some dcs experience

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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Wolfi
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Location: german living in south France

some dcs experience

Post by Wolfi » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:19 pm

hi all.

i just answered to a private message concerning dcs collecting.

i thought that i may share my observations with you, i am always happy to learn about these cameras.

i started with a 200ci :) i was amazed at the time by the digital possibilities and the nikon glass compatibility. when I tried to install a dcs410 firmware it died :(

the small chip has advantages.

it is ok for micro, macro and telephotography where you only need the image center.

i have several dcs cameras which i love as a collector. each has a special purpose.

i have: dead dcs 200ci, dcs 420m, dcs 420ir, dcs 200e AP, dcs 460c, dcs 460m, dcs 465 back sinar, dead dcs 315, dcs 330, dcs 620x, dcs 720x, dcs 760c.

i have just taken out the m and ir models :) really great and ultra sharp. i'll be playing around in the next days.

there's a big issue with dcs and batteries.

the elder dcs 4xx use 8 battery packs with 4/5 AA batteries, the same as used in the dcs 6 and 7 series which uses 6 batteries soldered together.

you can use the electronics of a dead battery of which mostly only one or 2 elements are dead and built a longer battery with normal aa batteries.

but you have to leave the door open or take it off, easy on the 6 and 7 series.

in the dcs 4xx series the aa batteries are too long. so I plan to mold a bottom of a dcs camera with resin and leave a hole on the right side in order to insert a battery built with the longer aa cells.

as long as your original dcs 4xx holds some little charge you can also try an external lead battery, but it must have 15v, I'm figuring out how to build one. the problem seems that if the original battery is full flat it seems not to work with a 12v battery.

i have a quantum battery 5 which should work with the 4xx, but the 3 panasonic lead batteries LCS-214P are obsolete and i can't find any replacement.

yes, the dcs cameras need a lot of power. the 4xx series have the fastest autofocus which i have ever seen, but they need to be full powered.

best is the adapter. but be cautious. old batteries can get very hot.

when charged for a few minutes you can mostly take some good shots with old batteries ;)

horizontal stripes on pics are an indication of low batteries.

for the 4xx series you can use ibm microdrives up to 340mb, flash cards may or may not work.

i have set up a macintosh laptop lombard computer for the use with 4xx series. you can shoot and test shoot from the computer via an scsi cable. really great.

good results with photoshop 3 and 6. very fast.

you can do this and much more with a newer computer and the 7 series. but for the 4xx you only have scsi, while the 6, 7xx and 3xx have firewire.

so you have to use a pcmcia adapter.

some of the elder dcs files open on some photoshop 3,6, seven or cs.

the 3xx, 6xx and 7xx files seem to come out much better when opened with the original kodak dcs desktop manager than in photoshop, and much easier.

camera manager replaces the photoshop import module and gives much more raw controls.

but it seems that desktop manager is far easier.

i'll upload some pics of dcs cameras in the next days

best regards

wolfi

p.s. i have just started some ir photography. the dcs 420ir is amazingly fast without filter and with #25 filter it is 5 stops faster.

the dcs 420 ir is given for 200iso.

without filter you have to set outside around -3. with red filter around -5 IL.

photoshop 6 gives monochrome pics. photoshop cs gives colour ir pics which you can manage in camera raw.

a 55mm micro nikkor is unsharp in ir, as well as the 28mm 2.8 nikkor. very good results with manual 1,8 50mm nikkor which has a red dot.

Ashley_Pomeroy
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Re: some dcs experience

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:56 pm

You do have a stash.

I actually bought a new DCS 420 battery to put into my DCS 460 - the previous owner had modified it to have an external battery pack held to the front of the camera. The new battery hold enough charge to fill up a 1gb PCMCIA card with charge left over, which makes the camera portable again. It cost about £25 but frustratingly I can't remember where I bought it. It came in a plain cardboard box and was an OEM part.

(looks) It was this:
http://www.camerapower.co.uk/gb4/m/kodak/dcs-420.html

£36. They offer the same part for the NC2000e. Installing it was fairly easy although it wobbles slightly when I move the camera. I surmise that the original had a rubber sheath that held it in place which has since gone missing.

I've tried interfacing the DCS 460 with a Powerbook 3400 using both SCSI (which worked) and the PCMCIA card reader (which also worked). In my experience the files were noisy when acquired with with Kodak Acquire module and Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE. I imagine that people in the past would have used further noise reduction with e.g. Quantum Mechanic. Using a more modern version of Photoshop on my PC the files look much better, although the blue channel is still very blotchy. There's an option in the Acquire module to apply noise reduction to the Canon D2000 files I have, with indifferent results, but sadly it is not available for the SCSI-equipped cameras. The "product" and "portrait" settings are interesting (years ahead of Canon's "picture styles") although the differences are subtle.

For a lark here are two shots, 100% crops of a much larger image. On the left is the image processed with Kodak's Acquire module and loaded into Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE on a Powerbook 3400, and on the right is the same raw file loaded with a more modern version of Adobe Camera Raw with the noise reduction and sharpening sliders all the way down:

Image

That's a bridge on a large river I spotted in London. It was photographed with a DCS 460 using a Sigma Mini-Wide 28mm and a hot mirror filter. No matter how I fiddle with the colour, it looks wrong, either too red or too pale. The detail is very impressive looking at it on the screen, but the DCS 460's colour is frustratingly odd, e.g. this montage, which just looks a bit... off:

Image

It's an interesting case where a camera's strength - its high resolution - is largely irrelevant in a blogging field, where images tend to be sized right down; at lower resolution people only see the odd colour.

I have found that with the power adapter plugged into the camera, with it running off the mains, it will access and correctly estimate the remaining space and write to a 2gb CompactFlash card mounted in a PCMCIA card adapter. I cannot tell if it will e.g. write the first few dozen images and then freeze. With the camera disconnected from the mains I get an E7 error and have to use a PCMCIA card, a 1gb model which holds 160 images (the most I have shot in a sequence is 103).

Of note I've since given in and bought a Nikon SB-24, which seems to work well in TTL mode but only if I use minus one and a half stops of exposure compensation. And it's a very good manual flash unit on my Canon SLR and indeed screwed into a remote flash sensor and set off with an infrared trigger.

30Cal
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Re: some dcs experience

Post by 30Cal » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:35 pm

I was starting to have all sorts of card issues. The camera would give me errors on some and the XP machine couldn't see image files on any of them. I had to use a recovery program to get my images. I was also seeing a horizontal bar at the top of the photo. The battery was also taking only 5 min to charge.

So I got a new battery. The horizontal bars went away. I also found that the camera is now happy with any CF card that I first format onboard my Nikon D1x. The computer sees and D/L's images perfectly too (although it doesn't see the images if I format using my XP machine and card reader).

I'm using the Kodak converter that plugs into photoshop (elements in my case) to read the .tiffs. I'm so happy now. Although it's quirky as heck as far as colors (and odd flares off the hot mirror), the DCS420c is back in action. A lot of the color issues, at least when the hot mirror is in action, can be more or less straightened out by tweaking the white balance.

Image

Sometimes the weird colors are really cool though. I see a lot of photographers trying to duplicate my DCS420 "look" in photoshop.

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Re: some dcs experience

Post by Webmaster » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:45 am

30Cal wrote:I also found that the camera is now happy with any CF card that I first format onboard my Nikon D1x.
That's an interesting trick. I'll keep this in mind - thanks.

Jarle

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