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Compared to the Nikon D1x

Clearly the nearest match to the DCS 760 is Nikon's D1x. There's never been a time when two digital SLR's from two manufacturers are a closer match, both have six megapixels, both have similar heritage, both support the same lenses. Here's a breakdown of the feature and specification differences between the two (pictures are to scale):

  Kodak DCS 760 Nikon D1x
Price US$8,000 US$7,000
Dimensions 158 x 194 x 88 mm (6.2 x 7.6 x 3.5 in) 157 x 153 x 85 mm (6.2 x 6.1 x 3.4 in)
Weight 1.86 kg (4.1 lb) - with battery, no lens 1.4 kg (2.9 lbs) - with battery, no lens
Body Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Based on Nikon F5 Nikon F5 / F100
CCD pixels 6.35 million 5.24 million
Filter IR filter Anti-alias filter
Image pixels 6.09 million 5.90 million
Image size 3032 x 2008 3008 x 1960, 2000 x 1312
Image format RAW (.DCR) *1 RAW, TIFF (2), JPEG (3)
Interpolated *3 No Yes
Colour space Standard / Pro Photo RGB (acquire only) sRGB / Adobe 1998 (in-camera option)
ISO sensitivity 80 - 400 (1/3 EV steps) 125 - 800 (1/3 EV steps) + 1600 / 3200 HI *2
DAC 12-bit 12-bit
Lens mount Nikon F mount Nikon F mount
Lens compat. Full Nikkor compatible (some caveats), some lenses can not be used as they would break the IR filter Full Nikkor compatible (some caveats)
Portrait grip Yes Yes
Picture angle 1.3x 1.5x
DOF preview Yes Yes
AF Nikon Multi-CAM1300 Nikon Multi-CAM1300
AF Servo Single, Continuous, Manual Single, Continuous, Manual
Focus Areas Five Five
AF Area Mode Single Area, Dynamic Single Area, Dynamic
Metering 3D Color Matrix, Center Weighted, Spot 3D Color Matrix, Center Weighted, Spot
Exp. Modes P, S, A, M P, S, A, M
Exp. Compen +/-5 EV in 0.3 EV steps +/-5 EV in 0.3 EV steps
WB Fine Tune No Yes
White Balance Auto, 4 presets, manual (unlimited) Auto, 6 presets, manual (3 max.)
Shutter speed Bulb + 30 sec - 1/8,000 sec Bulb + 30 sec - 1/16,000 sec
Continuous 1.6 fps for approx. 24 images 3 fps for approx. 9 JPEG / 6 RAW
Self timer 2 - 60 secs 2 - 20 secs
LCD Monitor 2 inch 2 inch
Status LCD 2 of with backlight 2 of with backlight
Viewfinder TTL Optical ~ 99% frame coverage
Interchangeable type
TTL Optical ~ 96% frame coverage
Flash Sync Up to 1/300 sec Up to 1/500 sec
Flash contact Hot-shoe & Synch terminal Hot-shoe & Synch terminal
Play mode 1 frame, Thumbnail, Magnify, Histo, Over exp. 1 frame, Thumbnail, Slide show, Magnify, Histo, Over exp.
Storage 2 x PCMCIA slots (2 x I/II or 1 x III)
or 2 x CF Type I/II with PCMCIA adapter
1 x CF Type I/II
Microdrive Yes, compatible Yes, compatible (1 GB / 512 MB)
Write speed Flash card: 1,202 KB/s
Microdrive: 1,603 KB/s
Flash card: 1,645 KB/s
Microdrive: 1,137 KB/s
Video out 1 frame All modes
I/O IEEE 1394 (Firewire) IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
GPS serial Yes Yes
IPTC Job track Option in-camera / Photo Desk Nikon Capture 2 only
RAW conv s/w DCS Photo Desk (included) Nikon Capture 2 (option)
Microphone Yes, for voice annotations No
Battery NiMH battery pack 7.2 V / 1700 mAh NiMH battery pack 7.2V / 2000 mAh
Battery charger Docking station type (can take 2 batts) Plug - charger - wire type
Remote control 10-pin remote terminal 10-pin remote terminal

*1 In-camera JPEG / TIFF for the DCS 760 is supposed to be coming as part of a firmware update some time around September 2001. It wasn't available at time of review.
*2 The D1x's ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 sensitivities are 'pushes' of what the camera is calibrated to achieve (they are menu options). The DCS 760 can be pushed to ISO 800 and ISO 1600 equiv. by deliberately underexposing.
*3 The D1x 'creates' the final image from a source image which has twice as much horizontal resolution as vertical. It down-samples horizontally and up-samples vertically (using some of the additional horizontal pixels to assist in the vertical up-sampling).

Based on specifications alone the D1x takes the lead, it's physically smaller and lighter yet just as well (better?) built than the DCS 760, has better white balance options, in-camera JPEG/TIFF *1, in-camera colour space, higher sensitivity support and a faster top end shutter speed. The D1x also has a built-in anti-alias filter which I do see it as an advantage as long as it doesn't have a large detrimental effect on the image. And it's less expensive than the DCS 760 (for now).

On the positive side for the DCS 760 it has slightly higher sensor resolution (in a square pixel layout) which isn't being 'created' by in-camera processing, the sensor is physically larger (better for those who like to shoot at wide angle focal lengths), it has dual storage card support and a built-in microphone for voice annotations.


Compared to D1x: Colour (Kodak Q60 target)

The charts below were shot in natural light (daylight next to a window) with the same lens at the camera's lowest ISO setting (80 for the DCS 760, 125 for the D1x) as native RAW format. They were then loaded into each camera's RAW conversion application and saved as TIFF with the following settings:

  • Kodak DCS 760 - DCS Photo Desk - Custom white balance, +1.1 EV exposure compensation
     
  • Nikon D1x - Nikon Capture 2 - Custom white balance, +1.0 EV exposure compensation

Thanks to a problem with JPEG files created by the reviewed version of DCS Photo Desk (1.2.0b) the DCS 760's JPEG files were created by re-saving TIFF's in Photoshop. There is also no way to save DCS 760 images directly into the sRGB colour space. The 'standard' colour space is supposed to be a slightly wider version of sRGB and so should look approximately the same (a little duller). Saving from Photo Desk as ProPhoto RGB and then doing a profile conversion in Photoshop did not help the colour.

Kodak DCS 760 - colour space 'Standard' (1,161 KB JPEG)
Nikon D1x - colour space 'sRGB' (1,316 KB JPEG)

Also available:

A simple visual comparison of the two charts shows that the DCS 'standard' colour space is fairly close to sRGB, it does appear to be slightly wider and that will leave the D1x's colour looking better on your web browser. That said the differences are more pronounced loading the two wider colour space, calibrated images (ProPhoto RGB / Adobe RGB) into a colour space 'smart' application such as . If you don't have the ProPhoto RGB ICC profile you can download it here.

Overall it's a very close run thing, the D1x appears to me to have slightly more accurate reds (DCS 760's tend towards orange) and a better overall grasp of the balance of the gray scale - dark grays being dark. Both cameras can produce excellent, accurate colour. With the addition of Adobe RGB to Nikon Capture 2 and ProPhoto RGB to DCS Photo Desk (1.2.0 onwards) you can now be sure you're getting matched colour out of either of these cameras.

BONUS: The bonus of course with the D1x is that it can produce JPEG's in-camera and that you can select their colour space in-camera. That means you can shoot into a known colour space without having to do any post-processing. Lets hope Kodak's in-camera JPEG is going to be this good...

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