D70 vs Nikon 8800

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bobsprit, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    Apples and Oranges be damned. Here are my thoughts on both after spending a
    whole day with my new D70.

    After a disappointing experience with the coolpix 8800 from Nikon I decided to
    return the 8800 in favor of the D70 DSLR from Nikon with the Nikkor 18-70mm
    lens kit. Like some people, I was under the (silly!) impression that the 8800
    could deliver near DSLR like shooting in a more compact camera. Not even
    close…especially if you shoot with challenging lighting conditions (low
    contrast).
    The D70 camera comes packed in a single box with the lens. There is also:
    Camera strap, eyepiece cap, body and lens caps, lens hood, LCD protective
    cover, battery & Charger, batter tray for spare store-bought batteries. I added
    a UV filter of course. The difference in price after rebate was approximately
    250.00.
    I charged the battery and read the manual, not a careful read, but enough to
    get started. On the VERY FIRST SHOT, the D70 was able to photograph by
    13-week-old son against a background that gave the 8800 fits. In fact, the 8800
    often missed these shots entirely. The D70 focused SO FAST, I was shocked.
    There was no hunting. I zoomed in fully and tried again. Another tack sharp
    shot. Wonderful. Back at the computer those shots showed an image sharper and
    more balanced than the 8800 ever managed and this was on the D70's supposedly
    poor AUTO mode.
    Encouraged, I switched the camera to manual focus mode and fired off a group of
    shots. Again, tack sharp results. The camera will even tell you when it thinks
    focus is correct, though you can defeat this if you wish. It seems very
    reliable and consistent.
    After my first few moments with the camera I noticed something else. As my
    son's expressions changed I was able to get those fleeting moments because the
    camera had no lag! My wife won't let me open the SB600 until Xmas, but I'm very
    excited about how it will expand the flash and focus abilities of the D70. I
    love the manual focus. In itself it places the D70 in another league, making
    for a truly manual camera. Image quality is superior across the board. Unless
    the size of the D70 is too much for you, the D70 is the camera to buy. And
    let's face facts here, the 8800 is no lightweight. I simply can't recommend the
    8800 for indoor shooting. The 8800 is also a dead end. When the D70 grows old,
    you can sell the body and still be ready with lenses!
    So far the D70 has addressed all of the 8800's weaknesses and then some. It's
    focus is nothing short of amazing. With three poor contrast objects (a bouncer,
    gray sneakers on gray carpet, silver tripod folded on gray carpet), the camera
    shifted focus instantly and perfectly as I nudged the lens from one item to the
    next under poor indirect lighting.
    ISO up to 1600…and it's usable through most of the range.
    It feels like a real camera and is easier to hold as well. If the Nikkor
    18-70mm was the ONLY lens you ever had, it would stand head and shoulders above
    the 8800. Some folks with chatter on about comparing apples and oranges. But
    these are both expensive cameras (quite close in price really), both fairly
    heavy and both for the more advanced shooter. Quite a few folks will look at
    the D70 and wonder if the 8800 will keep them just as happy. If you have ANY
    doubts, please test the 8800 before buying. If the D70 is a possible
    alternative, go for it! You won't be sorry. It's the real deal.

    Capt RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 6, 2004
    #1
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  2. I would have thought that the 8400 would have been a more suitable camera
    for indoor work with its fast auto-focus and 24mm wide-angle.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 6, 2004
    #2
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  3. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    I simply can't recommend the 8800 for indoor shooting.

    I would have thought that the 8400 would have been a more suitable camera
    for indoor work with its fast auto-focus and 24mm wide-angle.>>>


    You're correct, but I've read that the whole Coolpix series has inferior AF
    compared to other cameras. It seems most of the folks who own the 8800 don't
    have a Minolta Z3 to test against it. The Z1 even did better on AF. I'm pro
    Nikon, but pretty saddened by the 8800.

    RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 6, 2004
    #3
  4. Well, my tests would have been against the Panasonic FZ20, but I do agree
    that the 8800 does not stand up well against some of today's competition.
    All my /other/ cameras are Nikon!

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 6, 2004
    #4
  5. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    Well, my tests would have been against the Panasonic FZ20, but I do agree
    that the 8800 does not stand up well against some of today's competition. >>

    Let me add that it DOES stand up well in situations that don't challenge it's
    AF system.

    RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 6, 2004
    #5
  6. Bobsprit

    MTBike1970 Guest

    Actually, the apples and oranges analogy is a good one, since your initial
    purchase was an apple, but you really needed an orange...
    I believe the 8800 has a focus assist light...did it not work in the
    situations you described?
    cheers...MTB
     
    MTBike1970, Dec 6, 2004
    #6
  7. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    I believe the 8800 has a focus assist light...did it not work in the
    situations you described?>>>

    I bought a rotten apple. The Assist light range is pretty weak.

    RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 6, 2004
    #7
  8. Bobsprit

    bob Guest

    (Bobsprit) wrote in

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm currently using a CP 5000, which is capable
    of nice results, but it gives me fits with moving subjects. I was pretty
    excited by the prospects of the 8400, but then I saw the D70 was nearly the
    same price.

    I have been trying to make a decision about that (although I'm not buying
    anything any time soon). I tried out a D70 in the store for a few minutes,
    and I was pretty impressed, and your thoughts seem to give weight to my
    speculations.

    In my case, I could buy the D70, and keep the 5000 as a smaller lighter
    alternative for those situations where I don't want to carry around an SLR.

    Bob
     
    bob, Dec 7, 2004
    #8
  9. Bobsprit

    Matthew Au Guest

    I have the CP5000 and I recently bought the D70. NIGHT and DAY difference.
    After getting fustrated with the CP5000 - which otherwise was a fine camera
    that accompanied me to a few vacations and took many great pictures - taking
    pictures of my cousin's 17mths old running around, I tried my hand on my
    uncle's Canon 10D, and I was hooked. I was convinced that the added weight
    is worth it. Compare to the CP5000, the D70 has much better picture
    quality, much faster AF performance (day or night), much larger buffer, no
    shutter lag... on and on and on...
     
    Matthew Au, Dec 7, 2004
    #9
  10. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    And if there is any doubt, Steve's Digital just reviewed the 8800 fully:

    He liked the camera, but....And I quote:

    "With the 8800's 10x lens you need a high power AF-assist lamp, the builtin one
    barely covers to five feet at telephoto focal lengths. It took several years of
    complaining before the top-end Coolpix cameras controlled the zoom head so I
    guess it will be another couple of years before they can use the AF
    illuminator. I sure wish the 35mm film, dSLR and Coolpix engineering and design
    people at Nikon were all on the same page."

    And still more reasons for the D70...

    "Autofocus performance drops off in low ambient lighting at moderate to
    telephoto focal lengths where the aperture is slower; it frequently hunts for
    focus through its entire range, and sometimes fails to focus. The 8800 can be
    focused manually, but it offers only an ungraduated distance scale, and it does
    not magnify the viewfinder image so that critical focus can be observed. This
    is a major mistake for a prosumer level camera of this caliber to lack an
    essential feature that is found on many lesser cameras."

    End of Story for the 8800 unless you like buying Sharper Image type cameras!

    Capt RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 7, 2004
    #10
  11. Bobsprit

    Guest Guest

    Archived from (Bobsprit) on 06 Dec 2004 12:40:54 GMT:
    Ignoring the differences between apples and oranges lowers your credibility.
    Here's a credible review, which does account for the differences between the
    Nikon 8800 and the Nikon D70.

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP8800/CP88A2.HTM

    vm
     
    Guest, Dec 7, 2004
    #11
  12. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    Ignoring the differences between apples and oranges lowers your credibility.
    Here's a credible review, which does account for the differences between the
    Nikon 8800 and the Nikon D70.>>>

    Apples amd Oranges are no excuse for the what is clearly a flawed product.
    Forget the D70 and consider that a lowly Minolta Z1 does better on focus.
    People need to stop making excused based on brand loyalty.

    RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 7, 2004
    #12
  13. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    Apples amd Oranges are no excuse for the what is clearly a flawed product.
    Forget the D70 and consider that a lowly Minolta Z1 does better on focus.
    People need to stop making excused based on brand loyalty.>>>

    I mean to say that the Z1 does better on focus than the 8800. The D70 AF is
    nothing short of a miracle.

    RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 7, 2004
    #13
  14. Bobsprit

    MTBike1970 Guest

    Bob....this is an interesting thread you started since I'm currently looking
    at the Nikon 8800, 8400 the Canon G6, and waiting for the KM A200 to
    appear.... I presently have a Canon G2...
    I just read the Steve's Digicam review...and you're quoting specific
    comments but ignoring some others...and this gets back to the apple vs
    oranges analogy..specifically Steve wrote....

    "Bottom line - the Coolpix 8800's combination of image quality, resolution,
    zoom range and Vibration Reduction are unmatched at the time of this review
    (December 2004). With an MSRP of about $1,000, the Coolpix 8800 competes
    with consumer-class dSLR's like the D70 and Canon Digital Rebel. If it's
    digicam features you crave, the family-friendly 8800 is your answer; you'll
    not find a dSLR that captures smooth VGA-sized 30fps movies, built-in macro
    capability, Best Shot Selector, or flexible vari-angle LCD viewfinder. On
    the other hand if you need the versatility of interchangeable lenses,
    shooting performance, optical TTL viewfinder and superior image quality
    (especially at higher ISOs) then you'll want a digital SLR. The value
    equation tilts favorably to the 8800 if you need Vibration Reduction. Most
    dSLR's implement VR or Image Stabilization in the lens, and in it costs
    dearly; the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8D Autofocus Lens with VR lists for about
    $1,500, while you can get the entire Coolpix 8800 camera and its VR lens for
    under $1,000. It's great to have choices, but sometimes the decision is
    difficult; have a look at our Sample Photos to help your decision making
    process...."

    No doubt the 8800 doesn't work well on manual focus or in dim
    lighting....there is no one camera that will perform well under all
    situations, nor is there a single camera that has every feature/convenience
    imaginable....you have to know your needs before making any purchase....
    cheers...MTB
     
    MTBike1970, Dec 7, 2004
    #14
  15. Bobsprit

    bob Guest

    wrote in

    I don't think he was ignoring the differences as much as discussing them.
    How can one choose between an apple and an orange if one doesn't know how
    each tastes?

    The review you cited is interesting, and helps explain some of the other
    differences: If one's primary interest is hand holding long focal lengths
    then the 8800 has a clear advantage.

    (other) Bob
     
    bob, Dec 7, 2004
    #15
  16. Bobsprit

    Guest Guest

    Archived from (Bobsprit) on 07 Dec 2004 12:48:13 GMT:
    The 8800 a flawed product? Flawed, no; imperfect, yes. That's akin to saying
    the sky is blue. All digicams from all manufacturers are "flawed" in one way
    or another. One only has to read the numerous reviews and handle the gear in
    person to realize that fact.

    Price-point marketing results in a given level of quality and performance.
    Every P&S digital has disadvantages/shortcomings - every single one without
    exception. While superior to P&Ss, DSLRs have issues too. There is no such
    thing as a perfect digital camera. Some are better, some are very much
    better than others but there are always compromises to be made. The sky is
    blue.

    Thus, when a decision is made to purchase, the decision as to what
    shortcomings are acceptable must also be made in consideration of the usage
    for which the gear is bought. You think the D70 is a miracle with regard to
    focus? I owned a D70 and a D100. They both have the CAM900 system. Focusing
    on those two dogs, for me, sucked, even with all my Nikkor AF-S lenses, but
    only in the context I was using them.

    After repeatedly sending them back to Nikon for adjustment (D70 under
    warranty, D100 cost me) these cameras were still not satisfactory. Do I
    think they are flawed? Not flawed, just unsuitable for my purposes. I have
    this month given them both away to friends. I am now left with the 8800 and
    D2H; next year I will acquire a D2X. Focusing functionality and
    responsiveness of the D2H leaves the D70 for dead. That comparison is as
    much apples and oranges as is comparing the 8800 to the D70.

    The 8800 has its place. Within that small niche the 8800 performs
    acceptably. It's just fine for casual snapshots. That was my expectation
    when I bought it. It met my expectations, so I like the little thing. As a
    low-end piece of equipment, I never expected it to do anything more. It's
    all about setting expectations by matching performance characteristics to
    the intended usage. YMMV

    vm
     
    Guest, Dec 7, 2004
    #16
  17. Bobsprit

    Guest Guest

    I agree that both apples and oranges should be tasted to understand the
    differences, although my effort to shoot a landscape with an orange was not
    as successful as doing so with an apple. :)

    I could be wrong, it didn't read like a discussion, but more like a
    one-sided rant. Folks should not make buying decisions based upon a rant or
    one person's jaundiced opinion. They really should take the time to
    research the issue for themselves. Granted, the jaundiced opinion has its
    place and factoring it into the overall equation can be part of the process.
    Caveat Emptor. Cheers.

    vm
     
    Guest, Dec 7, 2004
    #17
  18. Bobsprit

    adm Guest

    Can I be your friend when you want to give the next generation of Nikon
    dSLRs away ?
     
    adm, Dec 7, 2004
    #18
  19. Bobsprit

    bob Guest

    wrote in

    Yes, exactly. Several people have commented on the 8x00 v. D70 recently.
    I think the comparison is natural, because they are in the same price
    range. If other people seem to have similar needs and desires (to me) and
    if they find one camera particularly better suited for thier situation,
    then I can investige along those lines to see if I reach the same
    conclusions they did.

    Bob
     
    bob, Dec 7, 2004
    #19
  20. Bobsprit

    Bobsprit Guest

    No doubt the 8800 doesn't work well on manual focus or in dim
    lighting....there is no one camera that will perform well under all
    situations, >>

    Please keep in mind that Steve's reviews tend to work hard at being positive
    most of the time. He has to if he wants to keep his site going. It's very tough
    at all to find really negative reviews. But Steve DOES mention problems and
    informed readers take notice. The AF problem for the 8800 is pretty bad,
    coupled with the weak AF assist light and dead manual focus feature. Steve's
    happy endings are always the same. You have to absorb the whole review to get
    the real story.
    When cameras from Minolta, Sony, Panasoni or Pentax avoid these issues, I see
    no reason to let Nikon off the hook. The 8800 is simply not state of the art in
    its AF system and that's a dealbreaker for me at that price point. If the
    camera had some hue issues, or just the lag or even some fringing, I'd say
    "what the heck." But we're talking about FOCUS here. It's a big problem. And
    all I'm doing is inviting folks to check it out for themselves. I don't care
    about apples and oranges. I want cameras that get sharp shots most or all of
    the time. The Nikon 8800 and Canon G2 Failed. The Nikon D70, Minolta Z1, Pentax
    Optio S5I, Sony 828 and others succeeded. I won't trade focus ability for VR,
    no way, no how.

    Capt RB
     
    Bobsprit, Dec 7, 2004
    #20
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