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Nikon D100 vs. D70

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I'd like to see an intelligent discussion of the D100 vs. the D70 for underwater use.

 

Now, before James starts touting the S2, I would like to restrict it to these two Nikon models only...

 

It seems that the D70 has additional features and better specs over the D100, now what would the reasons to buy the D100 over the D70 be?

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D100 has selectable color space, MSC switch, bigger viewfinder, metal chassis, uncompressed NEF, etc.

 

D70 has much faster write speed, is slightly smaller, lighter, has iTTL strobe control for wireless TTL strobes, etc.

 

FWIW Matt, I now own both the D100 and the S2pro. So if I were buying a new camera today which one of these 3 would I get - I'd get another S2.

 

Cheers

James

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The D70 compressed NEF is lossless and fast. It turns out the D100 version is neither of those. I wouldn't be concerned with the difference but D100 users need to know NOT to use compressed NEF. Also, selectable color space doesn't effect RAW image capture (it's metadata only).

 

D70 has the fast strobe sync which might be useful underwater. It also has a weaker AA filter so it produces sharper images out of camera. The D100 images are a little soft compared to the competition.

 

According to dpreview, the D100 offers slightly better noise performance than the D70.

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I noticed that the D70 NEFs looked sharper than those straight from the D100 when shooting both side by side in Grand Cayman.

 

To expand James MSC point - you can select between these through the menus on th D70. THE MSC switch on my Subal doesn't work anyway - since my housing was one of the very first back in 2002, before Subal actually finalised this control. I haven't bothered updating it because I always use C!

 

The D70 offers a higher degree of compatability with a wider range of strobes - we actually need someone to try one in a housing, to confirm exactly what it does and does not like.

 

The D70 NEF write speed is impressive.

 

Alex

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In addition to all of the things mentioned above, the obvious one is that D70 cost is $500 less for the body only--or put it this way the D100 costs 50% more than the D70. That $500 could go a long way toward a good piece of glass or housing.

 

I also tend to think of the compressed NEF/vs uncompressed NEF issue in terms of dollars. The D100 compressed NEFs are so slow you probably wouldn't use them. The lossless compressed D70 NEF files are faster than the D100 uncompressed files. But the compresed files are a little more than half as big. If a 512 mb card is what you use for a 2 tank day shooting ~80 compressed images. You can only get about 50 shooting uncompresed. So you need twice as much storage which costs twice as much ~$200 1 Gb vs $100 512Mb.

 

The only advantage I see for uncompressed is for display on some storage devices that currently support NEFs. That's not much of an advantage because the NEF+JPG (not supported on D100) is still smaller than uncompressed NEF and displays faster. Once the software in these devices is updated or the Coolwalker comes out in a month or two, there really is no advantage.

 

BTW: I see no real problem with jpg basic. The jpg basic is the large 6mp image with the highest jpg compression. The images I've taken look awesome even in basic. There is loads of detail in these and pleanty for their intended purpose of quickly viewing the images to determine the keepers from the throwaways--or even better yet to have a quick way to archive sub-par pictures for those that can't throw anything away :-)

 

I can't see any good reason to use the D100 TIF format when you can make the TIF from the RAW files.

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In addition to all of the things mentioned above, the obvious one is that D70 cost is $500 less for the body only--or put it this way the D100 costs 50% more than the D70. That $500 could go a long way toward a good piece of glass or housing.

 

A further note on the finanial aspect of the comparison:

 

On top of the basic $500 financial advantage mentioned above, there is also the issue of probable depreciation in value of both the camera and the housing. These days I have heard remarks that even the more sophisticated DSLR’s are just another form of disposable camera—over time. In other words, if we’d bought an F100 and a housing for it back in pre-digital days, we might have expected to keep it for a number of years. These days many folks are buying DSLR’s with the full expectation of replacing both the camera and the housing within one or two product lifecycles. Depending on the manufacturer, than can be as soon as one but usually no longer than 3 years. Therefore, when purchasing one system versus another, it seems to make sense to include in any financial analysis assumptions regarding the possible disposal value (we’ll call it “salvage value”, the term often used) for that item.

 

This salvage value is going to be materially effected by which stage of the product life cycle that the product is in at the time of purchase. In other words, at this point, a D70 may cost $1000 and a D100 may cost $1500. However, the D100 has been out for (I believe) about 18 months now. It has been speculated that the successor to the D100 is on the way. In any event, even though speculations like this are rife and historically unreliable, it still seems reasonable to assume that the D100 will be superceded within 12 months from now. Let’s split the difference and call it 6 months, and assume that overall, for the sake of this discussion, Nikon will give its DSLR’s (both the D70 and the D100) a life-cycle of about 24 months.

 

This has relevance to the future potential resale value of both the D100 and any associated housing. These DSLR’s come with dedicated housings, which can cost from about $1200 to $2500 or more. Again, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the purchaser chooses something in the middle, and ends up with a housing costing $1750. (For a reality check, the Aquatica housing for the D100 is listed on B&H’s website at about $1600.) Therefore, the purchaser’s total investment in items with a shorter lifecycle is not just the $1000-$1500 spent on the camera body, but also the $1750 or so spent on the housing.

 

Note that for the purposes of this discussion I have excluded the cost of both the lenses for the camera and the ports and associated gears for the housing. These items are necessary, but it is generally recognized that they have much longer product life cycles. In other words, a Nikon 105mm AFS lens is probably not going to be replaced in the Nikon product line for a number of years, and will be able to be used on the successor to the D100. The same is usually true of the ports for the housing. There is of course some depreciation in the value of all of these items but it should not be as dramatic as the depreciation in the value of the camera body and its housing.

 

So, returning to our camera body and housing, we have an investment of an average of $1250 in the camera body (1000 + 1500 = 2500 / 2) and $1750 in the housing. That’s $3000 in total. However, as we’re previously noted, these products will only be “current” for approximately two years. After that, they will be in the category of “superceded products” and the amount that one could get in the case of their resale would drop.

My problem with buying a D100 and an associated housing for it right now (April of 2004) is that I would be making a $3000 or so purchase in a system that—if I go to sell it say 2 ½ years down the line—may have been out of production for 2 years. A prospective purchaser might be assumed to be more skeptical and reserved in that situation. On the other hand, if we carry forward our (somewhat arbitrary) assumption of a 24-month product lifecycle for these DSLR’s, if I go to sell my D70 at that point, I will be selling a camera that has more or less just gone out of production. In that case, I think I will experience less of a difference between the salvage value (resale price) and the initial purchase price.

 

Therefore, in a financial analysis of the two cameras side by side, it seems to me to hurt the case for a D100 purchase at this point. It not only costs $500 more to start out with, but the camera is about 18 months into its life. It is therefore much closer to the point where it goes out of production—and also it has further to drop than a D70 (because it costs more to begin with).

 

I am aware that there are a number of alternatives to selling a system once the camera goes out of production. An extra camera can be bought, the user can simply choose to hold on to the system, and I'm sure there are others. However, for a financial analysis, it seems that what's relevant is the fair market value of the system at a given point in time-- regardless of what the user chooses to do with it.

 

Granted that there are tons of assumptions involved in the above, and I wouldn’t dispute anyone who wanted to challenge any or all of them on a specific basis. I may even have gotten some specific facts wrong- it wouldn't be the first time. :? However, I think the general principle would stand: that buying a DSLR and associated housing at list price near the end of its product life cycle is not the most advantageous financial decision.

 

Note that this is not intended as a knock on the D100 whatsoever, and that this analysis has much less (if any) relevance for a D100 owner who purchased their camera before the D70 was announced. (“Some of my best friends…”). Note also that I haven’t addressed the D100’s functionality as a photographic tool. It is by all accounts a great camera. Even aside from that, it has been remarked many times that Ansel Adams took his photos with somewhat less digitally sophisticated tools than many of us use, and that Cartier-Bresson was similarly “handicapped”.

 

And-- oh yeah. In the interests of full disclosure, I might also note that I took receipt of a D70 late last week, and spent much of today shooting with a new 70-200 2.8 VR lens. I could understand if someone claimed that this has distorted my perspective. :roll:

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Thinking aloud...Now, if only the DSLR housing costs would depreciate as much as out-of-production DSLRs do... :)

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I have both a D100 and a D70 (see archived posts for more detailled comments).

 

I'd buy the D70. The only drawback is that the viewfinder is a couple of mm smaller.

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D70 has a BIG lack for using underwater, it can't switch from

continuos to single focus. Menu operation isn't usefull. (The fish

don't wait to you while change menu settings)

 

 

Regards,

fRAS

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The D70 can switch from AF-S to AF-C with the menu.........menu is extremely easy to navigate

 

Karl

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Correction: The D70 DOES have a selectable color space.

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Correction: The D70 DOES have a selectable color space.

 

especially when you shoot RAW. :wink:

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The D70 can switch from AF-S to AF-C with the menu.........menu is extremely easy to navigate

 

Karl

one thing is easy

other is fast

 

with a switch you can change position while you are

seeking a fish. With menu you can't keep your eyes

in the viewfinder.

 

fRAS

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Thanks for the responses. I'm drawing to the D100 for its features, but the D70 looks appealing with its slower shutter lag and faster write times.

 

The point of buying the latest technology or model is well taken, but as we know, the housings aren't available until a few months after the full release of the camera model.

 

But the price point of the D70 is appealing...

 

James, is your next camera the S3?

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