appear, is only 0.4 second otherwise. Shutter lag is quite good on average, and "prefocus" time (half-pressing and holding down the Shutter button before the final exposure) is also above average at 0.095 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are very good, at about 0.49 second for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera can capture over 20 frames at this rate. Continuous-mode speed is slightly above average at about 3.03 frames/second, for 7 shots in succession, in large/fine JPEG mode. RAW mode isn't really any slower, but has a slightly shorter burst length of 6 frames. The flash recycle time is about average at 5 seconds after a full-power shot. Connected to a computer, download speeds are exceptionally fast, so you won't feel a need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the Nikon D40x's performance is above average for a consumer-oriented digital SLR, and is responsive enough for most action shots.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Very good battery life with the custom lithium-ion battery pack.

Test Conditions
Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery
520

The Nikon D40x uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and comes with a charger.

Even though runtime is quite good, I strongly recommend picking up a spare battery pack and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings. (Digital camera batteries are firm believers in Murphy's Law, always running out of juice just as the best photo ops of the day are available!)

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fresh set of fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Nikon D40x accepts SD/SDHC cards, though no card is included.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
512MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
Basic
RAW
RAW+
JPG
3872 x 2592
Images
(Avg size)
64
7.9 MB
125
4.1MB
243
2.1 MB
39
13.0 MB
35
14.6 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 14:1 1.13:1 -
2896 x 1944
Images
(Avg size)
112
4.6 MB
215
2.4 MB
419
1.2 MB
- -
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 14:1 - -
1936 x 1296
Images
(Avg size)
243
2.1 MB
444
1.2 MB
750
683 KB
- -
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 11:1 - -

The chart above shows how many images can be stored on a 512MB card at each size/quality setting. We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 2GB or larger one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above. Cards are really cheap these days, so there's no reason to skimp.)

 


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