Nikon has done something amazing with the D40. Although it has a minimum number of bells and whistles and less resolution than many competing DSLRs, its price ($550 street) is extremely affordable. More important, this is the best budget digital SLR on the market right now in terms of image quality
The most surprisingly thing about the 6.1-MP D40 is how small and light it feels when you're using it. While many users, including women, will probably like the D40's svelte profile, those with ham-sized hands might need some time to get used to it. What doesn't take any getting used to is the ultra-fast startup time. The D40 took less than a quarter of a second to ready itself, which is great if you're always spotting things to shoot.
The D40's large (2.5-inch) LCD offered crisp, clear image playback and the ability to zoom in on shots up to 19 times. It comes with a responsive 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens, which captures images with good overall sharpness. Color was punchy but consistent, and noise was minimal even when shooting at ISO 800 and above.
The D40 is packed with tons of automatic features and scene modes, including Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Macro, and several others. Helpful in-camera retouching tools include Red-eye correction and Nikon's popular D-Lighting, which automatically corrects unexposed areas in an image. For more advanced shooters, the Nikon D40 also offers a range of manual controls to let you get more creative with your pictures. If you're looking for a budget digital SLR but don't want to skimp on image quality, the Nikon D40 gives you great performance at an affordable price.