New with a DCS 420 C

Discuss older Nikon-based Kodak digital SLRs, including DCS 100, DCS 200, NC2000, DCS 400/600/700-series, etc. Ask questions, post general comments, anecdotes, reviews and user tips.
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New with a DCS 420 C

Post by Camnut » Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:14 am

Hi, yesterday i won at ebay a DCS 420 C This will be my first sub digital camera an the oldest of my modest collection (and my first kodak/nikon DSLR) I am inteligent with computers, but When DCS came out i was going to School :lol: I tried to learn something about SCSI But i cannot contact with Swartzenneger (imposible attach The Terminator to the SCSI port) :lol: :lol: :lol:

Sorry... Speacking seriously. I don't understand a pint about SCSI, but i read about Geting the camera disk and sliding it to a laptop and then got the RAW files... But my Cardbus enabled laptop don't got CDRom, this means, i cannot install the drivers by kodak... Also lack USB, this implied i only can get images (well, raw files) with the floppy...

The first question:

The Kodak driver can make a valid image from the data coming in a floppy?

I also read about people using PCMCIA solid memorys instead of the bulky disk, A 110 MB cisco card can work? Remember i cannot upgrade Firmware...

I got my new laptop with cd burner and USB but don't support Cardbus (only got one small pcmcia slot) With this and with a PCMCIA memory i can dump all images, see it or transfer via CDR or USB.

I got understod i cannot format a card from the camera without SCSI. How i can do it witha Windows PC? I need to be aware with some config file for the camera to be saved? Same formatting rules with the 105 MB disk and small (less 128 MB) Flash cards?

Sorry for the insane amount of questions, but i don't want to convert my new DCS in a paper weight...

Greetings. [/img]

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Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:26 pm


I will be presuming here that the 420 is just like my old 460, except for the imager (the 420 is 1.5 MP and the 460 is 6 MP).

The SCSI port on the camera has a built-in terminator. If you use SCSI ID 6, that is. There are two settings for ID 6, one using the built-in terminator, and the other not using it. All the other SCSI ID's do not use the terminator. This is to let you have other things on the SCSI chain besides the camera if you wish.

You only use a terminator on each end of the SCSI chain. The controller card in the PC is always considered to be in the middle of the chain. Your internal devices (hard drives, etc) would be on one end of the chain and external devices (in this case, cameras) would be on the external end. The very last device on the end of the cable gets terminated. All others must be unterminated.

So, since the terminator goes on very end of the cable, if you only have one cable (say, just an external in the case of a camera), then one terminator goes on the card. The other goes at the end of the wire, in this case, the camera. Easy. ;)

When I use SCSI with these old cameras, I use a notebook computer. In this case, there is a terminator in the PCMCIA SCSI card. Always. There are no internal SCSI deivces in a notebook, so the card is always at one end of the wire. This simplifes things nicely. I use SCSI ID 6 on the camera, using the internal terminator in the camera, and it works. Every time. Easy. ;)

I mention all this, because there is no way to use anything other than SCSI to talk to these old Kodak units. No USB. No Firewire. Just SCSI or forget it. You will have to understand SCSI or give it up.

You do have the option to use the camera standalone, of course. That's what I'd do these days, if I still had a 400 series unit, that is.

You can either use older PCMCIA flash memory cards, or hard disks. You can use modern Compact Flash ccards in a PCMCIA adapter. The max size is 512 MB.

Don't bother to buy any of the fast CF cards, as the camera won't make use of the extra speed. Use the standard, cheaper, ones. You can then use any CF reader that you'd like, which come in all forms of hook-ups (USB, etc). This is the way to go, I think.

You can't use the later Kodak Photo Desk processing software. It won't work on the 400 series files, only 500 series and up. You have to use Photoshop. Older versions need a Plug In to know about the raw file, but the CS1 and CS2 variants have support in their built-in raw converter for the older Kodak files. :)

So, I'd just shoot to a CF card in a PCMCIA adapter, then read with whatever CF reader you have, and process in PS CS and not bother with the whole SCSI hook up myself. ;)

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Welcome aboard

Post by Webmaster » Sat Nov 19, 2005 12:05 pm

Hi there and welcome to the vintage dslr forum!

You don't really need to mess with the SCSI interface. You can simply insert a memory card, shoot and transfer the images using an external card reader (or PCMCIA slot if you have a laptop computer).

Good luck and have fun!



Post by Camnut » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:52 pm

Yes, but i know the oldest firmware Versions don't work with CF cards and adaptors, and you need SCSI to update Firmware.

I suposse your mean about 'memory card' may refer to a solid state ATA PCMCIA card?

This can simplify the fight with the camera...


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Firmware already upgraded?

Post by Webmaster » Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:17 pm

Camnut wrote:I suposse your mean about 'memory card' may refer to a solid state ATA PCMCIA card?
Yes. Also, are you sure that your camera hasn't already been upgraded?

If you haven't done so, I suggest that you first try to insert a CF card in a regular PCMCIA adapter and see if that works. First try with an older, smaller card (e.g. 64 or 128 MB) if you have one.

Good luck.


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Post by Wolfi » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:51 am


I have three series 4 cameras, 420c, 420m and 460c.

Only the 460 works for the moment.

I think that most has been said.

One problem may be formatting a card. Try to insert any CF or other memory card with a pcmcia adapter. The screen on the back should show a certain number and a sort of oval wheel indicating the number of photographs left to shoot.

If this is the case you are ready to shoot. Have fun.

If there's something like blinking "E2" and flickering red light there will be some problems.

You can try cards which are formatted for other cameras (Fuji S1pro worked for me as well as minolta A1).

Otherwise you will have to find a card which is formatted for the 4 series. Personnally I use other 3 and 7 series cameras which format cards. Mostly it will be possible. Otherwise you should install an scsi card in your computer (I'm waiting to install one next week), load the last firmware from Kodak and format.

Your camera will accept pcmcia 1024 Mb cards like viper or callunacards. As well as compact flash and all sorts of cards with an adapter. It has been said, you can buy older compact flash type I cards which work fine.

I use the 460c camera files on my laptop computer, and they open with photoshop CS, no problems. I also find that the files look great and Adobe camera raw is just fine to control exposure and colour settings.

The 420 has a small CCD which uses the center part of your lenses. This means that it uses the best part of the lens. Due to the small size of the CCD you have a focal prolongating factor of 2,5, that means that a 50mm lens will become a 125mm.

The files will be 1,5Mb due tu the CCD. I am often shooting macro where I mostly use the center part of the image. The 420 should work great for macros. There will be difficulties if you want a wide angle, this camera is not made for.

As to resolution, I have a DCS 460c which has a much larger CCD and only a 1,3 factor. I believe that the number of pixels per mm is the same as on the 420 (somebody has some input?).

Keep us posted, great camera, fast autofocus, exact exposure (from what I have seen and used)


Post by Camnut » Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:44 pm

Hi! My camera arrived today :lol: inmediately i plugged the AC adapter i bought for a pesky 15$ :shock: loaded the battery (this one lasts a lot :shock: ) and kicked the first three frames (two dark and out of focus and one dark, grainy and with a interference in the bottom) This implies i been capable of read the card (read in my trusty laptop, zip the tif files and copy those files in a floppy, read the floppy in my good computer and see them tru PS elements 2.0.

After that deceiving pics i recalled my Helios USSR optic don't do autofocus, i configured the shoot in manual and taked a nice couple of pics now i going to get a pcmcia ram card and a 28mm nikkor.

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