I'm the same of you, only I went for the D40. One general photography book that seems to be recommended by a lot of people is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (ISBN13: 978-0817463007 or ISBN10: 0817463003) I've just bought a copy, so will comment with my own opinions later if you want :)
Can't really comment on D70-specific books I'm afraid.
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The camera manual does a good job of telling you what the various controls and menu options do. It does not do such a good job of telling you why you'd want to do those things. Your local library or bookstore will have books and videos on introductory photography that will tell you why you want to do those things but of necessity can't tell you how to do those things on every camera in the world.
There are also some semi-generic books, such as "Canon PowerShot Digital Field Guide" by Michael Guncheon.
You can start with the online tutorial on Nikon's web site at
You might also visit your local library or bookstore and browse through the photography section. There are plenty of books on introductory photography, introductory DSLR photography, and other topics. The manual does a great job of explaining what each of the controls do, but doesn't do so great a job of explaining why you'd want to change these things. It's like the owner's manual for a car: you wouldn't want to learn how to drive just by reading it.
And most important: go out and take pictures! You're not paying for film and processing, so take a lot of pictures and look at them on your computer. Experiment, see what the different settings do.
Does your camera use a compact flash card? I've heard that some Nikon cameras have a problem with the flash card draining power when not in use. Try removing the card when not using and see if the battery lasts longer.
have you set it to macro mode? (little flower icon on the right cursor) this function will allow you to get within about 2cm of the subject, however do not use the zoom as the lens cannot focus close enough. To get results any closer you will be looking at an slr and a budget on a few thousand! If enabling macro and not using zoom to allow the lens to focus doesn't get you close enough in you can always enlarge and crop images. have a look on www.picture-skew.blogspot.com i've taken some macros of flowers and bugs, this camera can capture the hairs on an ants back or the individual lenses of a flys compound lens eye.
persevere with this camera, for a very small budget you will get amazing results, ISO refers to the speed of 'film', it comes from the dark old ages of 35mm film cameras. Basically a low ISO is the lowest sensitivity to light and gives the best image quality, however as the ccd is less responsive to the light the camera holds the shutter open for longer. The higher the ISO the more sensitive the ccd but the greater the noise and lower the quality of picture.
Books, try looking for more photography orientated books and less digital camera based books. An upto date photography book will tell you all the technical information about how to take a good picture for any given senario.
if you would like any further advice email me (address on the blogspot)
Your camera must have an exposure metter in the viewfinder that you can see or? (an arrow moving from -2 to +2 may be or somenthing like that) How do meassure the light? Matrix, center, spot? Check that you may meassure in the wrong way may be.