Nikon D70 vs Olympus E-5
The Nikon D70 and the Olympus E-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2004 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D70) and a Four Thirds (E-5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|6 MP, APS-C Sensor||12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 200-1600||ISO 100-6400|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|1.8" LCD, 130k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|400 shots per battery charge||750 shots per battery charge|
|140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g||142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D70 and the Olympus E-5? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D70 and the Olympus E-5 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-5 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Nikon D70. Moreover, the E-5 is markedly heavier (29 percent) than the D70. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust-proof, 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D70) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-5).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon D70»||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-5«||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.8 oz||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||Olympus E-5|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D5100« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D5000« »||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D90« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-30« »||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-1« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||26.0 oz||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||Olympus E-1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 41 percent) than the E-5, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 Nikon D70 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-5 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D70 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-5 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-5 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the 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 4.29μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, it should be noted that the E-5 is much more recent (by 6 years and 7 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 Olympus E-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D70 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D70 (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 stops of reduced 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.
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56||Olympus E-5|
|Canon Rebel||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||none||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D5100||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D5000||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D90||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D2X||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-1|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D70 and the E-5 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 E-5 offers a wider field of view (100%) 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 E-5 has a higher magnification (0.575x 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 D70, the Olympus E-5, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0||920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-5|
|Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Olympus E-1|
One feature that differentiates the E-5 and the D70 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D70 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The E-5 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 D70 does not have a selfie-screen.
The D70 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-5 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D70 only has one slot.
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 D70 and Olympus E-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-5||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-5|
|Canon Rebel||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D5100||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D5000||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D90||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D2X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Olympus E-30||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-510||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-1|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-5 (unlike the D70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D70 and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the E-5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D70 or the Olympus E-5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D70:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 194g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2004).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.575x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 (920k vs 130k 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 (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 400) 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.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-5 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 3 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D70 and the Olympus E-5 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D70 or the E-5 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1000D vs Nikon D70
- Canon G1 X Mark III vs Nikon D70
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Olympus E-5
- Canon SX620 vs Nikon D70
- Leica X2 vs Olympus E-5
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Nikon D70
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Olympus E-5
- Nikon D70 vs Olympus E-M1
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic L10
- Nikon D70 vs Sony NEX-5
- Olympus E-5 vs Sony A6000
- Olympus E-5 vs Sony A68
Specifications: Nikon D70 vs Olympus E-5
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||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2004||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 1699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200-1600 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||50||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||529||519|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||130k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus E-5|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
142 x 117 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||679 g (24.0 oz)||873 g (30.8 oz)|
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