Nikon D40 - First Impressions, First Picture

I received the Nikon D40 digital SLR camera I ordered this afternoon, but only had time today to charge the battery, then take a few test pictures, with and without my Vivitar 285 flash and my .66x wide-angle conversion lens [B&H].

I am happy to be using an SLR again; after selling my previous 35mm SLR (a Minolta X-700) in 2004, I've only used digital 'point and shoot' cameras, because the price of digital SLRs was prohibitively expensive. Since then, prices have come down, and now the D40 is moderately affordable for 'amateurs' like myself.

The picture below was taken with the D40 set to shutter priority mode, at 1/500, f5.6, ISO 400 (cropped and saturation boosted in Photoshop). I bounced the flash from the Vivitar 285 (which worked like a charm with the D40) to get the overhead lighting.

First Shot with Nikon D40

(In case you're wondering, I took this shot in the shower room, as there is no other place in the seminary with as large a mirror...).

Besides having to play the game of shoot-adjust-shoot-adjust with the flash (because the flash, being of an older design, can't get exposure information from the camera), it's a great setup. I also screwed in my .66x wide-angle conversion lens [B&H] and took some pictures at the widest setting on the kit 18-55mm lens, effectively making the lens a 12mm wide-angle lens. There was a little vignetting (darkening) in the corners, but that's acceptable for me!

Another great aspect of the D40 and other SLRs with great lenses is the beautiful 'bokeh' (the blur in the background/foreground) you can get, even at higher apertures. You just can't get the background to be knocked out in the same way on point and shoot digital cameras (like my previous S2 IS)!

I hope to someday get an AF-S 55mm f/1.8 lens for the camera (for portraits), but as none exists right now (there's only a non AF-S version, which doesn't autofocus with the D40), I am content with the kit lens.