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Compared to D1x: Image Quality: Product

Test notes:

  • All images shot in the camera's native RAW mode and converted to TIFF & JPEG later. 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.
     
  • DCS Photo Desk settings - Sharpening: Low, Noise reduction: None, Look: Product, White balance: Custom, Colour space: Standard.
     
  • Nikon Capture 2 settings - Sharpening: Normal, White balance: Custom, Colour space: sRGB.
     
  • Both cameras - Aperture Priority, F10. Lens: 35 - 70 mm F2.8 D.
     
  • Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector.

I made the choice of Low sharpening for DCS Photo Desk because it's medium sharpening was very harsh and damaging to the image, Low was also much closer to Nikon Capture 2's Normal sharpening. I also chose not to enable noise reduction on DCS Photo Desk so that both images were as true as possible to the original image captured by the camera (to be fair to performance of the D1x).

Kodak DCS 760
ISO 80, 1/5 sec, F13 / 1,640 KB JPEG
Nikon D1x
ISO 125, 1/45 sec, F13 / 1,140 KB JPEG
Crops @ 200%

I found this an interesting subject because it has plenty of fine detail. Here the DSC 760 showed that it has superior vertical resolution, you can see that it was able to resolve the detail in the chip legs (vertically), with which the D1x struggled. The DCS 760 image also looked a tad sharper than the D1x. Colour again, from the D1x is superior, despite the fact that the Photo Desk output image wasn't in a specific colour space it is supposed to be 'near to sRGB' and as such should at least be able to produce a similar hue.

Note: I did try output from DCS Photo Desk as ProPhoto RGB and then conversion to sRGB in Photoshop - colour wasn't any better.


Compared to D1x: Image noise at different sensitivities

Test notes:

  • All images shot in the camera's native RAW mode and converted to TIFF & JPEG later. 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.
     
  • DCS Photo Desk settings - Sharpening: Low, Noise reduction: None, Look: Product, White balance: Custom, Colour space: Standard.
     
  • Nikon Capture 2 settings - Sharpening: Normal, White balance: Custom, Colour space: sRGB.
     
  • Both cameras - Aperture Priority, F10. Lens: 35 - 70 mm F2.8 D. DCS 760 - +1.0 EV compensation, D1x +0.7 EV compensation (to end up with the same shutter speed).
     
  • Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector.

I made the choice of Low sharpening for DCS Photo Desk because it's medium sharpening was very harsh and damaging to the image, Low was also much closer to Nikon Capture 2's Normal sharpening.

Below you will see a 120 x 160 crop taken from the same sample scene (shot at different sensitivities) we used on the previous page. This crop is then broken out into its red, green and blue components to allow us to examine which of these channels is producing noise at a particular sensitivity.

At ISO 125

 
RGB Red Green Blue
DCS 760
D1x

At ISO 200

 
RGB Red Green Blue
DCS 760
D1x

At ISO 400

 
RGB Red Green Blue
DCS 760
D1x

It's obvious from this simple comparison that Kodak still have a 'blue channel noise' problem with their sensor. Noise can be clearly seen even at ISO 125 and increases at higher sensitivities (or exposures slower than approx. 1 sec). Kodak do provide a noise reduction option in DCS Photo Desk and there are also other third party utilities for cleaning up such images, but it's a shame it's there in the first place. The D1x's ISO 400 image is cleaner than the DCS 760's ISO 125. Pure speculation leads us to assume that this noise issue is the single reason the DCS 760's upper sensitivity being limited to ISO 400.

Cross reference of source images (as JPEG)

ISO 125 ISO 200 ISO 400
Kodak DCS 760 1,436 KB 1,566 KB 1,884 KB
Nikon D1x 1,536 KB 1,593 KB 1,736 KB
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