Full (!) review posted for Nikon D70, SB-800 flash unit|
(Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 17:43 EDT)
It was a while coming, but I've finally posted my D70 review!
This was one of those reviews I thought I'd never get done with, not helped any by my main office/studio server going flaky for a solid week in the middle of it. The server's back though, and the review is finally finished, and there's a lot of info there for anyone shopping in the "affordable d-SLR" market. I'll save you the suspense though, and say right up front that I *really* liked this camera. Nikon really got just about everything right, offering a lot more features and capability than the Digital Rebel, at only a slight premium in price. And the lens that ships as part of the kit is a bargain too, at an incremental cost of $300 for a very nice piece of optics.
Relative to the earlier D100, Nikon has lightened the body, tweaked the color, and used a much less aggressive anti-aliasing filter. The latter results in significantly better sharpness, at the cost of some tendency to produce moire in images with repeating patterns.
One of the biggest features of the D70 is its incredible buffer capacity and continuous-shooting capability. This is one camera that *really* takes advantage of fast CF cards, and it's actually possible when shooting in large/normal quality mode to shoot continuously at 3 frames/second until the card is completely filled. Image noise is also very good - Not as low numerically as some of the competition, but less objectionable to the eye, thanks to a very fine-grained pattern.
One of the neatest things about the camera though (IMHO), is its direct support for Nikon's new Advanced Wireless Lighting System. Coupled with an SB-800 or SB-600 speedlight (or multiple speedlights), the D70 can deliver true TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering with multiple remote strobes, right out of the box. (No need for a separate wireless flash controller, and the metering is truly TTL, for maximum accuracy.) If you do much flash photography, it's hard to overstate the benefit of this system - It's really deserving of a review in its own right, but I did include a page of its own in the D70 review, with some sample shots, and a number of screen shots of its user interface. Like I said, there was a lot to talk about.
Here's some of what you'll find in my review that I don't think has been reported on elsewhere yet:
- A more detailed feature comparison between the D70, D100, Digital Rebel, and EOS-10D
- Detailed shutter lag timing results, accurate to the millisecond, including the impact on shutter lag of the wireless lighting system.
- Comparison of startup time, shutter lag, cycle time, and buffer depth between the D70, Digital Rebel, D100, and EOS-10D.
- A detailed discussion of the flash system and how the D70 and remote strobes work together.
- More detail on Nikon's new PictureProject software (I liked it more than some reviewers did, but it's clearly not intended for pro or even advanced amateur use).
- More screen shots of the camera's user interface, including essentially all Custom Settings Menu screens, and correcting at least one error in others' reporting of CSM functions.
Check it out, but you'd better have your credit card handy, you're going to want to buy one!