Anybody hacking D70 firmware?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Sheldon, May 17, 2005.

  1. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    I can think of a lot of features I'd love to see on my D70. For one, it
    would be great to have a real, honest to goodness "point and shoot" setting
    for those times when you don't want to futz around with settings and
    curves -- where the image doesn't have to be perfect, just bright and
    colorful. Couldn't this be done with a hack?
    Sheldon, May 17, 2005
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  2. What's wrong with the P&S setting provided by Nikon (Auto)?
    Or for that matter, what is wrong with the other idiot modes (which I
    believe Nikon literature refer to as "scene modes")?
    Gisle Hannemyr, May 17, 2005
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  3. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    Nah. They still look a little on the dark side. I usually use the P mode
    with a custom curve, and the shots still aren't as good as decent point and
    shoot at first glance. Don't get me wrong, however. The basic image from a
    DSLR will blow away most point and shoot cameras. Just takes a bit of
    tweaking here and there.

    I will say that every once in awhile I will use the sport mode as it
    automatically sets the focus to continuous. Also, I think the closeup mode
    makes reds and greens pop for flowers. Normally, however, I usually use P,
    A, S, or M.
    Sheldon, May 17, 2005
  4. Sheldon

    Alan Browne Guest

    Set the ISO to "auto" and the exposure to "P" with the exp comp
    set appropriately?
    Alan Browne, May 17, 2005
  5. Sheldon

    Roxy d'Urban Guest

    I'd pay good money to be able to get metering with manual focus lenses.
    Roxy d'Urban, May 18, 2005
  6. Sheldon

    Frederick Guest

    Frederick, May 18, 2005
  7. Sheldon

    Frederick Guest

    I never tried it, but the "Direct Print" option under "optimize image"
    in the menu is supposed to do that isn't it? It is a couple of menu
    clicks away - and is only available on M, A, S, and P modes.

    I wouldn't be getting up my hopes for useful firmware hacks - even if
    hardware features had been disabled - which I doubt. Comparison of the
    Canon firmware binaries side by side would have made deciphering it
    easier for the hackers when they did the 300d hack. I have to wonder if
    they had some inside knowledge too. You'd have to be quite brave to
    want to be the first person to try it.
    Frederick, May 18, 2005
  8. Sheldon

    Roxy d'Urban Guest

    Roxy d'Urban, May 18, 2005
  9. Sheldon

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    There is no suitable matrix chip to use in that lens. You can use a chip
    for a different maximum aperture and then dial in exposure compensation
    to account for the difference. I don't know if that's the only reason
    it's not straightforward.

    Of course, if you *really* meant "good money", you can spring for a D2x,
    which will meter with the manual lenses. :)
    Jeremy Nixon, May 18, 2005
  10. Sheldon

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    *That*, you can -- if you have the right lenses. It requires a
    CPU chip installed in the lens.

    However, if you mean by a firmware hack to the D70 -- I am
    afraid that won't happen, for one major reason. Cameras like the N90s
    (which will meter with the AI lenses with no CPU) have a sensor which
    tells the camera body how far the lens is stopped down below the maximum
    aperture, at which metering takes place. This senses one of two
    projections on the aperture ring.

    The D70, however, has a sensor for a different projection. All
    it tells the camera is that the apertue ring is set to the smallest
    aperture, so the body can control the actual aperture by limiting the
    travel of the actuator from the camera body to the lens inside the lens
    mount area. It has *no* way to tell what aperture the lens happens to
    be sit to, unless the lens is fitted with a CPU to tell it both the
    maximum aperture and the current setting.

    Even the possibility of stop-down metering is made more
    difficult by the lack of a mechanical depth of field preview button.
    The button which they *do* provide only works with a CPU lens, and only
    in certain modes.

    DoN. Nichols, May 19, 2005
  11. Sheldon

    Roxy d'Urban Guest


    I wish Nikon would make a DSLR with the same spec and construction as an
    F100. The D100 is based on an F80 and won't meter old lenses. I don't like
    these moster-sized cameras anymore. The D70 would be perfect if it could
    meter with the old lenses.
    Roxy d'Urban, May 19, 2005
  12. On 18 May 2005 23:15:49 -0400, (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

    I may have this wrong, if so, please correct me, but: if you dial-in or
    select the aperture on any lens, even the non-CPU ones, that aperture isn't
    actually used (the blades don't close) until the shot is taken, right? (Or
    a DOF preview is used).

    Therefore, given that a manually-metered shot can be taken with non-CPU
    lenses, the body must be able to tell the lens to "stop down now, the
    picture's about to be taken". If so, I'd be very surprised if the firmware
    _couldn't_ (at least in theory) get the body to tell the lens to do this
    while it meters the shot. You would effectively be restricted to
    apperture-priority metering, but that would be better than nothing.

    Or have I missed something?

    Graham Holden (g-holden AT dircon DOT co DOT uk)
    Graham Holden, May 19, 2005
  13. Sheldon

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    One has to wonder what the added cost would be for that feature. After
    all, Nikon still makes and sells manual lenses, so by omitting it they
    are obsoleting some of their own *current* products, which doesn't really
    make a lot of sense.
    Jeremy Nixon, May 19, 2005
  14. Sheldon

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    That is correct. Except that with a non-CPU lens, the only way
    to select an aperture is to rotate the aperture ring on the lens. I
    believe that the camera body does not know how to select an aperture
    without the CPU in the lens.
    Correct -- by a solenoid actuating the lever, I believe. And
    with a non-CPU lens, the lever goes the full distance, leaving it up to
    the aperture ring to limit the actual aperture.
    In theory, yes. I don't know what kind of power drain on the
    battery this might involve.

    O.K. As a check I've just tried several lenses. The DOF
    preview button works *only* with CPU equipped lenses, and *only* when
    the lens is set to the smallest aperture so the camera can control the

    Granted -- this could be changed in firmware -- but I suspect
    that they do not expect the typical purchaser of the D70 to be able to
    deal with stop-down metering (in spite of the fact that many have used
    it quite successfully through the years since TTL metering came into

    But -- I think that either transferring metering information
    from another lens (or a hand-held meter), or even *guessing* and tuning
    with the histogram might be better in the long run for anything where
    stop-down metering would be adequate. Obviously, anything happening
    quickly needs a faster way of metering, so a CPU-equipped lens is a
    better choice.
    Just that it, at best, is an awkward way to do the metering
    for anything quick, and you can get a better final exposure value by the
    guess (or separately meter) and then fine-tune with the histogram.

    The one older lens in my collection with which I would *really*
    like to be able to work, an 80-200mm f4.5 zoom with the push-pull collar
    zoom (and rotate the same collar for focusing), I would want quicker
    metering than stop-down metering added as an afterthought to the
    camera's controls could give me, as I would be using it photographing
    things which were changing quickly, not a tripod-bound stationary
    subject type of shooting.

    Probably allow the DOF button to work with a non CPU lens, as
    long as it was set to above minimum aperture, and turn onn the metering
    with the DOF preview button in manual mode would be the best choice with
    the available controls.

    DoN. Nichols, May 19, 2005
  15. Sheldon

    Paul Furman Guest

    <huge snip, sorry>

    So does a manual aperture lens still wait for the shot to stop down? If
    not, they are all dark & hard to see but it sounds trivial to allow a
    menu setting to simply meter the light coming through.
    Paul Furman, May 20, 2005
  16. Sheldon

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Yes. It's just that the camera won't know what aperture it's set for
    (in the case of a D70 or D100).
    Jeremy Nixon, May 20, 2005
  17. Sheldon

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    In most of what is below (starting with the next block of quoted
    text), we're assuming that you mean a lens for which the aperture choice
    is made from the ring, but which remains at maximum aperture until the
    shot -- as is normal for almost all lenses made for SLRs.

    The ones where the aperture is set immediately as you turn the
    ring are the ones made for Rangefinder cameras, or for medium format or
    large format non-slrs. (In medium format TLRs, the taking lens stops
    down directly with the setting, but the viewing/focusing lens remains at
    maximum aperture.)

    An exception to this behavior is when the SLR lens is mounted on
    a bellows or simple extension tubes with no stop-down linkage. For the
    Nikon lenses, there is a tab inside the lens mount diameter at about the
    3:00 point as viewed with the lens pointed to the subject. The tab is
    spring-loaded, so when the camera is not holding it against the spring,
    the lens stops down to whatever aperture is set on the aperture ring.
    With a bellows, or a simple extension tube set, there are no provisions
    for transferring the action of the matching tab in the camera body to the
    control tab on the lens, so the lens will be stopped down to whatever is
    set on the aperture ring -- or on a 'G' series Nikon lens, it will be
    fully stopped down, as there is no way to control the aperture other
    than via the tab.

    Note that there have been lenses designed purely for mounting on
    a bellows, which will not focus when mounted directly on the camera
    (so-called "short mount" lenses). These will not have the aperture
    control tab, and will stop down immediately. I have seen enlarger
    lenses used for this purpose. Hmm ... as photoprocessing moves more and
    more to digital, you may find older enlargers and their lenses on the
    market for quite reasonable prices. And enlarger lenses are optimized
    for closer work (probably 2:1 down to 10:1) instead of for infinity.
    Precisely so. A menu entry to allow metering while you hold the
    DOF preview button engaged might be a possibility, but otherwise, the
    camera has no way of knowing what the light passed through once it stops
    down will be, since unlike some of the other Nikon camera bodies (the
    N90s is the one which I know from personal experience), there is no
    sensor for the tab which shows how many stops below maximum aperture the
    lens is set, so it can't adjust for the falloff. All the D70 and D100
    have is a sensor to tell (from another tab nearly 180 degrees around the
    aperture ring) that the lens is set to the smallest available aperture.

    I hope that this helps,
    DoN. Nichols, May 20, 2005
  18. Sheldon

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yep, thanks guys!
    Paul Furman, May 22, 2005
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