Nikon D40 Quick Start Guide

Please protect the lens!

When not actively shooting, we ask you to please, please, please keep the lens cap on the lens!!!

Setting image size and format

  1. Press the MENU button to the left of the camera's LCD.

  2. Go to the SHOOTING MENU (it has a camera as it's icon). The D-pad to the right of the LCD is used to navigate the camera's menus. The 'OK' button in the center of the d-pad is used to make a selection. Pressing the MENU button can be used to go back a menu in a hierarchy of menus.

    1. make sure that IMAGE QUALITY is set to FINE. (Do not shoot in RAW format for this assignment).

    2. you may the IMAGE SIZE to any setting you choose. However the smallest image sizes the D40 takes are easily large enough for this assignment.

Put the camera in manual exposure mode

  • Set the camera to manual exposure mode by rotating the mode dial at the top of the camera to the M setting.

Understanding the viewfinder

Press an hold the shuttle release button down halfway. The camera, just like any point and shoot digital camera you might have used in the past, will automatically focus (you'll hear a soft beep when the focus locks). At the bottom of the viewfinder you'll see a bunch of numbers indicating the status of the camera. There are two numbers you'll need to pay attention to in this assignment.

  1. The current aperture is given in terms of F-number. In the center-bottom of the viewfinder you'll see a readout that says something like F5.6.

  2. To the left of the F-number in the viewfinder is the shuttle speed. If the indicator reads X then the shuttle speed is 1/X of a second. For shutter speeds greater than a second, the camera will indicate X'' for an X second exposure.

Note that by pressing the INFO button on the camera body (located right next to the shutter release button) all this status information will be displayed on the LCD.

Adjusting exposure manually

In assignment 5, you will need to choose an aperture, and take a series of photos with varying shutter speed. When in manual exposure mode, rotating the {COMMAND DIAL}}} (on the back of the camera to the right of the LCD. It is towards the top of the camera near the shutter release) adjusts the shutter speed.

Turning the COMMAND DIAL while holding the APERTURE button adjusts the aperture. The APERTURE button is located right next to the INFO button near the shuttle release.

Taking photos

Pressing the shutter release button all the way down will snap a photo. This should be similar to all other digital cameras you may have used. The lens on the D40's we have for class is an 18-55mm zoom lens. To frame a photo you will want to adjust the zoom, which is done by rotating the zoom ring of the lens with your left hand while holding the camera body with your right.


You should ***not*** have flash turned on for the pictures you take in assignment 5. However, if you want to experiment with flash while in manual exposure mode the flash can be enabled by pressing the flash button that is just to the right of where the lens mounts to the camera body. The flash hood on the camera body will pop up. Subsequently closing the hood will disable flash.

Viewing photos

The PLAYBACK BUTTON is at the top of the column of buttons to the left of the LCD (it has a 'play' symbol on it). Pressing this button puts the camera in playback mode, and the last photo taken is shown on the LCD. In this mode, you can use the arrows on the d-pad to navigate through the photos you have taken. Pressing the PLAYBACK BUTTON exits playback mode and turns off the LCD.

Downloading photos to your computer

In the small front pocket of each of the camera bags there is a USB2.0 cable that can be used to connect the camera to your computer. Windows will auto-detect the camera and transferring files off the D40 should be similar to how it is done on your system for any other type of camera.