• Nikon Camera Review: Nikon D70 Review - Excellent Quality, Features, Usability

    18 April 2005

    Nikon D70 Review - Excellent Quality, Features, Usability

    As a beginner-to-intermediate level photographer, I've waited for some time now for the DSLRs to come down in price, and Nikon finally prompted me to jump in. I have been extremely happy with this camera since purchasing it in March of 2004. The speed and ability to view images instantly are great, as I am always shooting photos of small children (who don't necessarily stay in one place).

    I would recommend the DX lens that comes with the kit over a 3rd-party lens (e.g. Quantaray). It is bigger and heavier, but much faster. I also purchased two of the SB-800 flashes. They (again) are pricey, but have a higher rating (more light) and have features dripping everywhere. The Creative Lighting System with remote flash control is easy to use (the instructions make it look hard, but try it out once), I'm probably going to get a 3rd flash to go with it. Also look for the wireless shutter release, available anywhere from $18 - $30. Pretty cool.

    The sharpness and color really deliver, my neighbors are asking a lot of questions (looking to buy). While it can be used as a point-and-shoot, there are more than enough controls / settings to satisfy all but high-end pros.

    Some advice: Get to know the metering, auto-focus, and white-balance controls. If you spend a little time figuring these features out, you can go from taking good pictures great pictures in "Program" mode, with very little camera adjustment. My last SLR did not have auto-focus, and the ability to get selective with the focus while still in auto (my eyes are getting older) is a big help. It will also keep you from focusing on the wrong object.

    My only criticisms of this camera / package are:
    1. Included (free) software has limited capability. Trial version of higher-end software included, I think it's another $100.00 or so.
    2. I would like the camera to have multiple setup configurations for different situations.

    **** Update 1/31/05 ****
    When I originally wrote this, I recommended the DX lens that comes in the kit. I still think this is a great lens, but I recently purchased the Nikkor 24-120mm vibration-reduction lens. Awesome. The VR function helps significantly when hand-holding at slower shutter-speeds. It is a great general purpose lens. I found that while shooting with the kit lens, I kept zooming out to the 70mm mark and wishing I had another 10-20mm to fill the frame better, and this lens gives it without having to switch to my 70-300mm. If I were to do it over again, I think I would have purchased the D70 body only with the 24-120mm VR. I thnk the extra couple of hundred dollars is worth it in the long run. The 18-70mm is a good lens, though, and allows a little wider angle (which comes in handy for landscapes).

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