Nikon D70 Review

The Nikon D2Xs that I use is the company’s top-of-the-line model from the year 2006. Since 2004, Nikon’s model for advanced amateur photographers has been the D70. It had a CCD sensor with a resolution of 6 megapixels, a sensitivity range from ISO 200 to 1600, five customizable focusing points, three frames per second (fps) continuous shooting, a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000, a single CF card, a 1.8-inch display screen. It sold for $999 (body only). In addition to that, it features an LCD display that can be found on the top of the device.

This camera is an excellent alternative to my previous DL model, which is why I decided to get it. Both of these cameras have a resolution of 6 megapixels and make use of the same Sony sensor. The *ist DL was produced a year later for about half the price, however, its autofocus is horrible, there are few buttons that are dedicated to specific functions, and it has a different lens library. Would the D70 have been a more suitable option in this situation? Let’s find out!

The D70 is virtually incomparable to the D2X in every conceivable manner. It is largely made of plastic, and while it still has a sturdy feel, there is no mistaking the fact that it is made of plastic. It has a weight of 1.5 pounds, which is equivalent to half a D2X. The fact that it is lighter yet chunkier than my D750 gives it an impression of being quite hollow.

In comparison to my current DL, it seems extremely thick and enormous. Although it isn’t quite as programmable as a D2X or my D750, it still has lots of specialized buttons, including bracketing, drive mode, ISO, white balance, image quality, metering mode, exposure compensation, and two control dials. In addition, it also has two control dials.

These place the functionalities that are utilized the most front and center, rather than burying them under a maze of menus as my other app does. Even though it has a number of modifications that bring it closer in functionality to my D750 (such as control dial exposure compensation and viewfinder grid lines), it still has a backward exposure meter that I am unable to adjust.

Actually, I find the chunkiness of it to be really appealing. Despite the fact that its design is an improvement on that of the D100, which it is based on, it still has the appearance of a film camera that has had digital guts stuffed into it. When viewed from the rear of the camera, the screen is about the size of a postage stamp.

The button layout is very similar to that of my D750, but the buttons themselves are much smaller, making it difficult to press them while keeping your eye on the viewfinder. When I want to change the focus point, the four-way selector is too small and difficult for my thumb to comfortably hit.

Because it takes up approximately 20 percent of the back, the CF Card slot makes it difficult to position buttons. If it were put on the side, like modern Nikons, it would be more effective. These issues have been resolved in more recent cameras, and the D70 is the camera that paved the way for such improvements.

In Use

The D70 behaves and operates fairly similarly to other modern Nikons in terms of both its handling and its shooting capabilities. The viewfinder is bright, and the 5-point autofocus mechanism performs adequately enough for most purposes. Aperture priority and exposure compensation may be easily adjusted thanks to the camera’s two control dials.

Even with screw-mount lenses with comparable aperture sizes, autofocus is undeniably faster than my manual focus method. The AF-S lenses that have built-in focusing motors can be used with the D70, however, my *ist cannot utilize this kind of lens. It also has an advantage over the menu-driven nature of the *ist because of the specialized buttons on the device.

It uses the same strange picture review mechanic as the D2Xs, in which you need to press two buttons and scroll the command dial in order to zoom in on an image. This can be annoying.

It also has several advantages over my D750, such as having a greater maximum shutter speed (1/8000 vs. 1/4000) and a higher flash sync speed (1/500 vs. 1/250), which enables an additional stop of light reduction and the use of flash while shooting in extremely bright daytime.

It does have Auto ISO, but the only way to get it is through a menu setting; unlike other Nikons of the same vintage, the ISO button cannot be used to access it directly like it can on my D750.

Quality of the Image

The majority of the photos were shot in RAW format, and their quality was on par with that of the photos produced with my DSLR. The photographs are better in general, but that may be because I now have access to a lens library that is significantly larger and of a higher quality than before, in addition to having improved my skill set.

In comparison to other kit lenses, the ones that came with my camera are very sharp, but their ability to take in light is severely restricted. The D70 makes it much simpler to take high-quality photographs because of its improved autofocus, as well as its superior lenses and additional buttons and settings.

Nikon D70 Specifications

Sensor• 6.24 megapixel (total) CCD
• 6.1 million effective pixels
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm
• Nikon DX format (size)
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 12-bit A/D converter
Image sizes• 3008 x 2000 [L] (6.01 million)
• 2240 x 1488 [M]
• 1504 x 1000 [S]
File formats• NEF (12-bit lossless compressed RAW)
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
Color space• Ia (sRGB)
• II (Adobe RGB)
• IIIa (sRGB – more green for colorful landscapes)
Lens mount• Nikon F mount (with AF coupling & AF contacts)
• 1.5x field of view crop
Lens compatibility• DX Nikkor: All functions supported
• Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported
• Micro Nikkor 85 mm F2.8D: All functions supported except autofocus and some exposure modes
• Other AF Nikkor*2: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering, i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR
• AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering, i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR, and autofocus
• Non-CPU: Can be used in exposure mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
*1 IX Nikkor lenses can not be used
*2 Excluding lenses for F3AF
Autofocus• TTL phase detection
• Nikon Multi-CAM900 autofocus module
• Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature)
Lens servo• Single Servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous Servo AF (AF-C)
• Manual focus (M)
AF Area mode• Single Area AF
• Dynamic Area AF
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF
Focus areaOne of five areas can be selected
Focus lockFocus can be locked by pressing the shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing the AE-L/AF-L button
AF AssistWhite light lamp
Exposure mode• Digital Vari-program
    – Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close up, Sports, Night landscape, Night portrait
• Programmed auto (P) with a flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture-priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
MeteringTTL full-aperture exposure metering system
• 3D color matrix metering with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75%(8mm circle) given to 6, 8, 10, or 13-mm circle in the center of the frame, or weighting based on the average of the entire frame
• Spot: Meters 2.3mm circle (about 1% of frame) centered on the active focus area
Metering range• EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)
• EV 3 to 20 (spot metering) (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20 °C)
Meter couplingCPU coupling
Exposure compen.• +/-5 EV
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
AE LockDetected exposure value locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
AE Bracketing• 2 or 3 frames
• +/- 2 EV
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
Sensitivity• Auto
• ISO 200 – 1600
• 1/3 EV steps
Shutter speed• Combined mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
• 30 to 1/8000 sec
• Steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
• Flash X-Sync: up to 1/500 sec
• Bulb
White balance• Auto (TTL white-balance with 1,005 pixels RGB sensor)
• Six manual modes with fine-tuning
• Preset white balance
• White balance bracketing possible
Image parameters• Sharpening
• Tone
• Color
• Hue
Viewfinder• Pentaprism
• Optical-type fixed eye-level
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-1.6 to +0.5 m-1)
• Eyepoint: 18 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.75x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Focusing screen: Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark II with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines
LCD monitor• 1.8″
• 130,000 pixel TFT
Flash control• TTL: TTL flash control by 1,005-pixel RGB sensor
    o Built-in Speedlight: i-TTL balanced fill-flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering or mode dial set to M)
    o SB-800 or 600: i-TTL balanced fill-flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering)
• Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 and 600 with CPU lens
• Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s
• Range-priority manual available with SB-800
Flash Sync Mode• Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
• Red-Eye Reduction
• Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
• Slow Sync
• Rear-Curtain Sync
Built-in Speedlight• Auto flash with auto pop-up
• [P], [S], [A], [M]: manual pop-up with button release Auto flash with auto pop-up
• Guide number (ISO 200/ISO 100, m): approx. 15/11 (manual full 17/12)
Flash compensation• -3 to +1 EV
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
Accessory shoe• ISO standard hot shoe with safety lock
Flash Sync TerminalNo
DOF PreviewWhen the CPU lens is attached, lens aperture can be stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or value selected by camera (Digital Vari-Program, P, and S modes)
Shooting modes• Single frame shooting (S) mode
• Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 3 frame per second (up to 12 consecutive shots with JPEG format, 4 shot with RAW format)
• Self-timer/remote control mode.
Self-timer• 2 to 20 sec
Playback functions• 1 frame: Thumbnail (4 or 9 segments)
• Magnifying playback
• Slide show
• Histogram indication
• Highlight point display
• Auto image rotation
Storage• Compact Flash Type I or II
• Microdrive supported
• No CF card supplied
Text inputUp to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
Playback functions• Single image
• 4 or 9 thumbnails
• Magnified playback
• Slide show
• Histogram indication
• Highlight point display
Video outputNTSC or PAL selectable
Remote controlML-L3 wireless remote controller (optional)
Connectivity• USB 2.0 (only at 12 Mbps)
• Mass storage / PTP selectable
• Video out
• DC-IN (optional AC adapter)
Power• Lithium-Ion battery pack EN-EL3
• Three CR2 lithium batteries (with supplied MS-D70 battery holder)
• AC Adapter EH-5 (optional)
Dimensions140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
Weight (no battery)595 g (1.3 lb)
Weight (inc. batt)679 g (1.5 lb)
Box contents *Strap, Body cap, Eyepiece cap, LCD monitor cover, Video cable, USB cable, Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL3, Quick Charger MH-18, Picture Project CD-ROM, MS-D70 CR2 battery holder
Optional accessoriesRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3, Multi Charger MH-19, Quick Charger MH-18, AC Adapter EH-5, Speedlight SB-800/600, Nikon Capture 4 Software, Semi-soft Case CF-D70, Remote Controller ML-L3, CompactFlash™ Card


If I had bought a camera in 2005, would the Nikon D70 have been a better choice for me? Absolutely, without a doubt. The autofocus is significantly more refined, the camera is significantly more modifiable, and it possesses a lens library that is significantly more extensive, all of which contribute to superior autofocus and additional shooting possibilities. If I had purchased a D70, I most likely would not have converted to a Canon and instead would have graduated to a D300 before settling on a D750 as my final camera purchase.

Having said that, I don’t think I would have found it to be the ideal camera for me at that point in time. First, it was more than twice as expensive as my Pentax because it required additional lenses to be purchased. Due to the fact that I already owned wide angle and telephoto zooms for Pentax, I decided to only get the *ist body. Given my college student budget, this was a challenge in itself. In addition, I wanted a camera that was easy to use and compact, so the D70 would have felt too large and clunky in comparison. It was enough to convince me to carry my itty-bitty Pentax everywhere; I think the D70 would have been a lot less inclined to come along for the ride.

A further enjoyable excursion into the past. Even though many of the digital components have been upgraded, the experience of using a contemporary DSLR is almost the same as what it was when using a D70. Each generation brings along some incremental improvements to image quality, noise reduction, shooting speed, autofocus speed, and ergonomics, but maintains the same basic capabilities as its predecessor. There isn’t much that I can accomplish with my current camera that I couldn’t do with this one; the only difference is that it would be rather more challenging. I’m going to hang on to this one since you never know when the lads might be interested in joining me for some target practice.

Nikon D70 Price

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Balance of colors that is neutral, “Nikon-like” (tuned towards skin tones)
  • Excellent resolution and clarity, and appears to be superior to the EOS 300D and EOS 10D.
  • Outstanding command over the image’s settings, including sharpness, tone, color mode, saturation, and hue
  • Very little noise even while working at high sensitivities, and a more monochromatic appearance (film-like)
  • A good sharpening algorithm almost completely eliminates artifacts known as halos.
Need Improvemnets
  • Moiré and maze artifact patterns can be seen in some photographs when the resolution is pushed to its maximum.
  • Still only a very ordinary performance for the automatic white balance, we were hoping for more.
  • At 18 millimeters and f/3.5, the AF-S DX 18-70mm lens exhibits vignetting and lens shading.
  • A bug that causes photos to be tagged wrongly as Adobe RGB (we expect a firmware fix)
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