Kodak Pro DCS 520 Review
Accessories and Software
Supplied as standard: the ELPAC power supply which can be used to power the camera when the batteries are on charge or in the studio.
Rated as 95-250VAC input with a healthy 6.5V @ 5.0A output (wow).
It's as big as a house brick too.
Supplied as standard: SPAN battery charge can take up to two batteries and features reconditioning.
The standard supplied Kodak battery is a NiCD 7.2V (I've heard rumours that this actually a six pack of AA NiCD's...) rated for 300 shots.
Also supplied is a power supply unit for the charger which can take a variety of different power plugs (for nearly every continent).
See images below:
Not a standard item:
Fast throughput, robust, low power and high capacity, it gives the camera a 153 shot capability (and that's at 1.9Mb per image!).
Kodak DCS TWAIN driver
For the review I used the latest available TWAIN drivers (version 5.5.10) which I must say worked flawlessly throughout the whole review. I found the easiest way to use the camera was to move the contents of the PCMCIA hard disk into a storage directory and use the TWAIN driver to manipulate them.
Because of the file format of the camera (Kodak's own hybrid TIFF) which is basically a compressed RAW CCD format the images are only 1.9Mb each compared to 3-4Mb+ for the equivilant "standard LZW TIFF" (which also doesn't store photographic information). It's best to keep the original TIFF's and just "acquire" the image through the TWAIN driver when you wish to publish / use it (I use the RAW mode of my Canon Pro70 for the same reason).
The TWAIN driver is a beautiful piece of work in itself, and I'll try to sum up some of the functionality here (although I couldn't use the take photograph and camera settings features as I don't have an IEEE 1394 interface on my review PC).
The main driver interface when browsing a folder full of images (in 'contact sheet' mode) looks likes this:
A simple and straightforward inteface, across the top we have mode changes you can switch between contact sheet view and preview (full size image viewable as small/medium/large) and the option to acquire an individual image or a contact sheet of the selected images. You can also rotate individual images or groups of selected images using the rotate icons.
On the right hand side we have acquire / copy to... / delete / done, the annotation textbox and the image information textbox. The bottom controls allow you to move between images (most useful in full preview mode) and to select / deselect groups of images. The small / medium / large select box in the bottom right corner changes thumbnail sizes in contact sheet mode and image size in preview mode.
Crop: you can individually crop images or setup cropping for subsequently taken images (through the TWAIN driver).
Copy To allows you to copy the selected images to other directories or to export all selected images as JPEG, compress quality alters the JPEG % compression, compress size allows you to output the images as full size or downsampled to smaller resolutions.
Rename allows you to rename individual images or groups of images, for image groups the software will automatically number the images.
Information for each selected image is displayed, as you can see the information available to the photographer is extensive and invaluable.
One more reason for keeping the original images as "digital negatives".
|Annotations can be added to any image and are stored directly inside the TIFF file (and therefore are kept with the image whenever it is moved).|
|An amazingly useful feature is the ability to alter the white balance setting after the image has been taken, this is especially useful if you forgot to reset the white balance, the dropper can be used to get a custom white balance directly from the image.|
|The preferences dialog allows you to set the TWAIN "acquire" settings such as image DPI and output mode (note: images can also be acquired at 12/10 bits)|
The TWAIN driver really is the icing on the cake of a superb photographic package, making the use and manipulation of images after you've taken them a real joy.
Note also that regular Firmware updates for the camera are available through the Kodak website.
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