As Kodak Professional's initial foray into high resolution CMOS, the 14n represents a positive first effort. But at launch the camera has a feel of a product that's not yet done. Plunking down US$5000 for a DCS Pro 14n, then, buys you not only a digital SLR but a promise from Kodak that the camera will eventually be capable of richer, more varied colour rendition and that its noise reduction processing will grow to be more effective.
This is a camera we would like to work with again in 6 months, to see what Kodak has been able to achieve. But until the 14n can produce vibrant, pleasing, printable colour in a variety of shooting situations, and until noise processing is less harmful to detail in low contrast areas, this is not a camera we would be prepared to shoot with to get our work done, even at the low ISO settings this camera requires to keep noise volumes down to a dull roar.
Kodak has a consistent record of producing ever-better digital SLR cameras, but the 14n in its initial, shipping form represents something of a setback. We hope that it's only a brief one, and that the 14n will quickly mature into a better performer than it is right now.