D70 A Winner

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  • 05-06-2004, 10:23 PM
    D70 A Winner
    Smaller and about 100 grams lighter than the D100, itís also 50 grams lighter than the EOS 300D but slightly taller and marginally thicker.

    Overall Feel
    Both cameras feature pentamirror viewfinders to reduce the cameraís weight without compromising usability. However, the D70ís plastic body has a better look and feel than the EOS 300D.

    The Sensor
    The D70ís image sensor is the same size (23.7 x 15.6mm) as in all Nikon D-series cameras, with the same resolution as the D100 Ė and it also appears to have been sourced from Sony.

    The Speedy Operation
    Nikonís claims of an improved signal- to-noise ratio and broader
    dynamic range suggest certain upgrades to both sensor performance and subsequent data processing algorithms. This is borne out by improved continuous shooting figures (3fps for 4 RAW files or between 12 and 144 JPEGs, depending on resolution) and faster downloads to the CF card. Note: this
    seemingly extraordinary capacity at low resolutions is due to the fact that the D70 buffers the final image instead of the raw
    data, which means processing is done before the data hits the buffer. This, in turn, speaks volumes about the D70ís image processing algorithms! Overall, the D70 is a fast worker. Itís quick to power up, the shutter release is almost instantaneous and images pop up for viewing in a second or two Ė except when noise reduction is applied. This requires approximately 32 seconds of processing, and the camera is locked while it takes place. Itís not unusual; just something you need to bear
    in mind when taking long exposures at night.
    Average shutter lag in our tests was only 0.3 seconds and the burst capture rate was 3fps.

    AF System
    The D70 shares the D100ís five-sensor Multi-CAM900 autofocus system, which supports predictive focus tracking and Lock-on. Together they make the AF system accurate and quick to respond in normal conditions, while an AF-assist illuminator ensures
    excellent performance in dim lighting.

    Operation and Controls
    Users of other Nikon film and digital SLR cameras will find much thatís familiar in the D70 and many recurrent control layout
    features, notably the:
    - on/off switch,
    - LCD data display and dual command dials,
    - Some buttons control different functions but their
    common positioning makes swapping from one camera to another easy,
    - The D70ís Mode dial carries the familiar P, A, S, M settings plus
    six Scene positions and an Auto mode,
    - the pop-up flash rises well above the camera body to minimise red-eye in flash shots
    - The rear body panel carries the monitor and card slot (which is large, easily accessible and has a spring-loaded door),
    - A clip-on plastic cover, with a transparent panel over the screen is supplied to prevent the LCDís surface from being scratched.

    Built In Flash
    The built i-TTL flash can shoot at synchronised speeds up to 1/500
    second and the D70 has a hot-shoe mount but no PC sync flash terminal (this can be added via an adaptor). A stand-out feature is
    adjustable flash output, which covers -3.0 to +1.0 EV. Logically, the pop-up flash button doubles as the Flash Mode selector. Popping up the flash charges the capacitor and lights up the AF assist lamp when the Red-eye Reduction Mode is selected. With Slow Sync, you can set the slowest shutter speed to be used with flash Ė right down to 30 seconds! The flash isnít as powerful as the one on the EOS 300D, but you can do more with it and
    the D70 provides i-TTL support for the latest Nikon Speedlights.

    Metering System
    Also noteworthy is the metering system, which is accessed via a button behind the power switch and adjusted by the rear
    control dial. You can choose between the 3D Matrix metering system based on a 1005- pixel RGB Sensor; variable centre-weighted metering; and spot metering. If you select centre-weighted metering, the Custom menu allows you to choose the size of the central spot. Four options are provided: 6mm, 8mm,
    10mm and 12mm. AE bracketing is also adjustable. You can opt for AE-plus-flash bracketing; AE only; flash only; or White
    Balance bracketing, and change the bracketing order.

    ISO Range
    One area in which the D70 offers less than its main competitor is ISO range. Here the D70 starts at ISO 200 and ends at ISO 1600,
    but with 10 settings being provided, users will have little cause for complaint. The D70ís menu system is generally excellent Ė and itís supported by a bright, easy-to-view LCD screen. Four sub-menus are provided:
    Playback, Shooting, Custom, and Set-up.