Nikon D70 SLR Review

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Nikon D70


First Look posted 3/18/04
Sample photos posted 3/26/04
Full review posted 4/19/04

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Nikon D70 SLR
Click to take a QuickTime tour of the D70


The D70 is an affordable digital SLR that delivers a combination of innovative features, robust performance and excellent image quality. Built from the ground up to be a digital SLR, the D70 incorporates a DX format 6.1-effective megapixel CCD sensor that is optimized to deliver images with excellent sharpness and clarity, and a new advanced system Large Scale Integrated Circuit (LSI) processor ensures images with vivid color, accurate white balance and minimized noise.

The D70 offers AUTO, Program AE, Shutter speed AE, Aperture priority AE and Manual exposure modes plus seven pre-programmed Digital Vari-Program selections. The Digital Vari-Program modes produce great results with smooth gradations and rich tones even in the most complex shooting conditions. Nikon's new Dynamic Buffer technology allows the D70 to continuously capture up to 144 pictures at three pictures per second (when using JPEG NORMAL - Large image settings, and a SanDisk 256 MB Ultra II CompactFlash card). Additional features such as simultaneous compressed NEF (RAW) and JPEG writing capabilities, and new i-TTL flash compatibility with sync speed of 1/500 second puts the D70 in the lead in its class of cameras.

The menus have been designed to offer quick access to the most often used features of the camera. Users will have a choice of customizing their menu to display simple or advanced options depending on their skill level. A unique help button on the camera temporarily displays a short description for each of the 25 different custom settings featured in the D70, offering users immediate help when customizing the camera settings.

The built-in speedlight offers a level of performance that simply doesn't exist in any other digital SLR camera. Designed to be a part of Nikon's growing Creative Lighting System, the D70's built-in speedlight adopts Nikon's exclusive i-TTL flash control technology. The speedlight automatically pops up and fires when natural lighting is inadequate or to add balanced Fill-Flash when there is strong backlighting. In addition, i-TTL technology improves the accuracy of fill-flash exposure and white balance in a picture, by seamlessly integrating color information gathered from the speedlight's monitor pre-flash with information from the camera's 1,005-pixel RGB sensor. The built-in speedlight can also be used in Commander Mode to remotely control a group of multiple wireless SB-600 and/or SB-800 Speedlights.


Nikon D70 Features:

  • 6.1-Megapixel CCD imager yielding 3008 x 2000 pixel images
  • Compact and lightweight digital SLR camera
  • Nikon F-mount lenses (1.5x multiplier same as D1 series)
  • Digital Vari-Program, Program w/shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual
  • Exclusive Nikon 3D-Color Matrix metering
  • Compressed RAW and JPEG formats in three quality levels and sizes
  • TTL auto white balance, presets and custom set
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, flash sync to 1/500
  • Continuous drive at 3fps with dynamic buffer
  • Five area AF with dynamic tracking, single or continuous servo
  • Three color spaces (two sRGB and Adobe sRGB)
  • 1.8-inch color LCD with 118,000 pixels and white LED backlight
  • Onscreen menu for Playback, Shooting, Custom functions and Setup
  • Review with zoomed-playback & pan, histogram and highlights
  • ISO sensitivity from 200 to 1600 in 1/3 steps
  • Noise Reduction circuitry for long exposures
  • 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash with SB-50DX, SB-80DX, SB-600, SB-800
  • CompactFlash Type II storage, Microdrive and FAT-32 compatible
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • USB data and control interface
  • High capacity EN-EL3 Battery Pack and MH-18 charger

The Nikon D70 is available as an Outfit or a Set. The D70 Outfit includes the camera body, rechargeable battery, charger, Nikon PictureProject™ software, trial version of NikonCapture software, neckstrap and the high-performance AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens. The D70 Set includes all items mentioned except the lens.




DIWA Gold Medal Award

DIWA Award for Nikon D70


24. September, 2004: DIWA (Digital Imaging Websites Association), a world-wide organisation of collaborating digital imaging websites, today announced that the Nikon D70 has been awarded for outstanding test results. On all accounts, the Nikon D70 satisfied the DIWA testing experts, who honored its overall performance with a DIWA Gold medal in the category of digital system cameras.

The Nikon D70 took the D-SLR market to new heights by introducing exceptional features and qualities at a very reasonable price. Although the camera is targeted for advanced amateurs, also numerous professional photographers have found the D70 to deliver exceptionally good value for money. The DIWA testing team confirms this impression. Numerous individual reviews conclude that the Nikon D70 qualities are indisputable, regardless of the price issue.






2004 Best Consumer Digital SLR Camera
Nikon D70





Physical Views



Nikon D70 SLR

Nikon D70 SLR

Nikon D70 SLR Nikon D70 SLR

Nikon D70 SLR

Nikon D70 SLR





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Nikon D70 SLR

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Nikon D70 SLR

Nikon D70 SLR




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Nikon D70 Specifications

Type of Camera Interchangeable lens digital SLR camera
Nikon F mount
Compatible Lenses 1. DX Nikkor: All functions supported;

2. Type G- or D-AF Nikkor: All functions supported;

3. Micro Nikkor 85mm F2.8D: All functions supported except some exposure modes;

4. Other AF Nikkor (excluding lenses for F3AF): All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering, i-TTL balanced Fill-Flash for digital SLR;

5. AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering, i-TTL balanced Fill-Flash for digital SLR and autofocus;

6. 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.

7. IX Nikkor Lenses cannot be used.

Picture Angle Equivalent in 35 mm [135] format is approx. 1.5 times lens focal length
Image Sensor CCD type, 23.7 x 15.6mm (APS-C size)
Filter system: RGB
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Pixels total: 6.24 million
Pixels effective: 6.1 million
Image Size Large (3,008 x 2,000)
Medium (2,240 x 1,488)
Small (1,504 x 1,000)
Image Format Compressed NEF (RAW): 12-bit lossless compression
JPEG (Fine 1:4, Normal 1:8, Basic 1:16), JPEG baseline-compliant
File System Exif 2.21, Compliant DCF 2.0 and DPOF
Storage Media CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I and II ) and Microdrive
FAT-16 and FAT-32 compatible
Viewfinder Fixed-eyelevel penta-Dach-mirror type
Diopter Adjustment Built-in diopter adjustment (-1.6 to +0.5 m -1)
Focusing Screen Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark V with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines
Eyepoint 18 mm (-1.0 m -1)
Viewfinder Coverage approx. 95%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.75x with 50 mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
Viewfinder Information Focus indications, Metering system, AE/FV lock indicator, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure/Exposure compensation indicator,Exposure mode, Flash output level compensation, Exposure compensation, Number of remaining exposures
Autofocus TTL phase detection by Nikon Multi-CAM900 autofocus module with AF-assist illuminator (approx. 0.5 m to 3.0 m) Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature: 20°C/68°F)
Lens Servo 1) Autofocus (AF): single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous servo AF (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
2) Manual focus (M)
Focus Area 5 areas, selectable
AF Area Mode 1) Single Area AF
2) Dynamic Area AF
3) Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF
Focus Lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
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
Sensitivity ISO equivalency 200 - 1600 in 1/3 steps
Exposure Metering TTL full-aperture exposure metering system:
(1) 3D color matrix metering with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor
(2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75% (8mm dia. circle) given to 6, 8, 10, or 13 mm dia. circle in center of frame, or weighting based on average of entire frame
(3) Spot: Meters 2.3 mm dia. circle (about 1% of frame) centered on active focus area
Exposure Metering Working Range 1) EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)
2) EV 2 to 20 (spot metering) (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20°C/68°F)
Exposure Meter Coupling CPU coupling
Exposure Modes Digital Vari-Program ( Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close up, Sports, Night landscape, Night portrait)
[P] programmed auto with flexible program
[S] shutter-priority auto
[A] aperture priority auto
[M] manual
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Auto Exposure Lock Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
Auto Exposure Bracketing Two or three frames ±2EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps
Shooting Modes 1) Single frame shooting mode
2) Continuous shooting mode: approx. 3 frames per second
3) Self-timer/remote control mode
Shutter Combined mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
30 to 1/8000 sec. in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb
Flash Sync X-contact only; flash synchronization at up to 1/500 second
Flash Control 1) TTL: TTL flash control by 1,005 pixel RGB sensor Built-in Speedlight: i-TTL balanced Fill-Flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering or mode dial set to [M]) SB-800 or 600: i-TTL balanced Fill-Flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering)
2) Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 and 600 with CPU lens
3) Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s
4) Range-priority manual available with SB-800 and 600
Flash Sync Mode 1) Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
2) Red-Eye Reduction
3) Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
4) Slow Sync
5) Rear-Curtain Sync
Built-in Speedlight Auto flash with auto pop-up[P], [S], [A], [M]: manual pop-up with button release Guide number (ISO 200/ISO 100, m): approx. 15/11 (manual full 17/12)
Flash Compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2EV
Accessory Shoe Standard ISO hot-shoe contact with safety lock
Interface USB 2.0 (full speed ~12Mbps): Mass Storage and PTP selectable
Text Input Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
LCD Monitor 1.8-inch, 130,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
Playback Function 1 frame: Thumbnail (4 or 9 segments); Magnifying playback; Slide show; Histogram indication; Highlight point display; Auto image rotation
Delete Function Card format, All frames delete, Selected frames delete
Video Output NTSC or PAL selectable
Self-timer Electronic 2 to 20 second delay
Depth of Field Preview When CPU lens is attached, lens aperture can be stopped down and previewed by pressing the preview button
Remote Control Optional ML-L3 wireless controller
Power Source One rechargeable Nikon Li-ion Battery EN-EL3
Three CR2 lithium batteries (with supplied CR2 Battery Holder MS-D70)
AC Adapter EH-5 (optional)
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 inches
Weight approx. 21 oz w/out battery, memory card
Supplied Accessories Strap, Body cap, Eyepiece cap, LCD monitor cover, Video cable, USB cable, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3, Quick Charger MH-18, PictureProject CD-ROM, CR2 Battery Holder MS-D70
Optional Accessories Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3, Multi Charger MH-19, Quick Charger MH-18, AC Adapter EH-5, Speedlight SB-800/600, Nikon Capture 4 (ver.4.1) Software, Semi-Soft Case CF-D70, Remote Controller ML-L3, CompactFlash Card

Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.


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