Nikon D70

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Nikon D70

Pros

  • Compatible with Nikon lenses

Cons

  • Nothing major

Bottom Line

The Nikon D70 is feature-packed and takes superb photos. If you already have Nikon-compatible lenses the D70 is a great way to get into high-end digital.

Would you buy this?

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The 6.1Mp Nikon D70 is at the forefront of the digital SLR revolution for the photo enthusiast. Nikon digital SLRs differ from fixed lens digital cameras in a number of ways. The most obvious is the fact that you can use existing lenses that fit Nikon cameras - both film and digital. If you already own one or more of these lenses, the D70 is a great step into the digital world for the price of a camera body.

There are other differences however. Digital SLRs don't do video or voice recording. And they certainly are not compact. If these features are critical in your camera selection, look to the range of quality 6Mp-plus compact models in our advanced camera category.

The D70 has the full complement of features you would expect from a quality Nikon film or digital SLR. The camera can operate as a fully automatic SLR, individual features can be set to manual (for example, shutter speed), or pretty much all settings can be made manually.

For users still coming to terms with the shooting flexibility this camera has to offer, Nikon has included "Digital Vari-Programs" - settings already configured to be appropriate for your needs. These include Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Landscape and Night Portrait. The Mode dial also allows the user to choose Auto Multi Program (P), Shutter-Priority Auto (S), Aperture-Priority Auto (A) and Manual (M). P allows the camera to automatically select the appropriate setting unless the user overrides it. Set the shutter speed in S or aperture in A and let the camera do the rest. Or set the camera manually in M. A depth-of-field preview is also provided.

One of the significant benefits of a digital SLR over types of digital cameras is control over the lens. Zoom rings allow perfect framing of shots, unlike trying to adjust the frame using a digital zoom button. And focus rings are far preferable for manual focus. We used this camera consistently for over three weeks and shot hundreds of photos, both with the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens supplied, and with a Tamron AF 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 Ultra Zoom lens. The D70 supports Nikon F Mount CPU and non-CPU lenses, although Type G and D are required for full functionality. The Nikon D70 can shoot images up to 3008x2000 pixels, which can be stored as TIFF, RAW (NEF) or JPEG formats. JPEG can be set as basic, normal and fine. Large raw (NEF) images are about 5MB, while large fine JPEG images are around 3MB. The camera supports Type I and Type II CompactFlash cards, as well as microdrives.

There is also a self-timer and an optional remote control. If you want to take shots at slow shutter speeds - for example, a 5sec shot of cars on a bridge at night - you will need the remote control to reduce camera shake, as the camera does not support a screw-in cable shutter release. If you're looking to capture action, continuous shooting at up to 3fps is supported.

Nikon's viewfinder display provides all the information required to frame, focus and shoot. Five focus points are offered, the camera supports focus lock and the viewfinder includes a grid. Adapters (diopter adjustment) for the viewfinder eyepiece are available to compensate for vision impairment. The LCD screen on the back of the camera body is not used during shooting, but for playback and menu display. There is also a video-out port (NTSC and PAL) allowing images to be viewed on a TV screen. A cable is supplied.

The D70 allows the photographer to set bracketing on exposure, flash and white-balance. Metering can be set on matrix, centre-weighted and spot; and focus area set on single, dynamic, and closest subject. Focus lock is also supported. Sensitivity - an ISO equivalence for digital cameras - can be set automatically by the camera or can be selected from a range between ISO 200 and ISO 1600.

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