Nikon D70 vs Olympus XZ-1
The Nikon D70 and the Olympus XZ-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2004 and January 2011. The D70 is a DSLR, while the XZ-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D70) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D70||Olympus XZ-1|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|6 MP, APS-C Sensor||10.1 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 200-1,600||ISO 100-6,400|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|1.8 LCD, 130k dots||3.0 LCD, 614k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||2 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|400 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g||111 x 65 x 42 mm, 275 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D70 and the Olympus XZ-1? 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 Nikon D70 and the Olympus XZ-1. 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 XZ-1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D70 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 Olympus XZ-1 is considerably smaller (54 percent) than the Nikon D70. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D70 nor the XZ-1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-1 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.
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon D70||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|Olympus XZ-1||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|Canon Rebel||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5100||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D40||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D50||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D2X||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999|
|Nikon D100||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|Olympus XZ-2||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||12.2 oz||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 XZ-1 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.
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 Nikon D70 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus XZ-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-1 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 4.4. The sensor in the D70 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the XZ-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the XZ-1 offers a higher resolution of 10.1 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 2.13μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, it should be noted that the XZ-1 is much more recent (by 6 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 Olympus XZ-1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XZ-1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.3 x 13.8 inches or 46.5 x 35 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.7 x 11 inches or 37.2 x 28 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.2 inches or 31 x 23.3 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 Nikon D70 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus XZ-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (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. Of the two cameras under review, the D70 provides substantially higher image quality than the XZ-1, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 2.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The XZ-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the XZ-1 can use is 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D70 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D70, the Olympus XZ-1, and comparable cameras.
The Olympus XZ-1 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 D70 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the XZ-1 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 Nikon D70 and Olympus XZ-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the D70 and the XZ-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the XZ-1 was followed by the Olympus XZ-2. 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 XZ-1 – 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 Nikon D70:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 27%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
- 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 (614k vs 130k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D70 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 140x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D70).
- 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).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XZ-1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 9 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 Nikon D70 and the Olympus XZ-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 D70 or the XZ-1. 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 (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.
|Nikon D70||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||999|
|Olympus XZ-1||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|Canon Rebel||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5100||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D40||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D50||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||..||..||..||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D2X||..||+ +||..||o||..||Sep 2004||4,999|
|Nikon D100||..||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|Olympus XZ-2||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|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 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? 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 1D C vs Nikon D70
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon D70
- Canon 750D vs Olympus XZ-1
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Nikon D5200 vs Nikon D70
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic FZ2000
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic FZ2500
- Nikon D70 vs Pentax K-5
- Nikon D70 vs Sony A99
- Nikon D70 vs Sony RX1
- Nikon D70 vs Sony RX10
Specifications: Nikon D70 vs Olympus XZ-1
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 XZ-1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||January 2004||January 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus XZ-1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||7.85 x 5.89 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||46.2365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||9.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||10.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||3664 x 2752 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||2.13 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||21.81 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||50||34|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||18.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||529||117|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus XZ-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||130k dots||614k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus XZ-1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D70||Olympus XZ-1|
|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 XZ-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||679 g (24.0 oz)||275 g (9.7 oz)|
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