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View Full Version : Is this normal for a D70?



austinelizabeth
06-12-2005, 08:36 AM
Hi. I need a bit of advice. Last year I purchased (and returned to wait for further time to consider) a Nikon D70. I don't know if I was in over my head or if I just didn't give it a fair chance/it was defective.

First some background about what I want/need out of a camera:

I love to take photos however I am admittedly more interested in composition than numbers. I'm not foolish, though; I do know that I must control the camera in order to create the images I want. In other words, I am interested in having the capability for advanced control over images but there are (many) times when I'd like to be able to do very little in the way of settings (fuss with aperture priority, for example), and then just shoot.

I need a digital SLR for two reasons: shutter lag and image ratio. I miss shots all the time with my Sony F707 and Canon A80 because of timing, and I am tired of having to add image area into my compositions to allow for cropping (unlike a lot of people who are better off cropping in, I usually take really tight shots that are hurt by further cropping).

I am a graphic designer and know a lot about image editing and proper color correction (just so you know that if need be, it's not beyond me to do complex post-processing. I just don't want to HAVE to every.single.time).

Late last year I bought a Nikon D70. I was extremely pleased with the feel and operation of the camera, and I read the manual very carefully the first three or four days and really got know the functions.

When I downloaded my test images into my computer and viewed the results in PS, I was totally disappointed. I thought I must have had some settings off, so I experimented. I got the same results. Namely, a wildly unpredictable white balance from SHOT TO SHOT, when the camera's view was changed by as little as an inch -- whether or not the camera was on auto WB or was set for a particular light source.

I can understand that auto WB might not be the answer in a dSLR (Though I must say I don't know why the auto WB doesn't work adequately; if a high-quality fixed lens camera can provide excellent auto WB, why not a dSLR?). I can change the WB when I move from indoors to out, and if it's an important shoot I am willing to set my own. But to have the color of the images differ dramatically in the same room, under the same light, from one shot to the next when a specific WB is set (or even if it were in auto) seems really bad to me. Also, the WB just plain sucked in quality. I could tweak it with the customizer, and appreciate that flexibility, but it's a royal pain to have to do so shot-to-shot. I am just unclear why all film SLRs and fixed-lens seem to handle WB without too much problem, but the D70 could not.

NOTE: I do know that I could shoot in RAW and the WB wouldn't matter; but again, that should be an option not a limiting factor. I don't want to HAVE to do complex post-processing every time I take my camera out (which is usually more than once a day).

I returned the camera and decided to wait until I could find out more about dSLRs before making my decision -- I thought perhaps I was just in over my head, technically. A few people think that my D70 was defective (from my description) but I wasn't sure about that, especially after reading a lot of reviews of the camera.

It may be that I simply need to load some "P&S" curves. If from reading what I've written you concur, may I say UGH to Nikon: the "auto" settings should be just that -- auto.

Also seemed really poor to me that unless a WB flash setting was on, any and all full flash photos were bright blue (which I know now isn't a defect, but a characteristic of the D70). Again, if a P&S can handle this situation, why doesn't the auto WB setting on a full-function dSLR? I am not being lazy; if I didn't want to have the option of full control I'd just want a P&S straight up. I don't, but just because I want to be able to take full control, I'm not sure I should always have to. There are many times I take a stream of shots that vary in needing a flash -- if I always had to stop to set the WB for flash, I'd be sunk.

So here are my specific questions:

1. In your experience is the Nikon D70 simply a high-maintenance camera (in a good way, for those of you who adore all the intricacies of optics)? Am I simply expecting the camera to do too much for me? I'm confused why I feel like such a novice because I've taken photos for years with film SLRs and I don't find them remotely unpredictable. You learn the camera, you set your exposures, and fundamentally, you get similar results camera to camera. I found this to be true with my Nikon, my dad's minoltas, and even his Leica. Yes a better lens makes a difference, but that's another story.

2. I notice that the new D50 doesn't have WB fine-tuning. Do you know if this mean they've improved the WB, both auto and light-specific settings?

3. Finally, do you think that the Canon 350D XT is a better camera for someone who wants to use a dSLR in a program mode w/o a lot of fine tweaking, about 70% of the time (other times taking more control), as opposed to the Nikon D70/D50?

I did post this in a slightly different form in the Buying Advice forum; sorry if this bothers anyone. I just wanted to make sure I posed the question in a pro-Nikon environment to get a fair answer.

Thanks so much for your time,
Julia

D70FAN
06-13-2005, 06:27 AM
Hi. I need a bit of advice. Last year I purchased (and returned to wait for further time to consider) a Nikon D70. I don't know if I was in over my head or if I just didn't give it a fair chance/it was defective.

So here are my specific questions:

1. In your experience is the Nikon D70 simply a high-maintenance camera (in a good way, for those of you who adore all the intricacies of optics)? Am I simply expecting the camera to do too much for me? I'm confused why I feel like such a novice because I've taken photos for years with film SLRs and I don't find them remotely unpredictable. You learn the camera, you set your exposures, and fundamentally, you get similar results camera to camera. I found this to be true with my Nikon, my dad's minoltas, and even his Leica. Yes a better lens makes a difference, but that's another story.

2. I notice that the new D50 doesn't have WB fine-tuning. Do you know if this mean they've improved the WB, both auto and light-specific settings?

3. Finally, do you think that the Canon 350D XT is a better camera for someone who wants to use a dSLR in a program mode w/o a lot of fine tweaking, about 70% of the time (other times taking more control), as opposed to the Nikon D70/D50?

I did post this in a slightly different form in the Buying Advice forum; sorry if this bothers anyone. I just wanted to make sure I posed the question in a pro-Nikon environment to get a fair answer.

Thanks so much for your time,
Julia

Have you looked at others results with the D70? Do they match what you are seeing from your camera?

I have been shooting with the D70 for better than a year and have never had a problem with auto white balance, or any white balance setting for that matter.

Maybe you could post a couple of pictures so we can see what you are talking about.

Cold Snail
06-13-2005, 08:47 AM
Auto white balance is not to be trusted.
The presets are very good if the weather is consistant, but the only safe way is to shoot in RAW.
I shot some race cars on a mixed sunny/cloudy day and the balance shifted so much, in the end I selected RAW to keep my sanity.

Now there's just the editing to do of all 300 pictures. :rolleyes:

erichlund
06-13-2005, 08:57 AM
This is not the first time I've heard about white balance issues on the D70. However, like George, I've never experience the problem. OK, sometimes I forget to set up the white balance in a difficult situation. It's OK, because I shoot RAW, so I can fix it.

It seems strange that small movements can radically effect metering (unless of course, those small movements include or exclude strong light sources. Even when spot metering is used, the manual seems to indicate that white balance is always based on the full 1005 pixel sensor.

Cheers,
Eric

Charles C. Weston
06-15-2005, 08:22 PM
Austinelizabeth

Just a thought, is it possible that it may not be the WB? I too, had a lot of trouble with my D70 at first and found that the trouble was really that I was not watching the ISO very carefully.

Since then my pictures have been much better although, I still have a lot to learn.

Charles