D40 vs. D70

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dane_cohen, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. I'm looking to pick up my first SLR in the coming weeks and I have a question. My father has been looking to upgrade from his D70 for quite some time now (likely to a D300), and so if that were to happen I'd likely inherit the D70. I know I would be perfectly happy with the D70 as it is a great camera, but I was weighing the pros and cons of the D70 vs. a D40 (if I were able to trade one for the other). I'd likely take the camera on an upcoming trip to South America this summer, and so the D40 appeals to me due to the slightly smaller size and the larger LCD (both of which would be nice if I were traveling) so from that point of view I like the D40. The con with the D40 is the inability to use older non AF-S lenses, which limits some very nice options (the 50mm f/1.8 nikkor seems to be a prime example of this). I haven't ever seen both of them side by side in real life, but which camera do you guys think would make a better choice? I think I'd lean towards just keeping the D70, but is there anything I'm leaving out that may make decision an easier one to make? Is the size too insignificant to make a difference? Thanks for your advice.
  2. I'd go with the D70. Image quality is nearly identical, and you get the option to spend your money on a lens or two for the trip. The 50mm f1.8 is a no-brainer to bring along. Small, light, fast, and unobtrusive compared to a zoom.
  3. Well if I were to get the D40 it would be a 1 for 1 trade (D70 for D40) so having extra money for a lens wouldn't be an issue. Good point with the 50mm though.
  4. The D40's LCD is larger and looks much better than the D70's. Its controls, though simplified, are more similar to the controls of other newer cameras. The D40 have better menus. Both the D40 and D70 have the same CCD sensor, but the D40 is newer. We have no proof, but yet can't rule out the possibilities of better image processing capabilities and other minor improvements (such as a new micro lens set up) with the D40. The D70 should work just fine for you, but as a fan of more modern cameras and a D40 owner, I can't help but to prefer the D40 over the D70.
  5. If you are getting the D70 for free, then look no further, I would not give up that camera for a D40 (although I like its viewfinder and LCD screen). I would skip the D40 simply because it is crippled to autofocus non AFS lenses (...and this is a HUGE handicap, especially if you do not have a 20/20 sight).
  6. If I remember correctly the D70 also has two command dials. My old D70 is still producing images with a friend. I really like having a focus motor in the body. IMHO it would have to be the D70. Look for some good used AF-D lenses and you are set.
  7. i would get the d70. you will learn more growing with it than the d40 for reasons you yourself mentioned together with the others. with a 50mm it wouldn't be that heavy. even with the kit lens that came with it, if that is part of the inheritance, the d70 is still considered lightweight. the kit 18-55mm will also serve you well to start your new adventure into the dslr world. have fun.
    later on you can just borrow or "inherit" your dad's zooms :)
  8. With D70 you get CLS commander flash, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, and Multi-CAM-900 sensor. Compare these specs to D40, 3 focus areas, Multi-CAM-530, shutter to 1/4000.
    If any of that matters to you ?
    There is no question which camera is better, but only if you can take advantage of.
  9. Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm gonna keep the D70. The size and LCD are all things I'd like, but the one thing I can't rationalize to is limiting myself to AF-S lenses when there are some really nice and cheap older AF-D ones. Thanks again, I'm sure I'll have some more questions in the future :).
  10. I have a D40 and a D80. For travelling the D40 is lighter. I'd go with the D40.
  11. I still have and use my D70, and I agree with many of the above statements.
    But one friendly warning: While any electronic device can fail, many of the D70 bodies suffered from the "BGLOD" failure -- a catastrophic malfunction that Nikon, to its credit, will repair free even on cameras beyond the warranty period.
    Mine pooped out at an especially inopportune time, when I was out of the country. The back-up compact I carried saved the day.
    My advice: Make sure to take a back-up on your trip. Decent quality compact camera (dig or film) would do the trick. You don't want to be cameraless.
  12. My 70 s are now my backup. What I liked about them was the controls on the body that the 40 lacks. What I disliked was the viewfinder. I never felt that I could see what i was shooting clearly unless I concentrated. The D300 solves that. Looked at the D90 and it does too.
  13. with the money you save by not getting the d40 you could get another "prime example" like the 35/2 or the 85/1.8.
  14. Is the viewfinder on the D70 worse than the viewfinder on the D40?
  15. Dane -
    I don't believe that Nikon changed the viewfinder between the D70 and D40 - other than to change the information displayed.
    I had them both - I got rid of my D70 and have regretted it ever since. The D70 was built like a tank. Mine took a can of Pepsi spilled on the top of it and never missed a beat. Although the left side dial was always a little sticky after that.... ;-)Still have my D40 - it's a great travel camera and doesn't scream PRO like a D3 would.
  16. I agree with many of the others here. The D70 was my first DSLR and was mated with the AF-S 18-70mm -- a terrific kit. Though the LCD is only the size of a postage stamp, I found that the metering was usually spot-on and the camera never ceased to perform. When my D300 had to go in for repair, my trusty D70 was more than an adequate backup (loved the fact that it could autofocus with my 50 mm prime). Oh, and in addition to the points Frank made, the D70 also has a 1/500s flash sync speed. And there is something to be said for having access to a lot of the camera controls without having to navigate through menus. And, and and ...
  17. I own both and I love my D70 but shoot with the D40 well over 90% of the time.
    The lcd difference (one of my primary reasons for getting the D40) is a bigger factor than I thought it would be. Besides the D70 having a tiny display, it's not usable to set exposure. It is sensitive to angle of view. Tilt the camera a few degrees and the apparent exposure changes a lot. The D40 has 170 degree viewing. In other words, everything looks the same from nearly any angle.
    My D70 consistenly underexposes between .7 and 1.0 stops. The D40 is more "true" in that it's exposure is more likely "on" but it makes mistakes the D70 does not. In other words, if I operate the D70 with +1 to +1.3 compensation, it will be more consistently correct than the D40. If I had to use one as a meter, it would be the D70 (with compensation).
    I agree that the D40's achille's heel is the lens limitation (but my kit 18-70 from my D70 works well on my D40).
    I am very impressed with the size and "handle-ability" of the D40.
    If it weren't for the inability to ascertain the accuracy of exposure on the D70 (LCD issue), I'd use the D70 for studio work (I use manual strobes).
  18. It all depends on what lenses you plan to get in the future. Do you eventually want a 14-24 for ultra-wides? Save your money and get a D700, later when you can afford it. If you already have a lot of AF-D lenses, get the D70 for the AF, for which the D40 cannot AF. If you plan to have a newer generation affordable DSLR, get the D40 (which also has 1/500th flash sync). Paired with an SB-400, it's a compact, lightweight travel setup.
    Personally, I'd get a D40 and an 18-200 VR and forget it. If you are just doing on the go travel photography, that may be all you need. Add in the new 50 1.4 AF-S, or a "manual focus" 50 1.8 AF-D, and you'll come back with some great shots. BTW, I have to keep the D40 kept to around -.3 to -.7 on the exposure compensation as it tends to blowout the highlights. If you find the D70 meter to be better than that, get it instead . . .
  19. I assume you get the D70 for free? What a question then!
    - The D70 has a much longer battery endurance (800-1000 images, not kidding)
    - The D70 can handle non AF-S lenses.
    - The D70 can serve as a master for the SB600/800
    - The D70 has 5 autofocus points
    About the only thing left are its heavier size, the smaller LCD and its age.
  20. What a great problem to have... I offer two points.

    1) Find out how many shutter actuations the D70 has. There are several tools out there for free that do this... it's in the EXIF file of each image. Ask you father if the camera has ever been reset as that erases the shutter count data, I think. If the shutter count is high, you may wish to consider a D40 only because there is more life in it particularly whereas you're traveling.

    2) As a D40x owner, I would suggest you take the known D70. I really enjoy my D40x and think the size is excellent for hiking, but you will learn a lot about what you think you need, want and don't care about. I would save the time it takes to "trade" a camera and get some time on the D70 before the trip.
  21. D70 all the way. The screen size on the D40 is nice, but ergonomics are much better on the D70 and the greatest feature is the screw-drive motor for AF-D lenses. In addition, the Multi-Cam 900 AF module in the D70 is more versatile in my opinion. The weight difference is 1.5lbs (D70) vs 1.2lbs (D40), pretty insignificant as well.
  22. I would bother with the D40, that lens incompatibility issue is would be (for me) a major sticking point.
  23. I'd go w/ the D70. The D40 is going to really limit you on lens options if you want AF. Also the 300-400 you'd be saving can buy you lots of other goodies (flash, inexpensive tripod, etc.)

    That said, I also dig the smaller size of the D40 and D60. If you were traveling quite a bit, and wouldn't mind being confined to G-Type lenses (which are pretty nice and seem to focus quickly) these cameras are pretty tight. I got to play with a D60 and one of the better G-Type lenses, and really liked it.
  24. If you purchase the D40, you are throwing away your ability to use some fantastic lenses with ease. Take the D70, and run it into the ground while saving some money. Perhaps a year from now, you can purchase a D90, a huge upgrade, and the non AF-S lenses will continue to work wonderfully.
    The D70, I believe, was rated for 50,000 to 75,000 actuations. In order for your father to achieve that many actuations, if he had the D70 from release day 1 in late 2003/early 2004, he would have to average 25-30 pictures a day, every day, without fail. Is that the activity he showed with it? If not, I would say you are in good shape.

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