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Camera Reviews

Comparing the Nikon D1H, D100 & D70

Lars Troels (Lars Troels)

Keywords: d1h, d100, d70, comparison

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Picture Quality

I am not going to deal with the quality of the unprocessed pictures that come out of these three cameras. I see no big difference between them after post processing. Despite that one could think that the effective 2.7 megapixels of the D1H is too little, practice shows that a sensor pixel is not just a sensor pixel.

D70 image by Pete Wilson at the 4th ANPAT.


The size of the pixel is also of great importance. You can see that a 8MP point & shoot camera cannot live up to what a 3MP DSLR performs, simply because the CCD/CMOS-chip in DSLR is so much bigger. I am not in the megapixel race any longer – that’s for sure, and I doubt that the camera business will be at it for much longer either. There are so many other important factors.

White balance is controlled very well automatically by both the D100 and the D70, and rather poorly by D1H. I generally have the D1H set to Cloudy –3 because Auto simply doesn't work. This of course really doesn't matter when shooting in the NEF format (RAW).

I always shoot everything in RAW format, but I don't doubt that for images straight out of the camera the D70 makes the best in-camera processing. The D1H always needs a lot of post processing, but I don't suppose any D1H photographer wants to print directly off the camera; right…?

Flash Control

In the flash area, the D70 is way way ahead of the other two. The new i-TTL is absolutely fantastic and surpasses the D-TTL system, basis of the flash control in both the D100 and the D1H. In fact I personally find D-TTL rather frightening to use. I always bring the D70 to assignments where I know that I am going to use a lot of flash.

About flash synchronization, both the D70 and the D1H sync up to 1/500 sec. The 1/180 in the D100 may not be enough under several circumstances.

i-TTL, introduced with the Nikon D2H in late 2003, was also implemented in the D70 design. It gives perfectly lit images once you get to know it. You actually only have to be careful with the BL-function that secures that the background and foreground is balanced in exposure. It can lead to underexposed photos until you get to know it well.

Another problem I discovered pretty quickly when using D70 and the SB-600 flash, was that a lot of my “people shots” came out with sleepy looking people or even closed eyes. The short “measuring" pre flash very often caused people to blink too early. In the beginning I had to throw a lot of shots away because one or more people were in the beginning of a blink. It takes some training and you learn to shoot more that one shot of each motive. The way to make it work quickly and avoid the blinking is to use the FV-lock function, where you fire the measuring flash via the AE button. FV-lock will measure, analyze and lock, so the exposure will be the correct one when you fire the flash.

i-TTL and 3D matrix measurement always, and I mean always, give correctly exposed pictures. If it doesn't it is my own fault. You just need to get to know it, and I recommend that you train yourself and practice until you get there…

Another unique feature with the D70 and i-TTL, together with a SB-600 or SB-800 flash, is the fantastic Commander mode, where you get wireless remote control over the flash. On the D70 you pop up the integrated flash, as it -via micro pre flashes- controls the SB-600 or SB-800. The flash can be placed wherever you want it, or handheld, or way out to a side when making people photos.

I had a press photo assignment to shoot some kids who had won a small "play house".

Here I placed a SB-600 inside the small house to light it, while I was shooting from the outside through the door. The story in the paper was that they were so happy with their new house, that their parents had cleared the master bedroom and installed the house there for the winter. The kids actually slept there every night.

The lighting created a special atmosphere that couldn't have been made so easily with any of the two other cameras.

For example, the Canon 1D-series can have an infrared transmitter mounted in the flash shoe. It can do the same kind of wireless control, but with a completely different price tag. The D70, together with SB-600 or SB-800 can do as standard gear without having to buy any additional equipment. My D70 is always set to Commander Mode.

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Originally written on December 10, 2010

Last updated on January 21, 2021

Lars Troels Lars Troels (Lars Troels)

Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and eZine

Viborg, Denmark
Basic, 137 posts