Body & Design
The design of the D70 is very similar to the D100, indeed if it weren't for the prominent silver 'D70' logo and new red flash on the hand grip it would be easy to mistake the two cameras at first glance. Physical differences include how the camera feels, the D70 has a robust (polycarbonate) body but still doesn't feel as sturdy as the D100, that said it does feel stronger than the Canon EOS 300D. The D70's overall design has a nice feeling of balance and symmetry with fine seam lines, a good range of external controls and sensible choice of materials.
Side by side
The D70 is certainly lighter than the D100 (and immediately feels so), but there's just 30 g between the D70 and Canon EOS 300D, that kind of difference is hardly noticeable. I think the image below also demonstrates how much more professional and business like the black bodied and clean-lined design of the D70 looks compared to the EOS 300D.
(inc. battery & CF)
|Canon EOS 300D||142 x 99 x 72 mm (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)||649 g (1.4 lb)|
|Pentax *ist D||129 x 95 x 60 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.3 in)||650 g (1.4 lb)|
|Nikon D70||140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)||679 g (1.5 lb)|
|Nikon D100||144 x 116 x 81 mm (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)||775 g (1.7 lb)|
|Fujifilm S2 Pro||142 x 131 x 80 mm (5.6 x 5.2 x 3.1 in)||870 g (1.9 lb)|
|Canon EOS 10D||150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)||879 g (1.9 lb)|
In your hand
With rubber surrounding the hand grip and coating the Compact Flash compartment door on the rear of the camera the D70 is comfortable and steady to hold. The grip is just the right size and controls are located well. The D70 is slighter but also feels better balanced than the D100, it's hard to put my finger on this but I get the feeling more of the camera's weight is on the right side (with the battery) and hence the center of gravity is closer to your hand.
Design changes compared to the D100
Place your mouse cursor over either image below to compare the design of the D70 to the D100. As you can see there are plenty of design changes to the D70's body, it's softer (more rounded) as well as sitting lower than the D100. Note that the red flash on the hand grip has moved from its vertical orientation on the D100 to the triangle below the front command dial (just like the D2H). It's also worth noting that there are now quick access external controls for Continuous shooting mode, ISO, White Balance and Image Quality (far better than the D100's on-dial adjustments, something I complained about).
The D70 has a new 1.8" 134,000 pixel LCD monitor, higher resolution than that of the D100 and Canon EOS 300D. The monitor appears to be bright, clear and detailed. Additionally Nikon provide a clip-on protector cover which is completely transparent in the middle, this will help to stop the screen surface itself from getting scratched.
The D70's status panel (found on the top right of the camera body) provides information about both the photographic (exposure, focus, drive etc.) and digital (image size, white balance etc.) side of the camera. The green backlight can be activated by pressing the small backlight button to the right of the LCD, unlike the D100 it can't be programmed to come on with any button press.
Although the D70's pentaprism viewfinder looks similar to the that on the D100 it does have some subtly different specifications. Firstly the eyepoint is 18 mm (similar to the EOS 300D) compared to the D100's 24 mm (considered very good), secondly it has less dioptre adjustment of -1.6 to +0.5 m-1. The frame view through the eyepiece doesn't seem as big as the D100. That said it's distortion free and bright enough.