Nikon D70 - Everything You Need to Know
Released in 2004, the Nikon D70 was the first Nikon DSLR released with an original MSRP under $1,000. That price also made it the first digital SLR from Nikon to be targeted at non-professionals.
Now the D70 can be found used for much less than that. If the kit lens, the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G is included with the camera, the price is a bit higher.
In 2005 the D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s. The D70s only had minimal changes to it.
Nikon D70 Specs
|Original Price||$999, $1299 w/ Kit Lens|
|Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Sensor Size||APS-C, 23.7mm x 15.6mm|
|ISO Range||200 - 1600|
|Shutter Speed||30 sec to 1/8000 sec w/ bulb|
|Flash Sync||1/500 sec|
|Continuous Shooting||3 FPS|
|Memory Card Typep||Compact Flash|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||5.5 in. (139.7 mm) x 4.4 in. (111.76 mm) x 3.1 in. (78.74 mm)|
|Weight||21 oz (595.33g)|
|Monitor Size||1.8 inch|
Note: It is possible to sync the flash faster than 1/500 of a second. The electronic shutter is capable of syncing up to 1/8000 of a second with a center pin fire flash.
The complete D70 Camera Specs can be found on Nikon’s website.
D70 Battery - EN-EL3 & EN-EL3a
The Nikon D70 can use EN-EL3 or EN-EL3a li-ion batteries. The later version of the battery, the EN-EL3e, will not work with the camera.
All of the camera batteries mentioned are no longer used in any current Nikon DSLR. In order to have batteries for the camera, the only option are third party batteries.
Third-party batteries can be hit or miss in terms of quality. Some brands will advertise higher capacities than they actually are.
If you are going to buy third party batteries, I recommend RAVPower or Neewer.
A Nikon MS-D70 battery holder can also be used to power the camera. The MS-D70 holds two CR2 batteries.
Batteries can be charged with the Nikon MH-18 charger or Nikon MH-19 quick charger.
There are also many third party replacement chargers available. These may be easier to find or cheaper to buy. Plus, they are often bundled with replacement batteries.
The Nikon EH-5 AC adapter allows the D70 to be powered by an outlet instead of a battery. This is useful for tethered, studio, or shooting timelapses.
D70 Memory Card Compatability
The Nikon D70 should be able to use up to a 137GB CompactFlash (CF) memory card. 137GB is the memory limit of what the CF specification is able to address.
Type I or Type II CompactFlash cards will fit in the camera. The only difference between those is the thickness of the card.
- Type I - 3.3mm thick
- Type II - 5mm thick
A MicroDrive could also be used, but they are a bad choice. They are small mechanical hard drives which means they are prone to damage.
Plus, MicroDrives are no longer produced so finding a working one to use in a Nikon D70 will be difficult.
16 GB is the sweet spot for storage capacity vs price. Don’t break the bank. Used or new Nikon models to upgrade to are going to use SD cards. Don’t invest very much in a memory card you won’t be able to use in another camera in the future.
Nikon D70 Recommended Lenses
The Nikon D70 is fully compatible with AF-D and AF-S lenses. If those appear in the string of abbreviations in a lens name, the lens will work with the camera.
Nikon AF-P or E-Type lenses will not work on the D70.
Additionally, the D70 has an APS-C sized sensor. It will work with DX and FX lenses.
DX lenses are designed to cover a smaller image circle than FX lenses, which means they are smaller and less expensive.
The following abbreviations by third-party manufactures mean the lens is similar to a Nikon DX:
- Sigma DC
- Tamron DX
- Tokina Di-II
Compatibility charts are available for Tamron [PDF], Sigma, and Nikon [PDF].
Time for a Camera Upgrade?
The Nikon D70 is an older camera. It does not make sense to spend large amounts of money on the best lenses before upgrading.
I’ve gone ahead and selected lenses that are not prohibitively expensive.
Upgrading a camera does not mean you need to buy a new one.
There are plenty of used cameras that will work great without breaking the bank.
In order of cost take a look at:
- Nikon D3300
- Nikon D7100
- Nikon D610 (Full Frame)
Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
- 3.8x zoom covers everything from wide-angle shots to portraits.
- Silent wave motor for quiet and fast autofocus.
- Designed to reduce distortion with three ED glass elements, plus an aspheric element.
- 67mm front filter threads.
The Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G was $350 when first released. That’s more than current entry-level kit lenses, and it shows in the performance. The Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR pairs well with the zoom range of the lens.
Images from the lens have low distortion and chromatic aberration. This is because the lens was built with 15 elements in 13 groups. Included are 3 Nikon extra-low dispersion elements and an aspheric element.
In terms of build quality, the lens is a great size and weight for everyday shooting. It comes in at 13.8 oz. (390 g), with dimensions of 2.97" x 2.87" x 2.87" (L x W x H).
The one downside of the lens is that it does not have vibration reduction (VR). However, the low used prices make the lack of VR easy to ignore.
Best First Zoom
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR
- Excellent value when purchased used.
- Silent Wave Motor.
- Great for Wildlife, Sports, & Portraits
- 52mm front filter threads.
The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G was the second kit lens sold with the D3100, D3200, and D3300.
What’s great about the lens is the price. You should have no problem finding a used copy, in excellent condition, for well less than $100.
There is some nice technology built-in. Vibration reduction (VR) will help you get sharp photos, especially when shooting at 200mm.
The lens is constructed of 15 elements in 11 groups. There are 2 extra-low dispersion and one high refractive index elements.
Carrying the lens around won’t be an issue as it only weighs 335g (11.8 oz). The lens dimensions are (Diameter x Length) 2.9 in. (73.6 mm) x 3.9 in. (99.5 mm)
Best First Prime
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
- Silent Wave Motor for quiet and fast autofocus.
- Fast prime lens, great for low light.
- Small size makes it great for everyday and travel use.
- Budget friendly.
The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is the best first prime lens to pair with the D70 as it has excellent optics, a large aperture for low light, and a “standard” field of view.
With a maximum aperture of f/1.8, you’ll be able to get blurry backgrounds with nice bokeh. If you find yourself indoors, the lens will be fast enough to take photos without needing to rely on a flash.
The lens has an equivalent field of view of 52.5mm lens on a full-frame or 35mm film camera. This is considered a “standard” field of view, which gives a similar perspective to that which is seen by people.
There’s never a reason not to have the lens with you as it weights just 200g (7 oz). It can easily fit into a coat pocket or small bag with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.8 in. (70 mm) x 2.1 in. (52.5 mm).
Wide Angle Lenses
Wide-angle lenses are useful for landscapes, real estate, astrophotography, architecture, group photos, and event photography.
Being able to zoom is nice because you don’t always have the room to move around. Plus, the only time fast lenses are a requirement is with astrophotography.
Unfortunately, wide-angle lenses are expensive. I’ve attempted to find lenses that offer a good value, but even then, you may want to consider upgrading your camera before purchasing one.
If you want to save some money, search eBay for a good deal on used lenses. You should be able to find them for less than half of what they cost new.
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II
- Excellent image quality for the price.
- 2 aspheric and 2 super-low dispersion lens elements.
- Fast f/2.8 maximum aperture.
- No focus breathing.
- 77mm front filter threads.
A nice sharp lens designed for APS-C sensors. With a minimum focus distance of 30cm, it can also be used for creative effects.
Switching between manual and autofocus is done through a “one-touch focus clutch mechanism.” The entire focus ring is pushed or pulled to switch.
Some people do not like clutch style A/M selectors. Personally, I am a fan because I do not have to remove my eye from the viewfinder to switch to auto or manual focus.
The lens does have a built-in autofocus motor, but it is loud. This can be a problem if you need quiet operation for an event or video.
In terms of size, the lens is fairly large. It weighs 550g (1.21 lbs) with dimensions of 4.02 x 4.02 x 4.02 in (L x W x H).
Be careful if you go to buy the lens. Tokina also makes versions for the Canon EF and Sony A mounts. Make sure the lens you buy is for Nikon.
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical
- Ultra-wide angle lens.
- Internal focus means circular polarizes can be used.
- Super multi-layer coating to reduce ghosting and flare.
- 82mm front filter threads.
The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 falls into the same price range as the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It has a wider zoom range at the cost of a slightly smaller maximum aperture.
At 10mm the lens is going to produce an exaggerated perspective. You’re likely going to see distortion, which you can reduce through post-processing your images.
4 aspherical and 3 low dispersion lens elements have been used to help reduce distortion and aberrations. In total there are 13 lens elements in 10 groups.
All that glass doesn’t make the lens too heavy, coming in at Weight 520g (18.3 oz). Dimensions are (Diameter x Length) 3.4" (87.3mm) x 3.5" (88.2mm), which is reasonable considering the large 82mm front filter threads.
Be careful if you are looking to purchase this lens. Sigma also made copies of the lens for Canon EF, Sony A, and Pentax K mounts. Make sure the lens is for Nikon before you buy it.
The most common portraits lenses are fast short telephoto prime lenses. Having a large aperture helps with subject isolation and bokeh.
Just like with wide-angle lenses, portrait lenses are often expensive. A way around this can be to use a telephoto zoom towards the longer end of the zoom range.
A compromise of using a telephoto zoom like the 55-200mm or 55-300mm is that you’re going to be standing far away from your subject.
Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
- Full Frame lens, equivalent to 75mm focal length on the D70.
- Great for low light.
- Silent wave motor.
- Small and lightweight.
- 58mm front filter threads.
The Nikon AF-S FX 50mm f/1.8G is a popular lens for a wide variety of photography. On a full-frame camera, it is a “standard” lens. On a DX camera body, like the Nikon D70, it can be used as a portrait lens.
The sensor in the D70 is only going to use the center portion of the image circle projected by the 50mm f/1.8G. That’s nice because it is the sharpest part of the lens.
Due to the crop, you can think of the lens as a 75mm lens, which is where you want to be for portraits.
It weighs 185g (6.6 oz) and has dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.83" x 2.01".
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
- Silent wave motor.
- Built-in Vibration Reduction (VR).
- Maximum of 300mm zoom!
- 58mm front filter threads.
The main draw of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G over the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G is the additional 100mm of zoom. That does come at a small additional cost on the used market.
That extra 100mm will make a big difference when photographing sports and wildlife.
In order to span the large zoom range, the lens is made up of 17 elements in 11 groups. Two of the elements are extra-low dispersion and one is a high refractive index element.
Like many telephoto zoom lenses, there is some deterioration in image quality at maximum zoom.
It weighs in at 580g (18.7 oz), with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 3.0 in. (76.5 mm) x 4.8 in. (123 mm).
Macro photography starts with a reproduction ratio of 1:1. That 1:1 ratio can also be referred to as life-size or 1X magnification.
Those terms all mean that the subject being photographed is the same size as the camera’s sensor.
There are other ways to achieve that level of magnification, such as extensions tubes. Personally, I find that macro lenses are easier to use and give better results.
Nikon is a bit odd in that they have branded their macro lenses as Micro-Nikkor lenses.
Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
- Close-Range Correction System (CRC)
- Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
- Rubber sealing mount to prevent dust and water.
The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best choice for getting started with close-up and macro photography. Popular subjects flowers, insects, food, collectibles, and copy work. Additionally, the lens can be used for portraits and general photography.
The lens weighs 235g (8.3 oz) with dimensions (diameter x length) of 2.7 in. (68.5 mm) x 2.5 in. (64.5 mm).
The least expensive flash currently being produced by Nikon for the D70 is the SB-700 Speedlight. It is a fully-featured flash with iTTL, which will allow automatic exposure. Unfortunately, the flash is quite expensive.
A couple less expensive flashes that will work with the D70 are the Neewer TT560 and Yongnuo YN-560 IV.
- Semi-Soft Case (CF-D7)
- Remote Controller (ML-L3)
Nikon never released a battery grip for the D70. There are some third party options available, but I have no first-hand knowledge about the quality of those grips.
Shutter Release / Timelapse
Nikon made the ML-L3 wireless remote control which uses infrared light to trigger the shutter.
There is no easy way to do timelapses with the D70. It does not have a shutter release port, instead, it used the USB port.
ML-L3 Remote Controller
DR-6 Right Angle Viewfinder
SK-6 Power Bracket
CF-D70 semi-soft case
BM-4 LCD Monitor Cover
UC-E4 USB Cable
BM-4 LCD Monitor Cover
AN-6W Wide Neck Strap
AN-D70 Neck Strap
SG-31R IR Panel for Built-In Flash
Frequent Nikon D70 Questions
How old is the Nikon D70?
The D70 was released in 2004. It is now more than 15 years old.
What kind of memory card does a Nikon D70 use?
The D70 uses CompactFlash (CF) memory cards.
Is the Nikon D70 a good camera?
Yes. It was a $999 camera when it was released. The build and quality are quite good.
Does the Nikon D70 have live view?
No, the D70 does not have live view.
Can the Nikon D70 shoot video?
No, the D70 cannot shoot video.
Is the Nikon D70 a full-frame camera?
No, the D70 is a DX APS-C, crop sensor camera.
PDF Manual Download
Below is a link to the official PDF scan of the D70 User’s Manual provided by Nikon. The User’s Manuals shows you how to use features of the camera. All of the camera specs are also included.
- Nikon D70 User’s Manual - 19.73 MB (English)
Firmware Version & Download
The current Nikon D70 firmware is Version 2.00, released on 2015/03/02.
It comes in an A and B version, both of which need to be updated together.
The latest firmware for the D70 is available for download from Nikon.
Official Nikon Software
- ViewNX-i - For Windows and MacOS. ViewNX-i is an image downloader and viewer. Includes ViewNX-Movie Editor for movie editing and processing.
- Capture NX-D - For Windows only. Capture NX-D is a post-processing software capable of editing RAW images. Also works with TIFF and JPEG images. Allows control over brightness, white balance, contract, tone curves, and more.
- NEF Codec - The codec makes it possible to use NEF (RAW) files to be used in similar ways to JPEG and TIFF images.
Recommended Free Software
- Darktable - Available for MacOS, Linux, and recently Windows. This open-source RAW file processor and asset management system has the same features you’ll find in Adobe Lightroom or Capture One.
- GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a alternative image editor to Adobe Photoshop. It is free open-source software so you never have to worry about price changes or proprietary features locking you in.
- Capture One - A RAW developer made by Phase One. Very powerful and popular with professional photographers.
- Affinity - An alternative to Photoshop that does not have a monthly fee.
- Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop - Likely the best-known pair of programs for editing photos. In recent years Adobe has switched to a monthly fee payment structure. The performance also lags behind all the other options. I do not recommend either program.
Support Websites & Phone Numbers
The Nikon D70 is old enough to where it is no longer supported by Nikon. Depending on what you need, these phone numbers may or may not be helpful.
- Nikon USA: 1-800-645-6687
- Nikon Canada: 1-877-534-9910
- Nikon Australia: 1300 366 899
- Nikon UK: 0330 123 0932