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First thoughts on the Nikon D70

I just picked up a Nikon D70 from a friend. It's really nice to be working with a camera and lenses that have apertures somewhat more varied than my Fuji S5200's 4-8, and a bigger sensor to boot. The Nikon sensor is just slightly grainier at ISO 800 than the Fuji is at ISO 100. Apertures as wide as 1.8 on the 50mm lens I'm using are fun!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
The D70 is a great camera. Unless you're doing really big prints, or need to autofocus on things moving really fast (cars, baseballs, snowboarders) it's tough to beat, esp. now that they're so cheap on the used market.

If you get bored with the 50mm prime, you should check out Strobist (strobist.blogspot.com) -- the D70 can do stuff with high-speed flash-sync that pretty much no other DSLR on the planet can.
Mar. 23rd, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)

It’s easy to overestimate the camera you need for big prints, because resolution is square but we think of prints in side length. If you want 200 dpi, for example, the 6 mp D70 gets you 10″ × 15″. If you shell out something like $4k for a Nikon D3, with twice the pixel count, you only get up to about 14″ × 21″. The main reason to get a bigger camera is, as you say, things like autofocus speed, lower noise, and dynamic range. If those aren’t very important, the three and a half grand price difference is probably better spent on nice lenses, good interpolation, and good printing.

Mar. 23rd, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
The D70's dynamic range and noise are so far superior to what I've been using that I'm going to enjoy it for quite some time. Its owner upgraded to a D300, and is enjoying that, but I'm going to be pushing these lenses about for a while.
Mar. 23rd, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)

You mentioned you had a fast 50 mm prime. Nikon made a squillion of these*, and a few of them were duds, but mostly you’d have trouble finding better glass under $300. One’s adaptored onto my 350D a lot of the time. What other lenses do you have?

* That page repeats the plausible myth that a 50 mm lens (on a full frame sensor, or about a 30 mm lens on a D70) has some kind of magic-number relation to the human visual system. Nonsense. A 45°ish wide, 2:3 field of view feels fairly natural, but there’s nothing physiologically special about it any more than, say, middle C is inherently notable to the auditory system. It’s just a convenient middle-of-the-road value.

Mar. 23rd, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I took it as a reasonable default but nothing more.

It's a Nikkor G lens, really a great piece of glass as far as I can tell. It's seen a lot of use by a professional photographer whose work I appreciate, so it's got some merits that way.
Mar. 24th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
You may be able to print at 10x17" with the output from a D70 (and I certainly have, with great results) but you can't do much cropping if you're targeting that size of output. Aside from the AF and physical build quality, the main different I noticed when I upgraded to a D200 was that I was suddenly free to crop aggressively and maintain high-DPI large-ish print quality.

That being said, there are still things I miss about the D70. It was smaller, lighter, and had noticeably better high-ISO noise characteristics. The latest batch of semi-pro to pro-level Nikons may have finally pushed the bar higher, but for a long time the entry-level 6MP bodies had by far the best high-ISO quality.

As far as glass is concerned, the 24mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/2 are both sweet lenses, too, and relatively inexpensive. I know that I found 50mm to be a bit long for many types of shooting, and a bit short for others, so I eventually settled on the 24mm and 85mm f/1.8 as my standard walkabout kit.
Mar. 24th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
The D70 feels so small after hefting the D300 up for a short try when he dropped it off for me. It's such a great form factor for a serious camera. The controls fit my hand in a way not many do. (The cheapo Canon A95 and the Fuji S5200 that I own are the only two that are even vaguely that nice)

I'm a happy girl, that's for sure. I can't wait to find a decent deal on a few more lenses to play with.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )