Conclusion - Pros
- Superb, balanced horizontal and vertical resolution
- Excellent colour, though selectable sRGB and Adobe RGB would be nice
- Improved LCD, improved user interface (magnify etc.)
- Excellent build quality, all metal body
- The way it feels in your hand, "solid mass"
- Instant startup time, very fast operation speed
- Huge internal buffer
- Excellent Microdrive write speed
- Lots of exposure 'headroom' in RAW files
- Built around one of the best film SLR's around, the F5
- Inbuilt portrait grip
- Ultra fast AF (especially when combined with AF-S lens)
- Excellent (if slightly conservative) matrix metering
- Extremely flexible controls, lots of options for the photographer
- Most controls can be locked (true pro feature)
- Interchangeable focus screen / viewfinder
- Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity
- DCS Photo Desk is excellent and included with camera
- GPS connectivity and data storage
- Good battery life, drop-in style charger with two slots
- Microphone for voice annotation
- Included AC adapter
- Dual card support
- Nikkor Lens compatibility
- Sensor dust doesn't seem to be as much of a problem with IR filter in place
Conclusion - Cons
- Large and heavy
- No in-camera JPEG / TIFF*
- Limited selection of white balance modes, no fine tunable white balance
- Maximum flash sync shutter speed of 1/300 sec (compared to D1x)
- Limited burst frame rate (1.6fps) but does have a good size buffer
- Some lenses can not be used with IR filter in place
- No ICC profile supplied for the 'Standard' colour space, perhaps implement selectable sRGB?
- Reds seem to have a slight hue shift towards orange
- Average colour performance under artificial light
- Medium sharpening too harsh (personal preference)
- No unsharp mask option in DCS Photo Desk
- Blue channel noise visible above ISO 160 (can be cleaned by DCS Photo Desk)
- Moire aliasing requires software processing (unless you buy optional anti-alias filter - but then you won't be getting optimum resolution)
- Long exposures suffer from noise and hot pixels (anything longer than 1 second)
- Delete review image isn't large enough to be sure you're deleting the right image
- Larger sensor requires higher quality lenses
- Currently $1000 more than D1x
* Supposed to be coming in new firmware available around September 2001
Kodak have learned their lesson (the hard way), this time well aware of the threat from the D1x and have come up with a camera (clearly based on the 660) which is more than capable of taking it on.
You really can't use the DCS 760 and not like it. It's a solid, reliable, fast, high resolution professional tool.
Downside... The body has been around for a few years and is on the large side, the sensor is starting to show its age, and you just can't ignore the blue channel noise (at least I can't). The DCS 760 is most definetly the best Kodak DCS yet but I still feel it's just not quite enough to beat Nikon's D1x. Here are my (personal) reasons for preferring the D1x:
- Smaller - this is an advantage and the D1x may even be more solid
- Lighter - nearly 500g (about 1 lb)
- Newer generation sensor produces less noise and can be pushed farther before noise sets in (at least 2 stops better)
- In camera JPEG - we have yet to see if and when Kodak implement this, but it will have to be instant to be any competition to the D1x. At the end of the day a lot of professionals (and serious amateurs) shoot JPEG
- Built-in anti-alias filter deals with moiré before it's ever a problem
- In camera colour space (goes with the previous point)
- Better white balance options
- $1000 less expensive
Of course there will be those who are used to Kodak Pro's reputation for top quality after-sales support and technical updates (regular firmware and software updates), and that shouldn't be ignored.
Currently (at the time of writing this review) the D1x is $1000 less expensive than the DCS 760, if things stay this way then the D1x is the more attractive option. At the end of the day you should use all of the evidence available in this and other reviews on this site to make your decision.
UPDATE: Second thoughts about the moiré, blue channel noise, size and weight have left me only able to give the DCS 760 a Recommended instead of Highly Recommended.
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.
Kodak DCS-14N 13.89MP Professional Digital SLR Camera