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Nikon D70s Digital SLRs

4.47 star rating
                      4.47 / 5 (19 Reviews)
MSRP : $899.00
Resolution : 3008 x 2000 pixels |

  • Image Sensor TypeCCD
    Resolution6.24 Megapixel
    Camera TypeSLR/Professional
    Interchangeable LensInterchangeable Lenses
    Focal Length18 - 55 mm
    Camera Resolution6.24 Megapixel
    Image Resolutions3008 x 2000 • 2240 x 1488 • 1504 x 1000
    Aperture Rangef22/f32 (w/t) - f3.5/f5.6 (w/t)
    Shutter Speed30 - 1/8000 sec
    White BalanceAuto • Daylight / Sunny (Preset) • Cloudy (Preset) • Fluorescent (Preset) • Incandescent (Preset) • Shade (Preset) • Flash (Preset)
    Frames Per Second3 Frames
    Memory TypeCompactFlash Card Type I • IBM Microdrive
    Compression ModesFine • Normal • Basic
    Compression TypeJPEG • TIFF • Raw Image
    File Size (High Res.)5 MB (26 images on 128MB card)
    File Size (Low Res.)2 MB (about 64 images on 128MB card)
    ISO Speeds200 • 1600
    Flash TypeBuilt-In & External
    Flash FunctionsFront Sync Flash • Rear Sync Flash • Fill-in Flash • Red-eye Reduction Flash • Slow Sync
    LCD PanelWith LCD Panel
    LCD Panel Size2 in.
    LCD Screen Resolution130,000 pixels
    LCD Protected PositionWithout LCD Protected Position
    Interface TypeUSB 2.0
    Video InterfaceVideo Out
    Battery TypeProprietary Lithium
    Self Timer2 Sec. • 20 Sec.
    Built-in MicrophoneWithout Built-in Microphone
    Built-in SpeakerWithout Built-in Speaker
    Tripod MountWith Tripod Mount
    Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 2000 • Microsoft Windows 98SE • Microsoft Windows ME • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Width5.5 in.
    Depth3.1 in.
    Height4.4 in.
    Weight1 lb.
    Included AccessoriesSoftware • USB Cable • Video Cable • Bag • Lithium Battery • Battery Charger • Strap
    Product ID24535769

Product Description

Designed for a broad range of consumers from experienced amateur photographers to beginning photo enthusiasts, the 6.1 megapixel D70s builds on the success of the D70 with an improved autofocus system, larger LCD monitor, a remote cord port, and new graphic user interface, among several other enhancements.
  • 3D Color Matrix Metering
  • iTTL flash metering
  • 0.2 Second Power-Up
  • 3 fps Continuous Shooting
  • by Loren Crannell

    The Nikon D70s is the result of Nikon's engineers refining the D70. Improved auto-focusing and a larger 2.0-inch screen are just a couple of the modifications made to the D70. This camera is in the middle of the Nikon prosumer range, between the D50 and the upcoming D200. It features an effective 6.1-megapixel sensor and instantaneous 0.2-second startup. With a street price of $899.95, the D70s is an affordable and formidable competitor in the digital SLR market.

    Price: $899 US

    Nikon D70s Pros and Cons
    • Two-button on-camera flash memory card formatting
    • White balance fine-tuning
    • Ultra fast flash sync
    • Viewfinder with grid
    • Dust elimination in software
    • Noise acceptable at any ISO
    • Mirror lockup
    • Nikon's consistent, system-wide 1.5x digital crop factor
    • Lightning-fast focusing, even in low light
    • Fast startup
    • Lowest ISO is 200
    • Small viewfinder
    • AC adapter not included
    • NikonCapture software not included
    Nikon D70s Studio Test Images
    Nikon D70s Studio Samples ISO 200 Sample >>
    ISO 400 Sample >>
    ISO 800 Sample >>
    ISO 1600 Sample >>

    All Digital Camera Sample Photos >>
    More Nikon D70s Resources
    All Nikon D70s Photos >>
    Owner-posted Nikon D70s reviews >>
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    Nikon Forum >>
    Nikon Cameras Resource Page >>
    Nikon Web site >>
    racingpinarello >>

    Nikon D70s - front and back
    As a kid I had dreams of owning a Nikon, and that wish endured for more than 25 years. When I finally got one, I fell in love with the Nikon system and body style. If it had remained a film-only world, I would still be using Nikon cameras and lenses. Becoming a professional photographer brought shorter deadlines, and eventually I had to switch to digital. At the time, Nikon had no plans to produce a full-frame digital. So I switched to the Canon 1Ds for digital and an EOS 3 for a film camera so that I could make the most of the available wide-angle lenses.

    When I was asked to review the D70s, I couldn't wait to use a Nikon digital camera for the first time. Downtown San Jose, California and San Jose's Japantown provided a perfect testing ground for the camera. Armed with the D70s, the 18-70mm DX Zoom, and the 55-200 DX Zoom Nikkor Lens (street price for this kit is $1499.95), I set off to test the camera. The results of the test, if successful, would perhaps justify a purchase. The new camera would be used as a backup camera for my lovely assistant and wife, Karen.

    Nikon D70s Features
    The Nikon D70s uses a 6.1 effective megapixel DX digital sensor that yields 3,008 x 2,000 pixels, suitable for making prints up to 16x20. One of the best features of this camera is the instant power-up time of only 0.2 seconds (Nikon spec). It's great to turn on the camera and be ready to take a photo immediately. The new EN-EL3a rechargeable batteries provide longer life than those included with the Nikon D70, and with the optional battery adapter, you can also use CR2 batteries.

    The camera has a nice 2.0-inch LCD monitor for reviewing your shots and accessing the camera menu. Many of the camera options can be chosen from the camera body itself, saving battery life for reviewing images. The LCD offers three image playback views - one with the image information, one with a histogram, and the actual image. These options provide a lot of useful information without jamming all of the data onto one screen. There's also an enhanced menu color scheme that makes it easier to view and make menu selections. Nikon D70s - shooting menu
    Nikon D70s shooting menu

    Nikon D70s - main playback display
    Nikon D70s main playback display

    Nikon D70s - playback with histogram
    Nikon D70s image preview with histogram
    Nikon D70s - zoom playback option
    Nikon D70s zoom playback option

    Nikon D70s - playback with image info
    Nikon D70s playback with image info

    As a digital shooter, one of my complaints is dust on the sensor. When you get dust on the sensor, it shows up on every frame until it's cleaned. Nikon has come up with a software solution to help eliminate dust from the images through use of a dust reference photograph. Taking a reference image of a white card and uploading it into the optional NikonCapture software assists in eliminating the dust during post processing. Having this option is nice, although you have to pay extra for the software to use it.

    For the sports shooter, the D70s offers a 3 frames-per-second burst rate up for a whopping 144 consecutive shots. The camera uses Nikon's renowned 3D Color Matrix Metering, which evaluates brightness, color, contrast, and selected focus area. Subject-to-camera distance information makes proper exposure and applicable aperture or shutter speed settings possible. New to the Nikon D70s is an updated five-area auto focus system with All-Area Search. To top off the list of features, top shutter speed and flash sync speeds are 1/8000, and 1/500, respectively. My favorite feature is the two-button card format system, which allows a user to format their memory card without having to access the menu system. Nikon D70s - Pop-Up Flash

    For spontaneous shots that require a flash, the D70s has a built-in pop-up flash. To further assist you in taking photos, seven "Digital Vari-Programs" (Scene Modes) will adjust white balance, contrast, and exposure settings to best match a particular subject or environment. The Digital Vari-Programs - Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close Up, Sports, Night Landscape, and Night Portrait - give the photographer a creative mode to match almost any situation. And the composition grid in the viewfinder will make sure your images are level.

    Nikon D70s Design
    From the moment you pick up the D70s, you are aware how solid and well laid out it is. If you are moving from the Nikon N80 or another mid-level Nikon film camera, it will feel very similar. Since the body was based on the N80 design, it has a similar look and feel. But to me it felt more solid than the N80. Every button is well marked and easily reached, regardless of hand-size. Normally I would buy the optional battery pack to increase the size and weight of the camera, but the D70s felt comfortable and efficient in my hands. For some users weight may be an issue. At 1lb 5oz, the camera, coupled with the kit lenses, provides a setup that won't make a chiropractor appointment necessary. The best thing about the D70s design is the consistency with other Nikon cameras. The camera controls are very similar to other Nikon film and digital bodies. In a nutshell, I found the D70s ergonomics and layout spectacular.

    Nikon D70s - Main camera controls The power switch is on top of the camera near the front dial. The placement and speed are such that you can turn on the power as you're raising the camera to your eye, and by the time you're ready to shoot the camera will be powered up and ready to go. With other cameras, like the Canon EOS 20D, you would have to look at the power switch to flip it on. The time required is very short, and might not be meaningful to many, but for a street photographer it could be very important. I think the quick switch is a great Nikon design feature.

    Nikon's flash system is one of my favorite things about the Nikon system, and the D70s flash metering doesn't disappoint. You can use iTTL flash controls in combination with the kit lenses and the SB-600 or SB-800 Speedlights. With other flashes, manual flash exposure is necessary. If you upgrade to the normal line of Nikkor lenses, then you can use iTTL flash with any flash. The flash button near the pop-up flash quickly changes the flash mode. Options are normal sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow sync, and rear-curtain sync.

    From a design standpoint, I am curious why Nikon chose ISO 200 as the lowest setting. Most of my photographs are at ISO 50 or 100; so having 1 to 2 extra stops provided a challenge for some of my shots. I like to have a shallow depth-of-field in my portraits, and in bright light this may be difficult with the D70s because of the high minimum ISO. Also, when dealing with nature and water, a slow shutter speed to blur water might be desired. The ISO 200 minimum makes slow shutter speeds difficult. This is the only design feature that required compromise or a change in photographic approach.

    Camera Experience
    From a performance standpoint, the Nikon D70s is rock solid. It focuses quickly and accurately. I was able to focus on a subject on a moving Ferris wheel without a problem. Even in low light situations, the D70s was able to achieve focus quickly, with the aid of the on-camera focus-assistance light.

    The D70s is a strong performer for action, landscape, wedding, and photojournalism photography. I will elaborate more in the image quality section of the review, but the ISO 1600 is incredible and allows for non-flash photography in low light. The excellent performance at ISO 1600 also makes unobtrusive photography possible in many situations.

    Nikon did something different with the D70s white balance control. The D70s allows you to quickly choose a white balance preset by pressing the WB button and then turning the rear dial (see below). They also offer the photographer the option of fine-tuning their white balance by pressing the WB button and turning the front dial. This allows you to make the image warmer or cooler at any of the preset white balance options. For example, if you're shooting outdoors you can adjust the white balance to compensate for changing color temperature. The light at noon is, after all, different than the light at sunrise or sunset.

    Nikon D70s - WB Control
    White balance controls. The number 2, in the display, indicates that the WB has been adusted from the preset.

    For $900, you can't expect the camera to be built like the D2X. Weatherproofing is minimal. Is this a problem? Unless you regularly shoot in bad weather I cannot see it being an issue. Most people don't take many pictures in bad weather. Unless you have an assignment in the Brazilian rain forest, you should be okay.

    Despite having less resolution than the Canon EOS 20D and Digital Rebel XT, the Nikon D70s is still a competitor. The build quality and the functionality of the Nikon D70s easily match, and in my opinion, beat the Canons. I was able to make faster adjustments to exposure, flash, ISO, etc., on the D70s than on my Canon 20D. The only shortfall is the reduced resolution, but you are paying much less. And the 20% fewer pixels don't make that much difference in the end. D70s is an excellent tool for taking photographs and a camera that will last for a long time.

    Image Quality
    I was very happy with the image quality of my D70s test photos. Although the lowest ISO setting is only 200, noise levels were still acceptable. Every digital camera will have some noise, but the noise of the Nikon D70s is different. It looked like grain from a film negative, and not the purple/red dots of other digital cameras I've used. Even at ISO 1600 the digital noise was acceptable to me. Being able to use the full range of ISO settings is nice. Nikon should provide an ISO setting lower than 200 on the D70s. That would almost eliminate any easily visible noise and make slower photography possible.
    Nikon D70s ISO 200 & 1600 Comparison Click to see ISO Comparison.

    Shadow detail was extremely good, as demonstrated by the corner restaurant photo (see below). The subjects are backlit with extremely bright light, yet you can still determine what is on the table, and even detect facial expressions. Color and saturation are pleasing, and the D70s color cast is far less obtrusive than the Canon EOS 20D's yellow tone. As a result, it took less time for me to color-correct the NEF RAW images in Phase One Capture One Pro software than it takes for my Canon images.

    Nikon D70s Corner Restaurant-Shadow Detail Nikon D70s Japantown Buddist Church Nikon D70s Christmas in the Park, Gingerbread House
    Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.

    The D70s metering seems to produce slightly underexposed images. This may be a safety setting, as you cannot recover highlight detail in overexposed digital images. If you wish to compensate for the underexposure, you can adjust the exposure compensation using the +/- button near the shutter release.

    For the price, the Nikon D70s is hard to beat. Nikon built a camera that helps the photographer create great images and reduces the likelihood of a bad image. I believe that Nikon decided to use ISO 200 as the lowest setting to make it easier for amateur photographers to capture good images. How many times have we all had blurry photos because the camera was set at ISO 100? I found myself shooting away and discovered I was getting better snapshots and journalistic photos without worrying about an excessively shallow depth-of-field. For the average photographer, this is a positive, but for more artistic photographers, it may be a problem.

    I was impressed with the quality of the D70s images and with the camera's build quality. It is an excellent camera and a great value at the suggested retail price. It performs as promised, and provides inexperienced and experienced photographers alike a very capable camera.

    Who Should Buy The Nikon D70s
    If you are buying your first digital SLR or want a backup for a Nikon pro digital SLR, you will not be disappointed with the D70s. It's designed for the advanced amateur, and that is the perfect buyer for the camera. However, if a less experienced photographer, like my mom, wanted a digital SLR, I would recommend the Nikon D70s. As a professional, I would use it on the street, when I want to travel light.

    If you are entering the digital world, give the D70s and the Nikon system a good look. The Nikon D70s is one of the best entry-level digital cameras on the market.


    Contents of the Nikon D70s

    • Nikon D70s (body only)
    • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3a
    • Quick Charger MH-18a
    • Video Cable
    • USB Cable UC-E4
    • Strap
    • Body cap
    • Eyepiece Cap DK-5
    • Rubber Eyecup DK-20
    • LCD monitor cover BM-5
    • PictureProject CD-ROM
    Other Resources:
    Nikon D70s User Reviews >>
    Write a Nikon D70s Review >>
    Nikon D70s Sample Gallery >>
    Nikon Forum >>
    Nikon Cameras Resource Page >>
    All Digital Camera Sample Photos >>
    Nikon Web site >>
    racingpinarello profile >>

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    Professional Reviews:
    Nikon D70s Review at Imaging Resource

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    Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Axle a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: April 14, 2009

    Strengths:    Great beginner camera, easy to use.
    Controls are simple and well laid out
    Easy to navigate menus
    Nikon CLS

    Weaknesses:    Noise at ISO levels higher than 800, especally during long exposures
    Lack of sealing

    Bottom Line:   
    Making the jump from Film to Digital is never an easy one. Don't get me wrong, I love film, and still do, but by the end of 2006 I was feeling the crunch, especially in the wallet, even though I had a nice digital camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ7) I was still shooting mostly with my Nikon F80...a lot.

    So I did some research, and settled for the older Nikon D70s and the 18-70mm lens, so that I could keep the wide angle I had with my 24mm lens (which became a 35mm lens) and a SB-800 flash. It was an amazing beginner setup. Coming from an F80 to a D70s was simple, as the controls were laid out in a similar pattern.

    Over the course of my using this camera, it's been camping, twice, gone through many abandoned buildings, beat up, portrait sessions, conventions, weddings, and it still works perfect. Never had a problem with dust on the sensors, although it did need to be dried out after a snow storm...lack of weather sealing.

    It now serves as a backup camera to my D300.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

    Price Paid:    $700.00

    Purchased At:   Henry's

    Similar Products Used:   Nikon F80
    Canon Digital Rebel
    Canon Digital Rebel XT

    Type of photography:   Other

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by killswitch711 a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: February 18, 2008

    Strengths:    Easy to use,good metering, fast shutter of 1/8000, good quality photos, the best infrared camera,because it doesn't have the IR blocking filter. Very low noise, very tolerable all the way up to iso 1000. Well built, nice and sturdy, only being slightly bigger than the D80.

    Weaknesses:    Lowest iso is 200, uses compact flash (i prefer sd), no built in black and white mode, doesn't have multiple exposure setting.

    Bottom Line:   
    I have owned my D70s for only a couple of months, and i have to say that i am extremely pleased!!! For the longest time i was debating with my self on which camera i should get. It was either going to be a D80 or a D70s. 3 of my friends own the D80 and hands down i love my camera more! the D80 only has a flash sync of 1/250, and with my bounce flash (vivitar 2000) it still only syncs at 1/250,and the max shuter is 1/4000. The D70s built in sync is 1/500 and with my bounce flash it can sync all the way to 1/8000?? other than a couple features here and there, its pretty much the same camera.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

    Price Paid:    $800.00

    Purchased At:   from a friend

    Similar Products Used:   Nikon D80, D70, D100, Fm10, F70, F65, D40
    Several canon DLSRs, canon s3is
    Kodak easyshare Z470, V603, P880

    Type of photography:   Fine Art

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Ralph a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: July 25, 2007

    Bottom Line:   
    I have had this camera for a year and a half now and it has performed perfectly the whole time. I have clicked off over 12,000 images in that time. The camera is fast and easy to use, though you do have to read some of the manual to familiarize yourself with the finer features. it has proved to be everything I hoped it would be, in terms of being most like a film SLR. It was a wonderful experience to be able to use a digital camera the same way I did my film SLR, and have the benefit of digital. The picture quality is excellent, I might have preferred some of the menus arranged differently, but once you get used to the camera it's no problem. I find myself in a position to upgrade to a better DSLR, yet I must admit I'm a little reluctant to let this one go.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $1300.00

    Purchased At:   Curcuit City

    Similar Products Used:   Numerous digital cameras to many to list.

    Type of photography:   Fine Art

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by hoasjoe a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: April 7, 2007

    Strengths:    Had to pay for a viewing screen with grid-lines on an old FM2. Like the on-demand grid-lines feature good for landscapes and architecture. Don't think Canon has it.

    Top shutter speed of 1/8000s looks good on paper. Most people rarely shoot at this speed.

    More refined than some cameras with ISO settings from 200-1600 with in between settings.

    Battery: performed well with single frame shots in room temperature (as expected). In colder weather and multi-frame shooting in cold weather a bit sluggish as expected.

    Weaknesses:    Nikon lenses rather pricey: Looked at the new D40 & D40X but couldn't use my older lenses and the D70 was it. The 2 standard zoom lenses that was part of the deal (if I remembered correctly) an 18-55 f3.5-5.6 or 18-70 f3.5-4. The longer one have better specs but always found Nikon lenses a bit pricey. Would have gone for a Sigma equivalent. Manufacturer always say use D-type lenses for digital bodies. Don't have a verdict for it. My old 28-70 worked fine except I do miss a few mm on the wide-angle.

    On-demand grid-lines don't work as well in low-light. When you depress the shutter half way for AF, a red beam light up the grid-lines for half a second. A bit too brief for the grid-lines to be noticed in low-light or outdoor night shots. Had to press the shutter several times to notice the lines.

    Have to pay a lot more to get a lens with stabilizer. The stabilizer of a Nikon & Canon lens may be helpful in some situations but the benefits may be a bit blown out of proportion. (tested a Canon 17-85 lens with IS). A better IS choice may be the Sony Alpha with stabilizer built-into the body instead of the lens to stop shake. This means you can get IS with all older Minolta Maxuum & newer Sony & Zeiss lenses for the camera.

    Bottom Line:   
    Got a 70 in Mar '07 (new out of the box) at a discount since D80 already out. Besides the ISO 100, higher mpix and memory card (SD instead of Compact Flash), have to really enlarge the pics to poster size bigger than 11x14 to see the difference. For family pics a few times a year the higher mpix not a big deal unless you're cropping regularly. Saw a poster size pic at a store. Confirmed that it was shot by a D70. The clerk said that even at 5.1 mpix you can do a good enlargement.

    Someone bought a small Leica digital a few years ago. Besides paying more for the sharp lens the electronics is a piece of junk. The ISO only goes up to 200 and the multi-frame doesn't work. When you hold your finger on the button you're still getting 1 shot at a time. The man says he's getting sharp pictures. For that price I'd invest in several good lenses instead of a brand-name pice of junk.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Price Paid:    $499.00

    Purchased At:   Henrys Photo Canada

    Similar Products Used:   Tested an EOS xTi previously with an 18-70 f4-5.6 lens. Took very sharp photos (tested 8x12). However features are not as refined. Shutter speed range: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000, 1600. Nikon give you in between settings as well. Don't think Canon gives you on-demand grid-lines (good for composition of landscapes and architecture). Also Canon uses the old battery that needed to be recharged more often.

    Type of photography:   Outdoor

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Chris a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: March 24, 2007

    Strengths:    Solid build
    Interchangeable Nikon lenses (!) from the F days, but must "bracket" with test aperture settings
    Strong menu with many options
    Good battery life

    Weaknesses:    200 ISO
    Strongly software dependent for optimal images, but no big deal
    No AC adaptor with camera
    No Nikon Capture NX with camera (trial version very good though)

    Bottom Line:   
    "Discovering" in the past few months the use of the Nikon Capture (trial) software that came with the camera (along with the impressive Nikon Picture Project software) has changed my perceptions of the strength of the camera, which I'm increasingly going to the RAW + JPEG mode. For a 6.1 megapixel, the RAW images can be zoomed 3 or 4 times (!) and retain rich detail. Autofocus is extremely capable and have (grudgingly, as a "old timer" Nikkormat/F3/FM2 descendent) gone almost exclusively to autofocus (it's that good). The "kit" 17-70 mm lens is very versatile, and high quality. The Nikon 50 mm 1.8 is also an excellent lens to complement the body, and more compact. After 9 months of use, simply slung over the shoulder on hikes and less frequently in the city, without case, it doesn't appear to have dust on the sensor (knock on wood). Extremely good light meter. The flash is one of its strongest suits. At 70mm and "macro" setting (in RAW), it is surprisingly effective in that capacity (Nikon Capture has made the difference).

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $999.00

    Purchased At:   Best Buy

    Similar Products Used:   Canon Rebel XT

    Type of photography:   Outdoor

    Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

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