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Kodak DCS Pro 14n

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
9 37668 Aug 7, 2008
Recommended By Average Price
67% of reviewers $3,020.83
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.33
7.00
7.2
14n

Specifications:
13.7 megapixel (effective) RGB-filtered CMOS sensor, delivering 4,500 x 3,000 pixel images.
Full-frame sensor gives focal-length multiplier of 1.0
ISO of 100, 200, 400 (ISO 800 at reduced resolution)
Rugged, magnesium-alloy chassis pares weight, but provides rigid frame.
Compatible with most current Nikon F-mount lenses and accessories.
Excellent dynamic headroom in Kodak's DCR "raw" file format, excellent ability to recover highlight detail post-exposure.


 


          
digiman69
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Registered: Jan 20, 2005
Location: Italy
Posts: 4
Review Date: Aug 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Talking for the Slr/n: still love it, amazingly sharp raw files, great dynamic range, still a valuable tool with the right glasses for landscape and portrait photography, FF.
Cons:
Slow, bad battery autonomy, bulky camera...usable up to 400iso over is better to set 6mp raw and use Noise Ninja...if you really need it.

For many years the only way to use fine Nikkor and third party fast primes on a FF DSLR sensor, with plenty of resolution.

Aug 7, 2008
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Henk Leerssen
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Registered: Jul 27, 2007
Location: Netherlands
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Review Date: Jul 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $830.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good colours, Well built, FF
Cons:
Noisy in dark areas,slow,1/2EV

This is a monster to work with: bulky, slow, noisy with low light (especially in the blue channel).... but hey.. If you are looking for this body, you knew that already. When you have enough light (studio, outdoors, etc.) this beast really shines. It respons less slow since the last firmware upgrade (v5.4.9).
Quality pictures can be obtained when you have decent glass (Non DX that is). My Nikkor 105mm 2.5 really shines with this body. So choose your glass well.


Jul 27, 2007
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taylor5846
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Registered: May 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 410
Review Date: Dec 25, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Lots of pixles, good image quality at low iso, good build.
Cons:
Slow startup, slow fps, terrible high ISO quality.

Admittedly I used this camera for something it is not intended for...Sports shooting. The biggest problem for me was that it shot about 1.5 fps for only 3-4 shots, then goes to less than 1 frame per second. It has a super slow startup time and takes awhile for your shot to show up on the image review. Its slow enough to be a problem in studio shooting, which was my second use for it.

The stubby bottom of the camera makes the vertical grip basically useless, especially with any telephoto lens. This camera just annoyed me for several months, I'm much happier with my Canon 20D, plus its only half the price.


Dec 25, 2005
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Review Date: Jul 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, good colors, high sesolution and detail.
Cons:
Slow startup

Seems some posters have a different camera or are sponsord by competition. Mine is rasor sharp, works with almost all lenses. I have a D70 for quick and high iso shooting and use kodak 14n for all other shots. Produces really fantastic shots with Nikon 14mm and 17-35, 28-70 and 70-200, also with 24-120vr and 1,4 85 and all other Nikon primes.
Only lenses not really good AFD 80-200 @80 and Tamron 14mm.


Jul 18, 2004
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dante_s
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Registered: Feb 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: There is no substitute for displacement, and the full-frame sensor makes existing wide-angles wide-angles. Good performance at 14MP, especially with the Adobe RAW converter; great performance at 6MP.
Cons:
A little bit of noise in dark areas (firmware 4.4.3) and a small amount of moire in ultrafine detail, but nothing that you wouldn't be getting in film or with a film scan.

As a preliminary, I'd like to thank the people whose incessant internet complaints (even up to the latest firmware) made the demo so cheap at a local store that it ended up costing less than a used S2 or a new D100, neither of which are in the same class. So I don't have to write to justify a $3-5K purchase, but I do think that people have developed some unrealistic expectations.

I come from a film background, so you can take this review for what it's worth. The last time I checked, slapping the word "digital" on something does not change the laws of optics or the basic principles of photography.

First, it is hard as hell to make a 24x36mm sensor, so comparisons to teeny little APS sensors are completely inapposite. The manufacturing cost and difficulty is part of why this and the $8K Canon are not maintstream products. That said, the Kodak sensor (1st generation CMOS of this size) performs pretty well. I don't exactly see a flooded market with sensors this big - in fact, the only other product with a FF sensor costs $5,100 more than the Kodak costs today (Kodak costing $2,900 normally). The Canon, from what I understand, is not even a single chip - it's two stitched together.

Second, everything has noise. Film gets grainy in the shadow areas, and you usually correct this by knocking the shadows out of the finished print. This goes for film scanning -- and it may surprise some people to learn that every CCD or CMOS has noise too. It just seems that where Nikon, Fuji and Canon cut out the shadow detail before the RAW stage (leading to "black blacks"), where Kodak leaves it in. I think that if given a choice, I would rather keep the shadow detail and make any decision to axe it myself. The Adoba RAW importer and Photodesk can take care of this for you if you want the automation. If you shoot and process images the way you *see* them, rather than in some ideal world where all detail is visible all the time, the noise will seem like a lot smaller issue.

Third, people complain about the somewhat "washed out" look - this is because there is a bigger range compressed into the file - like printing on a very soft b/w paper. You can of course jack up the contrast later.

Fourth, the "magenta flare" is nothing new if you are used to film - you see edge flare in varying degrees anytime you have a bright area adjoining a dark one - any time you shoot into a light source. Digital doesn't really change the rules of optics, but Adobe Raw can help you compensate for some of them.

Finally, the chromatic aberration is incredibly well controlled, especially with the new software. Not using microlenses (as Canon does) cuts CA down in the Kodak; when you use Adobe Raw, you can get better chromatic aberration correction than the lenses were originally designed for (if you shoot wide open with wide angles on film, you will know exactly what I mean - by the time you hit the edges, you get color fringing).

In terms of overall positives, I think it's great that there's a machine that I can bolt my existing Nikon lenses onto, not have the lenses dumbed down by an antialiasing filter (only to artificially rehab them with unsharp masking) and that can capture a huge range and a 3" detail at half a mile away.

In terms of areas of improvement, (1) I would have gladly paid a lot more for an F5 or even F4 chassis; (2) it should come with 2 batteries; and (3) Kodak could have a bigger lens optimization database - or at least allow you to add your own lenses and have the camera retain the settings. Sure, and the sensor can have less noise.

Overall, I think that if you can get this camera for around $2-2.5K, and you stop worrying about everything you read on the Internet, you will have a good time and make great pictures.


Feb 22, 2004
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Review Date: Feb 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Resolution, resolution, resolution. It is compatible w/ 90% of Nikon lenses, VERY light compared to Nikon and Cannon pro digital SLR's. Battery life is better than most, I don't know why the others don't agree here. The D1-X is HORRIBLE. Best bright light hi-res digi camera out there for the money.
Cons:
Noisy, but it is manageable in most cases. Slight fringing -- manageable as well. Fat butt on the bottom, but one gets used to it. Slow write speeds.

I bought this camera with my eyes wide open. I did the research I expect anyone would do for a major purchase. I read the various on-line reviews, and with a year of D1-X under my belt, I wanted something lighter -- and higher resolution. To be sure, the 14n has limitations. I use other cameras for low light situations. But, for bright to moderate light, or a studio, this is a jewel. I just returned from a 3 week trip to Italy, using the 14n outside (800 images), and an Olympus 5050 inside (200 images). A great combination. I shot everything at ISO 80, often with a polarizer on the 14n, and 125 on the Oly.
I have stunning sharp & detailed 20x24's from the 14n of the Venetian Grand Canal. I could probably double the size easily. I used the camera in many photo - journalistic situations, and the results were superb. You have to work around some of the kinks, as you would with any digital SLR. I imagine the next version will be killer. The firmware updates have made constant improvements, and perhaps the low-light noise will get better.
To maximize battery power, Kodak recommends leaving the camera on rather than cycling it off & on constantly. That worked very well. In HARSH side & back lighting, I had some fringing, but it was the exception. It was easily handled in Photoshop. My biggest complaint is the occasional noise in heavy shadows, which can be more time consuming to fix, but you can do it. Upon returning to work from Europe, I find myself reaching for the 14n over the D1-X constantly. On important shoots, I'll B/U with the D1-X, but rarely use the images. The resolution on the 14n is unbelievable. With an old 90mm micro-nikkor, it is the best flat art digi copy camera you can buy.
I have a large variety of old & new nikon lenses, and never found one that doesn't work. If you are expecting a Canon D1s for $3000 less, I don't know what to tell you. For it's price point ($3700 currently) it is a bargain in my mind.


Feb 20, 2004
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Quentin
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Registered: Jan 23, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 75
Review Date: Jan 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Exceptional resolution, sharper than comparable DSLRS due to absence of AA filter, great colour, value for money.
Cons:
Poor high ISO performance (above 160 ISO), fussy about lens selection

You either love it or hate it. I love mine, while recognising its not the all-round preformer that Kodak originally promoted it as.

A great camera for many situations, including studio and portrait work. It will also work well for landscapes. Firmware updates have improved performance since the first reviews, and added long exposure capability.

The latest iteration of Photodesk is simple and excellent, with a selection of "looks" that suit different shooting conditions - but turn off the Photodesk noise reduction and sharpening. There are much better tools available as Photoshop Plug-ins.

Its a good idea to equip yourself with Quantum Mechanic Pro to remove colour aliasing artifacts that can appear due to the absence of an AA filter. Get to know rthe camera, treat it as a low ISO tool, and avoid certain lenses, and you have a camera that will deliver great and reliable results. Nothing available near the same price for this level of resolution.


Jan 24, 2004
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Sectarian
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Registered: Jan 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Jan 2, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: High resolution, full-frame sensor, ERI JPEG (some RAW functionality in JPEG files), ISO setting as low as ISO 6, In-camera eyedropper for click-white-balance, Two f/stops of highlight recovery! viewfinder grid, lightweight, upgradeable firmware. In-Camera deleted file recovery! Medium-format sharpness when the photos are good. 18 frame buffer for 14 megapixel RAW images.
Cons:
No long exposures. Not compatible with all lenses. Bad ergonomics (fat grip) & viewfinder is recessed. Magenta Cast & fringing. Very noisy. Slow JPEG write speeds. Slow start-up. Short battery life. Soviet-style engineering, ergonomics, aesthtics.

No wonder Kodak is bleeding money. This camera is a disaster. It only works in bright sun or with studio flash, and even then it has problems.

Easy to fall in love with at first, but it's just a one-night stand in the end because this camera is rotten on the inside. The sensor just doesn't work properly. In two days I ran into every problem described in all of the reviews of this camera that are on the internet.

The camera takes an eternity to start up, and then sucks juice from batteries as long as it is on.

For starters everything you shoot has a pink cast. This is because magenta spills all over the place. Magenta forms a halo around any high-contrast edge. I think the cause is the sensor itself, which is magenta colored. Any light source in the frame creates magenta halos.It must be reflecting light all over the inside of the camera.

The 14n doesn't work properly with the majority of Nikon lenses (the lens optimisation feature, which doesn't exist on any other camera, is BS). Most users have relegated themselves to the 28-80mm f/2.8, a nice lens for sure, but expensive and limiting. Noise is intolerable in almost any shot except in broad daylight and under studio strobes. At least the pinkish cast looks good in portraiture.

Photo desk is a joke. Kodak is still using film analogies in their contrast curves & color response. IMHO that is wrong, film is a different animal altogether.

ERI JPEG was supposed to be the big deal with this camera. In practice ERI JPEGs are not as flexible as they should be. Correcting white balance leaves artifacts, highlight recovery works, but it you're going to fiddle with a file its better to use RAW. On the subject of JPEG, it must be the only camera ever which processes JPEGs slower than RAW files.


And now for the real problem. No anti-alias filter. If it had an AA filter the 14n wouldn't score all that highly on resolution tests. As is is, the camera produces fantastic B&W shots, but for color it is much, much worse. Aliasing shows up everywhere. It shows up in grass, in vinyl siding, in window screens, in hair, in fabrics, etc. Kodak's software anti-aliasing doesn't help much. Kodak's noise reduction is terrible, the sharpening algorythm is inferior to Photoshop unsharp masking.

When I spend that kind of money on a tool I expect it to work, not to be a work-in-progress. Still I don't care how many firmware upgrades Kodak comes out with this camera will never work properly because it is fundamentally flawed.

To their credit B&H photo took the camera back with no complaints.

Verdict: Don't make my mistake, just stay away from this camera.


Jan 2, 2004
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mpal
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Registered: Jun 14, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jun 14, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $4,795.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Too little for discussion.
Cons:
Camera has too much noise.Very poor color at ISO above 125 Does NOT image in aperture priority mode or manual for time exposures above 2 seconds. Can not shoot at any ISO. BLack frame results. All of Kodak's firmware fails to yield any image for exposures longer than 2 seconds. Forget fireworks, lightning (nature), special effects or low light level imaging with this camera. Even Kodak support admits to this serious limitation. Distraught that Kodak USER Manual suggests that exposures up to 30 seconds and beyond are possible. NOT so. Image sharpness is poor compared with all other NIkon, Fuji cameras using same lens, ISO and conditions for test. Even sharpening routines do NOT improve the 14n final image to acceptable levels. If I did not know how good my Nikkors were , I would think that the lens was poor. NOT SO.

I completely tested the Kodak 14n along side the Nikon D1X and D100.
I was disappointed to find that under no lighting conditions did the Kodak 14n outperform the other cameras. In fact, it did not even compare to the other cameras. I used a wide variety of Nikkor lens at various aperture settings, ISO value, camera settings.
As light levels approached low, ie. exposures were 1/15 sec or slower at wide open aperture, the Kodak 14n showed various (non repeatable results) images (all far less than acceptable compared to the other cameras used.)
At the 2 second point and beyond, totally balck frames wrere displayed. The R,G,B histogram values were all zero. Even exposures on very normal lit scenes that should have produced solid white (over exposed values) ouitputs yielded nothing...BLACK.
Color balance was not correct for many outdoor scenes either. In fact, un processed Nikon and Fuji results were superior to the best results I could obtain with the Kodak 14n.
I own every Nikkor lens produced from the mid-1950s for the Nikon F mount camera. I was very dissappointed that Kodak released such a poor example of a full frame (35mm) camera after waiting 6 more months since it s first sceduled release date.
Poor battery life. The "hype" that CMOS uses less battery current/voltage is not seen with the Kodak14n camera.

Furthermore, you would think that any manufacturing company (especially Kodak) would have fully tested and properly represented the camera's performance. If there were limitations, it should have been in BOLD print, on their web site as well as in their manual.
Final word: any full frame imaging device deserves a top of the line chasis. Kodak and future Nikon mount camera manufacturers should seriously consider the Nikon F5 as the top choice for a full frame (35mm format) digital device.


Jun 14, 2003
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Kodak DCS Pro 14n

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
9 37668 Aug 7, 2008
Recommended By Average Price
67% of reviewers $3,020.83
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.33
7.00
7.2
14n