The DCS-14n is provided with three main software applications / utilities.
- DCS Camera Manager - Provides remote control of the camera
from a computer (Windows or Mac OS). Connection is made by IEEE 1394
(Firewire). Not covered in this review.
- DCS Photo Desk - For browsing of all image formats as well
as advanced conversion of RAW images. Photo Desk is the main application
for conversion of Kodak's DCR RAW images.
- File Format Module - An Adobe Photoshop plugin which provides access to the extra data stored in JPEG ERI format images. Automatically detects a JPEG-ERI image when opened by Photoshop.
DCS Photo Desk v3.0
DCS Photo Desk provides a browsing, manipulation and conversion platform for JPEG, TIFF and RAW (.DCR) images. Photo Desk also includes full color management (in various color spaces) and IPTC tagging support. You can choose to use the application with control and information windows 'docked' into the main window or floating, in the screenshots below we have docked the Image Controls, Image Info and Histogram windows into the main window. Oddly while Photo Desk allows for adjustment of RAW images it does not support adjustment of ERI JPEG images, for that you must use the Adobe Photoshop plugin.
Opening your images / browsing
After loading Photo Desk you have two options, you can either open a single image (difficult if you can't see image previews) or open a folder as a contact sheet. I personally would have preferred a tree view on the left side of the window or at least the default action to browse the last folder opened.
Main window (Contact Sheet)
Below you can see the 'Contact Sheet' view at 100%, you have three thumbnail size options of 50%, 100% and 200%. Note that adjustments (compensation, white balance etc.) can be carried out in either this view (to single or multiple images) or the single image view mode.
|Contact Sheet mode|
Main Window (Single image view)
Double click on an image to enter single view mode, the software will render the image using either 'Faster' or 'Better' display. The former uses a smaller camera generated image as a basis for display, the later fully decodes the entire RAW image each time the image is resized or an adjustment is applied (which is very slow).
|Single image view mode|
You can from this view choose to examine the image in further detail, there are three preset viewing scales of 50%, 100% and 200%. Additionally you can also enter a zoom level manually. With the image rendering set to 'Faster' any above 25% scale appears pixelated (because that is the native size of the smaller image used for rendering). Switching to 'Better' renders the image accurately as it would appear in output however this takes considerably longer.
|Viewing scale 100%, 'Faster' rendering
View appeared instantly
|Viewing scale 100%, 'Better' rendering
View took 25 seconds to render
The Photo Desk histogram window provides an overview of luminance levels (in black) and optionally individual red, green and blue channels as shown on the right, below. It would also have been nice if Photo Desk included the extended range just past the current white point (perhaps with a different background) to indicate what data if any is available for possible exposure compensation (in the same way the camera histogram does).
A quicker way to review your images is to use the 'Review' option, select multiple images (for example, all images in a folder) and press CTRL+H (or select the menu option). This displays the resizable Review window (shown below) which can be used to browse images and tag/untag them for later selection or processing. There are ALT+ keyboard shortcuts for next and previous however there isn't a keyboard shortcut for Tag. I would have thought it logical to have simple keyboard shortcuts (eg. page up, page down, space bar) for next, previous and tag.
IPTC / Job Tracker Info
As we would expect Photo Desk provides full IPTC and Job Tracking support, you can edit information for individual images or select multiple images and apply data to all at the same time. Note that you can also browse in this mode (with multiple images selected). IPTC records can be saved from here and loaded into the camera for automatic embedding.
RAW Image Adjustments
Along the top of the Photo Desk window are a row of icons, the second group are shortcuts to the same options available in the Image Controls window (on the left below). The Image Controls window provides access to all RAW image adjustment, everything from cropping, to balance and lighting (white balance), Look, Noise Reduction and Sharpening. Note that we have also installed the optional DCS Custom Looks which provide a wider range of Looks than is normally available.
|Single image view mode|
Available RAW Image Manipulation / Adjustment
Adjustments made are stored in the image, the adjustments can be applied to the current image (single image view / one image selected) or multiple images selected in the contact sheet view mode. Adjustment settings can also be copied to the clipboard and pasted (applied) to another image. The only image size option you have is for JPEG images (100%, 67% or 50%) via the preferences dialog.
|Rotate|| Rotate 90° CW
Rotate 90° CCW
|Auto Scene Balance and Exposure adjustment|
|Use Original Camera Settings|
|Crop Aspect Ratio|| Freeform
2 x 3 Landscape
3 x 2 Portrait
4 x 5 Landscape
5 x 4 Portrait
5 x 7 Landscape
7 x 5 Portrait
|Exposure Compensation|| +/-2.0 EV in 0.1 EV steps
Auto Exposure Adjustment
|White Point|| 2500 - 7500 K in 100 K steps (depending on selected Lighting)|
Kodak DCS B&W Normal *
|Noise Reduction|| Advanced
Advanced with Moiré Reduction
Presets: At Capture, Low, Medium, High
Radius: 1 - 4 / 1 - 10 (with Moiré Reduction)
Strength: 0 - 100%
|Sharpening|| Presets: None, Low, Medium,
Amount: 0 - 20
Radius: 0.0 - 10.0, (0.1 steps)
Threshold: 0 - 255
* These optional Look profiles only available by purchasing the DCS Custom Looks Software