Last updated: 31 December 2005

This page documents Nikon D70 DSLR camera comments, tips, and photos. Search the site for "nikon d70" for other items about the Nikon D70 DSLR cameras. Contributions welcome.

Mike here: As mentioned below, I tried handholding a magnifying lens over the D70 eyepiece. It didn't work. All I could see was a blur of light. I could never get the magnifying lens to focus, not even on the eyepiece display text. So much for that idea!
Subject:	focusing
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 00:15:33
From:	Sierra Juliet November (
I just got a D70 and would like to know how you achieve a sharp focus? 
That matted focusing screen is a pain.  Can you take it out and put in a
clear glass focusing screen?

I assume when shotting piggyback you simply set the lense to infinity.

But when attaching the camera directly to the telescope, trying to focus
is extremely difficult with that matted screen.
Mike here: I agree that focusing is challenging. You can try using a "Hartmann Mask" (see the articles on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page). I have mostly used the technique of focusing in and out trying to make the stars as small as possible. A magnifying lens may help (I'm taking one on my next trip to Oracle Observatory to test). You can also get a replace eyepiece for the D70 that magnifies. Taking a short duration test exposure will help to check the focus. I don't know about swapping out the focusing screen itself like you could on some 35mm SLRs. When doing piggyback astrophotography, yes the lens is focused to infinity but it is best to again see that the image is infocus by looking and/or taking a test exposure.


Thanx for the reply Mike. When you talk about a magnifier are you
refering to the Nikon DR-6 which you can attach to the camera viewfinder
and magnify to 2x?  I read your piece on the Hartman Mask and I'll give
that a try down the road.  Still haven't found anyone that makes a clear
glass focusing screen for the D70 but I've got lead I'm going to follow.
Mike here: Yep, that Nikon add-on magnifier is one solution. I don't have one so I'm just going to try a regular handheld magnifying lens.
Subject:	RE: Nikon d70
Sent:	Thursday, October 6, 2005 22:13:38
From:	Konkal, John (
Everything fell into place once I learned to set the shutter speed and
ISO setings suddenly the images started to appear.. Thanks for your
help. I still have a bit of work syncronizing the flash which goes
through the lens.  I wish the eye piece for viewing through the lens was
a bit larger..That will be the next project...
Mike here: "Flash"? For astrophotography? I hope not!
Subject:	D70 Astrophotography
Sent:	Friday, September 30, 2005 18:09:41
From:	Steve Smith (
First off, great information on your website. I am just getting into
astrophotography, but I do have a Nikon D70. My question is how do you
get exposures over 30 seconds using the D70? As far as I know the
wireless remote will only trigger the camera.
Kind Regards,
Steve Smith
Fort Collins, CO
Mike here: I use the Nikon wireless remote with the camera set on Bulb. Works great. One press to open the shutter and a second press to close it.
Subject:	RE: Nikon d70
Sent:	Tuesday, September 20, 2005 08:05:03
From:	Konkal, John (
Yes just checked it and it does trip the shutter.
Mike here: OK. Then the image should be getting to the image plane. Try taking some photos during the daytime. Use an appropriate exposure setting. Since the shutter is working I suspect your exposures have been too short at night. But lets verify everything by doing the daytime photos.
Subject:	Nikon d70
Sent:	Friday, September 16, 2005 18:14:57
From:	Konkal, John (
I am trying to adapt my Nikon d70 to a manual lens system which
previously had a Nikon F3, I have the T ring adapter and a screw on
adapter to fit the T ring to the lens system,  (made by Zeiss for taking
retinal pictures)  but the pictures are all blank. I set the camera on
manual to disable the auto focus, and  the M mode. It seems to operate
the flash and the shutter seem to work on the camera but there is no
image. If the T adapter is all that is used in your scenario as well as
the T ring adapter this should work on my lens system. I think I must
not be setting the camera correctly. The aperture settin remains F---
this I understand, Tried various ISO settings. I am new to this camera
and it's capabilities. If you can help me with the setting you use I
would appreciate it..

John Konkal
Mike here: Be certain the M/A switch on the side of the camera lens mounting area is set for for M (Manual).

Thanks for your timely reply, I have already tried the M/A swtich to
Manual on the front of the camera by the lens mount. I must be doing
something else wrong but don't know what. Thanks for your help
Mike here: Are you certain the shutter is tripping?
Subject:	How'dee...
Sent:	Thursday, August 18, 2005 21:56:39
From:	Jim... (

I hope I'm not bothering you but I just came across your site,
"" and noticed this section concerning Venus... You had this
small quote;

	Here are some ideas for the upcoming Transit of Venus across the face of
	the sun on 8 June 2004; first time since 1882.  If you miss it, your
	next chance is in 2012, and after that 2100+

I am a bit confused by this... I recently took my D70 and snapped a few
shots of an orange sun going down on the horizon... Later when I got
home I found that I had captured what I believed at the time to be
Venus,.. that is until I read your statement above.  If your statement
is true, then can you please tell me what it is that I managed to
capture..?  This was taken about a week or so ago... I tried to clean it
up as best as I could...  I took this image hand'held via my D70 & a
Sigma 300 mm...

Thanks for your time...& I look forward to hearing from you... Jim...
Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the non-specific subject line. Thanks for understanding.
That dark spot is what is known as a "sunspot". You can find many such photos of sunspots on my ETX site and many other sites on the web. If you want to know more about sunspots, just do a Google search on it.
Subject:	ETX 125 and Nikon d70s
Sent:	Saturday, July 23, 2005 22:05:09
From:	Mike Luis (
I'm in the process of getting my new DSLR (Nikon D70s). I have a 125
etx. I had a coolpix 995 with the Digi-T system. I sold the whole camera
and the digi-t system, since I have no use for it anymore.

Now I can photograph at Prime Focus (ETX back thread). Excited. I have
the T-Adapter and I will be purchasing a T-ring for my new Nikon.

Example Problem. I live in Toronto Canada. The ring Nebula is directly
over my head so the EXT is pointing straight up. No room for a camera at
the back.
Can I still photo graph the ring Nebula at Prime Focus?
Also. I would like to Photograph with Magnification. I beleive this is
called Afocal.

What adapters (I'm assuming Scopetronix has them) would I beed to
accomplish these tasks?

PS are there any sites or advice you can offer when it comes to focusing
when a camera is attached to your scope. I found it very frusterating
with the CoolPix 995. Especially deep space objects.
Thank you very much.
Mike here: Pretty much all you ask about is discussed on "My Nikon D70" pages on the Helpful information: Astrophotography page on my ETX Site. There are my experiences, links to the adapter reviews, and some links to other D70 sites. And, yes you can do prime focus photography at the eyepiece port, as seen in my comments. You will want to do "eyepiece projection", not "afocal photography" (which shoots with the lens still attached).

I saw your D70 pages and links. I was juct checking if there was
anything else I should know or products that were not listed on your

thanks a bunch and great site.

Subject:	Meade ETX90/Nikon D70 Astrophotography question
Sent:	Sunday, July 17, 2005 21:29:09
From:	Robert Timmons (
I used your website a year or so ago as reference before buying my
(first?) 'real' telescope.  Based on my budget and its capabilities, I
decided on the ETX90.  I also recently got a Nikon D70; a darn nice
camera.  I see you have similar equipment and I was hoping you could
guide me a little.

I saw the info you have on the Scopetronix MaxView DSLR II; is that the
only way to connect the D70 to a telescope or are there alternatives?  I
already have the T-Ring, so I think it's only the actual adapter that I

What about lenses?  Anything in particular you'd recommend; either for
the camera or the telescope?

Any info is much appreciated.

Bob Timmons
Mike here: See the Prime Focus adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. There is also a MaxView for 1.25" eyepiece holders, which is what you might consider for the ETX.
As to a lens, I just purchased the new 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens for the D70 from OPT. It should arrive in a couple of days. Besides normal photography, I'm going to try it for piggyback astrophotography.
Subject:	Prime Focus with DSLR
Sent:	Sunday, July 17, 2005 12:50:42
From:	Mark Oristano (
Quick question... when you use the Nikon DSLR on an ETX, do you use any
counterweight?  And do you find the camera body is so heavy that it
messes with proper slewing?

I'm still relatively new and feeling my way...


Mark Oristano
Mike here: It was out of balance but slewing was not a problem. The body by itself is fairly light.

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