I am looking to upgrade an old Nikon D70 DSLR, as far as I can see features like dual control dials, and monochromatic LCD's on the top face of the camera displaying status information are missing from current generation entry-level DSLR cameras.

Have I missed any? Is this a non issue because of larger more functional main LCD displays?

  • This is highly opinionated, but I don't find it to be a non-issue. If you don't mind looking at other, smaller brands, Pentax tends to these features on their lower-line cameras. However, if you go to the mid tier you can find find them everywhere.
    – mattdm
    Aug 10 '14 at 9:27
  • 1
    What is/is not an issue depends on if you use the feature or not, which would be hard for us to answer. For example a big change is AF motors - if you only have AF-S lenses then it's no issue. Aug 10 '14 at 11:36
  • 1
    The top-LCD is very useful when it comes to preserving battery. The larger back screens are power-hungry and will drain your battery in no time.
    – jmiserez
    Aug 10 '14 at 12:11
  • Related: How useful is the top LCD screen on a DSLR?
    – Philip Kendall
    Aug 10 '14 at 20:52
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    possible duplicate of What makes a DSLR camera "entry-level"?
    – mattdm
    Aug 11 '14 at 2:40

Correct, Nikon's low-end DSLRs have no top LCD and only a single command dial. Modern LCDs and interfaces really don't offer anything to make those features less important; it's simply a cost-cutting move.

It might be worth noting that the D70 was not a low-end DSLR; the model progression in that line is D70, D70s, D80, D90, D7000, D7100.

  • 1
    +1 - The prices match up as well, the D70 was Nikon's first sub-$1000 DSLR and allowing for inflation the equivalent priced model today would be the D7000/D7100. Aug 10 '14 at 11:32

The main thing you've missed is that the D70 was not an entry level model when it was current. It was a mid-level enthusiast model that has evolved into the current D7100 which does offer dual control dials and top of body LCD. At the time the D70 was comparable to the mid-level Canon 20D and 30D, not the entry level Canon Rebel series.

Although Canon had revolutionized the DSLR landscape and made it consumer friendly when it introduced the entry level Digital Rebel (300D) in late 2003, Nikon had no "entry level" digital body on the market at the time the D70/D70s was sold between early 2004 and mid 2006 when the D80 replaced them. Nikon's first entry level DSLR, the D40, wasn't introduced until late 2006.

Scroll to the bottom of the following Wikipedia entries to see a time line of the respective brand's offerings.

Comparison of Nikon DSLR cameras
Comparison of Canon DSLR cameras

  • What does the question have to do with Canon? Aug 10 '14 at 16:45
  • Canon was the only player with an entry level DSLR on the market during the time the Nikon D70 was sold. The entire "entry level" DSLR market offering in 2004 was the Canon Digital Rebel. If an answer says "The D70 was not entry level" then perhaps it needs to say what was entry level at the time.
    – Michael C
    Aug 10 '14 at 19:07
  • This probably sounds stupid but what makes you tell whether a camera model is "entry" level or "mid-level enthusiast" level? Is it the price range (what range?), or the features (what features?), or something else?
    – user541686
    Aug 10 '14 at 20:27
  • @Mehrdad That would make a good question in its own right rather than being discussed in comments (which we generally frown upon on SE).
    – Philip Kendall
    Aug 10 '14 at 20:47
  • Oh okay, thanks for the suggestion :) I just asked it! photo.stackexchange.com/q/53382/3950
    – user541686
    Aug 10 '14 at 21:06

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