We gave the original D70 five stars for value when we reviewed it in the August
2004 issue. Now Nikon has upgraded this excellent digital SLR, creating the
D70s. Improvements include better AF performance with fast-moving subjects,
a larger LCD monitor (2.0” vs. 1.8”) with color-coded menus and
larger type, a wider angle of coverage for the built-in Speedlight (18mm lens
vs. 20mm), a higher-capacity battery (providing up to 2500 shots vs. 2000 for
the original D70), and a new remote port
for the optional MC-DC1 electronic cable release.
Like the original D70, the new D70s can record images in JPEG format at several
resolutions and compression levels, or in NEF (Nikon Electronic Format)—Nikon’s
version of raw. You can also record in NEF and highest-compression JPEG formats
simultaneously. Images are recorded on CompactFlash cards or Microdrives. The
NEF format provides optimum image quality and allows much post-shooting adjustment,
but requires processing with the easy-to-use PictureProject software supplied
with the camera, or the more versatile but optional Nikon Capture 4 software.
D70s looks like its predecessor, but incorporates some nice improvements.
The D70s provides five Auto Focus areas—center, top, bottom, left and
right. You can select any of them yourself in Single-Area AF mode, or let the
camera do it. In Dynamic Area AF mode, the camera will start with the Auto Focus
area you select, then automatically switch to adjacent areas if the subject
moves into them. In Closest-Subject AF mode, the camera will start with the
sensor covering the closest subject, and switch to adjacent areas if the subject
moves into them.
Both single-shot AF (AF-S) and continuous AF (AF-C) are provided, but as with
the original D70 you have to scroll through the LCD monitor menus to switch
from one to the other. In either AF mode, Automatic Focus Tracking (predictive
AF) will activate when the camera detects subject motion. The camera also features
Nikon’s terrific Lock-On, which keeps focus on the subject even if it
momentarily moves behind something, as when tracking a bird that flies behind
AF-S 18–70mm f/3.5–4.5G zoom lens sold with the camera
in kit form focuses close enough to produce “macro”
The Auto Focus system functions in light levels as low as EV –1. You
can activate an AF-Assist Illuminator via Custom Setting 4. Of course, you can
also focus manually by rotating the lens’s focusing ring until the image
appears sharp in the finder.
The D70s provides three metering systems: 3D Color Matrix, Center-Weighted and
Spot. The 3D Color Matrix (available when D- and G-type lenses are used) provides
excellent exposures in most shooting situations. You can adjust the size of
the weighted area in Center-Weighted metering via Custom setting 11, from the
default 8mm to 6mm, 10mm or 12mm. Spot metering reads an area covering about
1 percent of the image area, centered on the active Auto Focus point.
D70s provided excellent results in aerial photography, with excellent
color via auto white balance, and accurate exposures.
Exposure modes include Shiftable Program AE, Shutter- and Aperture-Priority
AE, and Metered Manual, plus seven automatic Digital Vari-Programs which set
the camera for point and shooting such subjects as portraits, landscapes, action
and more. You can apply ±5 EV of exposure compensation, and shoot a three-frame