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Old Dec 6, 2004, 12:08 PM   #1
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After a disappointing experience with the coolpix 8800 from Nikon I decided to return the 8800 in favor of the D70 DSLR from Nikon with the Nikkor 18-70mm lens kit. Like some people, I was under the impression that the 8800 could deliver near DSLR like shooting (Silly me!) in a more compact camera. Not even close…especially if you shoot with challenging lighting conditions (low contrast).

The D70 camera comes packed in a single box with the lens. There is also: Camera strap, eyepiece cap, body and lens caps, lens hood, LCD protective cover, battery & Charger, batter tray for spare store-bought batteries. I added a UV filter of course. The difference in price after rebate was approximately 250.00.

I charged the battery and read the manual, not a careful read, but enough to get started. On the VERY FIRST SHOT, the D70 was able to photograph by 13-week-old son against a background that gave the 8800 fits. In fact, the 8800 often missed these shots entirely. The D70 focused SO FAST, I was shocked. There was no hunting. I zoomed in fully and tried again. Another tack sharp shot. Wonderful. Back at the computer those shots showed an image sharper and more balanced than the 8800 ever managed and this was on the D70's supposedly poor AUTO mode.

Encouraged, I switched the camera to manual focus mode and fired off a group of shots. Again, tack sharp results. The camera will even tell you when it thinks focus is correct, though you can defeat this if you wish. It seems very reliable and consistent.

After my first few moments with the camera I noticed something else. As my son's expressions changed I was able to get those fleeting moments because the camera had no lag! My wife won't let me open the SB600 until Xmas, but I'm very excited about how it will expand the flash and focus abilities of the D70. I love the manual focus. In itself it places the D70 in another league, making for a truly manual camera. Image quality is superior across the board. Unless the size of the D70 is too much for you, the D70 is the camera to buy. And let's face facts here, the 8800 is no lightweight. I simply can't recommend the 8800 for indoor shooting. The 8800 is also a dead end. When the D70 grows old, you can sell the body and still be ready with lenses!

So far the D70 has addressed all of the 8800's weaknesses and then some. It's focus is nothing short of amazing. With three poor contrast objects (a bouncer, gray sneakers on gray carpet, silver tripod folded on gray carpet), the camera shifted focus instantly and perfectly as I nudged the lens from one item to the next under poor indirect lighting.

ISO up to 1600…and it's usable through most of the range.

It feels like a real camera and is easier to hold as well. If the Nikkor 18-70mm was the ONLY lens you ever had, it would stand head and shoulders above the 8800. Some folks with chatter on about comparing apples and oranges. But these are both expensive cameras (quite close in price really), both fairly heavy and both for the more advanced shooter. Quite a few folks will look at the D70 and wonder if the 8800 will keep them just as happy. If you have ANY doubts, please test the 8800 before buying. If the D70 is a possible alternative, go for it! You won't be sorry. It's the real deal.

Capt RB :cart:
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 12:24 PM   #2
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Posts: 236

Very nice report thanks!
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