Nikon Officially Pops Out D40 dSLR For $599**

Just wanted to drop this quick update on the Nikon D40 dSLR we wrote about earlier this month. Nikon has officially announced the camera saying it’s an “ultra-compact, lightweight, 6.1-effective megapixel digital SLR camera with simplified new features, exceptional handling speed, and a redesigned, visually-intuitive menu system that brings digital SLR cameras to a whole new level of simplicity.”

A 3x zoom 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens comes standard, but other lenses can be popped on. And if you don’t like the built-in flash, the ultra-compact SB-400 Speedlight (from Nikon) can be slid onto the body as well.

A 2.5-inch color LCD gives you viewing access to all your settings, playback, and of course, what you’re shooting. The company is really pushing all the new setting-type options it’s programmed into the camera, though.

The camera also features built-in help that can be accessed at the touch of a button and new Assist Images that help you select appropriate settings for many camera features by displaying a sample image typical of that setting.

The D40’s scene-optimized Digital Vari-Program modes allow users to capture nearly any type of scene without needing to fumble with camera settings. The D40 includes eight preset modes, including a new Flash Off mode that shuts off the camera’s flash and boosts its ISO so users can easily take pictures in places where flash photography is not allowed, inappropriate or when they prefer the look of naturally lit pictures. As users gain experience with the camera, the D40 offers advanced controls such as Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority modes that offer greater creative control over the look and feel of their pictures.

Oh and then there’s the price: $599**. While I’m sure it’ll show up somewhere at that price, everytime Nikon mentions the price it’s chased by the double asterisk. What’s that mean exactly? “Estimated selling prices listed are only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.”

More photos of the interface and such after the jump.