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New sensors create digital SLRs with true wide-angle lens views.

High resolution, plus one-to-one optics, provide pro camera advantages

The Holy Grail in professional digital camera design has been high-resolution, interchangeable lens SLRs that provide full 35mm-format images from any lens. In the past, many digital pro SLRs were restricted by a focal-length factor, which reflected the less than full-frame size of the sensor chip employed. For example, a digital camera with a 1.5 focal-length factor, when using a 50mm lens, produces an image equivalent to a 75mm focal-length lens. A significant problem occurs with ultra-wide-angle lenses, which prevents use of their maximum wide-angle potential. A 14mm focal-length extreme wide-angle lens produces the effect of only a 21mm lens in this example. That's one reason photographers are waiting for pro-quality digital interchangeable lens cameras with a 1:1 lens-to-sensor chip ratio.

Kodak, Canon introduce new SLRs

The Kodak Professional DCS Pro 14n SLR has a 13.89-megapixel CMOS sensor. Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y. (, and Canon USA Inc., Lake Success, N.Y. ( recently announced SLR models that fill this bill. With an estimated street price of $4,000, the Kodak Professional DCS Pro 14n SLR has a 13.89-megapixel CMOS sensor that covers a 36-by-24mm image area, the same size as a full-frame 35mm-format negative. The interchangeable lens pro digital SLR camera is designed around a Nikon SLR body and accepts the full range of Nikon SLR lenses, including extreme wide-angles. Called a sixth-generation professional camera by Kodak, the model "is primarily designed for professional portrait, wedding, event, and commercial photographers, but will likely be popular with advanced amateurs as well," the company reports.

The 4,536-by-3,024 pixel, 12-bit Kodak CMOS sensor offers the highest megapixel resolution currently available in pro SLR models; and photographers can select two lower resolutions (3 and 6 megapixels) when appropriate. The camera permits a two-frame-per-second burst exposure rate from eight to 18 frames, depending on the camera's built-in RAM buffer, which can be retrofitted with RAM memory up to 512MB. The Canon EOS-1 Ds camera has an 11.1-megapixel CMOS chip. Canon recently displayed a preproduction model of the Canon EOS-1 Ds that sports a full-frame sensor. To be more specific, the Canon EOS-1 Ds camera offers an 11.1-megapixel CMOS chip that has the familiar 35.8-by-23.8mm film format used for 35mm cameras. Early reports indicate the camera's images are sharp and crisp, matching the results of film images enlarged to 12-by-18-inch prints. Part of the success for this sensor's clarity can be attributed to its CMOS chip, which, at the ISO 100 setting, produces unusually clean image data with little noise.

Reports also indicate Canon has developed technology that allows signals received by the CMOS sensor to be read in two channels, rather than the conventional one channel, which allows reading data at twice the speed. This permits the camera to make exposures at three frames per second at maximum resolution. Another major advantage of the CMOS chip is its low power requirements; Canon reports it consumes about one-eighth the power of a similar CCD array. Some critics say out-of-the-camera colors aren't accurate, but are closer to color-saturated transparency films. Although announced, the camera does not yet have an availability date.
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Title Annotation:Product Snapshot
Publication:Digital Imaging Digest
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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