Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14
The almost orgasmic response to the announcement of the Koday DCS-14 is getting a little silly at times, even on this site. Statements are being made to the effect that the resolving power of the Kodak stands head-and-shoulders above the Nikon, even to the point of matching actual film resolution.
Fiction: The Kodak resolution at 14 megapixels equals or exceeds film resolution.
Fact: Figures for the resolution of a full-frame 35mm negative vary, of course, but they vary from around 35-40 megapixels (theoretical) to 20-22 megapixels (real-world attainable). This information is all over the internet.
Fiction: The resolution of the Kodak is a big improvement over the Nikon.
Fact: While the Kodak has a full-frame sensor and would eliminate the 1.5 magnification factor, its resolution is actually LOWER than the Nikon's. Break out your calculator if you don't believe it. The Kodak, with 13.9 megapixels in a full-frame 24mm x 36mm sensor (864 sq mm) has 16,088 pixels/sq mm. The Nikon, meanwhile, with 6.1 megapixels in a sensor sized 15.6mm x 23.7mm (369.72 sq mm) has 16,499 pixels/sq mm.
For the sake of simplicity;
Nikon: 16.5k pixels/sq mm
Kodak: 16.1k pixels/sq mm
Yes, the Kodak has a lot going for it. Yes, it's built on a great body (custom-manufactured by Nikon). Yes, the full-frame sensor moves in the right direction by providing more information (NOT higher resolution) and eliminating the 1.5x factor. But we're not at the end of the rainbow, not yet.
#2. "RE: Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14" | In response to Reply # 1Newsphotog Basic MemberMon 13-Jan-03 12:45 PM
Ben, I have some prime swamp land for sale. It's not like any other swamp land! It's new and improved. Has more weeds than ever before, and will accept the Brooklyn bridge you get in the box with your new Kodak 14 megapixel full frame camera!!! WOW, now that's a deal!
Point: Just because they say it's better, doesn't necessarily mean it is.
The math is correct, 14 megapixels is a WOW number but it's all relative. Great, we now have a full frame sensor(or we will once they ACTUALLY release it) that takes Nikon lenses. But it's no great leaps in the respect to the actual quality of the image. Plus, I may be wrong, but I believe this pixel count is only available in one resolution. After that, it starts to drop in pixels meaning you're getting a full frame with less image quality. If that's the case and everyone shoots in the RAW mode to get full coverage of thier camera, I'm buying stock in every known manufacturer of storage media!
#3. "RE: Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14" | In response to Reply # 2Mon 13-Jan-03 01:02 PM
Another good point...but I still want it. It's who dies with the most toys that matters under the free enterprise system...
#4. "RE: Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14" | In response to Reply # 3ShadowDetail Registered since 22nd Sep 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 01:29 PM
Actually, I want one too. That full-frame sensor looks very inviting.
Another example of the resolution question is that the Nikon has a pixel pitch of 7.9um x 7.9um while the Nikon is 7.8um x 7.8um. Closer is better of course, and the Nikon has the slight advantage.
On the question of resolution, I have seen that the RAW files will be available in three resolutions, a first. The Kodak site says:
"Variable resolution for RAW files is a unique capability offered in the DCS Pro 14n. To achieve "true" RAW status for the lower resolution image files, the entire 13.9 MP resolution is read off the sensor at 12 bits dynamic range. Then a proprietary image-processing algorithm "interpolates and resamples" the high resolution into a lower resolution while keeping the 12-bit dynamic range. The resulting image is specially color encoded and losslessly compressed to reduce the file size. This technique achieves high quality and low artifacts, while reducing the native resolution. The powerful DSP engine in the DCS Pro 14n performs all this processing in-camera, so you can benefit from more images per storage card for assignments that do not require the highest resolution."
A quick search didn't produce anything about whether the jpg files (four resolutions available) would work the same way.
#6. "RE: Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14" | In response to Reply # 4tad2561 Registered since 28th Mar 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 06:19 PM
Nah... I believe we are confusing resolution and pixel density. Resolution would be the number of pixels that make up a frame or picture; pixel density is how close together the pixels are. This does have an effect on picture quality.
Take a 4" x 5" large format camera shooting Provia 100F vs. a 35mm shooting Provia 100F. They both have the same pixel density but it's universal knowledge that the resolving power belongs to the larger format. All else being equal, you can get all the things that make a more pleasing picture: crisper detail, better tonality, less noise, etc. from a larger format because of the higher resolution not being so "stressed" when enlarged in say a print. This analogy kind of carries over to digital too, ya know?
Also a smaller pixel pitch = smaller pixel doesn't necessarily make for better. It's actually not good for pixels to be too small. Currently smaller pixels sensors are more prone to image noise and diffraction.
Personally I think the DCS-14 is a quantum leap but maybe sometimes over-hyped too. Please, not trying to offend just throwing my conceptions out there.
#5. "Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 0
...are you ready to accept the additional costs of flash memory storage, temporary image storage, and archiving of the larger images to keep your 14 Mpixel camera happy? Keep in mind your basic vanilla 512 Mbyte flash card (now about $200 each, sometimes a little cheaper on special) will hold something like 73 JPEGs but only about 36 (at most) RAW files. Compare that to a D100, where the same card will hold about 170 JPEGs and about 73 RAW files. If you buy a 14 Mpixel camera, you better be ready to lay out for some expen$ive 1 Gbyte flash cards to do any real shoots, or trust your soul to fragile microdrives (that aren't that cheap, either).
If the D100 does the job for you (prints up to 11x16 at high quality) do you really need a 14 Megapixel camera? At some point it's like hunting gnats with an elephant gun. One could argue that a 6 Mpixel full-frame camera might be in some ways superior to a 14 Mpixel full-frame camera. (Think higher ISO, lower noise.)
There's more than just raw Mpixels to consider...
#7. "RE: Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 5Mon 13-Jan-03 07:31 PM
Actually, I think the equipment we have right now should do just fine for a few years to come. It was obvious that I was pulling someone's leg with my "I want one anyway" response. Having both the D100 and S2 Pro, I'm set for quite awhile.
It will be interesting to observe the megapixel wars, and we will be the benefactors of it all. The side result will also be a tremendous lowering in portable storage. Mark my words, you will eventually see 512 Meg Compact Flash Cards coming down to $79.95 or lower, 1 Gig Microdrive or 1 Gig Compact Flash cards being between $129 - $169. And higher storage units will be released also - eventually at much lower prices. This will be the result of all of this.
Remember what computer memory was like? I can recall the times when just 16 Megs of RAM cost over $500. Now you can purchase 512 Meg Simms/Dimms,/Rimms, or whatever - at $29.95 - $59.95
Oh what a wonderful time to sit back and watch the advancement of the Digital era!!
It will be interesting to watch in the long run...
#8. "RE: Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 7guyb Registered since 11th Apr 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 09:28 PM
When reading this please do not take this as I am trying to be argumentative. I am not "orgasmic" about the Kodak camera. I just felt that with a characterization like that, it might help to add some info.
I agree that the Kodak will not be the best forever. However, Kodak has consistently had the highest resolution and arguably the best Nikon mount time after time.
I think an apt comparison would be a scan of a high resolution film scanner vs. the Kodak. I would argue that the Kodak outperforms film on MTF tests; a more complete testing then megapixel resolution. If you are curious about this, in a technical way: http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7.html.
As far as pixel density/mm goes it isn't necessarily a good thing to have a higher density as mentioned previously. Think of a real world 2.1 megapixel Nikon 950 vs a D1. The difference isn't just the lens.
Having said all that, I do have to admit to a bit of kid at Christmas feeling sometimes with technology.
#9. "RE: Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 7Chirotk Registered since 23rd Apr 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 10:08 PM
I appreciate your Pollyanna viewpoint, but I just went through the computer thing and it wasn't a whole lot of fun in my experience. What I did find was that I constantly was forced to upgrade at expense bot my software and hardware in order to stay in communication with people I needed, who were also on the same mill. Fine and good if you can afford it but a sacrifice for me. Changes in computers is far from over though thankfully, the enforced software upgrades that enforced hardware upgrades seem to have mellowed.
Thank goodness photography is only a joy for me and not a business. The DSLR is attractive, but the thought of constant forced upgrades with deteriorating values on invested equipment is not attractive and interesesting only from the viewpoint of despair. I'm used to cameras that have a utility life span of 10 to 20 years or more. The idea of a $ 2000 DSLR dropping down to discard value in 2 years due to technological advances is far from attractive from an investment point of view.
#10. "RE: Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 9Mon 13-Jan-03 10:58 PM
If my positive attitude about new technology appears redundant at times, please don't confuse this to mean that I may be loaded - thereby, able to buy what I want. This couldn't be further from the truth. For close to 50 years I've kept up with technology - not necessarily every toy that came down the pike - but nevertheless I watched the transition from 78 rpm records to 33 rpm to 45 rpm...and then to the CD. Then I went from Beta video to VHS...to Super VHS. And well, from laser disk to DVD.
Yes, I love technology - but am not dependant on it. I do know that initially all new technology is expensive (i.e. look at the calculator...the PC...memory...the VCR...DVD). But as economies of scale take hold, everything eventually drops in price. And if they don't, sales will only be contained to those with the bucks to afford it.
Like you, I didn't like the constant computer update scenario - especially the Microsoft OS scenario. From Windows 95 (and all of the SR packs), to Windows 98, to Windows 98 SE, to Millennium ME (a big step backwards in my opinion), to Windows 2000, and now to XP - which has been absolutely fantastic for me.
I look at these as exciting times and only hope I'm around long enough to see the wonderful things coming down the pike in the next quarter century or more! Some would argue that keeping up with what's new in tecnology can keep you young, especially if you do it as a hobby (not a required business practice).
In the meantime, however, I would have to say that the digital photography era seems to be the most exciting and rewarding. It offers an entire new freedom of shooting and expression. And I don't mind firmware upgrades, albeit I wish we could do so via a download followed by a compact flash insertion (Hopefully Nikon will accommodate us with this.
Like you said, however, constant updating can get old real quick - especially when you are in business and require it to stay afloat. I can only imagine what that would be like.
Great to see that this forum is a repository for a variety of viewpoints and attitudes.
#13. "RE: Excellent point and..." | In response to Reply # 11pmirror Registered since 24th Nov 2002Tue 14-Jan-03 10:36 AM
Actually, I just need the full frame CCD/CMOS. To make my lens work as usual. Since I've already own D100, it's good to enjoy it and pass the Kodak. It's still expensive too. I'm waiting for what other Nikonians called D2. Hopefully by the end of the year. Hopefully full frame. Hopefully bluetooth And hopefully not freakin' expensive
it's near Bali, if you don't know where it is
#14. "RE: Reality check - Nikon D-100 vs Kodak DCS-14" | In response to Reply # 0
All of the math looks good, however it really comes down to lets compare prints from both and see which is better. In Pop. Photo mag. this month they compare the new canon flagship digital (cmos full frame and I believe 11 megapixel) they blow up a 100 iso film print and the same from the digital (they used the same lens of course) to 11 by 14 or something like that. They then enlarge a portion of that print in a area on a farm silo to read the letters on the silo. Guess what. It was readable on the digital but not on the file due to grain and noise.
This tells me at least in the real world of what I can hold in my hands, digital has already passed films capabilities.
I still like the fact that my D100 outshines the Kodak, at least according to the math!!!!
I always want the next model up!