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Customer Review

144 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of five stars? You bet!, 22 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Nikon D70 Digital SLR Camera Kit includes AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm Lens (Camera)
I looked at both the Canon 300d and the Nikon D70 on my move to a digital SLR, as the pricing on both is very tempting at the moment, with the 300d being the least expensive.
Side by side, they really are in different classes. The D70 looks and feels much more expensive than (what I thought) was a very plasticy and flimsy feeling 300d. However, all the reviews seem to say the photographic capabilities of both are very similar.
But playing with both for half an hour, the D70 came out an easy winner. And I'm not against Canon at all as my three previous digitals have all been Canon (Powershot A5, S40 (got stolen) and my (still) current S50) and I'm even thinking of trading the S50 for an Ixus 500. I rate Canon cameras way up there, and in all probability if I had a bunch of Canon lenses that were suitable, I would probably have bought the 300d.
Many reviews have praised the battery life of the D70 so I thought I'd test it out. After fully charging the battery, I took (precisely) 728 photo's all at the highest quality and over 500 of them with the flash. I was blown away. A criticism that others have made of the D70 is that there will never be a battery pack for it (the 300d offers one), but I just don't see the point. I have bought a spare battery so on a "shoot", I could easily take up to (and probably well over if I didn't use the flash) 1,500 photo's. Why would you need a battery pack? With film SLR's using motors to wind on the film, I can see the point, but not with this camera.
The inbuilt Speedlight flash is a very capable unit and works well indoors for party shots. However, I did decide to splash out and get an SB-800 Speedlight. What a great combination. I'm mentioning this here, because the D70 has inbuilt wireless capability, to fully utilise the functionality of the SB-800 (and SB-600) flash units. This means you can detach the SB-800 (or 600) and wirelessly trigger the unit to provide side lighting. You can get some awesome results, as it uses the inbuilt flash for head on, and the SB-800 for sidelighting. Or you can of course, mount the SB-800 onto the hotshoe.
I decided (after reading many reviews) to opt for the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70 lense and am very glad I did. It is a very solid lense and offers manual, auto and auto/manual. The last one is a very cool thing (I'm not sure if the 300d has it, but I would presume all SLR's now have it). It lets you auto-focus then you can use the manual focus to trim your focus. Very nice touch.
Speaking of auto-focus, it is very quick and is selectable so you can auto-focus, or you can auto-focus/track. The first method stops the autofocus after it gets the shot in focus, until you re-press the shutter button. This means you can focus on a subject, then move the camera around to frame the shot without the focus getting lost. The second way this works is to continually track a subject and continually re-focus. This means (for example) if a car/plane/person etc is moving towards you, the focus keeps changing. It is also predictive in that it works out how fast the object is moving and predicts exactly where the subject will be at the moment the shutter is released. Very cool, but I haven't tested that bit out yet.
And speaking of speed, the startup time is about as fast as you can hit the power button followed by the shutter release. Very quick. It is also ready to take the next shot in under half a second, as it buffers the image and readies the camera for the next shot and writes to the CF card in the background.
I also read some reviews saying that in multi-shot mode you can take up to 144 shots at three frames a second. So of course, I had to give it a try. I held the shutter release down and actually got bored at over 50 shots. Unbelievable.
The image quality is outstanding. I haven't had any prints yet, but on-screen the detail is unbelievable. I took some shots with the S50 and the same shot with the D70 and they really are chalk and cheese. It's like a professional photographer came into my house and started taking photo's. I'm not that good, the camera is. The color was pretty well spot on and the exposure was near perfect every time. Corner to corner and edge to edge are well defined. I have read that there are issues with moire (spelling?) effects, but I tried photographing just about everything in the house to try to get it to happen. I understand it occurs when photographing tight repetative patterns like a knitted jumper or the like, but I just couldn't get it to occur.
You can take amazing pictures out of the box, or you can play with the settings and have some real fun. It is a highly customisable camera and just about everything it does can be tweaked. Fear not, there's a reset button if you manage to screw everything up!
Nikon have an infra-red remote that is really handy for tripod shots and self portraits, but is not included in the kit. For £15-£20 it would have been nice to have it boxed with the camera. Same goes for a camera bag/case as none is included.
In summary, an exceptional camera. I couldn't think of needing anything else for the types of photography that I do. Robust and professional feel to it and great pictures at a pretty good price. What more could you want?
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