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Kodak DCS Pro 14n Digital SLR
Kodak's latest digital SLR brings full-frame, 13.7 megapixel resolution to market for under $5,000.

(Review first posted 3/23/2003)

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Page: "Silos" Analysis


"Silos" Comparison Shot. ~100mm prime lenses on both cameras.

Pro 14n EOS-1Ds

This is one of my new quasi-standard test subjects. There's a lot of fine detail present here, as well as some good smooth, gently-curving red-against-blue areas that tend to show aliasing fairly well. (Unfortunately, many elements of this scene will change drastically with the seasons, so it's really most useful in situations where I can shoot with different cameras at the same time, as I did here.)

I shot these images with Nikon and Canon ~100mm macro lenses, both of which are among the sharpest lenses the respective manufacturers make. (Nikon 105mm f/2.8, Canon 100mm f/2.8) The two shots are taken from very slightly different angles, because I had to back off with the 14n a bit, to accommodate the slightly longer focal length of the 105mm Nikkor vs the 100 mm Canon lens. The scale is quite close between the two images, the best I could do onsite, given the differences between the two cameras' viewfinder coverage. (The 14n covers about 92% of the frame, the 1Ds covers 100%.)

The two shots did end up pretty close, but the scale of the14n's shot is about 5% smaller than that of the 1Ds. This will reduce the effective resolution of the 14n by about 10% on this shot, making it equivalent to about a 12.4 megapixel sensor, relative to the effective resolution of the 1Ds. As we'll see though, the differences in resolution between the two cameras have less to do with pixel count than with noise reduction and other image processing.

I was surprised by how different the two cameras' color rendering was. Both shots here were taken with the automatic white balance setting, with the very different results you see here. Actually, neither camera really nailed the color. The sky in the 14N's image turned out a darker blue than it really was that day, while the 1Ds shot has a slightly greenish cast overall.

Response to Image Sharpening
Pro 14n
From the camera, no sharpening

This first set of crops shows a sample from the 14n, with noise reduction set to low, and sharpening turned off. Very fine detail is present in high-contrast areas, but even with noise reduction set to low, the low-contrast areas in solid swaths of pine needles are "flattened" and detail is lost.
Unsharp Masked in Photoshop

These crops show the same images, only this time with moderate unsharp masking applied in Photoshop. (150%, radius o 0.4 pixels, 0 threshold) Both cameras received the same USM treatment, as this actually seemed to produce the optimal results with each. (The unsharp-masked version of these images aren't online -- Feel free to download the unsharpened images above and play with various sharpening tools yourself though.)

Color Aliasing
Pro 14n
Aliasing Example:
Unsharp Masked in Photoshop

Here's another crop from the same shots, showing the two cameras' tendency toward aliasing. The 14n's images are very crisp and sharp, thanks in large part to the absence of an antialiasing filter. The tradeoff though, is that it's more prone to generate color aliasing artifacts, as seen here around the fine tendrils of the vines. By comparison, the 1Ds produces somewhat softer images, but it showed almost no signs of aliasing with any subject I shot.
14n with moire-reduction
(Both images are from the 14n)
Pro 14n anti-moire noise reduction

Kodak of course is not unmindful of the tendency of the 14n to produce color moire artifacts, so offers an option in the Photo Desk software to reduce it algorithmically. Depending on the subject, this is fairly successful, as seen at right. Using the software moire reduction does slightly reduce the finest detail in low-contrast areas of the images though, as seen at far right.

On this particular subject, I'd have to give the nod to the1Ds. Some of the 14n's detail was more crisp, but I think the 1Ds' detail is more finely rendered. Also, the 1Ds does much better at preserving detail in low-contrast areas of the image, and is much less prone to color moire artifacts.

As I noted at the outset, I didn't find either camera's color dead-accurate on this shot. That said, I think I prefer the 14n's color rendition to that of the 1Ds. Overall though, I'd probably still come down in favor of the 1Ds, feeling that the color is amenable to adjustment with color-management tools, whereas with the detail issue, there's no way to get back anything the camera leaves out of the file.

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14n Review
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