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The DCS Pro 14n: worth the wait? - Continued

Kodak DCS Pro 14n Major Features

The DCS Pro 14n, says Kodak Professional's Steve Noble, was a camera conceived by the customer. Pro shooters were clamoring for a digital SLR capable of extreme enlargements but with a price tag of under US$5000 says Noble, the engineer who led up Kodak's role in the 14n's CMOS sensor development.

Keeping the resolution up and the price down meant making a number of design decisions that were new to the DCS camera group. It meant moving away from the Nikon F5 platform of the 600 and 700 series cameras to a magnesium-frame body that shares much in common with the Nikon N80/F80. It meant the group's first foray into CMOS, in partnership with Belgian sensor design firm FillFactory, after years of developing SLR cameras around CCD sensors exclusively. And it meant producing a camera that was significantly smaller and lighter than the nail-pounders Kodak had become known for.

Kodak DCS Pro 14n

Major features of the DCS Pro 14n include:

  • A custom-built, ruggedized magnesium-frame body that draws heavily from the Nikon N80/F80, with parts such as the PC terminal, 10-pin remote terminal and rear 4-position navigation switch culled from Nikon's F100, F5 and D1-series cameras

  • Core camera capabilities and components that are the same as the Nikon N80/F80, including the Multi-CAM900 autofocus module, 10-segment 3D Matrix Metering, viewfinder, built-in flash and more. TTL flash specifications, and performance, are comparable to Nikon's D100, including compatibility with Nikon DX-series Speedlites

  • Automatic detection of when the camera is being shot vertically. The DCS Pro 14n tags both RAW and JPEG files to indicate orientation (horizontal, 90 degrees left, 90 degrees right). The camera also includes a vertical release

  • A 24mm x 36mm CMOS sensor that delivers 13.5 million pixel photos. The sensor's physical dimensions are about the same as the 35mm film format, which means no focal length conversion math is required. Lenses will behave as they always have on 35mm film cameras

  • No optical low-pass filter/Anti-Aliasing filter

  • 12 bits per colour image capture

  • Variable resolution RAW format settings: 13.5 million pixels; 6 million pixels; 3.4 million pixels. DCS Pro 14n RAW DCR files may be processed into a user-selectable colour space using Photo Desk 3.0

  • Faster JPEG processing than the DCS 760; in-camera ERI-JPEGs are EXIF 2.2-compatible and processed into the sRGB colour space only

  • Standard ISO range of 80-400 in 1/3 stop increments at the time of the camera's release

  • A top shutter speed of 1/4,000; a top flash sync speed of 1/125 (flash sync can't be cheated upwards with non-dedicated strobes)

  • Shooting speed of 1.7 fps

  • A burst depth of 8 frames at highest resolution, upgradeable to 18 frames by taking the camera to a Kodak service facility (as of firmware v4.1.2, maximum burst depth is 6 frames, dropping as low as 2 frames when both RAW and JPEG format photos are recorded)

  • Accepts a single CompactFlash Type I/II card (including the IBM Microdrive), and a single MMC/SD card, simultaneously. Camera can be configured to write, for example, RAW files to one card and JPEGs to the other, in sequence. The MMC/SD slot is not enabled as of firmware v4.1.2

  • FireWire: As of firmware v4.1.2, maximum throughput is less than 4MB/sec, though this is expected to increase to perhaps 10MB/sec or more in the future

  • 2 inch, 130,000-dot TFT rear LCD monitor

  • Revamped menu interface that features both basic and advanced modes, support for 8 languages, as well as context-sensitive help displayed on the LCD beneath the main monitor

  • Extensive white balance options, including Automatic, Daylight, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Flash and Custom

  • Video out: NTSC and PAL

  • Rechargeable, removeable Lithium-Ion battery

  • Battery charger and AC adapter are a single unit; AC adapter connects to the camera via a dummy battery

  • Can be powered by the Digital Camera Battery

  • Comes with a 1 year warranty; Gold and Silver extended service packages available

  • Service of the entire DCS Pro 14n, both Kodak and Nikon portions of the camera, to be handled exclusively at Kodak service centres (US region; may not be true worldwide)

  • Comes with DCS Photo Desk 3.0. In its latest incarnation, Kodak's RAW file image browsing, previewing and processing application is fully colour managed, offers quick previewing of 14n files and provides a full range of white balance, exposure compensation, noise reduction and sharpening controls

  • Comes with DCS Camera Manager 3.0, a remote control and image transfer application
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