Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Friday, February 06, 2004


A quick comparison of the D70 and Nikon D100, and a few thoughts for Canon shooters.

Photographers with Nikon lenses that are thinking about going digital will be happy to learn about the new Nikon D70 digital SLR.

It will be in the same price range as the Canon Digital Rebel. At around $1000, about $500 less than the current Nikon D100, it is not a significantly dumbed-down version. In some ways it has less features than the D100 (like less ISO settings), and some costs have been saved in the design (like using a pentamirror, which is lower in price and quality than a pentaprism). However, in several ways it is better than its higher priced sibling. It has more image parameter settings, a faster top shutter speed (1/8000), faster flash sync speed (up to 1/500), and a reportedly more advanced metering system.

In continuous shooting mode (with a jpeg setting) it shoots at the same 3 frames per second as the D100, but the buffer will hold 12 shots rather than the 6 of the D100. The D70 has more LCD pixels than the D100 (130,000 versus 118,000), and the computer connection is USB 2.0 insead of 1.1.

In many ways, the D70 is equal to or better than the D100 and at 2/3 the price.

The D70 is smaller and a bit more rounded than the D100. It is solidly well built.

Initial reviews indicate that it is a better made camera than the Canon Digital Rebel, and it certainly is well ahead of the Digital Rebel in features.

The unaswered question has to do with image quality.

The Canon EOS-10D has superb image quality that is a notch higher than the Nikon D100, with better color rendition, higher resolution, and less noice. But just a small notch. The Canon Digital Rebel maintains the same image quality as the 10D. It will be interesting to see, once reliable reviews come in, if the Nikon D70 is a jump up in image quality.

In any case, the Canon 10D and Digital Rebel, and the Nikon D100, are all excellent cameras capable of taking excellent pictures. The same should be true for the D70.

For most photographers, the choice has more to do with which lenses they already own, and the money they have to spend. It is foolish to chase the latest and greatest digital camera at the cost of orphaning an expensive collection of lenses.

Despite virtually equal image quality, the Canon 10D is clearly a better built, easier to use, and more feature rich camera than the Digital Rebel. The choice here is a matter of money. In my opinion, if you can afford the Canon 10D, you should choose it over the D-Rebel. It is worth the difference in price. If the savings in cost is really important, the D-Rebel is a very fine camera.

With the new Nikon D70, the choice is not so easy. If money were no object, the D70 might still be the better choice, since the D70 is in several ways better than the D100. Even though the D100 is more expensive, it may not prove to be a better, all around camera. The jury is still out of course. Detailed reviews in the near future will tell the tale.

The new Nikon D70 is certainly wonderful news for present and future Nikon digital photographers, but it is also good news for Canon photographers. It looks like the D70 has upped the ante and put Canon on notice for future camera models. The quality and price competition has benefited us all.

DP Review has a comprehensive preview of the D70.

If you are a Nikon shooter and deciding between the D70 and D100 - WAIT! When DP Review comes out with a full review, read it and then decide.


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