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Nikon D1 vs D70

The Nikon D1 and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 1999 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D1 has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the D70 provides 6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D1
versus
Nikon D70
Nikon D1   Nikon D70
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 120k dots 1.8 LCD, 130k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Nikon D70 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 Nikon D1 vs Nikon D70
Compare D1 versus D70 top
Comparison D1 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 smaller (35 percent) than the Nikon D1. Moreover, the D70 is substantially lighter (38 percent) than the D1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1 is splash and dust resistant, while the D70 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D70, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499 i
2.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
3.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
4.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999 i
5.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199 i
6.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799 i
7.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999 i
8.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799 i
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699 i
10.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999 i
11.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
12.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
13.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699 i
14.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999 i
16.
 
Nikon D1H 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499 i
17.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999 i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the D1, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D1 and Nikon D70 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the D70 offers a higher resolution of 6 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 50 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the D70 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 7.85μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the D70 is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D1 versus D70 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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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.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none...... ..
2.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
3.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
4.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.12965 89
5.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.03253 82
6.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.2787 70
7.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.22290 81
8.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.0679 67
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.9489 59
10.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.2524 61
11.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
12.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
13.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.5583 64
14.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.9476 59
15.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none...... ..
16.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none...... ..
17.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none...... ..
Neither the D1 nor the D70 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D1 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 viewfinder in the D1 offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the D70 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D1 has a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.50x), 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 Nikon D1, 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.
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
2.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
5.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
17.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n

One feature that is present on the D1, but is missing on the D70 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D1 and the D70 write their files to Compact Flash cards.

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 Nikon D1 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.
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---
2.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
3.
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
4.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo---mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
16.
 
Nikon D1HY-----FW---
17.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the D70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D1 and the D70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the D70 was followed by the Nikon D70s. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D1 better than the Nikon D70 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.50x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • 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 June 1999).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D70:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (6 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 51%.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (140x111mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 421g or 38 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D1 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D1 09:07 D70

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1 and the Nikon D70 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 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 D1 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
 
Nikon D1....+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499 i
2.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
3.
 
Canon 300D....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
4.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999 i
5.
 
Nikon D3S5/5..89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199 i
6.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799 i
7.
 
Nikon D3....+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999 i
8.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799 i
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699 i
10.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999 i
11.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
12.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
13.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699 i
14.
 
Nikon D2X....+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999 i
16.
 
Nikon D1H....+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499 i
17.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D1:
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D1 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 Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 1999 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 2.6 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2000 x 1312 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.93 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 529
    Screen Specs Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.50x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector Firewire USB 1.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D1 Nikon D70
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-4 EN-EL3
    Body Dimensions 157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1100 g (38.8 oz) 679 g (24.0 oz)

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