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Camera Reviews

Nikon D70 Review - Shooting for a year


Keywords: nikon, d70, camera, bodies

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Beep, beep, beep. I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and check the time. it is 4 o'clock in the morning. There is no mercy for landscape photographers. After five minutes the alarm kicks in again and I somehow manage to get out of bed.

Alarm clock


Checking and preparing your gear in the evening before will save valuable minutes early in the morning. I grab my photo bag and tripod and drive the few miles from Furnace Creek Ranch to Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, USA.

It is only a short walk from the parking lot and I set up my tripod at the viewpoint. The Gitzo G1228 with the Markins M10 ballhead is a great combo for my lenses, ranging from the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S to the 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR. To start with, I pick the D70 with Kirk L-bracket and the 17-35mm lens.

The D70 arrived in the mail as backup for my D100 just a few days before I left for the Southwest of the United States and I am planning to give my new camera a serious workout over the next couple of weeks.

When I took the D70 out of the box I felt immediately at home. Before the D100 I used a F100. The transition was no problem at all. No more memorizing of custom functions. The D100 has the custom functions nicely organized in a menu accessible via a help button. Initially, I preferred the smaller, more elegant and "pro" looking font of the D100 menus, but I soon discovered that the D70 font style is easier to read in bright sunlight. A little problematic is the superimposed picture data in the preview function. The D100 font is cleaner.

It is a while before the sun is going to rise. The moon is low on the horizon and the stars are still shinning in the sky. I live in the New York City area and visiting death Valley is always an amazing experience. On a moonless night, the Milky Way appears much closer, brighter and more populated with stars. It is very peaceful out here. Absolutely calm and quiet. The air feels nice and cool. But I know that it is a treacherous peace. In a few hours the wind is going to pick up and blast the area with speeds up to 25mph (40km/h) and temperature is expected to hit well above 100°F (38°C) later in the day.


D70 camera. Click for enlargement


D100 digital camera


Nikon F100 film camera

The file sequence counter on the D70 shows only 21. I did not have any time to test the D70 before I left for the photo trip, but I was confident that Nikon would have delivered another great camera. All the buttons appear to be very intuitive.


I flip through the menu and make sure the custom setting menu (CSM) is set to detailed, so that all 26 custom settings are available. I make a few changes to the default settings. I turn ON the File No. Seq.

One thing I noticed when I first powered up the D70 is that it beeps to indicate "in focus". I do not like beeping cameras. Especially not in the outdoors, when I like to enjoy nature without calling the attention of predators. CS1 OFF takes care of that 'problem'..

(2 Votes )
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Originally written on August 14, 2006

Last updated on January 20, 2021

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