Contax N Digital vs Pentax K-70
The Contax N Digital and the Pentax K-70 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and June 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (K-70) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Pentax K-70? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Pentax K-70. 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.
The K-70 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the N Digital is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-70 is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the K-70 is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-70 is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Contax N Digital||152 mm||138 mm||80 mm||990 g||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon XC10||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||370||n||Apr 2015||2,499|
|4.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|5.||Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|6.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|7.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|8.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|9.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|10.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|11.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|16.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|17.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|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 K-70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 91 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Pentax K-70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-70 is 58 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the K-70 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. 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 3.91μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the K-70 is much more recent (by 14 years and 3 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the K-70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The K-70 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the N Digital, the K-70 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-70 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Contax N Digital||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||none||21.5||10.5||1283||59|
|7.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|8.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|9.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The K-70 indeed provides for movie recording, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the K-70 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the K-70 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 viewfinder in the K-70 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the N Digital (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Contax N Digital, the Pentax K-70, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Contax N Digital||optical||Y||2.0 / 200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|2.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon XC10||none||n||3.0 / 1030||tilting||Y||1/2000s||3.8||n||Y|
|4.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 300D||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|6.||Canon D60||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|8.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the N Digital, but is missing on the K-70 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The K-70 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the N Digital does not have a selfie-screen.
The Pentax K-70 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the K-70 uses SDXC cards.
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 Contax N Digital and Pentax K-70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Contax N Digital||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon XC10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 300D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D100||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-70 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the N Digital does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the K-70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The K-70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the N Digital has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the N Digital from Contax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Contax N Digital or the Pentax K-70 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/6000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-70:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 98%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 200k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (126x93mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 302g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (91 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 14 years and 3 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-70 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Pentax K-70 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the N Digital or the K-70. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Contax N Digital||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon XC10||..||..||..||80/100||..||..||Apr 2015||2,499|
|4.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|5.||Canon 300D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|6.||Canon D60||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|7.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|8.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|9.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|10.||Nikon D100||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|11.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|16.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|17.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon SX610 vs Pentax K-70
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon D80
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic FZ1000
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic GH3
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic GX8
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic ZS200
- Contax N Digital vs Pentax KP
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Pentax K-70
- Panasonic GM5 vs Pentax K-70
- Pentax K-70 vs Sigma fp
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony A7R II
Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Pentax K-70
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 Model||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||June 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 7,399||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Pentax K-70|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
126 x 93 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||688 g (24.3 oz)|
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