• Nikon Camera Review: Nikon D70 Review

    18 April 2005

    Nikon D70 Review

    I owned a total of six digital cameras before purchasing my D70, ranging from an execrable little Agfa that drained a pair of AAs to produce a dozen terrible VGA shots thorugh a Canon G2 that was a pleasure to use. The Canon was pretty good, with manual controls and decent image quality. But what I really wanted, all that time, was a camera with enough pixels to produce sharp, photo-quality 8x10s, a camera that actually fired when I pressed the shutter release, and a way to use all my Nikkor lenses. More than that, I wanted something that felt like a pro camera, like my F2s and F3s.

    Well, the D70 doesn't quite have the heft and solidity of an F2- it's more like the modern plastic Nikons that it descended from. And while I can mount any post-AI lens on it, I lose a lot of the metering using non-computerized lenses. And my favorite wide angle Nikkors, like the 28/2.8, become boring normal lenses on the D70.

    But those are minor complaints. This is an excellent camera, with superb ergonomics, full control over all the exposure parameters, and the famous Nikon F mount. I can still use my old 300mm, (albeit with reduced metering ability), my Vivitar 283 flashes (with an adapter to cut the trigger voltage), and a lot of other accessories. It's a true system camera, and compared to the film Nikons I bought 20 years ago, it's a bargain. Of course unlike the film cameras it doesn't have a useful life of even 10 years, let alone 20 or 30 or more. But then, what modern electronic device does? And the lenses will, in the Nikkor tradition, still be useful on whatever cameras I buy to succeed this one.

    Picture quality is, of course, superb, and the automation makes the camera a pleasure to use. A novice could set the mode switch to "Auto" and happily click away all day, while the pro can do anything possible on a film camera, and more.

    I bought a 1Gbyte flash card for my D70, as the 256MB cards I already own fill up pretty fast when you're shooting 5Mbyte RAW mode images. I plan to buy a few more accessories as well- another battery, a real wide angle lens (when funds allow) and perhaps the soft case, to better protect it.

    And I think this just may be the year I sell of the rest of my film SLRs- if anyone still wants them!

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