Camera FAQ

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Camera FAQ

Postby Onyx on Sat Dec 25, 2004 12:12 pm

This guide is intended for new D70 owners. You've just recently bought the camera. As you unpack, you're keen to start shooting immediately. That's to be expected. Along those lines, here are some common issues/features of the D70 that are 'to be expected' as well.

The D70 user manual is essential reading. Many of these issues below are addressed in the manual. Please, do read it!

Viewfinder
When the battery is completely exhausted or none is inserted in the camera, the viewfinder will significantly darken. This does not indicate a problem with your camera or viewfinder.

Also, the five focus points and gridline display (an option accessible in custom menu) tend to brighten at high temperatures and darken and exhibit a slower response at lower temperatures. It will return to normal at room temperature (refer to your D70 user manual on pg. 9 for more details).

If you have an acute sense of sight, you may notice tiny "wires" running from the the auto focus points in the viewfinder to the edge of the frame. This is normal. It is not a defect nor is it indicative of poor quality control on your unit.


Continuous 3FPS shooting
The D70 is advertised as being able to shoot continuously at 3 FPS (frames per second). If you wish to utilise this continuous shooting rate, ensure Long Exposure Noise Reduction is turned OFF in the camera. This option is on by default when the camera was shipped. Having this option on permanently reduces the continuous shooting speed achievable on the D70 at ANY shutter speed. You would only need to turn on Long Exp NR when shooting multiple second/minute exposures at night. Leaving it on for normal use merely slows down the continuous shooting speed while having no effect on noise or image quality.

This is an undocumented quirk of the D70, and you will not find any information in the user manual.


Movie Mode
The D70 cannot and does not support movie mode or taking motion videos. The D70 being an SLR (single lens reflex) design, has an angled mirror blocking the light path to the sensor. This works differently to other perhaps cheaper and more compact fixed lens cameras that may support taking movies.

It is technologically and physically impossible for the D70 to capture motion video. Thus, this feature can never be available not even with future firmware updates.


Image Preview on LCD
The D70 does not support the use of the rear LCD screen to view and compose images. This is due to the D70 being an SLR design, having an angled mirror blocking the light path to the sensor at all times except the very moment of exposure. You will have to look through the viewfinder to compose and shoot.

The rear LCD screen can only be used for displaying images already taken, and for navigating the custom menus.


Number of Images Remaining
On the camera's top LCD window are a set of numbers inside a bracket. It is visible even when the camera is switched off. These digits indicates the number of images remaining on the inserted CF (compact flash) card, based on the size of the card and the current user-changeable image quality settings. It is useful to keep in mind that the number of images remaining are only an estimate.

However, when the camera's image quality is set to RAW, the number of images remaining indicator seems to be a long way off from the truth. This is especially true with an empty or near empty CF card.
A blank 512Mb CF card typically shows 47 shots available, and 94 shots for 1Gb cards.

Individual NEFs (Raw files) from the D70 averages 5 to 6MB. This is mentioned in the manual and is also accurately reflected from my real world usage.

Thus in reality, a 1Gb card conservatively has the capacity for at least 159 images before it is filled, with a 512Mb card having at least an 80 image capacity (calculated using conversion of hardware Mb (1000k =1Mb) into software Mb (1048kb = 1Mb), and 6Mb NEFs). While these are still estimates, I believe they are a closer estimation to the number of images that can be expected.


Dust Bunnies
As you use your D70 (or any digital SLR camera), you may notice the occurance of tiny dark spots in your images, consistently showing up in the same areas of the frame. This is evidence of dust settling onto the low-pass filter in front of the CCD, affectionately known as 'dust bunnies'.

Frequent lens changes exacerbates the problem. In practice, it is only noticeable when shooting at small apertures. Bright/sunny conditions increases the likelihood of you or the camera choosing smaller apertures. The official Nikon response to the dust problem is "send it back for service". This is not covered by warranty, as it is not a fault with the camera, but normal wear and tear occuring from standard use. Nikon/Maxwell will be happy to charge you an exorbitant amount for the clean, and you may be without your camera for weeks.

There are many methods and guides to DIY cleaning available on the net. Most have a disclaimer not to hold them responsible should you follow their instructions. This tends to put people off thinking it's a major procedure where in reality it's merely a part of any DSLR camera owner's standard maintainence practices.

Here are some guides to the more popular and effective means of CCD cleaning:

Thom Hogan - http://www.bythom.com/cleaning.htm
Copperhill - http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning

Copperhill's method has become the de facto standard among amateurs and enthusiasts DSLR users worldwide, and is the method employed by the majority of D70users forum members.

Eclipse cleaning fluid, Pec Pads & sensor swabs are available for purchase from Nulabs (http://www.nulab.com.au) in Melbourne. D70users also have available to members these cleaning supplies at a significant cost saving. See the Bargains section for more details.

The monthly forum meets, at least in Sydney, have a CCD cleaning workshop take place sometime during the meet. In fact, Birddog114 tentatively invites members to his base every Saturday where you may learn to perform CCD cleaning. I (Onyx) will be more than happy to explain and demonstrate how to clean your camera's CCD at these meets.

Why isn't Nikon Capture Control detecting my D70 in Windows XP
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Re: Camera FAQ

Postby radar on Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:15 am

Onyx wrote:
Continuous 3FPS shooting
The D70 is advertised as being able to shoot continuously at 3 FPS (frames per second). If you wish to utilise this continuous shooting rate, ensure Long Exposure Noise Reduction is turned OFF in the camera. This option is on by default when the camera was shipped. Having this option on permanently reduces the continuous shooting speed achievable on the D70 at ANY shutter speed. You would only need to turn on Long Exp NR when shooting multiple second/minute exposures at night. Leaving it on for normal use merely slows down the continuous shooting speed while having no effect on noise or image quality.

This is an undocumented quirk of the D70, and you will not find any information in the user manual.


In the new D70s, this option is turned off by default. Somebody at Nikon is reading these forums ;-)

Cheers,

André
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