N70 Concise Instructions

The following information is transcribed from Thom Hogan's Nikon Field Guide, no longer in print (Copyright 2000 Thom Hogan). Copies sometimes are still available used on eBay.

N70/F70 LCD Error Messages

  • HI — Current settings will overexpose shot.
  • LO — Current settings will underexpose shot.
  • FEE blinks —Lens not set to smallest aperture, or Speedlight not set to TTL mode in P mode.
  • END blinks — End of roll has been reached; rewind film.
  • battery symbol blinks — Batteries are low; replace them. 
  • E — No film is loaded in the camera.
  • E appears and ERR blinks — Film didn’t load correctly; reload film.
  • F-- — In P, S, A, and M modes, the lens has no CPU to support the mode when used with matrix metering.
  • matrix symbol blinks (in matrix mode) — Lens has no CPU to support matrix metering; camera automatically resets to center-weighted metering.
  • P or S blinks — Lens has no CPU to support P or S exposure mode; camera defaults to A mode automatically.
  • AF blinks — Non-AF lens is mounted.
  • ERR blinks — Camera detects a shutter problem; turn camera off and on. If problem persists, take the camera to a repair center.
  • BULB blinks — Cannot set bulb shutter speed in S exposure mode; set camera to M mode or select another shutter speed.
  • ERR, d, and a blinks — Non-DX coded film or incorrect DX code detected; set ISO manually.
  • Shutter speed blinks — Shutter speed is faster than flash sync speed (1/125 second).
  • LCD all black — Camera is too hot (but likely still operable).
  • LCD slow to update — Camera is too cold (but likely still operable).
  • [ ] blinks when Speedlight is used — Wide-area AF not available with flash; camera automatically defaults to spot AF.

N70/F70 Viewfinder Error Messages

  • > < symbols blink — Autofocus not possible; focus manually.
  • < symbol — Subject is not in focus or subject located closer than lens’ minimum focusing distance.
  • > symbol — Subject is not in focus.
  • HI — Current settings will overexpose shot.
  • LO — Current settings will underexpose shot.
  • FEE blinks — Lens is not set to the smallest aperture.
  • F-- — In P, S, A, and M modes, the lens has no CPU to support the mode when used with matrix metering.
  • E appears and ERR blinks — Film not loaded correctly; reload.
  • ERR blinks — Non-DX coded film was detected or DX code not interpreted; set ISO manually.
  • BULB blinks — Cannot set bulb in S exposure mode; set camera to M mode or select another shutter speed.
  • P or S blinks (in P or S mode) — Lens has no CPU to support P or S exposure mode, camera automatically defaults to A mode.
  • matrix symbol blinks (in matrix mode) — Lens has no CPU to support matrix metering; camera automatically resets to center-weighted metering.
  • END blinks — End of roll has been reached; rewind film.
  • Green flash symbol — Flash is recommended.
  • Red flash symbol — Flash is ready.
  • flash symbol blinks —Flash may not have been sufficient to provide exposure.

N70/F70 Instructions

Turning the Camera On and Off

To turn the camera on, move the power switch located just behind the shutter release from the Off to the On position.

Note: When the camera is on, pressing the shutter release halfway turns on the exposure meter, viewfinder illumination, and, when appropriate, autofocusing. 

To turn the power off, move the switch to the Off position.


Resetting the Camera to Its Default Settings

Press the OUT button on the top left of the camera and turn the command dial until a 0 is displayed in the yellow QR box on the left side of the LCD. This resets the camera to the following settings: 

  • Multi-Program (P) exposure mode
  • Wide-area autofocus detection
  • Single-servo autofocus mode (S AF) (However, camera cannot reset to this if manual focus is selected.)
  • Single-frame advance
  • Matrix metering
  • No exposure compensation
  • No exposure or flash bracketing


Creating “Custom” Quick Recall (QR) Settings

The N70/F70 allows you to create up to three combinations of customized settings and store them in the camera’s memory.

1. Set all the camera functions exactly the way you want them (exposure mode, autofocus method, exposure compensation, bracketing, etc.).

2. Press the IN button and turn the command dial until one of the three available custom setting values (1, 2, or 3) appears in the yellow Quick Recall (QR) box on the left of the LCD panel. 

3. As soon as you let go of the in button, the camera’s current settings are stored. 


Calling Up a QR Setting 

Press the OUT button and turn the command dial until the custom setting value you desire (1, 2, or 3) is displayed in the yellow QR box on the left side of the LCD panel. 

Note: If the focus mode selector on the camera body is set to manual focus (M), the focus mode cannot be changed to AF by using the QR function.


Setting the Film Advance Mode

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera and use the command dial to select the film advance setting field (second from the right) on the LCD.

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the film advance method:

  • [box with s in it] Single Frame—Press the shutter once for each exposure.
  • [L next to stacked boxes] Continuous Low Speed —About 2 fps (frames per second) while the shutter release is held.
  • [H next to stacked boxes] Continuous High Speed—About 3.7 fps while the shutter release is held.
  • [SL next to stacked boxes] Silent Rewind mode—Rewind is performed more slowly to keep sound from being intrusive, otherwise it is the same as Single Frame. 

The stated frame rates are for shutter speeds of 1/250 second or faster in manual exposure mode and with manual focus. 


Setting the ISO Manually

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera, and use the command dial to select the film speed field (first from the right) on the LCD panel.

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the desired film speed. The ISO setting is shown on the LCD where the frame number usually appears.


Setting the ISO Automatically with DX Encoding

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera,  and use the command dial to select the ISO field (first from the right) on the LCD panel.

2. Hold down the SET button and turn the command dial until DX appears.


Loading Film

1. Set the ISO film speed either automatically or manually.

2. Open the camera back using the camera back lock release on the left side of the camera body.

3. Insert the film cartridge.

4. Pull the film leader across to the red index mark in the take-up area.

5. Remove slack from the film leader so that it lies flat.

6. Close the camera back. 

7. Press the shutter release; the camera automatically advances film to the first frame. Verify the ISO film speed by holding the function button and then pressing the SET button.


Rewinding Film

1. Simultaneously press the Ps and IN buttons (both have a O<< symbol next to them) on the top of the camera. Keep them pressed until rewind commences. Film rewinds automatically.

2. To rewind film more quietly, set silent rewind mode. 


Setting the Metering Method

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera,  and use the command dial to select the metering method field (fourth from the left) on the LCD.

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the metering method. One of the following symbols appears in the field:

  • Matrix — Multi-segment evaluative metering is used. Requires AF or AI-P type lenses. With D-type lenses, the focusing distance is also taken into account in adjusting the evaluation. 
  • Center-Weighted — 75% of the meter’s sensitivity is concentrated within the central 12mm circle in the viewfinder. 
  • Spot — 100% of the meter’s sensitivity is concentrated on the 3mm area (inner ring) in the viewfinder. 


Setting the Focus Mode

1. Move the focus mode selector on the left side of the front of the camera body to:

  • AF Autofocus
  • M Manual focus—Electronic confirmation symbols appear in the viewfinder.

2. If the focus mode selector is set to AF, hold down the function button on the top left of the camera and use the command dial to select the autofocus mode field (third from the right) on the LCD panel.

3. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the autofocus mode:

S AF Single Servo AF—Uses focus priority. 

Viewfinder symbols:

> or < Focus is tracking.

Focus is locked; you need to refocus if the subject moves.

C AF Continuous Servo AF—Uses release priority. You can release the shutter at any time, regardless of whether the subject is in focus.

> or < Focus is tracking.

Focus is achieved.

4. If M has been chosen on the focus mode selector, the following will appear in the AF mode field on the LCD panel:

MF Manual Focus—Electronic confirmation symbols appear in the viewfinder. 

Viewfinder symbols:

< The subject is not in focus; rotate the lens’ focusing ring to the left.

> The subject is not in focus; rotate the lens’ focusing ring to the right.

The subject is in focus.


Setting the Focus Area

Hold down the [o] button (just to the left of the power switch on the top of the camera) while rotating the command dial until the desired setting appears in the viewfinder display and in the blue box on the LCD panel:

  • [box with [] ] Wide area AF selected — Uses the wide-area autofocus area to determine focus.
  • [box with °] Spot area AF selected — Uses only the innermost 3mm area to determine focus.

Note: If a Speedlight is mounted and turned on, the camera automatically switches to spot AF.


Setting the Exposure Mode

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera,  and use the command dial to select the exposure mode field (fourth from the right) on the LCD.

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the exposure mode:

  • P Multi-Program—The camera sets both the shutter speed and aperture; requires AF or AI-P lens.
  • S Shutter-Priority—You set the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture; requires AF or AI-P lens.
  • A Aperture-Priority—You set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.
  • M Manual—You set both the aperture and shutter speed.

Or,

1. Hold down the Ps button on the camera’s top right and use the command dial to select one of the vari-programs displayed above the LCD panel. An arrow points to the vari-program icon you have selected.

  • Portrait program—Sets a relatively large aperture for a shallow depth of field to isolate the subject from the background.
  • Depth-of-Field (or Hyperfocal) program—Sets the lens to a small aperture (often only f/8, however) for extensive depth of field.
  • Landscape program—Sets the lens to a small aperture, based on the focal length of the lens (often only f/8, however), for extensive depth of field and biases the matrix metering to the lower half of a horizontal frame (to account for sky in the top half of the frame). This is a problem with vertical shots as the matrix metering is biased toward one side of the lengthwise frame (the side that gets the bias depends on if you are a left-handed or a right-handed shooter!).
  • Close-Up program—Selects a mid-range f/stop (f/5.6 or f/8, typically) for a relatively shallow depth of field.
  • Sports program—Biased towards shutter speeds of at least 1/1000 second to freeze motion and have the background be out of focus.
  • Silhouette program—Exposure is biased towards the background, and the central subject is significantly underexposed. Generally requires a 2-stop differential between the background (outer areas of the picture) and the subject (near the autofocus sensor). 
  • Night Scene program—Selects slow shutter speeds for low-light scenes and mid-sized aperture (f/8) for relatively wide depth of field. Sets slow sync if flash is used.
  • Motion-Effect program—Selects a slow shutter speed (typically only 1/60 second, however), in order to blur fast action or flowing water.


Flexible Program (Program Shift)

If the exposure settings that the multi-program or any of the vari-program modes has selected are unsatisfactory for achieving the effect you desire (too little depth of field, for instance) the exposure can be shifted in 1/3-stop increments by turning the control dial. P* (for P mode) or Ps* (for a vari-program mode) appears in the exposure mode field (fourth from the right) of the LCD panel to indicate that exposure has been shifted.  


Setting Exposure Manually

1. Set the camera to manual (M) exposure mode.

2. The viewfinder shows an exposure indicator bar; 0 indicates correct exposure, while each dot in the bar underneath the indicator indicates 1/3-stop under- or overexposure; an arrow by the scale’s + or – sign indicates more than 1 stop over- or underexposure, respectively. 

3. Adjust the aperture using the aperture ring on the lens and the shutter speed using the camera’s command dial to set the correct exposure. 


Locking the Exposure Setting

1. Set center-weighted or spot metering and meter on an appropriate area. 

Note: Although you can lock exposure settings using any metering mode, this function is most useful for metering on a very specific area. Center-weighted or spot metering modes offer the most control.

2. Lightly touch the shutter release to take a meter reading.

3. Press and hold the AE-L button on the back of the camera.

4. Recompose and press the shutter release fully to take the picture.


Exposure Compensation

Compensation is indicated in 1/3 stops and can be set in a range of +/– 5 EV. A + value overexposes, a – value underexposes.

1. Hold down the function button on the top left of the camera, and use the command dial to select the exposure compensation field  (+/-) (second from the left on the LCD panel).

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the desired exposure compensation value, which appears at the base of the LCD panel. 

This amount of exposure compensation remains set until it is cancelled by you. 

To cancel it, perform steps 1 and 2 again and set the compensation value to 0.0.

Example: Meter white snow and compensate by adding 2 stops of exposure. Without compensation, the meter sets exposure as though every subject were neutral gray.  (A white subject is 2 stops brighter than neutral gray, therefore the exposure needs to be adjusted accordingly.)

Note: If the built-in flash is popped up or a Speedlight is mounted and turned on when you perform steps 1 and 2, you are setting flash exposure compensation rather than regular exposure compensation. In other words, flash compensation set on the N70/F70 overrides flash compensation values set on an SB-24, SB-25, SB-26, SB-28, or SB-50DX Speedlight. Flash compensation that has been set on the camera resets to 0 when the built-in flash is put back down or the Speedlight is switched off. 


Setting Exposure Bracketing

The N70/F70 always takes three shots during bracketing: underexposed, normal, and overexposed, in that order. Bracketing can be set in a range of +1 to –3 EV in all autoexposure and vari-program modes. To set autoexposure bracketing:

1. Hold down the function button on camera’s top left and use the command dial to select the exposure bracketing field (first on the left) on the LCD.

2. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the bracketing value (0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 stop). The bracket setting is displayed on the LCD where the frame number usually appears.

In shutter-priority (S) exposure mode the aperture is changed to obtain bracketed exposures, in aperture-priority (A) and manual (M) modes the shutter speed is changed, and in automatic multi-program (P) mode both shutter speed and aperture are changed. 

Exposure compensation modifies the point around which bracketing occurs.

Bracketing is automatically cancelled after each series of three exposures. If you use exposure bracketing often, set up one of the custom settings with your normal bracketing value and save it. This makes resetting bracketing a little simpler (not a lot, but enough to make a difference).

If the end of the roll is reached during a bracketing sequence, rewind the film, load a new roll, and then press the shutter release again to resume.


Setting Flash Exposure Bracketing

The N70/F70 allows you to vary flash output with flash exposure bracketing. Three shots are taken: underexposed, normal, and overexposed, in that order. Bracketing can be set in a range of +1 to –3 EV. To set flash exposure bracketing:

1. Pop up the built-in flash.

2. Use the command dial to select the exposure bracketing field (first from the left) on the LCD.

3. Hold down the function button on the camera’s top left and press the flash lock release button  (the flash symbol and BKT symbol will appear in the LCD field). 

4. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial to set the bracketing value (0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 stop). The bracket setting is displayed on the LCD where the frame number usually appears.


Setting the Self-Timer

1. Hold down the set button and turn the command dial one click in either direction. The self-timer indicator the self-timer symbol appears on the LCD panel.

2. Cover the eyepiece with the DK-5 cover (supplied with the camera) to prevent stray light from affecting the exposure.

3. Press the shutter release.

4. The LED on the front of the camera blinks until 2 seconds prior to exposure, then it lights continuously.

If the camera is set for single servo autofocus (S AF), the self-timer won’t release the shutter until the subject is in focus.

The bulb setting cannot be used with the self-timer—the camera automatically sets a shutter speed of 1/250 second if you attempt this.

The self-timer is cancelled automatically after the shot has been made. To cancel the self-timer before the shutter release has been pressed, repeat step 1. To cancel the countdown after the shutter release has been pressed, turn the camera off and back on again.


Setting a Bulb Exposure

1. Set the camera to manual (M) exposure mode.

2. Rotate the command dial to set the shutter speed to BULB.

3. Set the desired aperture using the lens’ aperture ring.

4. Press and hold the shutter release for the duration of the exposure.

Note: Long exposures may exhaust the camera’s batteries! Consider using an MC-12b or ML-2 remote release to prevent camera shake. 


Setting Slow-Sync Flash

1. For the most automatic operation while using an accessory flash unit, set the flash unit to TTL mode, or use the built-in flash.

2. Set the camera to either program (P) or aperture-priority (A) exposure mode.

3. Hold down the function button on camera’s top left and use the command dial to select the flash control mode field (third from the left) on the LCD panel.

4. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial until SLOW appears.

To cancel slow sync flash, repeat steps 3 and 4 and set another flash setting or no flash.


Setting Rear-Curtain Sync

1. If you are using an accessory flash unit, set the Speedlight to TTL  mode; otherwise, make sure the camera’s built-in flash is active.

2. Hold down the function button on the camera’s top left and use the command dial to select the flash control mode field (third from the left) on the LCD.

3. Hold down the SET button and use the command dial until REAR appears in the field. For the SB-24, -25, and -26 only, set the Speedlight’s sync switch to the ó setting. 

To cancel rear-curtain sync, repeat steps 2 and 3 and set another flash setting.


N70/F70 Auto Multi-Program (P) Mode Settings 

(at ISO 100)

Exposure Value — Setting

  • EV0 — f/1.4 at 2 seconds
  • EV1 — f/1.4 at 1 second
  • EV2 — f/1.4 at 1/2
  • EV3 — f/1.4 at 1/4
  • EV4 — f/1.4 at 1/8
  • EV6 — f/2 at 1/15
  • EV8 — f/2.8 at 1/30
  • EV10 — f/4 at 1/60
  • EV12 — f/5.6 at 1/125
  • EV14 — f/8 at 1/250
  • EV16 — f/11 at 1/500
  • EV18 — f/16 at 1/1000
  • EV20* — f/16 at 1/4000

*Exceeds limit of autofocus capability. 

You have full control over the programmed autoexposure mode because you can easily “shift” (alter) the above exposures by rotating the command dial until the desired shutter speed or aperture appears in the LCD panel. If P* or Ps* appear on the camera’s LCD, the exposure has been shifted from the basic programmed exposures. The camera maintains this alteration as long as the meter is on. 

Note: If the lens being used has a smaller maximum aperture than shown above, shutter speeds are different in order to maintain correct exposure.


Built-in Flash Specifications

The guide number for the built-in flash of the N70/F70 is 14 at ISO 100. The ISO range for the built-in TTL flash unit is ISO 25 to 800. 

The built-in TTL flash is effective for lenses 28mm and longer. Also, some zoom lenses have limitations when used with the built-in flash (see the instruction manual).

Its fastest sync speed is 1/125 second.

N70/F70 Aperture and Flash Range (in feet, at ISO 100)

Aperture — Flash Range 

  • f/1.4 — 6.6–32.5 feet
  • f/2 — 4.6–23.0
  • f/2.8 — 3.3–16.4
  • f/4 — 2.3–11.5
  • f/5.6 — 2.0–8.2
  • f/8 — 2.0–5.9
  • f/11 — 2.0–4.3
  • f/16 — 2.0–3.0


(in meters, at ISO 100)

Aperture — Flash Range 

  • f/1.4 — 2–10 meters
  • f/2 — 1.4–7
  • f/2.8 — 1–5
  • f/4 — 0.7–3.5
  • f/5.6 — 0.6–2.5
  • f/8 — 0.6–1.8
  • f/11 — 0.6–1.3
  • f/16 — 0.6–0.9

When the ISO value is doubled, read the row above the aperture you are using (e.g., with ISO 200 film, read the range given for f/4 if using f/5.6); if the ISO is halved, read the aperture row below the aperture you are using.

Maximum Aperture for Using Flash in Auto Multi-Program (P) Mode 

At ISO 100, the N70/F70 automatically programs apertures from f/4 to the lens’ minimum aperture (typically this is f/16) when flash is used. There is no benefit in using a lens faster than f/4 with an N70/F70 in auto multi-program mode using flash and ISO 100 film!

ISO Value — Maximum Aperture

  • 25 — f/2.8
  • 50 — f/3.3
  • 100 — f/4
  • 200 — f/4.8
  • 400 — f/5.6
  • 800 — f/6.7
  • 1000 — f/7.1

Note: The N70/F70 has a limit of ISO 1600 for flash photography.

Nikkor Lenses That Can’t Be Used with the N70/F70

  • 6mm f/5.6 — Lens requires mirror to be locked up
  • 10mm f/5.6 — Lens requires mirror to be locked up
  • 28mm f/4 PC — Serial numbers 180900 and before need modification
  • 35mm f2.8 PC — Serial numbers 906200 and before need modification
  • 80mm f/2.8 for F3AF — Calculates exposure incorrectly
  • 180-600mm f8 ED — Serial numbers 174166 and before are incompatible
  • 200mm f/3.5 for F3AF — Calculates exposure incorrectly
  • 200-600mm f/9.5 — Serial numbers 300490 and before are incompatible
  • 360-1200mm f/11 ED — Serial numbers 174087 and before are  incompatible
  • 400mm f/4.5 — Doesn’t work with Focusing Unit AU-1
  • 600mm f/5.6 — Doesn’t work with Focusing Unit AU-1
  • 1000mm f/11 — Reflex Serial numbers 142361 to 143000 need modification
  • 2000mm f/11 Reflex Serial numbers 200310 and before need modification
  • AF TC-16 Calculates exposure incorrectly
  • AF TC-16A May damage camera


text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved — Twitteremail