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Author Topic: 14n report  (Read 14650 times)
Mike Spinak
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« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2003, 04:10:57 PM »
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Michael,

I don't know whether that "pundit" comment in your review was referring to me, in regard to my comment above that I'm still convinced that chromatic aberration is mainly lens related. If you are, let me say two things:

1) I haven't called myself a pundit, I don't think of myself as a pundit, and I don't believe I've acted like one. I've simply been a participant in a discussion, sharing my experience and understanding, and seeking the truth of the matter.

2) Your second part of the review did make a convincing case that the CA was due to the imaging chip and not the lens, in the case of the 14n. So, let me rephrase my original comment this way: the chromatic aberration I've seen with wide angles with my 1Ds is similar (a little more exaggerated) to what I've come to expect to see on film with wide angle lenses.

Thank you for your review. Numerous aspects of the 14n (poor slow shutter speed performance, no mirror lock-up, less than 100% viewfinder coverage, questionable weather resistance, etc.) make this camera plainly inappropriate for my use. I doubt that it will be considered substantial competition to the 1Ds by many. This is unfortunate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter, first you mention the value of the ERI-JPEG, then a few sentences later, you say that this is camera is targeted for studio and portrait photographers, not available light photographers. (By the way, am I remembering incorrectly that Kodak was also originally marketing this as a landscape shooter?)

Those seem contradictory to me. Why would a studio photographer, using controlled lighting, ever be wildly missing his/her exposures, and therefore be needing the ERI-JPEG?

Frankly, I don't see much value in the ERI-JPEG, at all. I'm strictly an available light nature photographer, usually spotmetering and manually setting aperture and shutter speed, and I can't remember the last time that I've missed my exposure by a stop. (Autoexposure works darn well, too.) It's a very, very rare occurrence, if it ever happens at all. I'm guessing that the same is true for practically all the people who spend $5,000 or more on cameras.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the value of the ERI-JPEG. Please feel welcome to elaborate.

--Mike
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Joe Decker
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« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2003, 09:19:54 PM »
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With regard to the color artifacts in the tree... I've been trying to figure out for myself if you're looking at a lens artifact that's being picked up by the high-resolution sensor, or something else. I'm leaning towards the latter, but open to arguments, let me tell folks why.

I actually use tools to correct chromatic aberration in lenses on a regular basis. It's painful, and it's no substitute for a better lens, but it lens-based chromatic aberration tends to leave a fingerprint--near the corners, the color fringes tend to appear consistently one color in the 'towards center' direction of the edges of large objects (such as your branches), the opposite color on the other side. The reasons for this are presumably obvious after a bit of introspection.

Now, I'm looking at your 100% crop on my laptop here, and maybe I just can't see the details here. But I'm not seeing fringing along the big branches, I'm instead seeing the color artifacts mostly along the very tiny branches. This kinda smells to me like some sort of color aliasing from the thin branch lines interacting with the sensors Bayer (Beyer?) pattern sensor, perhaps enhanced by the required processing necessary to put color informaton back into the picture--no matter how "raw" your image is, if it's a full-resolution RGB image it isn't truely raw--the image is showing a Bayer pattern reconstruction.

I had a third thought, which is that colors may 'bloom' on the sensors differently at different colors. I notice that the tree appears to have picked up an overall red cast in the details. If you saw red (say) fringes on all sides of big branches, and red coloration on tiny thin branches, I might imagine that somehow that red light was somehow activating nearby pixels in the sensor more than blue light was (some sort of diffraction thing, red light having a longer wavelength, yadda yadda). But on the laptop, I'm seeing lots of blue areas in the small branches as well--but remember I'm on a laptop.

In summary, I tend towards the second explaination given what I'm seeing, but I hope my brainstorming of various 'fingerprints' of different color artifacts might provide a basis for future analysis.

Thanks, all!

--Joe

---
Joe Decker
Rock Slide Photography
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2003, 10:54:52 AM »
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Eric:

OK, you make a good point. Not ALL landscape photography.

With the current firmware, the 14n is not optimized for exposures longer than 1/2 sec. And it does not produce the very best image quality, at ISO 80, in low light conditions or deep shade.

Of course, a lot of landscape photography is not done in such conditions.

The Pro 14n would have produced beautiful images of the Death Valley dunes, in late afternoon, when I was shooting that a couple of weeks ago. Exposures were never longer than 1/45 sec. at ISO 100 with the EOS 1Ds that I own.

In truth, I cannot think of that many landscape images that I have made at shutter speeds longer than 1/15 sec. So, I still think the Pro 14n would be fine for "some landscape photography."

Peter Burian
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Miles Hecker
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« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2003, 11:20:32 AM »
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Hi Peter,

I primarily shoot landscapes with my Pentax 645Nii.
It records exposure and F-stop directly on the film.
Looking back at my exposures for the last 6 months, taken with ISO 100 & ISO 50 film, I note the following. A full 70% of my exposures were taken at shutter speeds between 1/8 second to 4 seconds in duration. The next 20% were shot at 1/15 to 1/30 of a second. Only 10% were shot at speeds greater than 1/30 second.  The shots with the very best light were typically at a shutter speed of 1 second.  

See: http://wyofoto.com/Teton_Fall_2002/OxbowFall1.htm

I was very seriously considering a purchase of the Pro14n.
The most recent low light results have changed my mind.
I think it may work well in brightly lit studio conditions, but it doesn't appear to have what it takes for low light landscape work.
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2003, 12:05:15 PM »
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Peter - Fair enough. We will all make our own choices (and I've already made mine anyway).

BTW: I live in Edmonton, so my problem is usually hiking in -30C weather on snow shoes  . Weight is always a consideration (but you might get a little bogged down carrying all those extra batteries with you for the 14n  ).

cheers,
Eric
Eric: I bought the first production sample of the EOS 1Ds to arrive in Canada (in October).

Do not tell my wife what I paid for it.  

Oh, yeah ... extra batteries or a remote battery pack. See www.digitalcamerabattery.com They have a dedicated cable for the Pro 14n. (Vistek sells this kit.) A lot of wedding, event, etc. pros already use a remote pack to power flash; with a second cable, it can also power a camera.

Peter
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« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2003, 05:50:26 PM »
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Peter,

And, Steve has arrived at essentially the same conclusions as I did. He has just been more polite about it.

Pros: Great resolution at ISO 80 and in bright light.

Cons: - Poor design (viewfinder). Poor ergonomics. Cheap built quality and non-digital capabilties for the price. Unacceptable turn-on lag. Atrocious image quality at medium to high ISOs and in moderately low light. Serious aliasing artifacts, etc etc.

Why continue to defend this dog? It woofs. If this was from any company other than the Great Yellow Father they'd be laughed out of town. As it is if they indeed ship it in its current state the 14n will seriously tarnish Kodak's image, not to mention its bottom line.

Michael
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« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2003, 01:28:02 PM »
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Sorry Peter, but I can't accept your position. In fact it's starting to annoy me.

My review was indeed based on a brief period of time with the 14n. I didn't need longer. In fact I had determined that the 14n was seriously flawed before even taking the first frame. Yes, my mind was made up quickly.

It's a badly designed camera irrespective of image quality. I didn't need more than 3 minutes with the 14n to know that the ergonomics were a disaster. The need to mash my face up to the camera to be able to see through the viewfinder wasn't difficult to discover. Turning the Menu button on with my nose whenever I raised the camera to my eye happened almost every time, due to the poorly designed and badly located and raised buttons.

It took me all of the first minute with the camera to discover that the turn-on time at 13 seconds (then reduced to 10 seconds) completely eliminated it from serious consideration as anything other than a studio camera.

A few hours of shooting showed me that the battery is completely inadequate, producing 50 or less frames on a charge.

The lack of mirror lock up removes the camera from serious consideration for many photographers, and it's a scandal that this is described as a "professional" camera with such omissions. I saw that it was missing by reading the manual, something I did before even loading a card into the camera.

All of this without shooting a single frame. Then when I did I saw how deficient it was at moderate to high ISO settings, in low light and at moderate to slow shutter speeds it didn't take me long to draw some pretty damning conclusions.

I usually take my time with a new camera, especially a digital. But the Kodak 14n didn't require more than a single day to prove itself to be an unmitigated disaster.

Unless and until the 14n is completely redesigned to eliminate these flaws I stand firm in my condemnation. And this business about using pre-production firmware is so much bull. I used the firmware that was with the camera as shipped from Kodak's head office EARLIER THAT SAME DAY! This is the firmware that is in cameras shipped to U.S. and Canadian dealers for their evaluation and for demos to customers.

I then tested with the firmware that Kodak e-mailed to me, which I am told is the firmware that will be in customer's shipping cameras. There was no noticable improvement in image quality. A few dozen frames and a couple of hours showed me that. So, please, stop riding that hobby horse. It's getting lame.

To characterize my review as somehow hasty, and thus flawed, is bullshit. I arrived at my negative conclusions in just one day. I didn't need a moment longer because nothing was going to change. Steve took however long he took to arrive at his, but we both got to the same place, (or have you missed that point)?

With all due respect to Steve (and I do respect the work that he does), 80% of his "review" is simply a detailed report on the camera's specs and features. I don't do that. I write reviews from the perspective of real-world photogapghers who spend their hard earned money on such gear and want to know how it will perform. Period. The specs can be found in the manufacturer's literature. When people read a review of mine they want to know how it performs, not read what's available in the catalog. And I tell them what I think, without equivocation.

In any event. I look forward to seeing your own review, either online or in print. Based on your comments my guess is that it will be a whitewash. I wonder why?

Michael

Ps: There likely won't be a Part III. Kodak appears to have decided not to provide me with a camera next week. They have not confirmed an appointment scheduled for Monday, and somehow I don't expect them to. So be it.
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Mike Spinak
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« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2003, 05:43:29 PM »
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Peter,

Continuing with our earlier discussion of the ERI-JPEG:

Steve's review made repeated comments that the ERI-JPEG quality was lower than the quality of RAW, and, as best I could tell, was also trying to politely infer that the quality of the ERI-JPEG was not acceptable.

Is this congruent with your own experience of the ERI-JPEG? If yes, then how does this factor into your perception of the ERI-JPEG having a high value? If no, could you give me any conjecture about the problems with Steve's methods with the ERI-JPEG?

On a separate note, I thought that the image quality displayed in the ISO/ASA 100 studio samples in Steve's review was quite appalling. Do you find the image quality in Steve's studio samples acceptable? Are Steve's samples in accordance with your experience of what one should expect from this camera in the studio?

Thanks, Peter,

Mike
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Erik M
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« Reply #48 on: March 28, 2003, 10:47:08 PM »
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>>I find it very refreshing to read an honest, 'no pulled punches' review of a product. I think most readers of this forum should be savvy enough to realise that most magazines, and many web sites, are inevitably compromised to some degree in reviewing a product, by financial considerations.<<

I have to disagree. Most reviews of cameras are positive because modern product design and manufacture is at this point in time (assuming a company is really trying) essentially perfect--meaning that most cameras are essentially good (I'm not talking about the 14n) and any failings noted in a review are merely the expression of the personal fetishes and preferences of the reviewer.

I'm not talking about Michael's 14N review. I'm simply stating that I don't think it's reasonable to view as 'always suspect' a positive review. The fact that millions of people buy millions of different cameras each year and aren't complaining is I think enough evidence that camera makers are more often than not hitting the mark, so to speak.
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etmpasadena
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« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2003, 08:32:58 PM »
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Ray,

I don't think we really disagree. But I think there's a big difference between subjective and objective criticism of a product. (I won't go into my ideas on this subject!) Many products we buy today are mature in design, testing and reliability. There's not much that can be done to improve the basic functioning of a VCR or a dishwasher or an entry level compact car or any number of other products. When you get to that level of maturity such products should get good reviews, if they're even reviewed at all, because they're actually good products.

Erik
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Quentin
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« Reply #50 on: April 02, 2003, 06:19:19 AM »
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It's okay to describe the 1200 (in a review) as not having archival inks (or any other measurable characteristic)--that's objective. But it's subjective to say that that characteristic(s) then makes it a good or a bad printer. The product only becomes good or bad based upon the needs of the user.
Well yes, up to a point. But you have to offer some opinion, however qualified, or all you'd do is state the findings without any reference point.

I mean, some people might love the high noise at 400 ISO with the 14n, but it would be reasonable nonetheless to comment critically on it in a review, as most people would find it a limitation. Similarly with the 1200 non-archival inks. Just don't be too dogmatic about it.

Quentin
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #51 on: April 02, 2003, 12:03:22 PM »
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Another Pro 14n Preview has been published.

On MSN.com

http://photos.msn.com/editori....RTMENTS
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Doug_Dolde
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« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2003, 11:59:50 AM »
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Arf arf. It looks like a real dog next to the Canon.
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Quentin
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« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2003, 10:10:29 AM »
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I think, Michael, that you have bent over backwards to be fair to the 14n.  It will appeal to studio photogs operating at 80 ISO.  It will not appeal to me.

What really worries me is the color alaising, or whatever it is, in tree branches.  This odd effect is also present in shots of rippling water (eg, the sea) from other samples I have seen.  I don't see how this can be removed ex post facto, as it is too random for post processing.

This leaves the Nikon line of cameras without an authentic general purpose challenger to the 1Ds.  I really do wonder what Nikon have up their 1.5 factor sleave.

Mind you, chop the new Fuji medium format 20.8mp sensor in half, and stick one half of it in a Nikon body, and I might well be interested.

Quentin (registered, but not on my regular computer).
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2003, 04:31:23 PM »
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Send me an e-mail adress and I'll send you a crop from one of my RAW images made at ISO 100. A 4MB tif file, without compression.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the image quality the Pro 14n can deliver.

Peter Burian
OR I can send the full image, downsized and saved as a JPEG - it is then a 4MB file.

Peter Burian
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Eric Fredine
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« Reply #55 on: March 25, 2003, 12:00:03 PM »
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Peter - Fair enough.  We will all make our own choices (and I've already made mine anyway).  

BTW: I live in Edmonton, so my problem is usually hiking in -30C weather on snow shoes  .  Weight is always a consideration (but you might get a little bogged down carrying all those extra batteries with you for the 14n  ).

cheers,
Eric
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2003, 02:37:33 PM »
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An interesting article at

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_pag...p?cid=6007-6112

<< The DCS Pro 14n generates enormous RAW format files and is able to write only a maximum of 6 frames in a burst (at least with the initial shipping firmware version of 4.1.2, and without the optional buffer RAM upgrade). Taken together, you have a camera that has a tremendous need for CompactFlash speed. Fortunately, Kodak has designed the 14n to write photos quickly; this camera features one of the fastest write interfaces of any digital SLR currently available.

CompactFlash Write Speed - Kodak DCS Pro 14n

The data in the table below was derived by timing how long it took the Kodak DCS Pro 14n to write out 6 RAW .DCR photos to the card. Timing commenced when the camera's card status light illuminated, and stopped when the light went out. Each test cycle was performed 3 times (if the card's capacity allowed for that) to ensure accurate results. >>>

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_pag...p?cid=6007-6112
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Peter K. Burian
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« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2003, 02:59:18 PM »
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<< I usually take my time with a new camera, especially a digital. But the Kodak 14n didn't require more than a single day to prove itself to be an unmitigated disaster. >>

OK, Michael, we have both made our points. We take different approaches.

I test the daylights out of a camera before publishing Conclusions and you decide in a half day that a camera is a disaster - and publish that.

Since you find my comments annoying, I promise I won't post any more replies to your posts. And you own the site so you can prohibit my access at any time.

<< In any event. I look forward to seeing your own review, either online or in print. Based on your comments my guess is that it will be a whitewash. I wonder why? >>

Your implications above are duly noted.

My preliminary review will be published in print, in late May, taking the approach that I outlined in an earlier post.

Peter
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Jeff Weir
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« Reply #58 on: March 28, 2003, 10:19:31 PM »
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Excuse me Peter but I have to ask, do you some kind of financial tie with Kodak, or do you just like to see how many posts you can make? I can't believe the great lengths you have gone to defend the 14n camera. Why don't you give the bandwidth a rest, and finish your (obviously positive) review of the camera, post it and move on. Your attitude is getting a bit old.
Thanks in advance.
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BJL
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« Reply #59 on: April 02, 2003, 12:26:38 PM »
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Peter,

   Macintoshes (and Netscape) are forbidden to read that "MS software only" site; can you say briefly if it adds any substantially new information or opinions to what we have read here and at steves-digicams?
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