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Old Apr 22, 2004, 3:21 AM   #1
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Default Getting the most from a D70.

Veteran photographer, new DSLR owner. Currently exploring the seemingly endless array of features, settings and customisable controls of this camera.

Share your tips here, for taking better shots and/or getting the most from this camera.

I'll start:

As with the D100, the D70's exposure metering has been widely reported to underexpose middle grey by about 0.5EV, perhaps programmed to do so as a saving grace to blowing out highlights. Custom curves are available online to help lift the midrange to its expected level and offering no disadvantage at the top end. Downloading a custom curve to the camera is fairly easy and stress free. Requires Nikon Capture software. If you have the time and inclination, you could experiment with curves yourself.

Failing that, setting +0.3EV compensation in camera works for me - but note the camera does not apply compensation to Auto or any of the Digital Vari-Program modes. I shoot in AP almost exclusively, so this is not a problem.

Turn off long exposure NR for sport/action shooting or any time using continous shooting mode. There seems to be a "bug", and perhaps the first real issue of the D70, which limits the max FPS of continuous shooting with NR on, even when it's not activated (ie. shutters faster than 1sec). From experience, you only get close to the advertised 3FPS with NR off. With it on, it seems to be 2FPS if that.

Under custom menu, select -1 sharpness. This goes a long way towards countering the moire issue so heavily reported on the net, and also sharpening halos that could sometimes occur, with in camera sharpening as strong as it is (eg. powerlines against blue sky tends to exhibit halos - I'll post pics if you're really unconvinced). The downside to this is the requirement of post-processing each image with unsharp masking.

Customise the AE-L/AF-L button to a function best suited to your style of photography. I forget what the default setting is, however IMHO this is a very powerful and tremendously useful tool Nikon has given D70 users - the ability to change what the button does. It can be programmed to be exposure lock, focus lock, auto focus button, etc. consult your manual cos I can't remember the full list. I have mine set to lock exposure.

To be continued...
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Old Apr 22, 2004, 10:48 AM   #2
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Default sharpness -1 vs sharpness off?

Onyx, Have you found sharpness setting of -1 works better than setting in-samera sharpness off altogether? Turning in camera sharpness of has also been recommended to eliminate halos and moire. I also hate when you use a wide aperture to blurr the background and the background blurred objects become very sharp blurrs, if you know what I mean. I have seen this on many D70 phostos posted in reviews and elsewhere. I'll have to try sharpness -1. Thanks.

Willie
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Old Apr 22, 2004, 10:53 AM   #3
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Nikon, in there ultimate wisdom, decided to avoid highlight blowouts by programming in the underexposure you have mentioned.

I would suggest to anyone using a D70 or D100, not to use any AUTO settings. They can be inconsisent. Set up your camera to the settings you prefer.

Noise Reduction (NR) and Anti-Vibration should both be turned off under normal circumstances. NR causes the camera to take 2 images, one as programmed, the other black, both for the same duration. It then subtracts the noise in the black image from the first image. It should only be used in images with exposures 1/2 second or longer. This is why NR only gets 1.5-2 FPS instead of 3 FPS. The Anti-Vibration will delay the shutter by waiting for the mirror to come up and settle. Again, under normal circumstances, this feature should be turned off.
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Old Apr 22, 2004, 10:56 PM   #4
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unclewillie, I've tried sharpness completely off but the images come out very soft like out of an EOS-10D. Nice for that glamour portrait look but IMO not useful for much else. But perhaps -1 is still too sharp, I do experience the sharp blurrs you've mentioned, but I have only shot thru the kit lens so far.
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Old May 8, 2004, 9:19 PM   #5
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With regards to using a D70 and a PC together.

If you have the Nikon Capture Software ( we all get a free trial ), you can control the camera via the computer, have the camera save the shots directly to your PC and not a card. You must however make sure your camera is setup properly.

Under the Setup Menu there is an option called 'USB' where you can have either 'M' - Mass Storage, or 'P' - PTP. Mass storage lets you access the pictures on your memory card very easily as it will be detected as a removable drive, PTP is what is needed for Nikon Capture to recognise the camera.

Something I didn't know, and thought might be useful.
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Old May 8, 2004, 9:53 PM   #6
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PlatinumWeaver wrote:
Quote:
With regards to using a D70 and a PC together.

If you have the Nikon Capture Software ( we all get a free trial ), you can control the camera via the computer, have the camera save the shots directly to your PC and not a card. You must however make sure your camera is setup properly.

Under the Setup Menu there is an option called 'USB' where you can have either 'M' - Mass Storage, or 'P' - PTP. Mass storage lets you access the pictures on your memory card very easily as it will be detected as a removable drive, PTP is what is needed for Nikon Capture to recognise the camera.

Something I didn't know, and thought might be useful.
My "old" Canon G3 has similar capabilities, except it also has the live view onscreen (which I know is obviously not possible on an SLR). It really came in nice at events when you are going to make prints onsite. I went ahead and purchased the Full Version of Capture and have been playing with all of it. The DEE correction is just cool in NEF's or JPEGs. I also really like my SB-800 flash and the ability to use it wirelessly with the D70, making flash placement options near endless.
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Old May 10, 2004, 12:18 PM   #7
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dcrawley wrote:
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I also really like my SB-800 flash and the ability to use it wirelessly with the D70, making flash placement options near endless.
dcrawley, I just got my D70 and SB800. I have tried to use the flash wirelessly with just the SB800 and the flash on the D70, but havn't had any luck. I tried the manual, but I was lost. You have any suggestions for a newby or a link to a web site that could help?

Thanks,

Greg
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Old May 10, 2004, 1:55 PM   #8
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gmblack wrote:
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dcrawley wrote:
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I also really like my SB-800 flash and the ability to use it wirelessly with the D70, making flash placement options near endless.
dcrawley, I just got my D70 and SB800. I have tried to use the flash wirelessly with just the SB800 and the flash on the D70, but havn't had any luck. I tried the manual, but I was lost. You have any suggestions for a newby or a link to a web site that could help?

Thanks,

Greg

Reading the instructions made me take a minute and slow down my self. Here is what you do:

On the camera, go into custom setting 19 (Flash Mode) and select Commander Mode, then TTL, then OK.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"In this case,a master flash is defined as an SB-800 mounted to the camera directly to the hotshoe or with a TTL remote cord. That is why you have to set the camera as the "master" and the flash as remote.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"On the flash, turn it on. Press and hold the SEL button until the custom settings menu comes up (about 2 seconds). Find andhighlight flash mode; hit SEL. Using the +/- buttons,highlight Remote then hit SEL. The display will now show REMOTE. Hit SEL again then +/- to select channel 3. Hit SEL, then +/- to set group A then hit SEL one last time.
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Old May 13, 2004, 7:13 AM   #9
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Onyx wrote:
Quote:
Veteran photographer, new DSLR owner. Currently exploring the seemingly endless array of features, settings and customisable controls of this camera.

Share your tips here, for taking better shots and/or getting the most from this camera.

I'll start:

As with the D100, the D70's exposure metering has been widely reported to underexpose middle grey by about 0.5EV, perhaps programmed to do so as a saving grace to blowing out highlights. Custom curves are available online to help lift the midrange to its expected level and offering no disadvantage at the top end. Downloading a custom curve to the camera is fairly easy and stress free. Requires Nikon Capture software. If you have the time and inclination, you could experiment with curves yourself.

Failing that, setting +0.3EV compensation in camera works for me - but note the camera does not apply compensation to Auto or any of the Digital Vari-Program modes. I shoot in AP almost exclusively, so this is not a problem.

Turn off long exposure NR for sport/action shooting or any time using continous shooting mode. There seems to be a "bug", and perhaps the first real issue of the D70, which limits the max FPS of continuous shooting with NR on, even when it's not activated (ie. shutters faster than 1sec). From experience, you only get close to the advertised 3FPS with NR off. With it on, it seems to be 2FPS if that.

Under custom menu, select -1 sharpness. This goes a long way towards countering the moire issue so heavily reported on the net, and also sharpening halos that could sometimes occur, with in camera sharpening as strong as it is (eg. powerlines against blue sky tends to exhibit halos - I'll post pics if you're really unconvinced). The downside to this is the requirement of post-processing each image with unsharp masking.

Customise the AE-L/AF-L button to a function best suited to your style of photography. I forget what the default setting is, however IMHO this is a very powerful and tremendously useful tool Nikon has given D70 users - the ability to change what the button does. It can be programmed to be exposure lock, focus lock, auto focus button, etc. consult your manual cos I can't remember the full list. I have mine set to lock exposure.

To be continued...
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Onyx: Do you have any more comments/recommendations since this post?
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Old May 14, 2004, 1:01 AM   #10
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Yeah, I'm sure I posted some more before the new forum software and that post is now lost.

Under bright sunny conditions(as the Northern hemisphere is approaching summer now, I thought it might be timely for most people here), try setting tone comp (in Custom image settings) to -1 or even -2. This reduces contrast, but the way it's implemented in the D70, the highlights are held as the "reference point" while midtones and shadows are brought up. This has the effect of bringing out details in darker areas of an otherwisebright image (eg. in shadows), makes the apparent brightness difference between highlights and shadows less - comparison pics in Imaging Resources' D70 review, under "Contrast Series" (there's lots of other images of varying settings here):

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D70/D70PICS.HTM

It's how I now shoot all the time except using flash indoors, where colours tend to grey outand are flat looking if I keep tone to -2.

I also now shoot exclusively in sRGB mode III, as I find the saturation more pleasing personally. The only exception to this is portraits - where colour mode I looks better. I don't bother with AdobeRGB as I don't make a habit of post processing.

White Balance: while holding down the WB button and rotating the command dial, the WB presets increase temp with each step/icon marker to the right. The defaults are: 3000, 4200, 5200, 5400, 6000, and 8000K; for incan, fluoro, sunlight, flash, cloudy and shade respectively. Intrinsic numbers don't matter - but it's handy to remember that as the temperature increase, the colour balance shifts from yellow to blue. While there is a custom/preset WB setting fordifficult lighting situations, it takes some time to program and it may be faster to simply select an arbitraryWB setting and take a shot - depending on how the image turns out, shift the WB icon left or right until it's approx right, then use the fine trimmings to the presets to get it prefect. If you shoot in raw, this would all be useless info as you could do it in the comfort of your computer chair afterwards.

Software: my D70 came with Picture Project - which is next to useless for me as it's just another file/image browser bloatware. Those that don't have Capture 4.1 or don't intend to buy it due to insufficient funds, Nikon View (37Mb download, free) from Nikon's officialsites, does more than Project and IMO the Editor function does simple image correction tasks negating the need for Photoshop. It also loads less services on Startup (WinXP/PC), freeing your system memory for other things.


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