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Old Nov 12, 2007, 10:41 PM   #1
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Kodak makes very nice cameras. Currently their 12mp line of digicams are the only which will capture 30fps 720p video. This is going to put Kodak in the hands of consumers who need both features but will be disappointed once they notice the image quality. Kodak cameras also have a number of other nice features while remaining affordable and fitting in your pocket.
Sadly Kodak chooses even to this day to lock the photo quality settings out from their consumer line of cameras. Surprisingly they offer standard quality and high quality settings in their HD video.. yet Kodak is not a video camera company.
Their focus is on still cameras of which they choose to not allow the consumer to choose what quality they would like to save their picture at - be it high quality JPEG, RAW or low quality JPEG. Also their noise reduction causes most detail to be blurred out in many photos. Newspaper print is unreadable, pine needles and grass are blurred into one big blob if not enough contrast exists etc.
I know a number of people who would like to buy Kodak if they would allow for greater control over the compression/image quality.
Please sign the petition at
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/kodakpht/petition.html
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 6:55 AM   #2
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I had to chuckle. :-)

I've seen this kind of thing complained about for years. For a second, I thought maybe someone had "bumped" a very old post. ;-)

I even saw a firmware hack for one Kodak model a couple of years back to try and change the compression amount being used.

Kodak did start making some models a while back that give users more control over jpeg compression. But, I haven't kept up with the ones that do, and the ones that don't. Glancing through some of the older reviews here, it looks like selectable JPEG quality is more common on the advanced models (for example, some of their Z series cameras).


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Old Nov 13, 2007, 7:04 AM   #3
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JimC wrote:
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the ones that do, and the ones that don't.
I have 3 levels of compression, and 3 levels of sharpness, on my Z712is. That'll do for me. Only jpg is on offer, but that's what I expected. I'm happy enough, compared with everything I've had before.


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Old Nov 13, 2007, 8:00 AM   #4
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I saw a *huge* number of complaints about no user control over jpeg compression a few years back with Kodak Digital Cameras, with frequent threads like this one in various forums (calling for firmware fixes, etc.). I even saw a hacker publish hacked firmware for one Kodak model that changed the amount of compression being applied. A number of their cameras had a very bad reputation for the jpeg compression amount being used resulting in loss of detail and compression artifacts.

It appears that they used some very interesting image analysis to decide how much compression to apply, and more often than not, they got it wrong if you wanted the highest image quality.

That's why when I first saw the subject, I suspected someone had just bumped an older thread until I opened the post. lol

Kodak probably added jpeg quality settings back into their higher end models (like your Z712) as a result of that feedback. But, it looks like user control over compression is still missing in a number of their lower end models.


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Old Nov 13, 2007, 3:10 PM   #5
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Wow, I wasn't aware of the previous posts. I'm surprised Kodak side-steps anyone's requests for more control. It is in fact in the firmware - browsing through the .fw file I was able to see raw capabilities and other compression level settings. They are just turned off. I don't understand why they turned on the ability to adjust video compression quality but not photo. I am quite happy with the features they have given, I just don't understand why they limit the others.

The levels of sharpness seems to only apply sharpening filters to the image. I did try that to see if it would result in a less compressed or noise filtered image. What I found was the effects of a standard sharpening filter applied to the image.

I did talk to a couple other people interested in attempting another firmware hack that Jim mentioned. It seems dangerous though as it could wipe out a brand new cam.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 3:14 PM   #6
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It bugs me to high heaven when companies lock out useful, flexible features that can easily be enabled with a flip of a couple of bits in firmware.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 10:51 PM   #7
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If this is an intentional trick to differentiate the low-end "consumer" DC from the "pro" DC

I think the Kodak marketing decision makers, are just stupid, driving the customers away.


As a long time Kodak user, from 1999 DC280 .... to the current Z1275

I may conclude that all Kodak JPEG are intentionally OVER-COMPRESSED to take away the details.

Can't imagine a 12MP image can be saved in a 1MB file ?!?!?!

What's the point of squeezing everything, when today a 4GB card costs less than US$50???

WAKE UP, Kodak !!!


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Old Nov 13, 2007, 11:55 PM   #8
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Just be sure to sign the petition. Every signature counts on this one.

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/kodakpht/petition.html
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 12:41 AM   #9
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Locking out features to differentiate low end & high end cameras is lazy engineering. Innovative companies are supposed to R&D on new features, put them in the latest high-end product, then incorporate it into lower end later on, while the high end should keep getting more new features. It looks like Kodak is stagnating and using gimmicks like this to differentiate product lines. Luckily there are other companies willing to pick up the slack.
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 6:47 AM   #10
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Guys, I've seen no evidence that the lower end models have user adjustable jpeg compression features that are already in the firmware and can be enabled by flipping a bit or two.

No offense to bfrasure, but I'd be skeptical of anyone's claim that they found features by "browsing" through firmware. ;-)

The only hack that I'm aware of for any Kodak model was a more complex hack compared to that (where the existing algorithm for jpeg compression was modified by changing quantization tables, versus simply enabling a feature already present in firmware). Unless someone has a very good background in development and assembler, reverse engineering firmware is not as easy as it looks.

Now, it could be that there are features in the firmware that are not enabled. There are a number of reasons you can have that kind of thing. They may not work correctly yet and have unresolved issues for one thing, or they could be reusing code from another model and not enabled code that is incompatible with specific hardware in the image processing pipeline.

Could they change existing firmware to allow for lower compression levels? Probably. But, it could also be that the algorithm for some models is embedded in an ASIC that is not changeable via firmware. So, I would not jump to any conclusions that it's as simple as flipping a bit or two.

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