Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

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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Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Webmaster » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:45 pm

Jim McGarvey, Kodak's lead engineer on the DCS cameras, has written "The DCS Story - 17 years of Kodak Professional digital camera systems - 1987-2004".

This document (dated June 2004) includes exciting new information that has not been published before (as far as I know). A must read! And just for the record: "This document has been cleared by Kodak for public distribution, so it's fine if you post it on NikonWeb.com".

DOWNLOAD

http://www.nikonweb.com/files/DCS_Story.pdf (3.9 MB PDF)

PRODUCTION NUMBERS

DCS 100: A total of 987 DCS units were sold from 1991 to 1994.
DCS 200: 3,240 cameras were sold from 1992 to 1994.
AP NC 2000: 550 cameras were produced for the Associated Press.
DCS 4XX: Over 5000 cameras were produced.
EOS-DCS: Over 1000 cameras were produced.
DCS 465: About 200 units were produced.

Jim: "I don't have the numbers for the later models."

Thank you, Jim!

UPDATE: Make sure to visit Jim's own site at http://eocamera.jemcgarvey.com

Jarle
Last edited by Webmaster on Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added URL to eocamera.jemcgarvey.com

spreefurt
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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by spreefurt » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:16 pm

Very interesting are the details about the DCS 100 variations and prototypes. But there are also new informations about unknown newer models. The DCS 660 and 760 have IR versions, there were monochrome versions of the 14 MP Kodaks, and there is a DCS 354c.

But the most interesting is the D-5000. It is not said, from which manufacturer the technical basis was, but it had the Pentax K mount. Perhaps an adapted Cosina model?

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Anssi Krooks » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:14 am

The CIR-version of the 400-series was something very unique, as it was build to reproduce output of the classic Kodak Ektachrome IR false color film. This isn't so easy with digital sensors as the color filter array must be such that IR-channel isn't polluted by red color and wise versa. False color IR was originally used in WW2 to detect camouflage netting from living vegetation as nettings from these days didn't reflect IR as much as real plants. Later it was implied to civilian use to help classification of vegetation. There are lot's of image indexes that are usually calculated from red and NIR -channels from the image as healthy vegetation reflects lots of IR but not so much red.

Monochrome version of the 14n-family sensor would be something! It would solve the to biggest weaknesses of this sensor - color moire and color noise. 14 megapixel monosensor without aa-filter would produce very sharp images without so much jaggies.

It's also notable that the DCS 354c seems to be "test mule" for the original Olympus E-system sensor (same mpix, same size, same pixel pitch).
D1X, DCS PRO SLR/n, DCS 760, DCS 420c & Canon Pro70

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by spreefurt » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:02 am

Anssi Krooks wrote: Monochrome version of the 14n-family sensor would be something! It would solve the to biggest weaknesses of this sensor - color moire and color noise. 14 megapixel monosensor without aa-filter would produce very sharp images without so much jaggies.
And it should exist! But was it ever sold regularly?
Anssi Krooks wrote:It's also notable that the DCS 354c seems to be "test mule" for the original Olympus E-system sensor (same mpix, same size, same pixel pitch).
It is not mentioned in the text. Was it ever sold?

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Anssi Krooks » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:03 pm

spreefurt wrote:
Anssi Krooks wrote: Monochrome version of the 14n-family sensor would be something! It would solve the to biggest weaknesses of this sensor - color moire and color noise. 14 megapixel monosensor without aa-filter would produce very sharp images without so much jaggies.
And it should exist! But was it ever sold regularly?
Anssi Krooks wrote:It's also notable that the DCS 354c seems to be "test mule" for the original Olympus E-system sensor (same mpix, same size, same pixel pitch).
It is not mentioned in the text. Was it ever sold?
At the end of the document there is a complete list of all cameras and it's noted that these were not sold, but obviously they existed at least in prototype level.
D1X, DCS PRO SLR/n, DCS 760, DCS 420c & Canon Pro70

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Webmaster » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:46 pm

I've asked Jim McGarvey about some of the things discussed in this thread and elsewhere. Here's the Q and A:

Q: Regarding the 4xx series, you wrote: "Over 5000 cameras were produced".

In a previous email from Kodak support, I was told that the number of 400-series cameras sold was "about 7000 cameras in the States. Can't vouch for overseas though. That's a fairly close estimate."

Apparently, the 7000 figure was based on serial numbers.


A: I only have sales quantities through 1996. There were some sales of 4XX in 1997, but they had declined a lot, so 7000 is possible, but seems unlikely to me. And I'm pretty sure my numbers are worldwide, so 7000 in the US is even more unlikely.

Q: Do you know why the first protoypes (Electro-Optic Camera and Tactical Camera) were based on a Canon F1 body, when other models from the same period (Hawkeye, Iris and later DCS) used a Nikon F3 body? If I remember correctly, both brands had approx. the same market share at the time - maybe with a slight edge to Nikon. Technical or business decision?

A: The government customer for the EO camera wanted a Canon body for compatibility with their users lenses. The tactical camera was a quick respin of the same design, so we didn't change bodies. I think we switched to the Nikon for the Hawkeye cameras because it was more widely used in the military. And the first DCS used the Nikon because it was much more popular with PJs than Canon - except in Europe, I think. There were no significant technical reasons to prefer one over the other.

Q: The D-5000: A forum member commented: "It is not said, from which manufacturer the technical basis was, but it had the Pentax K mount. Perhaps an adapted Cosina model?" Any more details on this one?

A: I didn't work on the D5000, and I don't have much more info at hand on it. If they started with a stock body, it was heavily modified.

Q: The monochrome Pro 14n: Was the monochrome version marketed and sold through normal channels, or by special order only?

A: The sales lit that I have does not mention the monochrome 14n. I have no idea how many we might have sold or the channels.

Q: DCS 720x vs. SCS 2000: Do you have a list of differences/modifications?

A: I don't have any details on the SCS2000 mods. I remember changes to seal buttons or other openings against moisture.

Q: Possible mistake in your list: DCS 720x announced Sep 15, 2001, but according to dpreview it was announced on June 4, 2001: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0106/01060 ... cs720x.asp

A: June is probably correct. My date is from Kodak's Developer Relations Group newsletter, which would certainly be some time after the product launch.

--
Jarle

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by spreefurt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:32 pm

Anssi Krooks wrote: At the end of the document there is a complete list of all cameras and it's noted that these were not sold, but obviously they existed at least in prototype level.
Thank you. Initially I did not see, that there a two tables. in Some cases the tables correct mistakes in the text, e. g. the DCS 520X (also unknown until now!) has in the table the XENA sensor, this shoukld be correct.
Webmaster wrote:I've asked Jim McGarvey about some of the things discussed in this thread and elsewhere. Here's the Q and A: [...]

Q: The D-5000: A forum member commented: "It is not said, from which manufacturer the technical basis was, but it had the Pentax K mount. Perhaps an adapted Cosina model?" Any more details on this one?

A: I didn't work on the D5000, and I don't have much more info at hand on it. If they started with a stock body, it was heavily modified.
Thank you for questions and answers. The D-5000 is the most interesting of the "new" old cameras. My first thought of Cosina as possible manufacturer is nonsense. Cosina never built AF-SLRs. I am not sure, if the "TTL-flash" means a built-in flash. This was not common in 1989, and would be a hint to Pentax. I cannot see a built-in flash on the photo. The "M, Av, Program" is a hint to Chinon. The CP9-AF had only these options and no shutter priority. Is anything known about cooperations between Kodak and Chinon?

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Webmaster » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:04 pm

spreefurt wrote:Is anything known about cooperations between Kodak and Chinon?
New York Times, January 25, 1997: EASTMAN KODAK TO BUY MAJORITY STAKE IN CHINON

The Eastman Kodak Company said yesterday that it had agreed to buy a majority stake in Chinon Industries, a maker of digital cameras, for 1.9 billion yen ($15 million). Kodak, which makes photographic and imaging products, already owns 12.2 percent of Chinon and will buy 9.91 million more shares, giving it a 50.1 percent stake. The two companies have jointly developed and produced several Kodak digital cameras, and Chinon, which is based in Japan, produces Kodak's IL-500 scanner.

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/25/busin ... sec=&spon=

dpreview, January 22, 2004: Kodak cuts 15,000 jobs & buys Chinon

"Our highly successful collaboration with Chinon began nearly 10 years ago and has evolved over time in response to the growing market for digital products," said Yusuke Kojima, General Manager, Worldwide Digital Camera and System Development, Digital & Film Imaging Systems, and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company."

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0401/04012 ... losses.asp

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Monochrome SLR/n on eBay

Post by Webmaster » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:25 pm

From the Kodak SLR forum on dpreview: "I saw a monochrome SLR/n on eBay a few years ago when I first started looking for one. I think one of the major sellers of used cameras (?Cametas) was involved in the sale - it was a long time and I have not seen one since."

Jarle

spreefurt
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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by spreefurt » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:20 pm

Thank you for the clarification about the cooperation between Kodak and Chinon. I only knew, that Chinon "disappeared" many years ago.

Perhaps there was already 1989 a cooperation?

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi,

Wow! This is all *way* too cool!

I recall that Hawkeye II, the all-in-one version that looked a lot like my old F2H film camera with a 36-shot back on it - although it was an F3 digital.

The Kodak guys from Rochester visited us IBM guys in Poughkeepsie back in the late 1980's. They were hawking (pun intended, sorry) an industrial digital vision system for use on production lines. They brought one of those Hawkeye-II cameras with a 35mm lens on it and let us all play around with shooting whatever we wanted to in the conference room.

That was a real hoot! A few years later I saw one of the then brand-new DCS 100 units at Watkin's Glen being carried by a wire-service shooter. I remarked to myself at how much lunkier the commercial units were compared to what I had presumed was a prototype which the Kodak guys had shown us.

Until right now, I never knew that the fancy F3 digital camera I had played with was actually a production unit.

-Edit -

Oops! I see where I mis-read the production quantity there. Five units built. Not Five Hundred - as I mis-read it. So, that really does mean it *was* a prototype as I thought all along!

-End Edit-

BTW, all of this explains why, in 1999, I went out and bought both a Nikon E2 and, when that wasn't quite what I had in mind, a Kodak DCS 460. That few minutes playing with that Hawkeye-II had convinced me that I *really* wanted to switch from shooting film to shooting pixels. ;)

Actually, in 1999, I *wanted* one of those shiny, new, Kodak DCS 660's. But, at $25k for a new 660 I opted for spending $3k on a used 460!

Now, of course, I have a 560, a 760 and a 720x. :)

I must thank the author and Kodak for (a) writing this up and (b) letting it be posted here where we just love these early digital SLRs. :)

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:07 pm

Hi,

There are all sorts of cool info buried in this document. One that woke me up was there was a stillborn 520x. Another was that the 520 and 620 used the same internal cards.

So, the now-unemployed electronics developer here has a wild-hare thought: Buy both a 520 and a 620x off of eBay and make myself a 520x companion to my 560.....

Even if it doesn't work out, I'd have spare camera bodies for my 560 and 760/720x units....

The really weird part of the whole scheme is that I pretty much only use my Canon body once in a great while. I sold off all my Canon glass a while back, so all I have is a couple Leica and Zeiss lenses I use on the Canon mount with adapters. What in heck I'd actually *use* a 520x for is beyond me.

But, it'd be cool to make one! :P :P :P

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by Brian Sweeney » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:26 pm

With all of the prototypes listed, I'm surprised not to see my DCS200ir in the line-up. Kodak madea small run of them, and even placed them on GSA schedule. The model number on the SN plate is DCS200ir. Cost was $12,400. That is a number that I remember well! Much cheaper than having a custom CCD built. Which we used to do, and still do.

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Re: Exciting historical info from Kodak - incl. prod. numbers!

Post by nikonnl » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:48 pm

Happy 2015!

Can someone out there tell me the production totals of the Kodak 620 series? I miss them in the list above. My 620C has 1948, which was an excellent year BTW :lol: (just one negative event: our late Queen Wilhelmina announced her abdication when she heard that I was born :wink: ).

Thanks,

Nico

www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

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