As the D70 is a camera which will attract both seasoned SLR users and compact camera owners wanting to move up to a prosumer style camera it's important to consider lenses and lens quality (especially with six megapixels to resolve). The D70 has Nikon's D lens mount, this provides compatibility with a wide range of lenses both from Nikon and third party lens manufacturers. Additionally it's worth noting Nikon's range of DX lenses specifically designed to work with digital SLR's like the D70, they are smaller and lighter than the equivalent 35 mm lens because they don't need to produce such a large image circle.

Nikkor DX Lenses *

  • 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye
  • 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom
  • 18-70mm f3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom

* Complete at time of publication

As part of this review we have chosen to provide a quick overview of three lenses: the Nikkor AF-S DX 18- 70 mm F3.5 - F4.5G (the kit 'bundle' lens and an 'ideal match' to the D70 for a beginner), the Nikkor AF-S 28-70 mm F2.8 ED (professional quality lens) and the Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 D.

Field Of View crop

One thing it is important to understand is Field of View crop. Because the D70's sensor is smaller than a 35 mm negative the field of view provided by a lens is effectively cropped (in the case of the D70 the crop factor is 1.5x). This used to be referred to as 'focal length multiplier' although this term is actually inaccurate as it is not a multiplication but a crop, we prefer to refer to it as Field Of View crop (FOV crop). Thus the 18 - 70 mm lens provides a field of view approximately equivalent to a 27 - 105 mm lens on a 35 mm film camera.

Color / Tonal reproduction

Below you can see a GretagMacBeth ColorChecker chart taken with the AF-S DX 18 - 70 mm lens, place your mouse over either any of the labels below the image to see the same chart taken at the same time (within seconds) in the same light and the same exposure. It's fairly obvious to see the difference in brightness between the AF-S 28-70 mm F2.8 lens and the rest, otherwise color balance is very similar between all three lenses, tonal balance most similar between the AF-S DX 18-70 mm and the 50 mm F1.4 lens.

Settings: Parameters: Normal, ISO 200, Manual Exposure (1/100 sec, F5.6)

AF-S DX 18-70 mm AF-S 28-70 mm 50 mm

Resolution and sharpness

Resolution chart crop areas

Below you will find a range of crops from a shots of our standard resolution chart. Each shot was taken at a different focal length and aperture combination. This should provide you with a good impression of how well each lens works from wide open to smallest aperture and at both full wide angle and full telephoto zoom. Remember no lens is at its sharpest at maximum aperture ('wide open') nor at minimum aperture ('smallest').

Nikkor AF-S DX 18- 70 mm F3.5 - F4.5G

The AF-S DX 18 - 70 mm lens was announced at the end of January 2004, just before the PMA show in Las Vegas. This lens is seen as the perfect match for the D70 (and is indeed the kit lens included with the D70 in several countries around the world), it provides a 3.8x zoom with a field of view approximately equivalent to 27 to 105 mm. The lens is fairly compact but noticeably heavier and better built than Canon's 18 - 55 mm lens bundled with the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel).

Overall the lens performed fairly well, although it was clearly quite a bit softer at maximum aperture (F3.5 @ wide / F4.5 @ tele), the lens also exhibited some slight vignetting at maximum aperture and wide angle.

Wide angle: 18 mm

F3.5 (wide open) F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

Telephoto: 70 mm

F5.6 (wide open) F8 F14 F29 (smallest aperture)

Nikkor AF-S 28-70 mm F2.8 ED

The AF-S 28-70 mm F2.8 is one of Nikon's best professional zoom lenses, it's a big and heavy lens but for that you get excellent sharpness and a wide constant aperture. On a digital SLR it probably doesn't offer a wide enough wide angle but can deliver much better overall performance than the cheaper lenses.

Wide angle: 28 mm

F2.8 (wide open) F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

Telephoto: 70 mm

F2.8 (wide open) * F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 D

The Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 D is a very fast prime lens, probably one of Nikon's best. It's small and lightweight and sharp from about F2.0 upwards. This is the lens we use for test comparisons to other digital SLR's.

Normal: 50 mm

F1.4 (wide open) F8 F14 F16 (smallest aperture)