There are a lot of cameras on the market today. They each offer a unique shooting experience, and each has unique price points. If you are looking for a camera that offers the full DLSR (digital single-lens reflex) experience without breaking the bank, then this is the article for you.

WHAT IS THE NIKON D70?

Nikon D70 Digital Camera (Body Only)

Image via Amazon

The Nikon D70 is an older DSLR camera, which is what you might expect given its lower price, but it delivers a full DSLR experience. Released in 2004, it has 6-megapixel resolution but a wider sensor to get more per pixel. It offers a variety of shooting modes, including a full manual mode, sports mode, auto, and more.


Our reason for choosing this model is primarily to highlight the value older models can bring to new photographers or people just wanting something to experiment with. As they age, they become less expensive, but often the cameras we see today are built from the "bones" of these earlier models.

Product specs

Nikon D70 Digital Camera (Body Only)

Image via Amazon

With its multiple dials and buttons to change modes and specs like ISO and shutter speed, the Nikon D70’s operation is similar to newer DLSR models. It has a screen below the viewfinder for menu access and spec adjustments, but it also has a smaller screen on the top of the camera that shows an overview of your shooting specs.

The shutter speed for the Nikon D70 is pretty impressive for its price and age. It ranges from 1/8000th to 30 seconds, which accomplishes most needs of any photographer. However, it can only capture 3 frames per second, which can put a wrench in sports shooting mode.

One of the best-received functions of the Nikon D70 was its customization ability. With 25 custom settings options, it is easy to personalize the camera to function how you want it to. This model offers five focus points to choose from while shooting, and the viewfinder has built-in metering as well to help speed up the shooting process and adjustment times. To aid in ease of use, the battery is rechargeable, which is a must for photographers today. The camera comes with cables to ensure reliable image transfers.

Overall, while this model is older, it still offers decent specs and features and could be a good option for those wanting an inexpensive, highly functional camera to experiment with.

Pricing

For a DSLR camera, this is a steal. Getting the body only is the method we suggest as well. Newer lenses will still fit the body, and they will be easier to find and better quality than an originally specified lens.

Given its age, it will be hard to find the Nikon D70 brand-new, but there are plenty of solid used options on Amazon alone. Our only caution is to make sure your purchase comes with the original cables and charging. Those may be harder to come by than the camera body itself.

How it Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare. We used 5 criteria to measure their ranks against each other, and we feel that the chosen parameters bring out the best and worst of these models.

  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Digital Camera
  • Canon PowerShot SX620 HS Digital Camera
  • Nikon D90 DX-Format CMOS DSLR Camera
Nikon D70 Digital Camera (Body Only)
  • The D70 is equipped with a Nikon DX Format 6.1 effective megapixel CCD sensor. It captures images with high resolution and amazingly sharp detail.

PRICE

As we mentioned above, this is a great price. Just be sure you get all the original accessories.


EASE OF USE

With the age of the Nikon D70, the only reason we decided to dock it a star is its slightly outdated menu interface. It is obviously not a touchscreen, but the screen itself is quite small, which means toggling between menus or settings to get the perfect shot can take more time. Still, this model is fairly simple to pick up and use, other than dual dials that can be confusing at first.


FEATURES

We reviewed the current competition and realize this model is lacking in the shiny new features we see often now. With only 6 megapixels and 3 fps, and the absence of a video option, there is not a lot of direct competition. Most models will easily outrank this one in specs, but you will also pay a far higher price.


The Nikon D70 does still bring a host of typical DSLR features to the party. It has good shutter speed and decent ISO, but given the more-than-a-decade age difference, this model is definitely behind in terms of features. One exception is its personalization capability.


PHOTO QUALITY

While the ISO and shutter speed can help image quality a bit, it is the megapixel density captured that really makes or breaks how much you can do with a photo and how big you can make it. With only 6 megapixels of resolution here, many of today's smartphones can create more editable pictures.


This sacrifice will be a big deal if you plan on editing pictures and printing them, or if you plan to take photos in drastic or dramatic settings (such as dark environments, busy environments, and bright environments). If you need a camera that can do those things, you should consider a newer model.


DURABILITY

This camera was not built for rugged photo taking. It is not weatherproof or weather resistant, nor is it shockproof. However, we did find that its body is a little bigger than others, which puts more distance between outside forces and the lens and makes it easier to hold steadily and securely.

PROS   

  • Good shutter speed
  • Very affordable
  • Customizable

   CONS

  • Low megapixel rating
  • Low fps
  • No video ability
  • No moving screen
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless Micro 4/3 Camera with 14-42mm and 40-150mm Lenses (Black)
  • Built-in 5-axis image stabilization for sharper images
  • 2. 3 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0. 62x magnification
  • Silent mode (disables all shutter sounds)
  • 8. 5 frames per second burst shooting
  • Fast touch auto focus from camera or phone

The Olympus does have 1080p video shooting abilities (while the D70 has no video capability at all), and it does a decent job overall for those focusing on photography but still wanting to capture good video sometimes. As this is a newer model, it offers a tilting touchscreen for different shooting angles, which can be invaluable. The Olympus also offers a rechargeable battery, and it has a sleek leather-on-metal design that almost seems just as retro as it is high-tech.

PRICE

While the specs of this model may be miles ahead of the Nikon D70 in some cases, we still feel that price point is a little high. You can find other options on sites like Amazon or Best Buy. If you are looking to spend less on your camera, look for refurbished or used options.


EASE OF USE

We found this camera overly complex to use, especially if you were shooting in manual mode. In a DSLR device, manual mode is one of the coveted options to have, but we found ourselves digging through the instructions to understand what is made so simple for other models.


In trying to make this model unique, Olympus may have completely altered the simple system many photographers are accustomed to when shooting in manual mode. The added buttons and dials add to the design, but they take away some simple functioning.


FEATURES

This camera has good video and manual modes, which are very important to have. However, creative shooting modes are somewhat lacking here. The Olympus model does not have modes for sports, night portraits, or other scenes; however,  it does provide an artistic shooting mode delivering some features from the modes we missed.


PHOTO QUALITY

Based on the combination of the ISO, shutter speed, and megapixels, the image quality is good... but you may still find some smartphones that can top it. This Olympus camera does offer a few shooting modes—though manual mode is the focus—that can deliver what smartphones cannot in terms of shooting edits. In the end, though,16 megapixels can only be stretched so far.


DURABILITY

This model is not billed as weatherproof, waterproof, or shockproof (or resistant), but the body is built of very durable materials. So, while there are no guarantees, it may fare well in the long run simply because of its design and materials.

PROS   

  • Sleek design
  • Decent resolution
  • Good ISO
  • Video mode
  • Tilting touchscreen

   CONS

  • Hard to use
  • Megapixel rating not good for major editing or printing high-res photos
  • Few basic shooting modes
Canon PowerShot SX620 HS Digital Camera Plus Bundle Kit with 32GB HC Memory Card, Carrying Case, Mini Tripod, Screen Protectors, Cleaning Kit, Liquid Deals Cloth and Accessories - Black
  • Canon PowerShot SX620 HS Digital Camera - Black
  • 32GB SDHC Class 10 High Speed Memory Card
  • Memory Card Wallet, Card Reader, Mini Tripod
  • Screen Protectors, 3 Piece Cleaning Kit
  • Liquid Deals Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

This Powershot camera is an SLR option we added to our group for comparison. You cannot switch out lenses with this model, but it offers 20 megapixels with a 25x optical zoom lens—which should work well for most photographers. It also has an intelligent image stabilization system that can virtually eliminate the effects of camera shake.


The Powershot has built-in WiFi connectivity and NFC for immediate sharing or transferring images, which is great for photographers on the go. This model can capture 1080p full HD video and has 18 shooting modes to choose from like Fireworks, Portrait, Low-Light, Long Shutter, Fisheye Effect and more. It does not offer a manual shooting mode; however, the pre-programmed modes may help in finding the right specs.


PRICE

Though this is not a DSLR camera, given the specs and features, we feel that this is a fair price.


EASE OF USE

A common complaint Canon received on this model (and we agree) is that you cannot toggle between shooting settings as you can with the previous-generation model. Instead, you need to dig a few levels down in the menu to change these settings, and this is something that can be frustrating when you switch between modes often.


FEATURES

There is no manual mode, but Canon has definitely tried to make up for that lack of freedom by bringing in a lot of creative shooting options that can cover most shooting situations. Given the competitors we looked at, we felt that docking this model for not having a manual mode is appropriate, even though it is an SLR camera and they typically do not offer that capability.


PHOTO QUALITY

With the specs and various shooting modes, even with the camera itself approximating surroundings and the needed specs, this Canon device does a good job of providing balanced, high-quality images.


DURABILITY

This model claims no weatherproof, waterproof, or shockproof attributes. It is very compact though, which keeps most of the vulnerable pieces hidden.

PROS   

  • Good resolution at 20MP
  • Lots of shooting modes
  • Fair price
  • Video mode
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity

   CONS

  • Not a DLSR camera
  • No manual mode
  • Hard-to-find menu options
Nikon D90 DX-Format CMOS DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
  • 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS imaging sensor
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • D-Movie Mode; Cinematic 24fps HD with sound
  • 3-inch super-density 920,000-dot color LCD monitor
  • Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

This camera offers 12 megapixels and can shoot 4.5 frames per second. ISO ranges from 200 to 3200, which is fair. This model also has 11 AF points which aid in portrait and landscape shooting, though we would like those ratings to be even higher. However, its real power comes out in its 24fps HD D-Movie mode. Though it only captures 720p video, this model has more features for capturing video than many competitive ones.


PRICE

If that price seems a little high, try going for just the body and adding your lens of choice. 


EASE OF USE

We found few complaints from those using this model, nor did we have many ourselves. The modes are self-explanatory and easy to use, and we did not have trouble understanding how to operate the camera. However, we should mention that the lens seemed to have an attachment issue that can prompt an error message often. There were also a few  "freezing" problems experienced.


FEATURES

While the camera has the basic functions of a DSLR, we find that it is lacking in its specs. The low megapixel rating and ISO take away from what the features can do. Although the video mode is unique, it did not offer a smooth experience for us.


PHOTO QUALITY

We found photo quality to be lacking due to the low megapixels and small ISO range.


DURABILITY

While it does not claim any sort of weather-, water-, or shock-resistance, many photographers have tagged this as a rugged camera. Between the build of the body and the lens attachment, some have reported being able to do more in extreme environments than with other models.

PROS   

  • Video shooting
  • Affordable

   CONS

  • Low megapixels
  • Small ISO range
  • Lens fit/attachment issues

Conclusion

Given its specs and features, and its age, of course, we confidently assign the Nikon D70 three out of our maximum five stars. The image quality and features are lacking compared to newer models, but this camera still works well as a beginner's camera that does not require a huge chunk of change to own.

It is hard to ignore that the Nikon D70 is definitely the least expensive option here—by a long shot. So, if you are looking for something inexpensive that offers the classic DLSR experience, we still recommend giving the Nikon D70 a "shot.".