D70 sequel

Nikon has a teaser site for the D90 (or whatever they’re calling the D70 sequel). It’ll be released in 20 days, beating my expectation that Nikon will upgrade the D70 later this year.

Nikon D90 teaser


The only stat they cover is that it’ll be 10.2 megapixel. I mentioned Nikon using the Sony 10.2 megapixel CCD (the same one in the Sony Alpha A100 and Nikon D200) in the D70 sequel for a while now.

Other predictions can be found from a commenter here.

Here are my comments:

  1. 10.2 megapixel sensor— Sony and Nikon (and soon Pentax) will make the 10.2 megapixel the new “standard” for APS-C format. Canon gambled on a “cheap full-frame” sensor and, when sales failed to materialize, had to release the 30D as a stop gap measure. The problem here is they have no production on a 10+ megapixel APS-C sized format and can’t/won’t use the Sony sensor because of their investment in their own sizes (1.6x and EF-S mount) and own fabrication (CMOS).
  2. DOF preview— Same as the D70. Nothing new here, just noting the difference with the D50
  3. custom function button— Same as the D200. This is mildly useful to some, but like the DoF preview, it won’t be the deal-breaker. In the end, its another reason to justify the price bump from the D50 to the D90.
  4. new battery— I bet it’s just the EN-EL3e (the one in the D200). This battery doesn’t have any more capacity than the D70s/D50 battery but what it does have is an extra contact that gives charge information to the camera (Sony’s version is called “InfoLithium”, but the InfoLithium feature is not usable on the A100).
  5. 11 point autofocus— The CAM1000 of the D200. This leapfrogs Canon in all but the top Pro bodies, if you are keeping score. If it has some of the other AF select modes of the D200, it’ll be useful, otherwise it’s just counting. The center AF is the only sharp one.
  6. MSRP same as D70— This should be obvious. I’ve been saying the D70s is not enough of a jump from the D50 to justify the price for a long while now.
  7. no battery grip available— Same as the D70. 3rd parties got around this. Personally, I don’t like the battery grip that’s just me.

I also expect that the shot buffer has been greatly improved from the D70/D50 and I’ll bet that the LCD on the back may be even larger or sharper. From the image, the body looks a bit tweaked, notably the pentaprism are looks a bit rounder and more modern. (I’m more partial to the older design personally, but I guess that doesn’t sell as well to consumers.)

The take home message

Canon is all about engineering and traditionally has beaten Nikon down the spec sheet: more megapixel, more AF points. The D200 turned this argument on its head by introducing a better spec-sheet camera in the same price point as the 20D. Canon’s response was to introduce the 20D mark II (which they called the 30D for marketing reasons) at a cheaper price point. The D90 takes that response away.

Does that mean the 30D is crap? No, of course not. People took many great photos with much simpler cameras than all the models today. Does that mean the 30D is a inferior down the spec sheet? No, I predict it will still have the advantage of all metal construction and frame rate (5fps). But it occupies an uncomfortable position bracketed between the D90 and the D200 both of which have ironically more megapixels and more AF points. Sort of like the uncomfortable position of the D70 between the 20D and the Rebel XT.

If it seems I have something to crow about, I do. On the message boards I took quite a lot of verbal abuse from Canon zealots when I predicted that because of Canon’s investment in the 5D, they would not be able to leapfrog Nikon. I had people tell me that 8 megapixel was worlds better than 6 when I point out time and time again (in vain) that there is little difference other than religion.

Now it will be these Canon zealots who have to eat crow about what fucking idiots they are believing that Canon can violate the rules of economics and physics (sort of like Apple zealots who want a 17″ video iPod that does wireless and fits in your pocket). They’ll be the ones caught explaining why 8 megapixel is “just as good as” 10 megapixel or trying to claim that “You know, the Nikon D90 really only has 7 AF sensors, not 11. They’re just subdividing two of them into three parts each.”

I think Canon has a great product and am impressed with their renewed commitment to APS-C but I think these people need a taste of their own hypocrisy. (Yes, that means you, Bob Atkins—your Canon-bias-masked-as-pseudo-engineering will be laid bare for all to see this year.)

Will I be buying this?

No. I have a D200 now in addition to my D70. Did I forget to mention that? Whoops! 😀

The real question is, should you be buying this? I still think more people would be better served by a Sony Alpha A100 or Pentax K100D because of in-camera anti-shake. Yes, I’m a Nikon guy through and through. But unlike the aforementioned Canon zealots or the Nikon “image stabilization doesn’t stop subject movement” defenders of yore, I know a good idea when I see it.

But if the question is between Canon and Nikon, as I predicted last year, Nikon will win this round. Canon will catch up next year with a high megapixel 40D and 400D and give my Nikon cheerleading a good dose of humiliation.

And unlike some others, I see this as a great thing!

7 thoughts on “D70 sequel

  1. I didn’t even think to look at the Canon fanatic reaction on DPreview. Half of them are saying “8MP is better!” and the other half are saying “Canon will have 12MP next week!” Ah, cognitive dissonance.

  2. Nikon usually announces a lens to go along with the new body. This thread started by carpeicthus tries to take bets on what it will be.

    (BTW, I agree with Ryan, it’s probably a 70-300 small aperture VR. It seems like a perfect complement to the 18-70mm typically sold with the kit. I think the reason the other Nikkor folks aren’t behind this is because we’re lens snobs who don’t want to hear about a lens none of us plan to buy. We want a 30mm DX prime. :-))

  3. The rumors are out and there are some corrections to my guesses I should mention.

    First, it is the D80, not the D90. I suspected as much, but the site I linked called it the D90.

    Second, it takes SD cards. I didn’t think about that. Smart move on Nikon’s part when you consider the target market (first time buyers, not SD50/D70 owners, you’re supposed to upgrade to the D200 or D200s like I did).

    Third, frame rate increases to 4.5fps. Wow! This makes the 30D look like a joke.

    Fourth, Works with AI and AI-S lenses. Strange, I would have thought this is uselesss for the target market and they’d have kept this for the D200.

    Fifth, Addition of the AF button on the top. I like that (right now you have to dig through the menus in the D70), but I don’t like the placement on the top. The way the D200 does it is much smarter (it overloads the AF/MF MF switch with C S M and separates the shutter/aperture priority into a customizeable menu setting). Welcome addition though.

    Sixth, Where is the BKT button? I suppose people will use the extra-function button on the front to deal with the lack of the BKT button on the back. Frustrating.

    Other than that, my guesses appear to be right.

    BTW, I missed the Canon-fanboy frame that they’re touting. Basically they’re claiming that it is noisy at High ISOs (by comparing this to the $3000 5D no less).

    Hey, Canon idiots: the D50 has less noise than the Rebel XT. What says that Nikon won’t do something similar with the D80 and include aggressive optical de-noising and hot mirrors in order to get a “review win”?

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