Compared to the Canon EOS-1Ds (part one)
The EOS-1Ds is currently the only other digital SLR which has has similar resolution to the DCS-14n. Despite this it still comes up with 2,510,944 pixels less than the DCS-14n in its output file so we can expect. Important technological differences are that the 14n doesn't have an anti-alias filter (should be sharper but with increased moiré) and doesn't utilize Microlenses (less distortion effects, sharper at edges but slightly baseline lower sensitivity).
This comparison is really more to do with using the resolution of the EOS-1Ds to compare with the DCS-14n's rather than coming to a conclusion about which of these two cameras to choose. The EOS-1Ds is a very different beast to the DCS-14n, it's stronger, faster, better built and just about $3000 more expensive.
Outdoor scene comparison
Camera / conversion settings
- Kodak DCS-14n: Nikkor 50 mm F1.4, Aper. Priority (F9.5), ISO
80, RAW, Mirror Lock-up
5000 K WB, Advanced with Moiré reduction NR (2/10%), Low SHP, Product Look, sRGB
- Canon EOS-1Ds: Canon 50 mm F1.4, Aper. Priority (F9.5), ISO
100, RAW, Mirror Lock-up
5000 K WB, Standard / 2 sharpening, +0.2 EV digital exp. compen., sRGB
Why different settings?
- Kodak DCS-14n: Advanced with Moiré reduction NR - To give the
DCS-14n the best possible opportunity to reign in some of the potential
for moiré, and also to limit the level of noise reduction applied
(at ISO 80 it shouldn't need any).
- Kodak DCS-14n: 5000 K white balance - To ensure both cameras have
exactly the same white balance setting, as things turned out they both
delivered completely different looking color from the same Kelvin temperature,
who knows who was right.
- Canon EOS-1Ds: ISO 100 - Although the Canon's ISO 50 would have in
theory provided (very) slightly cleaner images it is not a recommended
Canon setting and does lead to lower dynamic range (clipping of highlights
earlier). Also ISO 100 would be closer to the 14n's ISO 80. Below this
comparison I have also made available a DCS-14n ISO 100 image for those
curious among you.
- Canon EOS-1Ds: 5000 K white balance - Same reason as DCS-14n, see
above. As noted above even though I used the same white balance settings
the final color balance of both cameras was different.
- Canon EOS-1Ds: Standard / 2 sharpening - The 1Ds standard sharpening
is very soft, this setting brings it somewhere close to the 14n's Low
- Canon EOS-1Ds: +0.2 EV digital exp. compen. - To bring the image brightness to the same level as the DCS-14n. This compensates for the difference between ISO 100 and ISO 80, has no negative effect on image quality.
|Kodak DCS-14n||Canon EOS-1Ds|
|ISO 80, 1/500 sec, F9.5||ISO 100, 1/500 sec, F9.5 (+0.2)|
|4,295 KB JPEG (4500 x 3000) from RAW||4,039 KB JPEG (4064 x 2704) from RAW|
So the immediate question is does the DCS-14n gain a huge amount from its additional 2.5 million pixels? And the answer would appear to be "not in this comparison", indeed the EOS-1Ds has better resolution and a more natural representation of the finer details of the image. Look closer and you can see that once again Kodak's intrusive noise reduction softens and smoothes areas of the image which probably did contain detail in the original RAW file but which can't be accessed because we can't disable noise reduction.
The DCS-14n also exhibits moiré in areas the EOS-1Ds either manages to render or simply aliases. Overall conclusion for this kind of image at this sensitivity must be that the EOS-1Ds produces a more natural image with more detail but that the DCS-14n really isn't that far behind (bear in mind the price difference and the 14n actually looks quite good).
- Kodak DCS-14n image @ ISO 100 (4,420 KB JPEG from RAW, 4500 x 3000)