Early DCS models - how many were made?

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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Early DCS models - how many were made?

Post by Webmaster » Wed May 25, 2005 8:32 am

Being a DSLR history forum, it would be nice to establish how many of these early cameras were made (DCS 100, DCS 200, and DCS 400-series in particular).

Asking Kodak about the Nikon F3-based DCS 100 I received this reply:

"Accurate total numbers are not available but it was certainly well below 2000 units."

Some less reliable (?) sources have suggested considerably smaller numbers, but there could be some confusion as there was first a very early prototype (?) simply named 'DCS', before being renamed and sold as the DCS 100.

Please post any information you may have. With enough small pieces we may be able to put together the big picture. Isn't this fun? :)

UPDATE - MARCH 2009: Kodak have released an interesting historical document, which includes production numbers for some of the early models. More info here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=373

Jarle
Last edited by Webmaster on Wed May 25, 2005 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian Sweeney
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Post by Brian Sweeney » Wed May 25, 2005 9:59 am

My guess is that there will be some odd special varients out there. Look at this Color Infrared DCS460:

http://www.ulst.ac.uk/faculty/science/crg/camera.htm

Kodak was open to the idea of special/limited runs of the CCD's. As I "recall" there were about 50 DCS200IR's produced. That was as per a telephone conversation with an engineer at Kodak. The Army's Night Vision lab in Virginia expressed an interest at about the same time that I did. Kodak made a special run of the CCD's with a clear glass cover plate.

Kodak used a "segmented" serial number, so it is hard to tell production numbers from serial number sequence alone. I doubt that over 9600 DCS200ir's were made, or even that many DCS200's.

BTW: It is "near impossible" to get the cover glass off of the CCD array without destroying the array. I had a spare array from a dead back and gave it a try. The Epoxy is stronger than the glass. If anyone knows how to do this, post a thread!

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Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed May 25, 2005 1:33 pm

Hi,

I know that the DCS 400 series were made in both color and monochrome as well as both visible light and infrared variants. The most common will be the VL Color, followed by the VL Mono, then the IR Color with the IR Mono bringing up the rear.

Kodak also made the 400 series using Canon EOS-1N bodies, with all the same variations. Heck, the circuitry is the same, just the body was changed to protect the innocent. :P

When the models were updated to the DCS 600 (Nikon) and DCS 500 (Canon) versions, the IR models were dropped. By this time, the sales of the VL Mono units were falling off, so they only offered VL Mono on the DCS 660, and there weren't many of those made, either.

Finally, by the time they got to the 700 series, they made something like 80 of the VL Mono units. They were sold for industrial uses, and I know of only one photographer that bought one. He recently had it on the Rob Galbraith site's For Sale forum for $8000. I bet he still has it, too. Not that $8k was a bad price for a unit that was originally $11k only a year or so ago.

Oh, there was one other variation in the DCS 400 line. The DCS 465. This was a medium format back for 'Blad bodies that used the same electronics as the DCS 460C. As far as I know Kodak only made this one in the VL Color variation. It was replaced by the Pro Back line.

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Re: Early DCS models - how many were made?

Post by Webmaster » Wed May 25, 2005 9:00 pm

I sent a mail to Kodak USA, asking nicely about DCS 100, 200 and 400-series production/sales figures.

First reply: 'Unfortunately we can not provide that information mainly because that information is now archived due to its age and discontinuance.'

My reply: 'Any chance some of your production or sales people can make a rough estimate?'

Second reply: 'Not the 100's or 200's no, but the 400 series, about 7000 cameras in the States. Can't vouch for overseas though. That's a fairly close estimate.'

UPDATE: Kodak confirms 7000 is the number of units *sold* in the US. Overseas sales are not included.

I have no idea how many such cameras were sold in Europe (and elsewhere outside the US), but I would guess a few thousand units - perhaps bringing total DCS 400 series sales up to 10.000-12.000 cameras?

Previous DCS 100 info from Kodak UK:

'Accurate total numbers are not available but it was certainly well below 2000 units.' (worldwide).

Well done, Kodak! I've said it before: Best support in the business.

Can anyone guess DCS 200 numbers? 4000? 6000?

Jarle
Last edited by Webmaster on Thu May 26, 2005 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian Sweeney
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Post by Brian Sweeney » Wed May 25, 2005 9:30 pm

I am guessing that a lot fewer DCS200's were made, about 1/10th that of the DCS4xx series. They were more expensive and had a shorter production run than the DCS400. AND if you count the ration of DCS200's to DCS4xx's sold on EBAy in a month, it is probably 1:10.

The DCS4xx was a much improved camera with removable storage and 12-bits per pixel. The removable battery pack on the DCS200 is nicer THESE days, six AA Nimh batteries and it is good to go.

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DCS 200

Post by Webmaster » Thu May 26, 2005 6:29 am

Brian Sweeney wrote:I am guessing that a lot fewer DCS200's were made, about 1/10th that of the DCS4xx series.
Assuming 12.000 DCS4xx units, that would mean only 1200 DCS200 cameras. Sounds a bit low, doesn't it? Especially considering 'well below 2000' DCS100's being sold. I would think they made considerably more DCS200 units?

Perhaps my 12.000 DCS4xx estimate is too low. Could it be that large orders (for government/military use, etc.) are not included in this figure? This is only speculation, of course. I really don't know.

Jarle

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Production numbers

Post by drummond93 » Thu May 26, 2005 3:18 pm

I'll chime in with my observations of Kodak DCS cameras, as seen either on EBay/ or through the Gov't supply system. I've watched for DCS-100 cameras since about 1999... and only seen about 5 or 6 show up on Ebay; only 2 in Gov't surplus auctions. On the web their are mentioned some DCS-100's being used at different universities, but only in 1 or 2 units.

Brian mentioned a 1:10 ration between DCS 200 and 4xx versions... and I'd go about the same between the DCS 100 and 200 versions...

I'd guess about 100-150 DCS 100's made for actual sale (maybe a few more in-house/ prototypes... I doubt more than 200 total) Brian mentioned that the IR versions of later CCD's were normally ordered in batches of 50... so maybe that defines the integral unit of production (ie, 50,100,150,200 units)- I'm guessing this relates to the # of silicon chips that can be cut off a wafer and processed into active functional CCD's

so, maybe 100-150 DCS 100's
500-1000 DCS 200's
7000 DCS 4xx (DCS 420 only, or all 4xx series)

Conjecture could prove to be wrong, of course.... but some relative numbers can be estimated just from the relative frequency that these show up on Ebay. If 10x more DSC 420's show up on Ebay than DCS 200's, thats a good ratio w/ correlation to indicate the relative #'s produced.

Nathan

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Overseas Sales

Post by drummond93 » Thu May 26, 2005 3:25 pm

Jarle,
Re the 420/460xx series

Is the 7,000 number JUST For the DCS 420/460, or does it include the Canon version DCS 1/3/5? and the NC2000e? These were all built with the same equivalent sensor and electronics package, just using 2 different camera bodies.

I'm not sure of overseas sales... but I doubt that the overseas market would equal 80% of US production, given the price point these early cameras sold at. I would be surpised if more than 1,000 were sold overseas- Outside of the UK, Germany, and Japan.... not sure how much of an actual buying market would have existed for this early digital technology ( I know lots of users would have LIKED to have bought the DCS cameras... but you could buy/shoot a LOT of film for the cost of a DCS 420 ($9,000) or $28,000 (the 460).

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Re: Overseas Sales

Post by Webmaster » Thu May 26, 2005 4:50 pm

drummond93 wrote:Is the 7,000 number JUST For the DCS 420/460, or does it include the Canon version DCS 1/3/5? and the NC2000e?
I forwarded your question to Kodak, and got this reply:

'Yes, that is all the numbers I could find and that's a guessitmate.
Just for the 400 series that I could find serial numbers on. There is no other information available. Sorry.'

I'm not completely sure what this means, but it sounds like 7000 is a figure based on DCS 400-series serial numbers sold in the US. I do not think it includes NC2000 and Canon versions.

I don't know much about the overseas market, but I do know that the local Nikon distributor sold quite a few digital Kodak cameras here in Norway. For a while, the Norwegian Nikon distributor (which also sold the digital Kodaks) sold more Canon cameras than Canon themselves :o

I also think there must have been a relatively large market in countries like the UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and possibly some other European countries. But you could be right. I guess even 1000 DSLR's would be considered much at the time. Perhaps a total of 8000-9000 DCS 400's, 800-900 DCS 200's and 80-100/150 DCS 100's then?

Jarle

Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu May 26, 2005 5:08 pm

Hi,

As I recall, the Canon-based DCS-EOS-1/3/5 variations of the DCS-460/420/410 came along well after the Nikon-based units were on the market. If this is so, then there will be far fewer of the Canon versions out there vs. the Nikon ones.

Having watched the Kodak DCS used market on eBay for several years, I note that there the Canon versions are fewer and further between than the Nikon ones, so this would support the idea that fewer of the Canon versions are out there.....

Stan
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Brian Sweeney
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Post by Brian Sweeney » Thu May 26, 2005 8:23 pm

The Serial Number on the DCS420 looks linear, ie 420-6125. The firmware date is stored in the image file headers, but not the manufacture date. If the camera has received a firmware upgrade, it will be hard to correlate the SN to manufacture date. Mine had the older 1997 date in it until I downloaded the latest firmware. On the DCS200 the Firmware date, serial number, and manufacture date is stored. The latter is not shown with the "info" section of the twain driver and I found it with a hex dump.

kelbley
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Original DCS

Post by kelbley » Fri May 27, 2005 3:44 am

I'm surprised to hear that anyone at Kodak would release volume information for cameras.
While I was there, this was strictly taboo...

On the "DCS 100", keep in mind that while it was "current' this was never sold as a "DCS 100"..
It was sold as the "DCS" ("Digital Camera System").
It was not tagged with the "100" until we annouced the "DCS 200"..

There were MANY models of the DCS 100..
Different buffers, Mono, Color, Transmission versions (with keyboard & modem)...
The mono cameras are still "in demand" for a few applications..
The sensor is/was crazy sensitive..

-Jay
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Jay Kelbley
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all kodak nikon models to date

Post by Guest » Fri May 27, 2005 8:59 am

Hi Jay
Wilfred was compliling a list of all DCS cameras - theres some prototypes and secret squirrel stuff that never hit the public market but this is pretty much every nikon based camera
phil




Model- Announced-List-Pixels-CFA-ISO-Body
IRIS 1989-Jan-01 -Nikon F3

Hawkeye II int.-1989-May-01-1024x1280-Mono-50-400-Nikon F3

Hawkeye II teth.-1989-Oct-01-$23,000-1024x1280 Mono-50-400 -Nikon F3

PPD prototype 1990-Sep-30 1024x1280 3G RGB-100-800-Nikon F3

DCS DC3 1991-May-28 $20,000-1024x1280 3G RGB-100-800-Nikon F3

DCS DC3/32 1991-May-28 $25,000-1024x1280 3G RGB-100-800-Nikon F3

DCS DC3/B 1991-May-28 1024x12803-G RGB-100-800-Nikon F3

DCS DM3 1991-May-28$20,000-1024x1280 Mono-200-1600-Nikon F3

DCS DM3/32 1991-May-28 $25,000-1024x1280 Mono 200-1600-Nikon F3

DCS DM3/B 1991-May-28 -1024x1280-Mono-200-1600 Nikon F3

DCS 200c-1992-Aug-06-$8,495-1012x1524 -Bay RGB-50-400-Nikon 8008s

DCS 200ci-1992-Aug-06-$9,995-1012x1524-Bay RGB-50-400-Nikon 8008s

DCS 200m-1992-Aug-06-1012x1524-Mono 100-800-Nikon 8008s

DCS 200mi-1992-Aug-06-1012x1524-Mono-100-800-Nikon 8008s

AP NC2000-1994-Feb-08-$17,950-1012x1268-Bay RGB-200-1600-Nikon N90s

AP NC2000e-1996-Apr-23-$14,750-1012x1268-Bay RGB-200-1600-Nikon N90s

DCS 410c-1994-Dec-01-1012x1524 Bay RGB-100 Nikon N90s

DCS 420c-1994-Aug-15-$11,000-1012x1524-Bay RGB-100-400-Nikon N90s

DCS 420ir-1994-Aug-15-$11,000-1012x1524-Mono-200-800-Nikon N90s

DCS 420m-1994-Aug-15-$11,000-1012x1524-Mono-200-800-Nikon N90s

DCS 460c-1994-Dec-01-2036x3060 Bay RGB 80 Nikon N90s

DCS 460m-1994-Dec-01 2036x3060 Mono 80 Nikon N90s

DCS 420 GPS-C-1994-Aug-15-1012x1524 Bay RGB 100-400-Nikon N90s

DCS 420 GPS-IR-1994-Aug-15-1012x1524 Mono 200-800-Nikon N90s

DCS 420 GPS-M-1994-Aug-15-1012x1524 Mono 200-800-Nikon N90s

DCS 420CIR-1994-Aug-15 1012x1524-Bay RGB-200-800-Nikon N90s

DCS 425c-1996-Jun-01-1012x1524 Bay RGB-100-400 Nikonos RS

DCS 425ir-1996-Jun-01-1012x1524 IR-200-800 Nikonos RS

DCS 435-1997-Feb-01-1012x1268 Bay RGB-200-1000-Nikonos RS

DCS 315c-1999-Jan-01 1008x1520 Bay RGB-100-400 Nikon Pronea

DCS 330-1999-Aug-02 1504x2008 Bay RGB 125-400-Nikon Pronea

DCS 620c-1999-Feb-01 1152x1728 Bay RGB 200-1600 Nikon F5

DCS 620X-2000-Aug-29-$10,495-1152x1728-Xena CMY 400-6400 Nikon F5

DCS 660c-1999-Oct-01 2008x3040 Bay RGB 80-200-Nikon F5

DCS 660m 1999-Dec-01 2008x3040 Mono 320-800-Nikon F5

SCS 2000c 2000-Sep-01 1152x1728 Xena CMY 400-6400 Nikon F5

DCS 720X 2001-Sep-15 $6,995 1152x1728 Xena CMY-400-6400 Nikon F5

DCS 760c 2001-Apr-01 $7,995 2008x3032 Bay RGB 80-400 Nikon F5

DCS Pro 14n 2002-Sep-24 3000x4500 Bay RGB 6-800 Nikon N80

DCS Pro 14n 512-2002-Oct-02 3000x4500 Bay RGB 6-800 Nikon N80

DCS Pro 14nx 2004-Feb-01 3000x4500 Bay RGB 6-1600 Nikon N80

DCS Pro SLR/n 2004-Feb-12 3000x4500 Bay RGB 6-1600 Nikon N80

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Re: all kodak nikon models to date

Post by Webmaster » Fri May 27, 2005 10:46 am

DCS 425c-1996-Jun-01-1012x1524 Bay RGB-100-400 Nikonos RS
DCS 425ir-1996-Jun-01-1012x1524 IR-200-800 Nikonos RS
DCS 435-1997-Feb-01-1012x1268 Bay RGB-200-1000-Nikonos RS
Digital Nikonos! This was completely unknown to me! I don't think it was ever sold publically, was it? Any more details, or even better, a photo?
SCS 2000c 2000-Sep-01 1152x1728 Xena CMY 400-6400 Nikon F5
SCS2000c (typo?) What's this? Again, an unknown model?

This is exciting stuff! Thanks for sharing!

Jarle

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Re: Original DCS

Post by Webmaster » Fri May 27, 2005 10:55 am

kelbley wrote:On the "DCS 100", keep in mind that while it was "current' this was never sold as a "DCS 100"..
It was sold as the "DCS" ("Digital Camera System").
It was not tagged with the "100" until we annouced the "DCS 200"..
Hi Jay,

Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the clarification on the 'DCS' vs. 'DCS 100' issue. Many people (myself included) believed that these were two different variants of the F3 based DCS camera. One common explanation was that the 'DCS' was an early prototype model. I guess that's one myth busted.

Thanks,
Jarle

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