Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


 

Kodak SLR/n Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

 

 

 

 
This review will be written again in the form of a diary. Most recent findings on top.
 


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Testimonial

"If you are just now venturing into the world of fine art digital photography you can immerce yourself in new knowledge about almost every aspect that I can think of. The photographs on the Outback Photo site are stunning, to say the least! The books and handbooks offer a true wealth of knowledge because they are so well thought out and organized in a concise manner, with numerous examples. There are vast quantities of other resources available as well, through linking to other sites. There are interesting and provocative stories and essays written by both Uwe and Bettina Steinmueller and many others. I first found the site while checking reviews of the Canon Digital Rebel and I haven't stopped exploring ... where do Uwe and Bettina find the time to give so much? They are excellent teachers." Eleanor T. Culling 2/25/2004

If you work with Photoshop CS our e-books DOP1009 or DOP2000 are the right choice for the Kodak SLR/n. DOP2000 is the more complete handbook.

 
 

Note on image processing:

As usual we work only with raw files and use a preview version of Camera Raw 2.2 for Photoshop CS:

"A beta version of Adobe's Camera Raw version 2.2 plug-in. Since this is a beta version, the results are still subject to change."

Most images are also sharpened using Simple Sharpening.

 

 
4/9/2004 Camera is back to Kodak
 
The camera is now back. We will follow up on new improved image processing options the next few months (e.g. a new version of Bibble will be released in the near future). We also hope to revive a SLR/c (Canon mount) soon.
 

 
4/3/2004 Purple and green fringing
 

With Kodak Photo Desk and also our Adobe ACR beta we get in high contrast scenes purple and green fringing.


Mural in SF (www.billwebermuralist.com)


crop at 100% magnification

The crop reveals two things:

  • Enormous detail
  • Some purple fringing (in the notes)


Other side of the same building


purple fringing shown at 100% magnification

In this case some simple techniques described in our handbook can reduce the effect:


reduced purple

We hope that Kodak presents a solution to this problem. Yes, no AA filter delivers sharper images but right now the purple fringing and moires can make your life miserable.

 

 
3/30/2004 Sharpness
 

Jim Collum and we like overcast and avoid harsh sunlight for most of our photos (we actually risk to photograph flat objects in sun light. For our resolution test we had overcast (see entry of3/27/2004). But overcast also means low contrast and this does not show ultimate sharpness.

We did the same shot one day later in strong sunlight and this time at f/16 (105mm Micro):


shot at f/16 and ISO 160 (100% magnification)

This camera can produce sharp images if you use a good lens.

 

 
3/29/2004 First SLR/n Gallery published
 
We have now our first SLR/n gallery online.
 

 
3/28/2004 B&W
 

Here is a B&W shot from yesterday:


Trees in Mist


colorized version (technique see our handbook)

We would have missed this scene without Jim Collum now he will claim the copyright :-).

 

 
3/27/2004 Image Quality compared to Canon 1Ds
 

Images were both correcting in white balance using the second brightest gray. Images of both cameras got the same level of sharpening. We worked on these tests with my friend Jim Collum and used his 1Ds.

On the 1Ds we used the Canon 100mm Macro and on the SLR/n the Nikon 105 Micro. Both lenses have excellent reputation.

 

 

Noise


SLR/n ISO 160


1Ds ISO 160

 
Note: The size difference is the result of the SRL/n 14MP vs. 1Ds 11MP
 

Noise level for both cameras is quite the same and low at ISO 160.


SLR/n ISO 400


1Ds ISO 400

At Iso the 1Ds may have a slight edge but the SLR/n noise level is still pretty good.

Resolution


SLR/n ISO 160


1Ds ISO 160


SLR/n ISO 400


1Ds ISO 400

The difference is probably hard to tell on these crops and using JPG compression. There may also be a different focus on the SLR/n (we used AF). But in the end the resolution seems to be very much in the same ball park.

For your own tests we provide the original raw files (all 13-15MB):

 

 

SLR/n Firmware Bug

I had today at least twice the camera did not react anymore after setting the mirror lockup from 2 secs to none. Turning the camera on/off worked.

 

 
3/26/2004 Kodak SLR/n in for Review
 

Overall the Kodak 14n (a 14MP camera) was a mixed bag (high resolution but lots of noise). Now Kodak released a new version called the SLR/n ("/n" for Nikon, the "/c" for Canon will follow soon). The body is basically the same but there are some major changes:

  • New sensor
  • New image processing
  • Better power management for longer battery life

We used the SLR/n on our normal walk through Los Gatos.


Ristorante in Los Gatos


Crop at 100% magnification

It is very hard to compare a 14MP and 6MP cameras as the 100% magnification will show a much smaller part of the object.


Antique shop


Crop at 100% magnification

Clearly there is more detail available then you can get from any other digital SLR today (including the Canon 1Ds). This is no surprise as the SLR/n does not use an AA filter. As the consequence you may find color aliasing or moires in some images. Actually this is stronger in Kodak Photo Desk than in Adobe Camera Raw.

What about Noise?

The SLR/n does not have more resolution than the 14n. But this time the resolution has not to fight with quite a bit of noise.

SLR/n

ISO 160

ISO 320

ISO 640

 

Up to ISO 320/400 the SLR/n has a very good noise behavior and even ISO 640 is not to bad. This means that the full potential of the SLR/n is really useable.

The SLR/n is the new DSLR resolution king.

Purple Fringing (PF)

With many cameras you get Purple Fringing if you photograph high contrast scenes (result of lens, sensor and image processing issues). But the PF of the SLR/n seems to be worse than with most other cameras (especially 1Ds).


PF at high contrast scene


PF at high contrast edges

For our work this is not to much of a problem as we try to avoid high contrast scenes as much as we can. Making good picture at high contrast is problematic in most cases anyway. But still PF is an issue with the SLR/n and we hope that Kodak offers some sort of solution.

After the first day it is clear that the SLR/n is a much more interesting product than the 14n. We can hardly wait to use the SLR/c as we then can shoot with the same lenses on the 1Ds and the SLR/c. We consider the SLR/n a comeback of Kodak as a major player in the pro DSLR market.

 
 

Other Reviews

 
 
Review methodology (or lack of :-)) here.
 
 
 

 

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