Kodak DCS620x Review
DCS TWAIN Data Source 5.9.0
It's essential that we cover the TWAIN module when reviewing the DCS620x, simply because much of the outcome of the final image is dependent on how you use the TWAIN module. It is required to convert Kodak's proprietary TIFF RAW format (which can't be read by any other product) into other image formats / acquired into a TWAIN compatible host application (such as Adobe Photoshop or JASC Paint Shop Pro).
The image above represents the most common view of the TWAIN module, with a "contact sheet" of images in a folder (typically, or at least in my case images copied directly into named folders on the local hard disk). Each of the elements of the above window are described below:
|Take Picture / Camera Control, when camera is attached to the computer by FireWire you can take control of the camera and take images directly back to the PC|
|Source (folder / camera) which is used for contact sheet browse|
|Display images as either a contact sheet (as above) or single photograph at a time|
|Change acquire options, either acquire as individual photographs or as a contact sheet|
|Preferences / About, first button displays the preferences dialog box (described below)|
|Rotate image/images 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise|
|Crop image, displays crop window (described below)|
|Select white balance for image(s) (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, At Capture, Auto). A powerful function which allows you to retrieve an image which may have been shot with the incorrect (or bad) white balance.|
|Auto white balance / exposure dropper, click on a grey area of image to establish both white balance and overall exposure compensation automatically|
|Changes the output "look" of the image, product produces a higher contrast image, portrait a more linear range of shades|
|Exposure compensation, probably the most powerful option, allows compensation of the image +/-2EV in 0.1EV steps (example below)|
|Check / Un-check the select image(s)|
|Playback any attached voice annotations|
|Rename selected image(s)|
|Enter IPTC data for selected image (see below)|
|Main "action" buttons, Acquire outputs the current image to the host application, Copy To... allows you to copy the selected image(s) to another directory or as JPEG (see below), Delete to remove the selected image(s), Done closes the current Acquire window|
|A single thumbnail, top left image number (of current directory), exposure compensation, check indicator, filename.|
|Annotations attached to selected image|
|Exposure information display, only works when one image is selected, full size example here|
|Scroll through images one at a time (most useful in full photo display)|
|Select all images / Select checked images / Select unchecked images|
|Display size, Small / Medium / Large works for both thumbnails and full size preview|
Preferences allows you to control display and output of images, on the second tab we have control of the new noise reduction algorithm, sharpening and colour settings applied on acquire.
The crop window allows you to crop individual images prior to acquisition, this can be freeform (using the mouse cursor to drag a rectangular area over the image) or a fixed size. This cropping area is stored in the image header and is applicable as long as it is active (click on Remove here to cancel the crop). If the camera is attached to the computer by FireWire you can choose to crop all new images to this size when the image is taken.
Here is an example of an image which is slightly overexposed, if this image had been taken with a typical "consumer level" digital camera we would have lost any blown-out detail (for example the forehead of the left hand gentleman or the colour of the front of the steps), however because images taken by the DCS620x are captured with 12-bits across the dynamic range (a possible 4096 gradients for each colour pixel) it is possible to use the exposure compensation built into the TWAIN module to recover such images (either under or over exposed). In addition exposure compensation in the acquire module is much finer (0.1EV steps) than that found on the camera.
For examples see the Image Quality pages of this review.
IPTC image data
This function allows journalists in the field to attach a fully detailed IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) description / location information to an image (actually embedded into the header of the image file), this is important for images which are to be sent directly back to the office by comms links. Information can be saved to file and applied to multiple images (for example all images shot for one job).
|Thunderheads With Egret by Buzz Lightyear|
|Double Rainbow; Abiquiu, NM, USA. by abiquiuense|
from After the Rain
|White Tern-2289 by vbuhay|
from A Whiter Shade of Pale