Nikon D70s Review

Nikon’s response to the newly emerging sub-$1,000 digital SLR market is the D70, which was introduced on January 28, 2004. Its most direct competitor is the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel), which was introduced in August of last year.

After precisely two years following the release of the D100, Nikon unveiled the D70. The D70 looks to share quite a lot with its older sister, including a six-megapixel CCD sensor and a Multi-CAM900 autofocus technology. One of the biggest issues that Canon EOS 300D users have is with the camera’s ability to compensate for flash exposure, and the Nikon D70 looks to offer quite a few advantages over the EOS 300D in this regard.

The D70 and the D100 have a design that is quite similar to one another. In fact, if it weren’t for the large silver ‘D70’ logo and the new red flash on the hand grip, it would be very simple to get the two cameras confused with one another at first sight.

The D70 has a durable (polycarbonate) shell, but it still doesn’t seem as solid as the D100. That being said, it does feel stronger than the Canon EOS 300D. Other physical distinctions include how the camera looks. The overall design of the D70 offers a pleasant sensation of balance and symmetry, with subtle seam lines, a decent variety of exterior controls, and a material selection that is both practical and tasteful.

Body An Design

Side by side

Although the D70 is noticeably lighter than the D100 (and instantly gives the impression of being so), the difference in weight between the D70 and the Canon EOS 300D is only 30 grams; a difference of this magnitude is scarcely discernible.

Within your grasp

The hand grip of the D70 is covered in rubber, and the door to the Compact Flash container on the back of the camera has a rubber covering. Both of these features contribute to the D70’s pleasant and secure grip. The size of the grip is perfect, and it is easy to find the functions on the device. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but I get the feeling that more of the camera’s weight is on the right side (where the battery is), and as a result, the center of gravity is closer to your hand with the D70 than it is with the D100. Although the D70 is smaller, it also feels better balanced than the D100.

LCD Monitor

LCD panel with a greater resolution than those found on the D100 and the Canon EOS 300D. The D70’s new monitor measures 1.8 inches and has 134,000 pixels. It seems that the monitor has good brightness, clarity, and detail. In addition, Nikon offers a clip-on screen protector cover that is entirely see-through in the center. Using this cover will help prevent scratches from appearing on the screen’s actual surface.

Status Panel

The information that is displayed on the status panel of the D70, which can be located on the upper right side of the body of the camera, pertains to both the photographic (exposure, focus, drive, etc.) and digital (picture size, white balance, etc.) aspects of the camera. In contrast to the D100, the green backlight can only be turned on by pushing the little button that is located to the right of the LCD. Unlike the D100, it cannot be configured to turn on automatically whenever any button is pressed.

Battery

Storage Space for Batteries

The battery compartment of the D70 may be accessed by pulling the little lever that is placed in the base of the hand grip. Once inside, the door can be flipped open. You’ll discover an opening on the inside that can accommodate either the EN-EL3 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery that comes with the product or the cradle for the three CR2 batteries that are also included.

Carrier for the Battery, Charger, and CR2

The Nikon D70 is powered by the same Nikon EN-EL3 Lithium-Ion battery pack (7.4 V 1400 mAh; 10.4 Wh) that was used in the Nikon D100. Considering how effective and long-lasting this battery pack was in the D100, we don’t anticipate any different performance from it in the D70.

One EN-EL3 battery may be recharged using the MH-18 rapid charger that is included, which can be powered by 100-240 VAC and typically does so in around two hours (if completely discharged). Additionally, the D70 comes with a brand-new battery carrier that can hold three CR2 (Lithium, 3V) batteries. This gives an additional source of power in the event that your primary battery dies while you are out shooting in the field.

Flash

Storage Space for Compact Flash Cards

The Compact Flash Compartment may be found on the back of the camera and is included in the molded grip on the back of the camera. When the lever on the door’s left edge is pressed, the door has a spring that allows for a full opening of the door.

There is a Compact Flash slot (Type I/II, which supports Microdrive and FAT32) on the inside of the camera. This slot, like the one on the D100, is set at a little angle. One may guess that if this slot wasn’t mounted at an angle, there wouldn’t be enough room in the hand grip for the battery.

The fact that the doors to the CF compartment on Nikon cameras are closed in one motion, which means that you may do so by merely clutching the camera in a conventional manner, has always been one of the features that I have most appreciated about these cameras.

Flash Pop-Up Window

You may release the pop-up flash on the D70 by pushing a little button that is located on the left side of the camera right below the flash. The button that releases the shutter also functions, logically speaking, as the button that controls the flash mode and the flash exposure correction.

Hold the button down and adjust the front command dial to alter the exposure compensation (from -3.0 to +1.0 EV), which is something that the Canon EOS 300D severely lacks. Hold the button down and turn the rear command dial to change the flash mode.

Flash’s built-in hotshoe

The D70 is equipped with a standard Nikon hot shoe that is compatible with a wide variety of Nikon Speedlights, including the recently released SB-800 and SB-600. Both of these new flashes are compatible with the Nikon i-TTL flash metering protocol. D-TTL metering is one of the features that is not supported by the D70.

AF Assist Lamp

If the light levels are not sufficient for the autofocus system to achieve a decent focus, the white light AF help lamp that comes equipped with the D70 will automatically illuminate the subject. A user-defined function 4 gives users the option to turn on or turn off the lamp.

Lens Mount / Sensor

Because the D70 is equipped with a Nikon F lens mount, it is compatible with virtually all Nikkor F mount lenses. Only while using AF Nikkor CPU lenses of type G or D do you have access to the camera’s whole feature set.

Sound of the Shutter Being Released

Every single one of our digital SLR evaluations now includes an audio recording that was taken during a rapid succession of shots. You may download the recording of the Nikon D70 shooting continuously for 20 seconds followed by the Canon EOS 300D shooting continuously for 20 seconds by clicking here (it is an MP3 file that is 1,284 KB in size).

The shutter speeds on both cameras were set to be more than 1/250 of a second, and they were directed toward a subject that was not moving. On both cameras, the image quality was adjusted to a setting of six megapixels JPEG Fine. The card that was utilized was a SanDisk Ultra II 1 GB compact flash card (Type I).

The D70 stores the compressed JPEG file in its buffer, but the EOS 300D stores the RAW data from the sensor in its buffer. This is the fundamental difference between the ways in which these two cameras buffer.

Therefore, if you use a lower JPEG quality or a smaller picture size on the D70, you will be able to capture an even greater number of photographs in a single burst at 3 frames per second. Both of these cameras permit you to keep your finger on the shutter release while you take a picture, and they will snap the picture as soon as there is sufficient buffer space for the next photo.

Lenses

Because the Nikon D70 is a camera that will appeal to both experienced users of SLRs and owners of compact cameras who are interested in upgrading to a prosumer-style camera, it is essential to take into consideration the lenses and the quality of the lenses (especially with six megapixels to resolve). Because it utilizes Nikon’s D lens mount, the D70 is compatible with a broad variety of lenses, both those manufactured by Nikon and those manufactured by third-party lens makers. Because they don’t have to generate an image circle that’s as big as the one a 35 mm lens does, Nikon’s DX lenses are far more compact and lightweight than their 35 mm equivalents. These lenses were developed expressly for use with digital single-lens reflex cameras like Nikon’s D70.

Nikkor DX Lenses *

  • 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye Optical Image Stabilization
  • 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom
  • 18-70mm f3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom

Image Quality & Size of Image

The output image size and quality may be selected independently of the D70. It offers three various image size options, including 3008 x 2000 (6.0 million pixels), 2240 x 1488 (3.3 million pixels), and 1504 x 1000. (1.5 million pixels). You have the option of selecting them in conjunction with one of the three JPEG quality levels: fine, normal, or basic.

In addition to that, there is the RAW mode, which utilizes the Nikon NEF format and is lossless in its compression (a bit like zip compression). The last mode is RAW+JPEG mode, which produces a distinct RAW file as well as a Large JPEG. The drawback of this feature, however, is that the JPEG is produced at Basic quality, and there is no opportunity to modify it.

Standard Test Scene

The following table is a cross-reference of some of the different combinations of picture size and quality that are available. This will give you an idea of what some of these combinations produce:

  • 3008 x 2000 RAW (to TIFF using Nikon Capture 4.1) (to TIFF using Nikon Capture 4.1)
  • 3008 x 2000 JPEG Large / Fine
  • JPEG image size: 3008 by 2000 pixels; normal quality
  • 3008 x 2000 JPEG Large / Basic
  • 2240 x 1488 JPEG Medium / Fine
  • 1504 x 1000 JPEG Small / Fine

Color modes

The Nikon D70, just like other Nikon digital SLRs, offers three different color modes. Modes Ia and IIIa are both mapped to the sRGB color space, which means that images shot in these modes will look correct immediately and can be used as is. Mode Ib is not mapped to sRGB. Mode B is not mapped to sRGB. Mode C is not mapped to s The color mode IIIa was developed specifically for use while photographing nature and landscapes; it offers greens that are more vibrant and a color balance that is more authentic.

Because Mode II is mapped to the Adobe RGB color space, the resulting color gamut is more expansive; nonetheless, the output of the computer display will require conversion to the sRGB color space. This capability is currently considered standard for virtually all digital single-lens reflex cameras because to the widespread adoption of Adobe RGB by professional photographers and publishers.

The D70 employs a unique filename mask for Adobe RGB pictures; these pictures start with “DSC” rather than the more conventional “DSC.” Because they are now integrated with the Adobe RGB color profile as well, color space-aware apps such as Adobe Photoshop are able to instantly detect and apply the appropriate color profile.

ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels

Standard Test

The ability to enhance the sensitivity of the sensor of a digital camera to allow for quicker shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light is referred to as the ISO equivalent setting. This is accomplished with a digital camera by “raising up the volume” (gaining) on the signal amplifiers that are included within the CCD. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and doing so would often result in an increase in audible noise (random speckles visible all over the image).

In order to conduct accurate, consistent, and objective noise assessments, we have shifted to employing a new methodology. The shots are taken in our studio with natural daylight as the source of illumination. When using a Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker chart, noise is quantified by calculating the standard deviation of the medium gray patch. Before measuring the level of noise, the image is first normalized, which removes any chance of the results being skewed by differences in image contrast (one method of masking noise).

Test notes:

  • Taken at a temperature of roughly 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The lighting was designed to mimic daylight.
  • White balance set manually
  • Priority of the Aperture

Overall conclusion

It was fairly clear that Canon was offering a formidable package at an excellent price which would be the mark for affordable digital SLRs of the future, with image quality almost identical to the EOS 10D and a price that was less than $1,000 it caused a significant ripple in the market. Shortly after Canon announced the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel), it made its way into the hands of reviewers, and it was fairly clear that Canon was offering a formidable package at an excellent price.

Now, however, it is abundantly clear that Nikon was well aware of this and had the D70 up its sleeve. The D70 is a camera that is a significant step ahead of the EOS 300D in terms of build quality and feature set and is on par with and in some cases better than, the EOS 300D in terms of image quality.

The D70 from Nikon has three significant advancements in comparison to its predecessor, the D100, namely the following: (1) They were able to increase the functionality of the camera by making it possible for it to be turned on instantly, to have a very quick shutter release, to have excellent continuous shooting and picture processing speeds, and to make intelligent use of its buffer.

They have maintained build quality while yet offering a smaller and lighter camera. The D70 doesn’t seem any less well constructed than the D100, but it is lighter, and it definitely feels much more like $1000 worth of equipment than the EOS 300D could possibly feel.

They have enhanced the image sharpness and detail, and while we might quibble about moiré, the balance between artifacts and sharpness is worth it, with the D70 offering more detail than our prior benchmark, the EOS 300D / EOS 10D CMOS sensor in many situations.

There isn’t much else that I can say, other than the fact that I am extremely delighted to see Nikon stepping up with a premium camera that doesn’t compromise on build quality, feature set, or image quality, and still delivers outstanding value for money. This camera is the Nikon D7500. In spite of the fact that the D70 has a little higher price tag than the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel), purchasing it is without a doubt an excellent investment.

Good For
  • Outstanding command over the image’s settings, including sharpness, tone, color mode, saturation, and hue
  • Excellent resolution and clarity, and appears to be superior to the EOS 300D and EOS 10D.
  • Balance of colors that is neutral, “Nikon-like” (tuned towards skin tones)
  • A good sharpening algorithm nearly completely eliminates artifacts known as halos.
  • Very little noise even while working at high sensitivities, and a more monochromatic appearance (film-like)
Need Improvements
  • A bug that causes photos to be tagged wrongly as Adobe RGB (we expect a firmware fix)
  • Moiré and labyrinth artifact patterns can be seen in some photographs when the resolution is pushed to its limit.
  • We were hoping for a better performance from the automated white balance, but it was just okay. There is no Kelvin white balance setting in the camera.
  • At 18 millimeters and f/3.5, the AF-S DX 18-70mm lens exhibits vignetting and lens shading.

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