Nikon D70 vs. D7000 High ISO Comparison (With Pictures)

The joke is: D7000 divided by D70 is 100, so the D7000 is 100 times better than the D70 (rimshot)!  I have shot many thousands of pictures through my Nikon D70 at indoors events and I have always hated the digital noise it puts in images at higher ISO settings.  I limited myself to ISO 640 and settled for long exposures (which for action shots often failed miserably) – and hoped nobody complained about the noise (they didn’t).  Finally I found a deal I couldn’t pass up and purchased a Nikon D7000.

A random pile of stuff on the table, auto-exposed at ISO 1600.  Same light, same lens. These are showing the full frame, with the larger image from the newer camera zoomed out a little in Photoshop to make them about the same size onscreen.  Disregard the color saturation.  I like the color result from the D70 (right) better, but the less-saturated picture off the D7k is actually more faithful to the life.  Yes the D70 shot here is a little darker, deal with it.

Right-click on a picture and select View Image – the differences are less dramatic the smaller the pictures appear onscreen. Hit the Back button to come back to this page.

 photo frames_zps5c92bae4.jpg

The killer in the flesh: Crops from the same picture.  The picture from the D70 (left) is the falls-on-its-face standout LOSER in this competition.  I can’t go to press with this!  The D7000’s image is a bit noiser than I would like, but it is entirely usable for online publication.

 photo crops_zps3067fb85.jpg

Note that the D7000 is not set to maximum in-camera sharpening here, but the D70 is.  The D7000 may look a little soft, but recall its noise-reduction is in full effect and we’re able to use a picture that would have been a total miss on the other camera.  If you want to see a maxium-sharpness image, send me $10 and we’ll talk.

If you are Making 5″x7″ prints at WalMart, high-ISO digital noise off the older camera is much less of a problem and the D70 can give acceptable results even at ISO 1600.  If you are doing any post-production that includes cropping, or if you are printing much bigger than 5×7, it falls apart pretty fast. The *only* reason I wanted the newer camera was for improved low-light performance and the newer technology delivers.  Some of the pictures I saw online while researching this purchase were not to be believed.  I didn’t find any pictorial comparisons that highlighted this difference to my satisfaction, so here you go.

ISO 1600 was not usable from the D70 for the kind of publication I was doing.  ISO 1600 with noise reduction turned up High in the D7000 is (barely) usable.  The amount of flexibility this gives a photographer is hard to explain without you having stood there at a gig, wishing your camera was more capable than it is. Now if only the D7000 could sync with its onboard speedlight at 1/500 like the D70 can….

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