New D-70 - Lots of problems

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Herman de Vries, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Being a tech junkie, I'm on my third digital camera since they came out. I
    have a Nikon 5700 that I have been pretty happy with, but I missed the
    manual settings I always used on my film camera. Especially the manual
    focus as I was missing those quick candid shots while waiting for the 5700
    to get into focus.

    Now I have the new D-70, and I have to say I am totally underwhelmed. I've
    had it a week, and shot a few hundred photos of everything under the sun,
    inside and out.

    What I wonder is - do I simply have a dud for a camera, or are my problems
    common for the D70? Here's what they are:

    The camera refuses to focus, sometimes even in bright light. About 90% of
    the time I cannot take a photo unless I manually focus. That's OK, but the
    camera should focus in automatic mode, since that is the mode when many
    photos are taken. I can take one photo and it will auto focus. Without
    moving the camera and immediately trying to take another shot of exactly
    the same area, it will not focus for the second shot. The auto focus will
    sometimes not respond at all and remain completely dead until I turn the
    camera to a different area of the room. Then it will respond and I can
    return to the original shot and it will try to focus.

    The flash does not seem to work properly. It appears to be out of sync with
    the shutter, because the flash is completely inadequate, even inside of 8
    or feet. The photos are always underexposed and never sharp and clear.

    The auto focus assist makes no difference whatsoever. The light comes on
    but the camera still will not focus. I have tried to take the exact same
    photo, once without the assist and the next time with the assist. Sometimes
    it will focus with the assist off, but not with it on. That seems rather

    Photos are not crisp and colors are muddy. I have seen photos on the
    Internet taken with this camera, and they are much crisper and color
    correct. The images taken with my Nikon 5700 are far crisper and more color

    There are spots on the image. They are consistent and on all of the images.
    Three in particular stand out, toward the top of the image and just left of
    center. Either there is some drop out areas on the sensor, or there is dirt
    in there. For a brand new camera this should not be.

    I continuously get "Err" messages in the display. It is not the card as the
    images transfer OK. Look at page 199 of the manual. It instructs the owner
    to take the camera in for service if this happens. It seems to happen more
    as the battery runs lower, but as explained in the next paragraph, I can't
    tell if the battery is running low or not.

    The battery indicator does not seem to work properly. I will look at it and
    it has about ¼ of its charge left. The next moment it indicates a full
    charge. I can see where it might deviate a little, but to jump from full
    charge to no charge makes no sense.

    Since this camera is brand-new, and has only taken a few pictures, I
    believe it is a faulty camera and would prefer to have it replaced rather
    than sent in for repair. I am not comfortable with it, and would prefer to
    exchange for another, new D-70.

    Opinions and experience will be much appreciated. I think the dealer is
    going to exchage the camera for me, but I am now psyched out.

    Herman de Vries, Mar 23, 2005
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  2. Herman de Vries

    UC Guest

    This is great!

    I love it!
    UC, Mar 23, 2005
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  3. Herman de Vries

    C J Campbell Guest

    I think you have answered your own question. There is something seriously
    wrong with your camera.

    This is not causing the spots on the pictures, though. Those are caused by
    dust on the sensor, a problem common to all digital SLR cameras. They are
    shipped with the lenses off and you are likely to find dust right out of the

    I am not sure that there is anything wrong with your autofocus, either.
    Since the spots appear in all your pictures, I suspect you are taking lots
    of pictures with a bright, featureless background. Your autofocus will not
    work consistently, especially at its default settings. This is not a toy
    pocket camera which does all the work for you. Study the autofocus and
    recognize both its power and its limitations and when to use each setting.

    The Err message is definitely an indicator that the camera is broken. It
    should not do that.

    If you are shooting raw NEF files, the pictures may well look muddy. This is
    because many color corrections such as saturation and white balance are
    applied in software. The raw data is not nearly so pretty. On the other
    hand, if you are willing to put the effort in post processing your pictures,
    shooting raw will reward you with a richness of detail that you would never
    get otherwise.

    Do not use AUTO mode on the D70 (or any other DSLR). You lose complete
    control over the final product and you have no idea what any of the settings
    are. It is suitable only for quickie snapshots such as you would take with a
    disposable camera. Most people prefer the P setting; I generally shoot
    either A or S; either I want total control over depth of field or I want an
    extremely fast or slow shutter speed.

    Many people are disappointed with SLRs (both digital and non-digital)
    because these cameras do not take simple, pretty pictures with no fuss the
    way a much less expensive point and shoot does. The SLR has much higher
    quality lenses which show the flaws in your pictures more readily, have far
    more settings and require that you use them judiciously, and are subject to
    all kinds of problems, like dust on mirrors and sensors, etc. On the other
    hand, they give you far more creative control, if you are willing to work
    for it. They just don't take the picture for you.
    C J Campbell, Mar 23, 2005
  4. Herman de Vries

    UC Guest

    Go to a tore that carries Leica.
    Buy an M7 and load it with Kodachrome 64.
    When you get you slides back, you'll never think about digital again.
    UC, Mar 23, 2005
  5. Herman de Vries

    E Arredondo Guest

    The first time I bought a D70 at bestbuy store, it looked a brand new box,
    but once I open it, it was missing the battery and then I notice "written
    notes all over the manual with highlighted text on some pages". Took it back
    to bestbuy right away and demanded a new one and they keep saying that it
    was brand new, (yeah right) so finally the store manager told them to give
    me a "Brand NEW one" !
    E Arredondo, Mar 23, 2005
  6. Thank you to those that answered my questions seriously. Especially to C.J.
    Campbell. I appreciate anyone that has the class and generosity to answer
    the question seriously. I very much appreciated your take on the difference
    between the SLR and the more common point and shoot cameras. There's a bit
    of a learning curve with this, that's for sure.

    The camera is being replaced, by the way.

    As for you, "UC" or whoever the hell you are. I didn't ask whether or not I
    should be using film or digital. I do have a film camera, and I don't,
    frankly, give a shit about your bias toward one or the other. I want to be
    able to use both of them when I want to.

    And get a life and some balls. Stop posting anonymously.
    Herman de Vries, Mar 24, 2005
  7. Herman de Vries

    Chips Guest

    First of all, it sounds like it's mother dropped it on it's head one too
    many times. I'd say get it replaced.
    I think replacing the camera will fix that.
    Replace camera. Also check settings. RTFM. There are some settings that
    affect how the flash syncs with the camera. Possibly somebody else before
    you messed with these.
    Replace camera, but make sure you understand from the manual how the auto
    focus works. It has various settings, and they can affect your results.
    Two issues here. Crispness, and colors.

    My understanding is that almost all digital cameras take somewhat "soft"
    pictures. Most digital cameras use software to sharpen the pictures in the
    camera. Point and shoot cameras do this more. The D70 does it less than many
    other cameras I think. It leaves you to do it yourself on your computer.
    Your 5700 likely did it more "in camera".

    You can adjust the degree the D70 does it's own sharpening, page 57 in the

    Also with colors, there are many settings that affect this, and the D70 is
    conservative in it's software adjustment of colors, but is also adjustable
    for this. Just do some RTFM on this. It's a camera that has a lot of
    adjustability, and it's default settings will not be the same as most point
    and shoots I think. You will appreciate it more if you check some of these
    things out.

    With film you can learn about how all the different films and papers react
    and show contrast, colors, etc. Lots to learn if you wish. I never did.

    The D70 gives you lots to learn about how a digital camera takes pictures,
    and how it processes the image.

    Also, there are some manuals written by users that can be purchased on the
    web, that many have said are quite good. Check

    Other post covered this, dirt on sensor. Your lemon camera may have not been
    a virgin.
    Replace camera.

    Chips, Mar 24, 2005
  8. Herman de Vries

    UC Guest

    Digital sucks. Your auto-focus, auto-exposure digital piece of shit
    can't hold a candle to a Leica film image. You're a sucker, plain and

    There's a sucker born every minute, and most of them grow up to be
    UC, Mar 24, 2005
  9. You *might* have a dud -- did you take it back where you got it? Unless you
    bought it over the Internet....
    Some of your complaints may be due to incorrect settings; get familiar with
    the manual. I'm not saying that to be a snob; as with anything electronic
    nowadays, it doesn't work right out of the box. I've had my N80 for 3 years
    and discovered several new functions by reading my manual for the umpteenth
    time. The D70 is the smarter, younger sibling to the D100, which is like the

    Auto-assist is only good for like 20 feet. You might want to check the pages
    in the manual that cover in which situations auto-focus may not work. By the
    way, that's to uncommon for cameras of any brand and make to have difficulty
    focusing in certain scenes (low light, patterns, lack of contrast).

    AS CJ Campbell said, D-SLRs have removable lenses. The statically-charged
    sensor attracts dust.
    Get used to the idea of changing lens quickly, and getting your camera
    cleaned professionally if you are afraid -- rightly so -- of cleaning it
    yourself. I followed a great webpage dedicated to the art. Or get an image
    editing program and learn to clone with the best of us.

    Your battery meter is accurate. The manual shows examples of what the
    battery life looks like as the bars reduce in number. 1/4 full is
    optimistic. Buy a spare battery.

    One of your best resources is the D70 Forum at
    Larry CdeBaca, Mar 24, 2005
  10. For some reason, "Uranium Committee" (UC) is much nicer at French website I found him courtesy Google.
    Larry CdeBaca, Mar 24, 2005
  11. Apparently it doesn't take much to seem nice when you're in with the
    French :)
    Oliver Costich, Mar 24, 2005
  12. Herman de Vries

    wavy~dave Guest

    Please find him and kick his ass.

    wavy~dave, Mar 24, 2005
  13. Most likely not. I had some of the same issues with my D70 and tried a
    few others. They are all pretty finicky about AF. The manual has tips
    on how to work around. My Coolpix 5400 was the same way. Choosing the
    right settings for the sitaution help but doesn't fix everything.
    Same here. Keep reading the manual. There are a lot of significant
    things that are only briefly mentioned.
    Here's a good start on cleaning:
    Oliver Costich, Mar 24, 2005
  14. Herman de Vries

    C J Campbell Guest

    Just kill file him. Most everybody else does.
    C J Campbell, Mar 24, 2005
  15. Herman de Vries

    UC Guest

    You morons who buy some digital piece of crap because you want 'new
    technology' make me want to puke.

    You don't have any business doing so. You're fools.

    Digital is inferior to film. Get it?

    Auto-focus is inferior to manual focus. Get it?

    Auto-exposure is inferior to manual exposure. Get it?

    I can take better picutes, quicker, with my ALL-MANUAL Leicaflex than
    you EVER will with that piece of shit. Get it?
    UC, Mar 24, 2005
  16. Herman de Vries

    HC Guest

    I was out the other night shooting a concert. Conditions were rather poor.
    I had to hold the camera up above my head and shoot blindly. Took 60 or 70
    photos, and out of those, got a few that pleasantly surprised even my boss

    That would have been tricky to do without auto focus and auto exposure, and
    expensive without digital. (Having said that, I do prefer to set everything
    manually when possible.)

    Point being: there's a time and a place for everything.

    HC, Mar 24, 2005
  17. Herman de Vries

    Pete S. Guest

    You really are an arsehole.

    Film and digi both have a place in the world. Get used to it.

    Pete S.
    Pete S., Mar 24, 2005
  18. Herman de Vries

    Fitpix Guest

    UC, or Michael Scarpitti is a nobody who will argue about the grain in a
    shadow in a shitty pic being superior because it was shot by a Leica. Want
    to see some of his work?
    Want to see what others think of his work? Now this is an enlightening
    article because it show he could take criticism, at least at first, but the
    the Scarpissi we all know and loathe comes out. I do notice that the images
    he posted for review have been taken down. Fragile, Mikey?
    Fitpix, Mar 24, 2005
  19. Herman de Vries

    C J Campbell Guest

    AF was not his only problem, though. He was also getting an "Err" message,
    which indicates something physically wrong with the camera.

    People have a hard time with AF on the D70 until they understand how it
    works. Unfortunately, the manual does a poor job of this. Thom Hogan's book
    is much better, explaining just how the AF system works and how to get the
    most out of it.

    The big problem with any AF system is low light and indefinite subjects. The
    D70 has some interesting methods for dealing with this, but until you learn
    how it works you are going to get very poor results.
    C J Campbell, Mar 24, 2005
  20. Herman de Vries

    C J Campbell Guest

    C J Campbell, Mar 24, 2005
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