How to Use the LCD Display on a Nikon D40 as a Viewfinder

Updated March 23, 2017

The first digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera in Nikon's family of cameras, the D40 features a small body, making it easy to handle. Despite its size, the D40 captures high-quality images through a variety of scene modes. It can be operated using automatic or manual settings, allowing for creative photography. The Nikon D40 features quick responsiveness and a variety of controls. Unfortunately, the Nikon D40 does not offer Liveview on its LCD display; therefore, images are set up and taken via the viewfinder only.

Turn on the Nikon D40 camera. On the side of the camera, a button which can be set at "A" or "M" indicates Automatic or Manual mode. Choose whichever mode you desire, but it helps to start off with "Automatic" until you get the hang of the camera and learn to adjust settings manually. "Automatic" chooses the correct settings for you, so you can learn which ones work ideally for a chosen situation.

Move the camera towards your face until you are able to look through the viewfinder and see the image through it that you want to capture.

Notice the markings when you look through the viewfinder. The three brackets in the middle of the image are the focus brackets, which are used to accurately focus an image. To focus an image in the centre, move the camera so that the image is right in the centre of the middle focus brackets.

Press the shutter to take a picture. Move the camera slightly by about 1/2 inch to the either side, or even up or down. Re-focus the focus brackets and take a few more pictures so you have something to choose from.

Review the images using the playback mode, which is a rectangular button with a "play" arrow in the middle. Determine whether the images are what you expected. If yes, move on. If not, adjust settings and take a few more pictures until you are satisfied. Try changing the scene modes by turning the knob on top of the camera.

Keep the D40 camera in the playback mode even when you take pictures. That way, as soon as you take a picture, you can look down and see it displayed on the LCD display. This is the only way to use the LCD display to view images. It cannot be used to view images prior to taking them.


Taking images directly via viewfinder rather than by looking at them through Liveview, if a camera has that option, makes them sharper and more detailed since it is easier to focus the images and hold the camera steady.

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About the Author

Aleksandra Ozimek has been writing professionally since 2007 for a fashion blog, various online media and the "Queens Courier," in addition to interning at "Cosmopolitan" magazine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in journalism and photography from St. John's University, where she is completing her master's degree.