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Nikon D70s versus Nikon D300

The Nikon D70s and the Nikon D300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2005 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D70s has a resolution of 6 megapixel, whereas the D300 provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D70s vs Nikon D300

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D70s and the Nikon D300. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D70s – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D70s vs Nikon D300
Compare D70s versus D300 top
Compare D70s and D300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D300 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Nikon D70s. Moreover, the D300 is substantially heavier (36 percent) than the D70s. It is noteworthy in this context that the D300 is splash and dust-proof, while the D70s 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 find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D70s gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL3a battery, while the D300 can take 1000 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D70s» 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D300« 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Nikon D100« » 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100

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 D70s was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the D300, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D70s vs Nikon D300

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D300 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D70s and Nikon D300 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D300 offers a higher resolution than the D70s (6MP), but the D300 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 7.85μm for the D70s). Yet, the D300 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the D70s, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

D70s versus D300 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D300 offers substantially better image quality than the D70s (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D70s» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
Nikon D300« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
The D300 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D70s lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Nikon D70s vs Nikon D300

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D70s and the D300 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D70s and Nikon D300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D70s»optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
Nikon D300«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100

One feature that is present on the D300, but is missing on the D70s 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.

Both the D70s and the D300 write their imaging data to Compact Flash cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Nikon D70s»Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
Nikon D300«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100

Both the D70s and the D300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, while the D300 was followed by the Nikon D300S.

Review summary: Nikon D70s vs Nikon D300

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D70s better than the Nikon D300 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Nikon D70s:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 246g or 27 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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 (922k vs 130k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1000 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D70s launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D300 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

D70s 03:12 D300

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D70s or the D300. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D70s»---rev5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D300«HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Canon Rebel« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Nikon D5100« »HiRec76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »78/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Nikon D100« »-HiRecrevrev- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

 

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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