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Nikon D40 entry-level digital SLR

Passed your compact proficiency test? Time to take on the DSLR

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The D40 weighs 470g without battery and memory card, and even when fully loaded, it’s compact and comfortable to carry around – we spent an afternoon walking around in the countryside carrying the camera in one hand. We felt no discomfort whatsoever. It might seem an odd complaint to make, but if you have rather large hands, you might even find the D40 just a tad too compact when gripping it.

The D40's performance more than belied its rather humble price point. Firstly, switch-on time is lightning fast – Nikon quotes a 0.18s start-up time, and the D40 is certainly ready to go in an instant. Image quality was excellent too, with contrast, colour and resolution far exceeding the performance you might expect from a six-megapixel camera. We also liked the focusing system, which was fast, accurate and reliable.

Sample shots
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We were impressed with the low noise levels. This shot, taken on a dull day was set at ISO 1600

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Even though it's only a 3x lens, it gets you much closer to the action

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The D40 kit comes with an 18-55mm zoom, and the wide angle setting lets you squeeze in plenty

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