Nikon D70 settings

Back in the day, these were the D70 settings I liked.

The designers of the D70 did a magnificent job of creating a camera that could be used almost entirely in an automated fashion, with very little depth of understanding necessary. They also created a camera that allows the photographer to override virtually every but of automation to take complete control of the camera.

No matter how you choose to utilize your camera, there are some basic suggestions I have for achieving the best quality.

1) Use the lowest ISO your camera has that is practical for the scene you’re shooting.
2) Try to get your exposure dead-on. Avoid over-exposure at all costs. Learn how to use the histogram and blinking highlights to achieve this. Don’t rely on eyeballing the LCD screen to make an accurate assessment of your exposure.
3) Use either a scene appropriate white balance like tungsten, flourescent or cloudy, or better yet, do a custom white balance. BTW, I almost always use cloudy white balance outdoors, even in sunny situations. If you’re shooting a scene with lots of green foliage filtering the light you should use a custom white balance
4) Don’t oversharpen or over contrast. It’s always better to have these settings set to normal or less than normal. You can always bump them up in your image editing software, but it’s difficult if not impossible to bump them down.
5) Use the best file quality you can. That means either JPG/Large/Fine or NEF.


For those wishing to utilize the D70 using the most automation and with the least amount of choices.
Go to the setup menu (the wrench) and set CSM menu to simple. This will limit the number of Custom Settings you have to deal with. Then in the shooting menu utilize the Optimize Image choice to select Portrait or Landscape specific settings. This will help set all your digital-specific camera settings (the things you don’t need to think about when shooting film).

For even simpler operation, you can also use the dial on the top of left of your camera to select one of the Digital Vari-Program modes. These are auto, portrait, landscape, sports, close-up, night landscape or night portrait. These choices will help you get the right combination of aperture, shutter speed and flash. Please refer to your manual for an explanation of each setting. Auto is the absolute simplest way of shooting. If you don’t want to worry about all the digital settings, just use Auto.


These are the setting I use. You may find that they work for you, or you may prefer other settings. Remember I like to have the maximum amount of control over the camera so these settings generally require more effort and forethought, so these might not always be best for you.

Shooting Menu
OPTIMIZE Custom> Sharpening=normal or med. low; tone comp=normal; color mode=II; saturation=normal
LONG EXP NR off, unless I’m shooting long exposures
IMAGE QUALITY JPG Fine or RAW
IMAGE SIZE Large
WHITE BALANCE I seldom use auto. Either use the scene appropriate mode or do preset wb. Outdoors I usually use cloudy, even in full sun.
ISO Use the lowest practical ISO. I’m not afraid to shoot at 800-1200 if can’t or don’t want to use flash.
Custom Settings
BEEP Off
AUTOFOCUS AF-C
AF-AREA MODE Single Area
AF ASSIST Off
ISO AUTO Off
NO CF CARD Release Lock (makes it impossible to shoot when there’s no card)
IMAGE REVIEW Off (saves power)
GRID DISPLAY On
EV STEP 1/3 step
EXP COMP Off
CENTER WTD 8mm
BKT SET AE & Flash
BKT ORDER MTR>Under>Over
COMMAND DIAL No
AE-L/AF-L AF-ON (This is a biggie, it turns the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of the camera into your focus button and removes that function from the shutter button. Most pros utilize this setting, pressing the button with thumb. This separates the focus action from the shooting action because you are using your thumb to focus and another finger to press the shutter button.
AE LOCK Off > AE-L button
FOCUS AREA Off>no wrap
AF AREA ILLUM On
FLASH MODE TTL when using the built in flash, commander when using the built in flash to trigger a remote strobe.
FLASH SIGN On
SHUTTER SPD 1/30th
MONITOR OFF 1 min
METER-OFF 8 secs
SELF-TIMER 2 secs
REMOTE 5 mins
Setup Menu
FOLDERS NCD70
FILE NO SEQ ON, Important! If you leave this off, your image file names will always be reset to 0 when you put in a new card. This can lead to problems of duplicate file names.
FORMAT Always format your cards in camera when you want to clear them.
CSM MENU Detailed
DATE Don’t forget to set your date and time
LCD BRIGHT 0
0saves
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