• Nikon Camera Review: 2005-04-10

    12 April 2005

    Nikon D70 Review - Exactly What I Needed In A Camera

    My first concern when choosing a camera was to find one that I would use and use regularly. The obvious downside to the D70 (and any SLR) is the size and weight. This is by no means a camera that I can put in my pocket and pull out at a moment's notice. Despite this, I find myself bringing it with me to places that I wouldn't have imagined bringing any sort of camera. The D70 makes taking pictures such a pleasant experience that I go out of my way to carry it with me. I have taken it skiing, kayaking, partying, and many other places.

    The camera is absurdly easy to use, if all you want is to take a picture and move it to a computer. I assume that anyone looking at this camera, though, is perhaps interested in a some additional features, whether in the camera or in photo editing. The D70 does not disappoint. Even prior to reading the manual, I was able to figure out a lot of what the camera can do, and after reading the manual, I realized that it is unlikely that I will ever memorize every function. It is by far most satisfying to simply put everything on manual and simulate shooting film.

    Briefly, about the contents of the box. The included lens is a great product. It has good zoom and a great wide angle which is incredibly useful for group shots and what have you. I purchased a card reader to avoid running the camera batteries down, and I take probably 2 GB of photos per battery charge. I do not use any of the software that came with the camera, as I use iPhoto for importing and organizing and Photoshop for editing. I did buy a UV filter, and I recently acquired a second lens with a substantially larger zoom.

    It is certainly a great camera. I know that I made exactly the right decision to purchase this camera. I use it regularly despite the weight, and I find myself taking better and better pictures.

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    Nikon D70 Rewiew - The perfect digital SLR,

    When I first tried Nikon's D1, I swore I'd buy a digital SLR once the price came down below $1000. A few years went by, and now the D70 is available at an excellent price, and the features blow away the D1 in almost every respect.

    The D70 body construction is very similar to the Nikon N80 film body. Many of the non-digital features, such as depth-of-field preview, multiple selectable focus points, and on-demand grid lines are retained. There are a few minor control changes; you have to select between Single Focus Autofocus and Manual via an internal menu instead of an external switch. Like the N80, the body is plastic, but it feels very rugged and is solid in the hand.

    The digital features have advanced greatly over the original D1. The camera starts up and is ready to shoot instantly, there is literally no waiting time. The camera displays the remaining capacity of the memory card even when the power is turned off. When reviewing pictures (which is also incredibly fast, no wait between images at all), a quick tap on the shutter release will go straight into picture-taking mode again. It's a quick two-button operation to delete any picture. (I haven't accidentally deleted any pictures yet, but it might be a little too easy to delete things.) Image orientation is automatically detected and many photo programs can take advantage of this; no more clicking through your collection to turn pictures right-side up!

    The battery behavior is amazing. I used the camera almost daily for four weeks before recharging the included lithium battery. One weekend I accidentally left the camera on for three days sitting on a tripod and it didn't run the battery down even a hair. Apparently it is very intelligent about drawing power only when taking pictures and not when standing by.

    Managing large digital pictures can be a pain, but it's far better than managing physical folders full of negatives and slides.

    The camera can easily produce 8x10 prints with no hint of digital artifacts. I haven't tried printing any bigger, but I believe it could be blown up even larger without any visible decline in quality.

    When I picked up this camera at the store, the salesman said he had a pro who recently bought one to complement his D100. The pro liked the D70 so much he sold his D100 to get another D70! Advances in technology have made this incredible body very affordable, and Nikon's design experience has made the interface fast, convenient, and intuitive. If you want to get into the digital SLR stuff, this is a great camera to use.

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