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Latest Joy of Tech!
Latest Joy of Tech!

George Mann's- Nikon D70 Review

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Apple Service Center, Bangkok, Thailand
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Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera review - D70 Review Index
D70 BackThe back of the D70 camera body

This is where we spend a lot of our time as camera users (when not looking through the viewfinder) and as most D100 users can see, the basic interface has remained the same on the D70.

The most obvious item on the back of the camera is the LCD screen and
as in other recent Nikon DSLR cameras, a transparent LCD screen protector has been included. But unlike Point and Shoot digital cameras, when we are not reviewing images or setting Menu functions the LCD is turned off.

Many photographers (especially those who have been using Point and Shoot cameras, ask why you can not compose pictures with the LCD on a DSLR camera. There are two main reasons this function is not implemented, one the viewing and focusing abilities of a single lens reflex viefinder are far superior to an LCD screen, the second is that it would waste a lot of precious battery charge, which is needed for operating the more demanding functions of a DSLR.

Professionals are used to the 'Polaroid' approach, which in the digital world basically means that you take an image, review it on the screen, make some adjustments to your camera and then take, a hopefully better, second and third image. Since digital film does not cost anything per frame you shoot, this is a good habit to get into. It saves from a lot of pulling out of your hair when you get home.
Buttons to the left of the LCD screen (from top to bottom) are:

1. Playback button - shows the last image captured when pushed down

2. Menu button - brings up the menus on the LCD screen (menus to be covered later)

3. Sensitivity (ISO) and Thumbnail button -

Sensitivity (ISO) can be set from 200 to 1600 by holding down this button and rotating the main command dial (located by your right thumb when holding the camera with your hand wrapped around the right hand side of the camera)

Thumbnail button is active when the Playback button has been pressed first to review images already shot. The choice is between four, nine and a single image dispayed at one time. A short push on the Thumbnail button will toggle between the three settings.

4. White balance, Protect and Help button -

White balance can be set in all but the Green Full Auto Mode. It is controlled by holdin down the White Balance button and rotating the main command dial (top back right of camera - under your right thumb).

White balance settings - Auto, Incandescent, Flourescent, Direct sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, and Preset (manual reading off gray card).

The protect button function is used to protect images while you are in Playback mode, so they can not be errased with the camera erase button.

The Help button function can be accessed when making selections in the Custom Settings Menu. Just press the button when confronted by a setting that you don't understand.

5. Image quality and size button, plus Playback zoom and Enter button -

Image quality is selected by holding down the Image quality button and rotating the main command dial. Selections are NEF (RAW, JPEG Fine, JPEG Normal, JPEG Basic, and NEF+JPEG. (I use NEF+JPEG almost exclusively) (there will be a lot more information on these settings later)

Size of JPEG quality setting is selected by rotating the Sub-command dial (at top front of grip, under your right index finger).

Playback zoom is pushed to toggle back and forth between zoom and non-zoom while in Playback mode, magnification is controled by using the main comand dial and the muti selector can be used to move up and down and sideways in the image. Very intuative once you have used it a few times.

Enter button is for a number of selections in the Menu, it is often an alternate to the right hand muli selector button and sometimes the only enter command allowed.

The LCD monitor itself is a 1.8 inch, 130,000 dot, low temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment available in the Setup Menu.

Buttons to the right of the LCD screen (from top to bottom) are:

1. Multi selector - is used to navigate throught the camera menus and to change position of the focus area. It pretty much opertes the same as cursor buttons or a joy-stick on a computer and is very intuative.

2. Focus selector lock - locks the focus area so that use of the multi selector does not change the focus area.

3. Delete button - any image being viewed in Playback mode can be deleted by pushing the Delete button - a confirmation message will appear and a second push of the Delete button will remove the image permanently. pushing any other button after the first push of the Delete button will cancel the delete function.

The Memory card compartment is easily opened with one finger (your right thumb), a Compact Flash memory card slots in at a slight angle to the left with the front of the card facing out from the camera (to the right).

The light gray button above the  memory card slot is the card release which pushed the memory card out far enough to grab with two fingers to remove from the camera.

The Memory card access lamp is situated to the left of the bottom of the memory card compartment.

Memory Card Capacity for a 256 MB card

Im. Quality
Im. size
File size
No. Im.
5.0 MB
2.9 MB
1.6 MB
0.8 MB
JPEG Norm.
1.5 MB
0.8 MB
0.4 MB
JPEG Basic
0.8 MB
0.4 MB
0.2 MB
5.8 MB

NEF images are 3,008x2,000 pixels in size.
NEF+JPEG Basic are recorded in Large size only.
Buffer indicates the number of frames that can be stored in the memory buffer.

Large capacity cards - when a card has enough room to record over a thousand images the number of images shown in the LCD monitor will be displayed in thousands and rounded off to the nearest hundred. for example 1,260 would be shown as 1.2K
back top left
top right
Left hand top back of camera controls:

1. Bracket button - In P, S, A, and M modes the camera offers three bracketing options. Bracketing is not available in Digital Vari-Program modes.

Bracketing function is turned on and off by holding down the Bracketing button and rotating the Main command dial.

CSM 12 - Sets the three bracketing options.

AE & Flash or AE only - With each shot the camera varies the exposure by ±2EV, bracketing exposure is selected with exposure compensation (modes P,S, and A) or by user (mode M). Each shutter release produces only one exposure, so you must release the shutter three times to get a three shot bracketing set.

AE & Flash or Flash only - With each shot the camera varies the flash level by ±2EV.
Each shutter release produces only one exposure, so you must release the shutter three times to get a three shot bracketing set. Available only in iTTL and auto aperture flash control modes.

White Balance - White balance bracketing only requires one exposure to make three separate white balance setting files. Not available with NEF (RAW) because NEF (RAW) files contain entire range of white balance setting information.

2. Shooting mode and Format button -

Single frame - the camera takes one photograph each time the shutter release button is pressed. Access light will be on while the image file is being recorded. If there is enough room in the memory buffer, another image can be taken immediately.

Continuous - the camera records at about three frames per second while the shutter release button is held down.

Self-timer - as normal the self timer is for including yourself in a photograph or allowing the camera to settle down on a lightweight tripod before the picture is taken.

Delayed remote - the delayed remote setting is for use with the optional ML-L3 remote (I have used the older ML-L1 remote quite successfully with the D70). Pushing the button on the remote will activate the lens focus and the shutter will be released after a two second delay.

Quick response remote - same as delayed remote except that activating the remote release focuses the camera lens and immediately releases the shutter. (an electronic cable release)

Format function - see explanation of LCD illuminator and Format button.

Right hand top back of camera controls:

1. Main command dial -

One of the main function of the Main command dial is to set the shutter speed of the camera in the S, A, and M modes. Amost all the function buttons have values that are changed by rotating the main and sub-command dials.

CSM 14 - Exchanges functions of the Main command dial and the sub-command dial.

2. AE/AF lock button -

Auto exposure - in P, S, or A exposure modes with center weighted and spot metering only

Auto focus - in P, S, or A depending upon exposure area

3. Diopter adjustment control -

-1.6m to +0.5m adjustment control in camera and -5m to +3m corrective lenses are available from Nikon (fit in place of viewfinder eyepiece cup)

4. Viewfinder eypiece - shows view 95% of actual image being recorded.

5. Viewfinder eyepiece cup - rubber eye cup for comfort and to keep from scratching eye glasses. Can be replaced by additional diopter.

More D70 review pages top come in the days and weeks ahead. Please bookmark this web page.

Please bookmark this page - more updates are coming.  -  Click here for more Feature Articles
All above images are the copyright property of George Mann - if you are interested in using any of these images please contact george@dpmac.com

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