Compared to the Canon EOS-1Ds (part three)

Wide angle comparison

The next test is designed to evaluate the advantage of not the DCS-14n's sensor not having the small layer of 'Microlenses' on the sensor surface. Sensor manufacturers add Microlenses to increase the 'fill factor' of the sensor and thus sensitivity, however Microlenses near the edge of the frame can produce chromatic aberration and blurring effects when used with a wide angle lens (especially for cameras with full 35 mm sensors). The EOS-1Ds sensor has Microlenses and we noted such effects when we reviewed that camera.

It's probably also worth saying that the one thing we can't be sure of is differences in the quality of the lenses, we're using each respective lens manufacturers best 17-35 mm F2.8 zoom lens, although Canon has recently replaced the 17-35 with a 16-35 which is supposed to be better.

This comparison was shot in RAW mode, I used Canon's File Viewer Utility 1.2 to convert the EOS-1Ds images and Kodak DCS Photo Desk 3.0 to convert the DCS-14n images. Both output as 8-bit sRGB TIFF files, these were used for the crops seen below (magnified 200%). You can download JPEG (quality 11 from Photoshop) files for your own comparison.

Camera / conversion settings

  • Kodak DCS-14n: Nikkor 17-35 mm F2.8, Aper. Priority (F9.5), ISO 100, RAW, Mirror Lock-up
    5000 K WB, Advanced with Moiré reduction NR (2/10%), Low SHP, Product Look, sRGB
  • Canon EOS-1Ds: Canon 17-35 mm F2.8, Aper. Priority (F9.5), ISO 100, RAW, Mirror Lock-up
    5000 K WB, Standard / 2 sharpening, sRGB

See the 'Why different settings?' list on the first comparison page for explanations of the settings used above.

Kodak DCS-14n Canon EOS-1Ds
17 mm, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, F9.5 17 mm, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, F9.5
4,220 KB JPEG (4500 x 3000) from RAW 4,054 KB JPEG (4064 x 2704) from RAW

It's fair to say that neither camera & lens combination did a really good job, the DCS-14n has smaller aberrations (in pixel shift size) and a sharper image overall. The EOS-1Ds starts to be come soft from about a quarter image size in from the edges of the frame and gets progressively softer from there to the edge of the frame. Overall I would say that the DCS-14n / Nikkor 17-35 mm combination produced sharper images with less aberrations.