The DCS SLR/c is provided with three main software applications / utilities.
- DCS Camera Manager - Provides remote control of the camera
from a computer (Windows or Mac OS). Connection is made by IEEE 1394
(Firewire). Not covered in this review.
- DCS Photo Desk - For browsing of all image formats as well
as advanced conversion of RAW images. Photo Desk is the main application
for conversion of Kodak's DCR RAW images.
- File Format Module - An Adobe Photoshop plugin which provides access to the extra data stored in JPEG ERI format images. Automatically detects a JPEG-ERI image when opened by Photoshop.
DCS Photo Desk v4.0
DCS Photo Desk provides a browsing, manipulation and conversion platform for JPEG, TIFF and RAW (.DCR) images. Photo Desk also includes full color management (in various color spaces) and IPTC tagging support. You can choose to use the application with control and information windows 'docked' into the main window or floating, in the screenshots below we have docked the Image Controls, Image Info and Histogram windows into the main window. Oddly while Photo Desk allows for adjustment of RAW images it does not support adjustment of ERI JPEG images, for that you must use the Adobe Photoshop plugin.
Opening your images / browsing
After loading Photo Desk you have two options, you can either open a single image (difficult as you can only see filenames not thumbnails) or open a folder as a contact sheet. With the open single image option it would have been sensible for Kodak to develop their own 'Open dialog box' which provided quick thumbnails so you could identify the correct image.
Main window (Contact Sheet view)
Below you can see the 'Contact Sheet' view at 100%, you have three thumbnail size options of 50%, 100% and 200%. Note that all adjustments (compensation, tone, white balance etc.) can be carried out in either this view (to selected images) or in single image view.
|Contact Sheet view|
Main Window (Single Image view)
Double click on an image to enter single view mode, the software will render the image using either 'Faster' or 'Better' display. The former uses a smaller camera generated image as a basis for display, the later fully decodes the entire RAW image each time the image is resized or an adjustment is applied (which is very slow). At the bottom right you can see the histogram window which provides an overview of luminance levels (in black) and optionally individual red, green and blue channels. It would perhaps have been useful if Photo Desk included the extended range just past the current white point (perhaps with a different background) to indicate what data if any is available for possible exposure compensation (in the same way the camera histogram does).
|Single Image view|
You can from this view choose to examine the image in further detail, there are three preset viewing scales of 50%, 100% and 200%. Additionally you can also enter a zoom level manually. With the image rendering set to 'Faster' any above 25% scale appears pixelated (because that is the native size of the smaller image used for rendering). Switching to 'Better' renders the image accurately as it would appear in output however this takes considerably longer.
|Viewing scale 100%, 'Faster' rendering
View appeared instantly
|Viewing scale 100%, 'Better' rendering
View took 15 seconds to render
New to Photo Desk 4.0 is the 'Close-up Tool' which provides a separate floating live 'loupe' view of an area of the image at a customizable zoom and window size. The Close-up Tool can be used in both Single Image and Contact Sheet views, simply select the tool and click on an area of the image. This allows you to make adjustments and see the entire image as well as the effect at 100% (or any zoom) on a specific area.
|A crop of Single Image view with Close-up Tool active|
A quicker way to view and tag your images is to use the 'Review' option, select multiple images (for example, all images in a folder) and press CTRL+H (or select the menu option). This displays the resizable Review window (shown below) which can be used to browse images and tag/untag them for later selection or processing. There are ALT+ keyboard shortcuts for next and previous however there isn't a keyboard shortcut for Tag. I would have thought it logical to have simple keys (eg. page up, page down, space bar) for next, previous and tag.
IPTC / Job Tracker Info
As we would expect Photo Desk provides full IPTC and Job Tracking support, you can edit information for individual images or select multiple images and apply data to all at the same time. Note that you can also browse in this mode (with multiple images selected). IPTC records can be saved from here and loaded into the camera for automatic embedding.
|IPTC / Job Tracker Info|
Kodak DCS-14N 13.89MP Professional Digital SLR Camera