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Digital Photography (general) - Kodak Picture CD Images

Outdoor portrait: (492k) Absolutely dead-on color, excellent tonal range, great resolution and detail. Less contrast than many digicams, meaning better detail in flesh tones. Highlight and shadow detail are beautifully preserved. Technically, the strong highlights in the shirt are handled perfectly, but the result is a slighly dark-looking image overall. To brighten it a bit, we'd probably choose to deliberately blow them out a bit in an image-manipulation program, trading off detail in the shirt for lighter skin tones. Overall, and exceptional image, easily besting the highest-end digicams we've tested.
Closer portrait: (496k) Again, great tonal range. Skin tones are just a tad "pink" for our taste, but otherwise excellent Detail is again tremendous. (Note though, the shallower depth of field in this image, as compared with those shot using digital cameras: The larger 35mm frame translates into lower depth of field for a given aperture setting.  
Indoor portrait, flash: (476k) We just pointed our inexpensive Sunpak strobe at the subject and clicked the shutter: No fancy bounce-flash, as we wanted to approximate typical on-camera flash results, for purposes of comparing to the results obtained with most digicams. Even the inexpensive Sunpak strobe produces quite a bit more light than most digicam flashes. Thus, the effect of the rather bright room illumination is greatly reduced. Again though, the reduced depth of field relative to typical digicam objects is evident.  
Indoor portrait, no flash: (412k) We were quite surprised by this shot, captured under strong incandescent lighting, on daylight-balanced film, without an auxiliary filter. Other shots we took using an 80A filter to balance the light turned out more neutral, but the Picture CD scanner did a fantastic job of neutralizing the strong color cast in this image. Quite impressive!  
House shot: (864k) Traditionally, one of our strongest resolution/detail tests, the Picture CD again wins easily over the majority of digicams we've tested, in the areas of resolution, detail, as well as tonal range.  
Far-Field shot: (804k) This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles, and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
Do we detect a trend here? - The Picture CD again beats the digicams in essentially all measures. (This is the shot we cropped a chunk from in the main review, to show the Picture CD image side-by-side with that from a 2.3 megapixel digicam.) This image is especially impressive, as it has lots of fine detail in the tree branches and pine needles against the sky that the Picture CD scanner did a fantastic job with.
Even more impressive is what happens when you apply sharpening to the Picture CD images in Photoshop(tm) or another imaging program. The level of detail is literally amazing, far beyond anything you'd normally expect from a 1.5 megapixel image. (At least, in the digicam world.)
"Musicians" poster: (728k) While this is just a picture of a poster, the color values for the various skin tones are pretty representative of the three ethnic groups represented. Skin tones are tough for many digital devices, both because the Caucasian skin color is so sensitive to over-saturation, and because all of the tones are "memory colors:" People are so familiar with the range of "correct" colors that any deviation is immediately obvious. The Picture CD scan gets all the difficult colors in this shot exactly right, and has no problem with overall white balance as do many digicams on this shot. The exceptionally fine detail is visible in this shot in the rendering of the fine silver threads in the Oriental model's kimono.
Macro shot: - Sorry, no shot for this one - Since this is more a test of the lens than the capture device itself, we didn't think it relevant to use for comparison with the various devices we've reviewed on this site. (The images will have the detail of other picture CD shots shown here, and you can get as close as whatever lens you happen to put on your camera will allow...)  
"Davebox" test target: (352k) As with the other tests, color is exactly right, with the sole exception that the yellow swatch on the MacBeth(tm) target is a bit dark. Tonal range is very good, although the shadow detail isn't as good as with some digicams we've tested. Resolution is exceptional.  
Low-Light Tests (NEW!)
(This test was added in early 1999, so cameras tested before that time won't have comparison pictures available. As we go forward though, all the new models will have similar tests available.)
- Sorry, no Picture CD example here either, although it would be interesting to compare time-exposure results with typical 35mm films with the results from various digicams. Since there's no "dark current" noise problems with film though, we're pretty certain that the film/Picture CD combination would completely blow past the very best of digicams on this test.

Flash Range Test (NEW!)
(This test was added in August 1999, so cameras tested before that time won't have comparison pictures available. As we go forward though, all the new models will have similar tests available.)
- No shot here again, since this test is really directed at the camera's flash unit, not the recording medium...
ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (416k) (Technoids only) The resolution target is interesting in that it measures absolute resolution, rather than apparent detail. As a result, the Picture CD images test-out about the same on this shot as the best of the 1.5 megapixel cameras, or perhaps the general run of 2 megapixel ones. - This at least somewhat proves our contention that absolute measurements only take you so far in determining image quality: In our other tests, the Picture CD images were dramatically superior to those from most digital cameras, whereas this test (which only measures resolution in terms of spatial frequency reproduction) shows it as being about equal to the all-digital competition...  
Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: Again, no image here, as this is solely a measure of camera performance, not digitizing technology...  


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