The bottom line
So how does the camera compare to the Pro SLR/n? The slight image quality edge held by the Pro SLR/c due to its "Lens Optimization" feature (see sidebar) doesn't offset its clunky operation, larger size, poorer battery life, missing pop-up flash, and fewer custom functions. So if you can go either way, the Pro SLR/n is a better value and a more sophisticated SLR.
If you're a Canon shooter with a bag full of lenses and accessories who demands the highest image quality available in an SLR, the Pro SLR/c is the only choice in this price range. However, if you can live with slightly lower 8.2MP resolution and are looking for an otherwise superior performing camera that's built like a tank, functions like a Canon pro, shoots 45 frames at 8.5 fps, and can last for over 1,000 shots on one battery charge, then the EOS-1D Mark II is the way to go.
Excellent image quality from ISO 160 to 320. Full-frame, low-noise CMOS sensor. Accepts Canon EF lenses and E-TTL flashes. "Lens optimization" corrects chromatic aberrations.
Locks up for one minute after full burst of 19 frames. Burst speed just 1.7 fps. 15 seconds to store JPEG images. Clunky shutter control knob, odd button setups. No pop-up flash.
Custom lens improvement
There's been much talk of lens failings with CMOS and CCD sensors, which capture light differently than film. As a result, images from some lenses (especially wide-angle lenses at wide apertures) show increased chromatic aberrations (CA), which mostly appear as color shifts toward the outside of the image. Other problems include light falloff and vignetting toward the edges, and increased blur. But the Pro SLR/c includes a custom "Lens Optimization" feature for reducing chromatic aberrations, a feature we'd like to find on all digital SLRs.
Lens optimization controls can be quickly accessed via the menu screen, and turned to auto, manual, or to lens selection mode. This last mode lets you pick one of five lenses from a "favorites" list. You can swap these out with other lenses found on the camera's master list, which includes 46 Canon lenses, 41 Sigma lenses, and 23 Tamron lenses. According to Kodak, you will be able to update the master list in the camera via a CF card.
In auto-on mode, the camera chooses the right lens automatically from the list (if it's there) and applies default correction settings. In manual mode, you can turn off the correction or apply a generic correction without using specific lens data (useful if you're using a nonsupported lens). However, in lens selection mode you can adjust the amount of CA correction applied for a supported lens from 0 to 50, and you can adjust that correction at two focal lengths (for example, wide and tele) and at two aperture settings (wide open and fully stopped down).
We shot test targets in our lab (illuminated by daylight-balanced HMI Dedolights) with several zoom lenses at a variety of apertures and focal lengths, in both auto and lens selection modes. We then analyzed the CA results using DxO Analyzer software from DO Labs. Measurable improvements (slightly reduced average CA readings) were found in lower-priced wide-to-tele lenses shot at wide angle and open aperture. These would only be visible in 8x10 or larger prints, while images taken with expensive aspheric L-series Canon lenses showed less improvement, since CA readings were very low to start.
This feature is a step in the right direction toward reducing CA-but so is buying a high-quality lens. Now, if only Kodak could do the same to reduce vignetting and lens distortion.
Download our Certified Test Results: Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
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