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Canon G1 X vs Nikon D70

The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2012 and January 2004. The G1X is a fixed lens compact, while the D70 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and an APS-C (D70) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon G1 X versus Nikon D70
Canon G1 X Nikon D70
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Nikon F mount lenses
14.2 MP, 1.5" Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 1.8 LCD, 130k dots
no rear screen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.9 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
117 x 81 x 65 mm, 534 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Nikon D70? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Nikon D70. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G1 X vs Nikon D70
Compare G1X versus D70 top
Comparison G1X or D70 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70 is considerably larger (64 percent) than the Canon G1 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the D70 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens built in, whereas the D70 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D70 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1X gets 250 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D70 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
11.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949i
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
14.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G1X was launched at a lower price than the D70, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Nikon D70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D70 is 41 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 1.5. The sensor in the G1X has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D70 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X and Nikon D70 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G1 X offers a higher resolution of 14.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D70. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, it should be noted that the G1X is much more recent (by 7 years and 11 months) than the D70, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon G1 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G1X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

G1X versus D70 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the G1X has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D70 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
2.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
7.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
8.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
10.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
11.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
14.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
15.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The G1X indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the G1X can use is 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G1X and the D70 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G1 X, the Nikon D70, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
8.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
10.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
14.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
The G1X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D70 does not have a selfie-screen.

The G1X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D70 uses Compact Flash cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G1 X and Nikon D70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---

Both the G1X and the D70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the G1X was followed by the Canon G1X Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G1 X better than the Nikon D70 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 6MP) with a 51% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 130k dots).
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D70 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x81mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D70).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1X is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G1X 14:05 D70

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X and the Nikon D70 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G1X or the D70 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon 500D..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
11.
 
Canon 300D....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
14.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon G1 X:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D70:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon G1 X vs Nikon D70

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2012 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1.5" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 18.7 x 14.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 261.8 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 23.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.85x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 14.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4352 x 3264 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.30 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 5.43 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 60 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 644 529
    Screen Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 74% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.9 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G1 X Nikon D70
    Battery Type NB-10L EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 81 x 65 mm
    (4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 534 g (18.8 oz) 679 g (24.0 oz)

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