have finally begun, so we can now close the book on feature specifications
(my review of the camera can be found here).
Here are the specifications with my brief comments in italics:
CCD (3008 x 2000 Large, 2240x1488 Medium, 1504x1000 Small sizes), 12-bit
in NEF. The buzz is that this is a Sanyo-produced sensor that uses
Nikon-specified updates to the Sony chip used in the D100. In most aspects,
the sensor is identical to the D100's, but it uses electronic shutter
speeds above 1/250. Better than D100
- ISO 200
to 1600, Auto. I wish they'd leave off Auto or only make it work
in Manual exposure mode. That would cut down on the number of questions
I get concerning why the Auto ISO doesn't work (it does, just cryptically
in some exposure modes). Moreover, if you implement Auto ISO,the user
needs some idea of what's being set, which no Nikon body to date has
- 30 second
to 1/8000 shutter, combined electronic/mechanical, with flash sync to
1/500. No mirror pre-release (mirror-lockup for cleaning, though). At
the Slow Sync end, users can set the slowest shutter speed to be used
with flash (e.g., you can set 1/30 instead of 1/60 as the bottom shutter
speed limit). Very nicely done, and a big step up, as it essentially
matches one of the acclaimed aspects of the D1 series. With an AS-14
to give PC Sync out you may be able to sync at higher shutter speeds,
ala the D1 series. Better than D100 except for mirror prerelease
Color CCD Matrix meter. The viewfinder CCD performs matrix metering,
flash metering, and white balance calculations. It seems to do all these
with aplomb, just as we'd expect after the D2h. Better than
color LCD, 130k pixels. D70s: 2" LCD.
rotation of images (while viewing, too). Better than
- 14 frame
buffer JPEG, 4 frame buffer NEF, 3 fps, WA and 32-bit FAT support. A
reasonable capability level for a camera aimed at serious amateurs.
But this only hints at the camera's capabilities, since it using
a new, smarter buffering system and is faster at writing files. Nikon's
press release claims that the Dynamic Buffer allows shooting up to
144 frames at 3 fps, but this requires you to set the camera to JPEG
and use a card that can keep up (specified in the press release as
a SanDisk 256MB Ultra II). In general, buffer limitations, even if
are substantially less restricting on the D70, especially if you're
using a state-of-the-art storage card. Better than D100 in
NEF, JPEG, and Compressed NEF+JPEG; no uncompressed NEF or TIFF. Dropping
TIFF support isn't significant, IMHO. Leaving off Uncompressed NEF is
potentially significant--we've been limited in our ability to post process
highlight detail, since some of it is destroyed in compression.
CAM900 AF module.
- M, A,
S, P exposure modes, plus 7 scene exposure modes (Auto, Portrait,
Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Landscape). Be
aware that the special scene exposure modes place limitations on
other features. In general, I've never liked Nikon's implementations
of these modes, as they never quite are as extreme as they need to
be and they limit the user's options.
support (up to three wireless groups with an SB-800 as master, flash
value lock, ala D2h). The internal flash has a Commander mode,
which allows it to control a single wireless group of SB-600 or SB-800
Speedlights. You can also set the internal flash at several Manual
power levels. However, note that D-TTL is NOT supported if you use
an SB-28DX, SB-50DX,
or SB-80DX. Better
than D100 with new CLS flashes, worse with older DX flashes
On Demand grid lines in viewfinder.
- 25 Custom
Settings (no big surprises in what can be set, though some users will
find not having Single Area AF and Dynamic Area AF as an external control
something that slows them down). Custom Settings can be shown as
normal or "detailed," but I don't see much point in having
EXIF 2.21, DPOF Support. D70s adds paper size to PictBridge.
eye point (-1.6 to +.5 diopter adjust), 95% frame coverage at .75x
DK-16 eyecup (so eyepiece is slightly different design). A new
DR-6 right-angle finder was introduced in Japan. Not sure when it'll
appear in the States.
compensation and ISO setting in 1/3 stop (or 1/2 stop).
enhancement settings: Normal, Vivid, Sharp, Soft, Direct Print, Landscape,
and Custom (controls sharpening, contrast, tone, color, saturation,
and hue, available in P, S, A, and M exposure modes). We'll have
to test these things in order to get a handle of their usefulness. In
general, I'm suspicious of attempts to generalize settings like this,
though I can see how it could be some benefit to untrained amateurs.
But given the high specifications of this camera, this seems a bit of
a mismatch in target customer. Also, Nikon is now labeling the sRGB
color modes Ia, and IIIa (they're I and III in the D100 and D2h). The
D70's target appears to be slightly different than the D100's.
(apparently meant to eventually replace Nikon View) and Capture
(optional). PictureProject and the new Capture support plug-ins.
Capture 4.1 is a 30-day trial version or US$99 extra.
- It doesn't
have a threaded shutter release, but has a wireless IR remote. The
ML-L3 remote isn't included, but it's less than US$20. Range on the
IR remote is adequate for casual self-portrait use, but not for serious
long distance triggering. You need the remote to do Bulb exposures conveniently,
by the way, but good luck finding it as they sold out at most stores
days after the D70 appeared. D70s adds new MC-DC1 remote cable.
- The body
design is a bit taller than the N75 and uses a cross of D100 and
D2h styling. In general, it looks like an update to the D100.
Be aware that some controls have moved (metering) and are overloaded
(flash release button), which will take some getting used to if you're
transitioning to the D70 from a D100.
an all-black body design.
- USB 12MBs
transfer rate. Direct
control of the camera from a computer is possible, but you have
to switch the camera to PTP mode (normally,
USB cameras default to look like mass storage devices).
- The external
connections are under a rubber side cover ala the D100.
lithium ion battery (or use CR2 batteries). Same as the
D100 D70s: EN-EL3a battery provides longer life.
- No PC
Sync terminal (requires AS-15). Same as the D100
- No 10-pin
connector option. Worse than D100
- No optional
extended grip/vertical release. I wasn't a fan of the optional
grip, but some will lament the loss, especially since the 10-pin
connector option disappears. Worse
- A new
consumer-oriented DX lens, the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G DX ED-IF AF-S accompanies
the actual product launch and is targeted at the D70 customer. The
optics perform well, and this gives you a fast-focusing ~28-105mm equivalent,
which is the focal range most amateurs tend to use most.
street price without lens. Euro1100 without lens. In Japan, some
stores are already listing the D70 at lower prices than Canon's Digital
Rebel (300D), which probably means that there's some pricing flexibility
that we'll see over time (the Digital Rebel lists for US$899 in the
not meter with AI and AI-S lenses.
- 1.5x angle of view change, ala other Nikon DSLRs.
is 595g without battery (~21 ounces).
is made in Thailand (as have been many Nikon bodies).
many of the features in the above list are "better than D100" and how
few are "worse than D100." Given the lower price, the D70 effectively
removes the D100 from the market and lowers the resale value of the
D100. Note that this doesn't mean the D100 is any less capable than
it has been (which is to say "very"), just that the target for digital
cameras moves forward.
are interested in the controls, here's are some of the highlights:
- It has
front and back command dials.
- It has
the N75 style autofocus mode switch on the front.
- It has
the N75 DOF button on the front, close to the lens mount at the bottom
and a slightly less convenient position than other Nikon bodies.
- AE-L, AF-L
sensor pad plus AF pad lock.
(trash can) button.
- Playback button
- Menu button
button, White Balance/Protect/Help button, Image
Quality/Size/Playback button Dual purposing the back buttons
give users faster access to common image settings, retain compatibility
with previous playback style
exposure compensation button (and options button) is the flash release
Nikon has once again changed both the order and naming used in the menu
system, something that's going to frustrate those of us with multiple
Nikon DSLR bodies. Also, the tabbed interface remains, but can controlled
- An 18-70mm
f/3.5-4.5G DX AF-S ED-IF lens launched with the D70, with a
street price for the lens of perhaps US$500 or less. Again, this
is very reasonable range, and the AF-S and internal focusing make
this a step above previous Nikon consumer lens offerings.
Speedlight. A much needed second CLS (I-TTL) capable flash (should
be available in June 2004).
Digital Photo Storage Viewer (digital wallet type device)! While
the idea of digital wallet type devices is obvious and potentially
useful, in practice they've been a disappointment for two primary
reasons: (1) battery life is abysmal, and (2) any drive failure can
result in the catastrophic loss of many photos. Because of #1, you
don't use them in the field, you use them in the hotel room after
a day's shoot. Because of #2 you bring a laptop just in case you
need to run a recovery utility on the drive. Which means that in
practice you might as well just bring the images into your laptop.
We'll see if Nikon has added anything to the mix that breaks this
Catch 22 situation and makes the Coolwalker road-worthy for us extensive
travelers, but I'm not hopeful. Available in June 2004.
- D70 support. Obvious
need given that the D70 only saves NEFs in compressed format.
window (supports images from multiple folders). Marginally helpful;
mostly useful to batch processors.
moire reduction. Surprise feature, at least until everyone discovered
the D70 is more prone to moire.
- Faster. Always
Filter support! You'll see plug-ins from at least Nik (DFine,
Sharpener) on day 1 [while Nikon promised that, it didn't happen],
and if Nikon is developing this correctly and supporting the developers
is very good
JPEG to NEF conversion? I'm not 100% sure about this function,
(e.g., can we re-apply
images?), but I actually see several interesting possibilities with
this. By converting a JPEG to NEF and then running that NEF through
Photoshop CS, for instance, we could remove chromatic aberration
from a JPEG more easily than before (that's assuming this works the
way I envision it, obviously). Also, NEFs can be saved to JPEG format,
to save individual parameters in instruction sets. Much needed,
and probably the number one request to Capture's development staff.
Combined with the ability to batch selected images, this is very
to edit one image while others are being batch processed.
- LCH editor
(similar to what's in Nikon Scan, I believe) and Chroma (saturation)
completed specifications list and added my comments
checked against Nikon press release; few minor items updated
fixed number of pixels on LCD
Added compressed NEF only, removed Better than D100 in that category
Added Capture 4.1 info
Someone asked for a D70-specific accessory list. Here it is: EN-EL3
battery, MH-10 multi-charger, MH-18 charger, EH-5 AC adapter, CF-D70
soft case, DR-6 right angle viewfinder, ML-L3 IR remote. No other
D70-specific accessories are listed by Nikon.
(darn, the versioning now needs versions!): I keep getting questioned
about USB 1.1. While several Nikon subsidiaries list "USB 2.0" in
their spec sheets, it appears that Nikon is taking advantage of a
USB consortium convention that says that digital cameras that only
support the FULL speed (12mbps) transfer rate can label themselves
as USB 2.0, even though they don't support the HIGH speed (450mbps)
transfer. Essentially, the D70 appears to support only USB 1.1 transfer
Added "no TTL with DX flashes"
internal Manual flash power levels; fixed decimal point in diopter
values; added no mirror prerelease; added DK-16 eyecup; added D100 or
Added Slow Sync option; added HI-1, HI-2 ISO values; spell-checked
again; menu comments added.
Added 12MBs transfer rate to USB section.
Lots of factual and comment updates based upon the shipping camera.
Added review pointer
5/6/05: updated to D70s
One question I'm getting these days is: should I wait for a D70 or get the
D100? That's impossible to say for sure, since we don't know what the image
quality and durability of a D70 are yet, but here are the primary reasons
why you'd still consider a D100:
pre-release is needed.
- You want
the full tonal value afforded by 12-bit uncompressed NEFs.
- You think
a metal frame body is more durable.
- You have
a significant investment in DX flashes.
- You like
having a vertical grip.
- You require
the 10-pin connector for something like the Lightning Trigger, a
Pocket Wizard, or one of Nikon's remote releases.