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Kodak DCS 760 Review

July 2001 | By Phil Askey

Review based on an production Kodak DCS760, firmware v1.3.1

The DCS 760 was first announced at CeBIT 2001 on 22nd March. It is, as were the DCS 620, 660 and 620x based on a modified Nikon F5 body. The 760 features a 6 megapixel CCD sensor (primary colour filter array - GRGB) with a usable sensitivity equivalent to ISO 80 - 400. This is the same 6 megapixel sensor which was used in the older DCS 560 and 660 digital SLRs.

The DCS 760 enters the market as a direct competitor to Nikon's new 6 megapixel D1x (which I've just reviewed). Those who keep up with what's been going on in the professional digital market will know that Kodak Pro have been slashing prices left right and center. Under pressure from mounting Nikon D1 sales (and to a lesser degree the 'non-professional' Canon EOS-D30) and with lots of other manufacturers keen to step up to the professional digital SLR podium. Kodak have had to bring their prices back down to earth.

It's amazing to think that just a year ago DCS 660's were changing hands for US$25,000 (that price dropped to US$16,000 in August 2000). Today you can get the DCS 760 (which is essentially an improved DCS 660) for US$8,000. At that price it is still however US$1,000 more expensive than the D1x. The question now being is the DCS 760 an altogether better camera than the D1x?

6.3 megapixel CCD

The DCS 760 uses Kodak's 6.3 megapixel KAF-6303CE CCD. This device is one of the largest CCD sensors for professional digital SLR's (only the Philips 6 megapixel CCD is larger - it is full frame but not yet used in any shipping camera - will it ever?). The CCD's effective imaging area measures 27.65 x 18.48 mm and has a cellsize (pixel size) of 9 x 9 µm.

Here's a comparison of sensors, sizes and focal length multipliers (the ratio of the chip compared to a 35mm negative).

Sensor / Camera Effective pixels
Focal length multiplier Effective* resolution Imager area (mm) Pixel (unit) size
Sony 1/1.8" CCD
3.12 n/a 2,080 x 1,542 7.18 x 5.32 3.45 x 3.45
Canon EOS-D30 CMOS 3.11 1.6x 2,160 x 1,440 22.0 x 14.9 10.1 x 10.1
Nikon D1 CCD 2.62 1.5x 2,012 x 1,324 23.6 x 15.5 11.7 x 11.7
Nikon D1x CCD 5.24 1.5x 4,024 x 1,324 23.6 x 15.5 5.9 x 11.7
Kodak KAF-6303CE CCD 6.35 1.3x 3,088 x 2,056 27.7 x 18.5 9.0 x 9.0
APS negative (C type) n/a n/a n/a 30.2 x 16.7 n/a
35mm negative n/a n/a n/a 35.0 x 23.3 n/a

* Actual pixels which return image data, bayer interpolation process reduces this to the final image size.

Here's one place where the DCS 760 differs from the D1x, it has square pixels which means it has equal horizontal and vertical resolution. The D1x uses more horizontal pixels to make up for half the vertical resolution. As you can see from the table above the DCS 760 has just over 1.1 megapixels more resolution than the D1x, though it's a little confusing because the D1x actually has more horizontal resolution.

Another big difference is the 760's 1.3x focal length multiplier. For wide angle work there's certainly some advantage here, a 28mm lens on the 760 would have the equivalent picture angle of a 36 mm lens, on the D1x it would be equivalent to 42 mm (1.5x focal length multiplier).

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 960 x 720 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C. Colourspace used for evaluation is sRGB (unless otherwise stated).

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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