Nikon D40

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Nikon Manual

Nikon Manual local copy d40 guide d40 cheat sheet - Nikon D40 Controls - Nikon D40 Modes & Menus

d40 reset reset d40

To restoring Nikon D40 to its factory settings, just hold the [Shooting information] button and the [Playback zoom/Setting] button down together, until the control panel turns off briefly while the camera resets itself to the factory default settings.


Nikon lens compatibility

in hand

Nikon 18-55mm II kit lens

Nikon 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S VR DX

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D

next up a micro lens

Nikon 60mm f/2.8 Micro-NIKKOR AF-D (1989-)

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D

$132 - purchased for $84 used

$29 at Adorama Nikon 52 mm NC Neutral Clear Filter

or Tiffen 52mm UV Protection Filter $6.33 amazon

$17 at adorama Nikon HR-2 Rubber Hood


AF is very fast on every camera. One full turn of the AF screw focuses the lens from infinity to 6 feet (1.8m).

It will not autofocus on the D40 or D40x; turn the focus ring and look for the electronic focus confirmation dot in the lower left of the finder.


Just buy one if you think you want it. Everyone who does is amazed at the quality.

I keep a 52mm Nikon NC filter and Nikon HR-2 rubber hood on it for protection.

This lens makes no compromises in image quality. It is inexpensive because it is a very simple lens to make. It uses a classic, proven optical design. A $110 zoom lens has to cut many corners in image quality that this 50mm doesn’t.

None of the pros I know use exotic normal zooms. They all own these lenses which they throw in a pocket for the few times they need a lens for low light or to cover the range between their pro wide zoom and pro tele zoom.

If you intend to use this often in low light, then by all means spring another $160 for the 50mm f/1.4 D. I shoot my 50mm f/1.4 with my D3 in available light and I really like being able to shoot at f/1.4. For use in daylight, this f/1.8 lens has less distortion and is just as sharp.

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI-s

around $200 on ebay Sat Jul 30 17:45:47 MDT 2016

FX Manual-Focus (1981-today)

No other Nikon 28mm lens performs this well: the 28mm f/1.4D AF has some barrel distortion and really is optimized for night photography, and every other 28mm lens just isn’t designed as thoroughly.

This AI-s lens (1981-present) is completely different from the older AI lens. Nikon made a big upgrade to the optics when they upgraded it to AI-s, and they really pulled out all the stops.

Not only does this Nikkor uses 8 elements, it also uses floating elements to optimize its performance as it is focused at every distance.

This is also Nikon’s closest-focusing lens, with a close-focus distance of 7 inches (0.6 ft), or 20 cm.

There is no sharper manual-focus wide angle lens made by Nikon, and it is the only Nikon wide angle, along with the 15mm f/3.5, that is completely free from barrel distortion at ordinary distances.

Optically this is an almost perfect lens, and one of the most perfect lenses you can get to fit a Nikon camera.

The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5000 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you’ll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hot shoe adapter to meter manually.

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Vibration Reduction Zoom

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI: 1974-1981. article

52mm metal filter threads, 8.5 oz./241g, 1’/0.3m close focus,

For DX cameras, forget this lens and use even the 18-55mm kit lens. It’s just as sharp, and far more convenient.

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX


Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Nikkor Lens

Ken Rockwell page

Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF D


Nikon AF-NIKKOR 35mm f/2D


about $225 used if you know How to Win at eBay

kenrockwell page

Nikon 50mm f/1.4


tokina 100mm f2.8

Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G


Ken Rockwell D40 guide

Ken Rockwell SB-400 flash page

Beginners D40 guide to long exposure photography.

dpreview article Beginners D40 guide to long exposure photography.

Ken Rockwell 1 cent soft box

Ken Rockwell SB400 diffuser pdf (local)

Exposure Mode Selector Knob

Top Panel Controls

P: Program Automatic Exposure Mode

I use “P” for program auto exposure. In this mode the camera chooses the f/stop and shutter speed for you.

It’s easy to get to any aperture or shutter speed you prefer in this mode: simply move the rear dial to shift them. This selects alternate combinations of f/stops and shutter speeds which give the same exposure. Nikon calls this “Program Shift.” A *P symbol appears on the bottom left of the viewfinder, to the left of the shutter speed.

Three easy ways to return to the standard program combination are to:

  1. flip to a different mode and back to P, or
  2. turn the D40 off and back on, or
  3. spin the rear dial back to its original position.

The *P symbol goes away when you’ve returned to the standard combinations.

The standard combinations are f/4 at 1/60, f/5.6 @ 1/125, f/8 @ 1/250, f/11 @ 1/500, etc.

A shifted set might use f/4 @ 1/1,000, f/8 @ 1/500 or might use f/4 @ 1/2, f/5.6 @ 1 sec, etc. Don’t worry, just flick the rear dial until you get the combination you prefer.

A, S and M Modes

If you want to use only one aperture or one shutter speed then use S or A mode and the camera will automatically pick the other value. I never use these; I shift the program instead.

If you want to set both the hard way, use M, manual, mode.

In A or S mode you can only set one of the two values because the camera is setting the other one for you.

A Mode: Aperture Priority

In A mode you choose the Aperture and the D40 chooses the shutter speed.

S Mode: Shutter Priority

In S mode you set the Shutter and the D40 sets the aperture.

If the D40 runs out of available apertures you easily can get under or over exposure in S mode: watch that the D40 can select a correct aperture for your lighting.

M Mode: Manual Exposure

You have to set everything the hard way.

No one uses this mode except in complex conditions. Ignore old-timers who tell you you need Manual mode; they say that because that’s the only mode cameras had back in the 1950s.

I look at the LCD to check exposure. You can use the bar graph in the finder - but why? If you wanted to do that use another mode and let the D40 do the setting for you.

The rear dial sets the shutter speed in manual exposure. To set the aperture, hold the +/- (*) (diaphragm) button near the shutter and turn the rear dial.

Firmware Defect: When turned ON, Auto ISO remains active in Manual mode. I always turn off AUTO ISO when I enter Manual Mode, otherwise Auto ISO changes the ISO and ruins whatever you were hoping to accomplish with manual exposure mode.

Theoria Apophasis recommends

nikkor 135mm f2.8 AI or nikkor 135mm f3.5

Nikon 60mm f/2.8 Micro-NIKKOR AF-D (1989-)

youtube The Angry Photographer: The BEST Triple Purpose Nikkor lens you MUST GET, FX or DX ! nikkor AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8D

Ken Rockwell Nikon 60mm f/2.8 Micro-NIKKOR AF-D (1989-)

As a traditional AF lens, the Nikon AF-D 60mm Micro works on a broader range of Nikon cameras than any other. Except that it won’t autofocus on the D40, D40x, or D60

Ken Rockwell Nikon 105mm f/2.8

Ken Rockwell Nikon 105mm f/2.8

Micro-NIKKOR (Macro, 1983-today)

Use a common TC-200 or TC-201 teleconverter to make this a 210mm f/5.6 macro lens with continuous focusing from infinity to twice life size. This combination works great with the TTL flash systems of manual and AF cameras.

Use a common TC-200 or TC-201 teleconverter to make this a 210mm f/5.6 macro lens with continuous focusing from infinity to twice life size. This combination works great with the TTL flash systems of manual and AF cameras.

Gossen Digisix article

The Gossen Digisix is a tiny featherweight lightmeter. It can sit on top of your camera, or vanish in a camera-bag side pocket or your pocket.

Everything is controlled with only two buttons.

It’s always on. Once you tap the measure button, the reading stays there until the battery runs down, and remains in memory even if you go look at the temperature or the clock. It runs about 6 months to a year on one common CR2032 cell. article Nikon D40 Viewfinder & LCD

Rockwell guide

I reset everything every time I use my camera

Exposure Compensation

I set my exposure compensation to -0.7 because my D40’s metering firmware is defective, just like the D80’s meter. It usually overexposes.

Set -0.7 by holding the +/- button near the shutter and turning the rear dial two clicks to the right.

just look at the image on the LCD and click it towards the left (+) to lighten the image, and to the right (-) to darken it for the next shot.

Shutter Advance Mode

I use Continuous (the bearded rectangle).


I use ISO 200 and Auto ISO.

I set Auto ISO to 1,600 max because the noise from the D40 at ISO 1,600 looks much better than blur.

Auto ISO increases the ISO automatically as it gets dark so I don’t have to. It shoots at ISO 200 in good light, and at 1/15 of a second (or any speed you choose) it starts ramping up the ISO to a maximum of 1,600 (or any ISO you choose) as it gets darker. Only if it gets still darker will it let the shutter speed go below 1/15 at ISO 1,600, exactly as I’d do manually.


I crave vivid color! I tweak my D40 to give color as vivid as I can get. If it went to 11 I’d use that, too.

I go to MENU > Shooting Menu (green camera icon) > Optimize Image > Custom.

Saturation: +, of course. This gives brighter colors than the default.


I use the default of AF-A. This mode automatically selects between the two older modes, AF-C and AF-S.

Manual Mode

search: dslr manual shutter aperture iso article Getting off Auto – Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes explained article Fully Manual article What is ISO setting on your digital SLR (DSLR) camera and how do you use it? article Learn How ISO Sensitivity Works Understanding ISO Sensitivity article dSLR tips for beginners: How to use Manual mode article photography : ISO, aperture + shutter speed article Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide article

Each time you double the ISO (for example, from 200 to 400), the camera needs only half as much light for the same exposure. So if you had a shutter speed of 1/250 at 200 ISO, going to 400 ISO would let you get the same exposure at 1/500 second (providing the aperture remains unchanged). This is why high ISOs are so often used indoors, especially at sporting events. Needing a fast shutter speed to stop action, photographers regularly choose ISO 1600 or above.

In digital cameras, raising the ISO means a similar decrease in quality, with an increase in what’s called “noise.” It’s the digital equivalent of grain and results in a sort of “chunky” look to the image. Very early digital cameras had objectionable levels of noise at ISOs as low as 800. Today most digital SLRs can make good quality images at ISOs up to 1600 and above. However, several variables affect this.

David Hancock tutorial

d40 playlist

youtube David Hancock - Introduction to the Nikon D40, Video 1 of 12 (Overview and Samples) article

Setting Exposure: Shutter Speed and Aperture learing center Guided Tour #10: Nikon D40

Shutter speed:

Speeds faster than one second are shown as fractions (e.g.: …1/125, 1/160, 1/200, 1/250…). Some cameras may omit the numerator so that “1/125” becomes “125,” “1/250” becomes “250,” etc. Speeds slower than one second are shown by a double prime symbol following the value (e.g.: 1 ˝).

common modes to use


Manual mode - iso,aperture, shutter

See the Jared Polin series on manual mode, iso and exposure

Remember to turn off auto iso when in manual mode

command dial sets shutter speed

command dial w/exposure comp. sets aperture

command dial w/zoom out sets iso

Long Exposure article Beginners D40 guide to long exposure photography.

Ken Rockwell says

AE-L AF-L / Key Button (Top Right Center)

This can lock the focus and/or exposure or turn on the autofocus.

You set what it locks in Custom Setting 12. I set mine to lock exposure for as long as I hold the button (AE lock only).

Look in your manual for Shutter Speed “BULB”, this allows you to open the shutter with one click and close it with the next, also to get crisp pictures you will need to keep the camera steady, its a blast for night shoots etc. Have a blast learning you new camera……. Nikon D40x Long Exposure? thread Nikon D40x Long Exposure?

Remote control in manual mode*. It is by far the best way to do it, and one of the best accesories you can get for your camera for very little money:

the “bulb” setting only keeps the shutter open foras long the release button is held down, which is of little use as the D40 doesn’t support a cable release; when set to remote control, you have access to the “–” setting instead (my guess is it is supposed to mean “indefinite”). This allows you to open the shutter with one press of the remote and close it with another, as Jeepin59 said.