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Choice for a Studio Camera

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Conrad Monroe, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. This is not exactly a D2X/H question, but it is somewhat related!

    I am on the board of directors of our local chamber of commerce and yesterday our director sent the entire board to our local photographer to have our photos taken for next year's brochure. For his studio portrait work our local photog uses a Kodak 14/n pro, and a 85mm f1.4. I must say that I was pretty impressed with the quality of the photo that he took of my ugly mug! The color seemed spot on as was the resolution (should have touched up my beard - damn!) anyway, that got me to thinking that a low milage used 14/n might be a good investment for my product photography studio work.

    I am in the process of setting up a small business to help our local artisians to get accepted to juried art shows and with their advertising efforts. Most of the pieces I have been working with are in the 6 to 18 inch range for the 3d pieces. The 2d art ranges from around 8x10 up to 20x30. I am presently using my D100 in basically manual mode with my new PC Micro 85 T&S lens. I have a pretty decent AlienBee lighting setup (3 - 400's, 1 - 1600) so leaving the 14n on ISO 80 and the 1/125 flash sync should not be issues.

    My only real issue with the D100 is the small viewfinder. I use manual focus with the T&S lens and often have problems focusing using only the modeling lights. By eliminating the 1.5 crop I could move closer to the subject and still keep the same FOV - I am working in one bay (10x20) of my garage and space is a real limiting factor! The additional resolution would be nice in that it would allow me more a few more cropping options, but other than that I really dont seem to need much more than my current 6.1 Mpx.

    Anyhow KEH as several used 14/n's (excellent to excellent plus condition) for around $1600 - $1800 which seems pretty inexpensive for a camera that a few years ago was selling for around $5000. I would keep my ol' reliable D100 for my non studio work.

    Anyone have any experience with the 14/n under these conditions? In particular using it with the PC 85? Also, would it work with Nikon Capture Camera Control? I am currently shooting tethered to my laptop and really like the ability to view the images as they are taken.

    I appreciate any and all comments, especially from those of you that have owned the 14/n in your past life! Up until I got this brain storm I was planning on picking up a D2X when and if the price ever comes down.
  2. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Just say "no"...

    Hi Conrad...

    I don't own a Kodak 14/n, but I was pretty impressed with the images I've seen from it and the feature-set... everything about it is pretty wizzy...

    But, I wanted to give you this thought: the camera has been officially discontinued by Kodak, and while Kodak is claiming to support the camera into 2008, why risk spending $1000+ on a camera that you already known has a short lifespan ahead of it, much less won't be getting firmware upgrades and (I bet) limited support (read that as "in the case of an electronics failure, parts are probably going to get harder and harder to find")? Further (and this is not an advertisement), I was just looking on eBay and found two 14/n cameras (here and here if you're curious), and for the price they're asking, you could invest that and be most of the way to a new D200 (and go on the long waiting list with everyone else). Although I love a good used bargain, I always wonder if the original owner was as careful as I was with my gear -- there's no telling. I've seen perfect-looking camera be a complete dog and other beat-up camera perform like a Swiss watch. It just seems wrong to put a grand-plus into a camera that's already been marked for termination... it's like selling life insurance to a death-row inmate... OK, that's an extreme example... It just seems that there are better options. On a related note, the eBay prices are also say to me that the current market value of the camera is 1/5th its original asking price and will probably continue to drop... value goes down, but the possible maintenance costs are probably going to remain the same or get worse with the shortage of available parts.

    I guess that's my two cents... the bottom line here is that if the cameras were selling for $500 ...to maybe $700, I'd consider it, but anything over $1000, forget it. You've even better off waiting to see if the market is flooded with D2H shooters "trading up" to the D200, or if Nikon does some kind of price rebate for the D2x when the D200 takes their sales away than going with the Kodak.

    OK... rant-mode off...

  3. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    You should try the 70-200VR for the studio. I think that you will be pleased.
    My lens of choice for the Studio is the 28-70 f2.8.
    And my choice of camera is the D2H except for groups of more than four, Then I will use the D2X..
    For copy work work and macro or micro I will use the D1X.

    There is nothing wrong with using the D100 in the Studio.
    However for Hot Rods and sports there is nothing like the D2X. Since you have have the 200-400 VR f4 the D2X would fit in very well.

    Forget the 14n.

    The D200 does look very interesting. Yes I do have one on order
    since last year. This will be my carry around camera with it's
    pop up flash.

    Any of these cameras can go to 20x30 with the D2X and I think the D200
    being the choice.

    The D100 and the D200 do not have the viewfinder blankout. So if used in studio you need a makeshift barrier.

  4. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I would love a Kodak 14n... But the problem is that I mainly shoot sports and it just isn't meant for that....
    But on the other hand it would get my boss off my back for using for not buying it instead of a D70 last year. Oh wait, he is stepping down in 5 weeks...:smile:

    (For those that don't know, I work as a rep assigned to Kodak consumer P&S Digital cameras)

    Still it would be a nice camera to own.
  5. Thanks guys for the good advice!

    Peter, you raised a very valid point, I was not aware that Kodak was cutting off all technical support for the 14/n in 2008, that does make a difference, and your comments regarding the price are quite valid as well. Life Insurance to a Death Row inmate --- great line, and true!

    I guess that I have been overly spoiled with my Nikon equipment. Over the years I have had a wide assortment of Nikon cameras (D100, F3, FM, FA, F5 and 2 Nikonos) along with an assortment of lenses and other equipment, I have never had any failures what so ever, and have never had to send anything back to Nikon for repair or service, knock on wood. Alas, when we moved into the digtal age cameras have become more complex and hence more prone to fail, such is life. For my part I would love a digital version of my old beloved F3 High Point.

    Briger, good observations!
    My strategy over the past couple of years has been to stay with the D100 and upgrade to pro glass and studio lighting as money became available. Up until a couple of months ago, my next purchase was going to be the 28-70 which would have pretty much filled out my line up, but then I started to pick up some product photography jobs that required more DOF than I could get with any of my zooms, hence the PC85 T&S, which pushed my 28-70 back a bit.

    I am guessing that I will be in a position next spring/summer to pick up a D2X which has been my plan for sometime. As I said, the 14/n idea came up out of the blue, when it was used to take my picture last week, common sense has prevailed and thanks to all of your inputs, I am back on my original plan! I will just have to turn all the lights on when I focus! - Cheap solution eh?
  6. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    When I first read your post, I just had this feeling that you weren't aware of the 14n being discontinued. It seems like it wasn't really widely-spread news (I guess it's bad for business if you come out with this $5000 camera and less than a year later, you state that you're cutting off all your customers at the knees :Shocked: ).

    I agree it's a great camera (at least what I've read in reviews and what I get from the specs), but if there's going to be no support for it in the future, then it's just not smart to invest in...

    The life insurance thing was the rants of a tired mind :Swirl: ...but it seems to still be funny this morning... :wink:

    Check your private email for a message...

  7. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I just sold a Kodak SLR/N, the follow-on to the 14. The pictures are great but I found that the D2X was just as great and was faster, less difficult to process, etc so I sold it and kept the D2X.
  8. DeanTomasula

    DeanTomasula Guest

    I used the Kodak 14n in my studio under just such conditions. I used it as my main studio and on location camera. It was made for that purpose and was the perfect camera for a portrait photographer working in the studio.

    Before you buy one, find out how many shutter actuations is has on it. Also ask if the buffer has been upgraded to 512mb. If the sensor has been upgraded as well (as mine was) then it's officially a Kodak DCS Pro 14nx. It's also useful to get the Pocket Wizard upgrade for studio work.

    The sensor upgrade goes a long way to controlling the moire and fringing problems you've heard so much about. It didn't entirely eliminate them, but it certainly helped a lot.

    If you can get one with the full upgrade for $2,500 or less then it's a phenomenal deal.

    My camera had the full upgrade (buffer, sensor, Pocket Wizard inside) and I sold it a few months ago for $3,000. I bought a D2x.
  9. Don and Dean,
    Thanks for the input, I really appreaciate hearing your thoughts. I had found a couple of upgraded ones with claimed shutter releases of around 5000 in the $2800 range. The fact that Kodak will end support for this camera in 2008 leaves me somewhat less than excited.
    I think I shall sit on the sidelines for a few months and see what the price of the D2X does. I see that several of the smaller dealers have already moved down off the $4999 list price, so we may see a drop after the first of the year when all the holiday madness subsides! And by then I may have my camera fund account rebuilt!
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