At $999, Nikon returns fire
The Nikon D70 Digital SLR Hands On review and the D70 Test Results will appear respectively in the May, 2004 and June, 2004 issues of Popular Photography & Imaging Magazine. Because of the importance of this digital camera and the demand for our accurate and thorough test report, both articles are being posted here at the same time the D70 Digital SLR Hands On review appears on the newsstand and is mailed to subscribers.
Go directly to Test Results
For the past six months, Canon has dominated the digital SLR market with its popular 6.3MP EOS Digital Rebel ($899 street price, body only). And for good reason! It was the only DSLR in its price range and it takes great pictures. There are even rumors that some Nikon 35mm SLR owners, tempted by the low price and availability of the Digital Rebel, actually switched sides when they made the digital jump. (You know who you are!) But for unswerving Nikon loyalists, and others looking for more bang for the buck than the Digital Rebel offers, Nikon's new 6MP D70 ($999, body only) may have been worth the wait.
Nikon claims that this sleek, well-balanced camera offers more features, performance, and value than any other camera in its category-namely, the Digital Rebel. And while Nikon also claims that the D70 won't replace the more expensive Nikon D100, we're predicting that it will, once the word gets out on its improved performance, overall feature set, and lower price. But is this digital SLR a better deal than the EOS Digital Rebel or the Nikon D100? Let's find out.
We wrestled one of the first fully functioning D70s out of Nikon's hands long enough for a hands-on review of its features and capabilities. However, the camera's firmware was not finalized and we couldn't perform a full lab test. The complete Pop Photo Lab test results on a production version-including resolution, color accuracy, image quality, contrast, noise, AF speed, and metering performance-are available online at www.Pop-Photo.com > War Baby: Born for battle, it enters the fight.
Our first impression is that this camera is far more than a "light" version of the D100, as many have nicknamed Canon's EOS Digital Rebel when compared to the more expensive EOS 10D. On the one hand, the D70's durable body construction is similar to the D100 and Digital Rebel, with a stainless-steel chassis surrounded by a polycarbonate body, and a stainless-steel lensmount. It's smaller and easier to grip than the D100, and, at 1.3 pounds, the D70 body weighs about the same as the Digital Rebel. But with a lens attached, the D70 feels more solid and well-balanced.