BJL: The MSN.com Review is very, very long. The best I can do is to send you a copy of it in an e-mail.
Here is an excerpt:
<<< Early Look at the Kodak DCS Pro 14n Digital SLR
14 Megapixels of Detail and Color, But What About Noise?
By Charlotte K. Lowrie, managing editor>>>
<<<< It takes a village: Camera reviews seldom involve more than the writer/photographer who reviews the camera. For this review, however, I had invaluable assistance from Dan Hyde of Digital Vista Studios; Marc Konik of GA Communications in Stone Mountain, Georgia; David Norris, chairman and CEO at OnRequest Images; and Peter Burian, MSN Photos contributing writer. In addition, the professional team at Kodak, particularly Jay Kelbley, worldwide product manager, provided ongoing, in-depth technical information throughout the two weeks of evaluation.
Update Note: This review, as well as early reviews on the DCS 14n, was initially written after using a pre-production camera. The camera firmware on that camera was not final. Just before publication, however, I was able to use a Pro 14n with a later version of the firmware, and the improvements to overall operation and tweaks to image quality were impressive.
Since the cameras went out to reviewers, the DCS Pro 14n has created a storm of opinion. Much of it has been negative, perhaps because the first published review (on the Web) was very critical of the camera and included sample images with high noise levels. As I understand it, that first review was based on a brief shooting experience with an early version of the firmware with pictures taken primarily in low light at ISO 400. Unfortunately, a "first" review can prematurely set public opinion.
More detailed reviews, based on more extensive testing in a broad variety of conditions, were published during the subsequent week on other digital camera Web sites. While those tests were also made with the early version of the firmware, they did highlight both the pros and the cons of the DCS Pro 14n.
For my part, I found that it took a full two weeks of shooting with the camera, in a broad variety of lighting conditions and ISO settings, with various versions of the firmware, to get a feel for it, to evaluate the images, and to formulate my opinion.
Considering all that has been written about this camera, I'll cut to the chase. There are lighting situations, ISO settings, and shutter speeds that produce digital noise that is objectionable. But, let's be fair here: I've shot with another brand, high-end digital SLR for around two years, and at ISO settings above 250 or 320, that camera also produces image noise that I find just too annoying to deal with. Frequently, I simply delete the images. As a result, it takes a really special photo op for me to crank up the ISO to anywhere near 400. The same hesitation applies when I think of making high ISO or long exposures with the DCS Pro 14n, particularly with firmware that is not optimized for exposures longer than 1/2 sec.
The Pro 14n produces ultra-high resolution images of exceptional quality, but it is not the perfect, do-it-all camera. It is not the ideal choice if you must routinely shoot long exposures, or work at ISO settings above 320, or if you're a wedding photographer who cannot use flash in a dark chapel. Because it does not offer a high-speed fps option, this is not the right camera for sports and news photography. And I don't recommend buying the DCS Pro 14n if you need an instant-on camera, or if you tend to bite your nails after one or two seconds of waiting for the buffer to clear. Wait to see what speed improvements are produced by later versions of the firmware and by the optional buffer upgrade (from 256 MB to 512 MB) that Kodak will offer.
Buy this camera if you routinely shoot at ISO 80 to ISO 200, or if you work under studio lighting, or if you rarely need exposures that are longer than a quarter-second. If you shoot within those parameters, you may need to fiddle with the "noise reduction versus maximum detail" settings, but you won't need to do this very often based on my experience. And if your photography falls into this category, buy this camera if you want beautiful, rich images with a level of detail that you've forgotten that pictures could have.
And if you buy the camera, take time to get to know its strengths and its weaknesses. The "getting-to-know-you" phase should take about two weeks; afterwards, you shouldn't have to think about it again. But do check for free firmware upgrades on the Kodak Professional Web site from time to time. Take advantage of updates for new camera functions, for faster startup time, for greater burst depth, for more ISO options in high resolution capture, and perhaps for improvements in image quality. Also think about the extra-cost option for doubling the size of the buffer memory. Once it is available, that upgrade will allow you to shoot more images more quickly.
Here is how I rate the DCS Pro 14n.
Color, detail, tonal range, ease of use Excellent.
Visible digital noise Depending on the lighting, ISO, or shutter speed, digital noise ranges from invisible to annoying.
As I've said before, this camera loves light and produces beautiful images under the right lighting conditions. Noise is virtually non-existent in low ISO images, particularly those made in sunny or cloudy/bright outdoor light or under studio lighting. For optimum quality, shoot in RAW capture mode and set Noise Reduction to zero in the Photo Desk software. Digital noise is more visible in images made at high ISO settings, of low-contrast subjects, and of scenes in deep shade or in low light. The lower the light and contrast, and the higher the ISO, the more objectionable the noise level tends to be. Images made under these conditions call for a trade-off: a higher level of Noise Reduction (in-camera or in Photo Desk software) to minimize color artifacts but with a loss of definition in intricate detail.
Value for the money Very good. I base this rating on several factors: the camera's outstanding image quality (within the previously stated parameters), the low price as compared to the EOS 1Ds, plus the ongoing firmware and software updates that will keep the DCS Pro 14n, as well as the processing environment, and workflow, up to date at no additional cost. While the buffer size increase will be an extra-cost option, it will enhance the camera's value.
To see a gallery of photos taken with the DCS Pro 14n and full-resolution cutaways from some of the images, visit wordsandphotos.org >>>>
THE ABOVE IS JUST A SHORT EXCERPT