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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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D70 versus Olympus XZ-1
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 onlyIn-body stabilization
400 shots per battery charge320 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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Nikon D70 vs Olympus XZ-1
Compare D70 versus XZ-1 top
Comparison D70 or XZ-1 rear

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus XZ-1 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.7 oz 320 n Jan 2011 499i
 
Canon Rebel 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Nikon D5100 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D5000 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D2X 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Nikon D100 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Olympus XZ-2 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 12.2 oz 340 n Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM1 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499i
 
Olympus E-PL1 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Nikon D70 and Olympus XZ-1 sensor measures

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).

D70 versus XZ-1 MP

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.

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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
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n 3.0 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

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.

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 D70 and Olympus XZ-1 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
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

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.

Review summary

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.

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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).

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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.

D70 09:12 XZ-1

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.

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 (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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus XZ-1..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499i
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D2X..+ +..o.. Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Nikon D100..+ +oo.. Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Olympus XZ-2+..4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PM186/10071/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2011 499i
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
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.

Nikon D70:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus XZ-1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

~

    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CCD CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 4.4x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    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 Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Type EN-EL3 Li-50B
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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