Looking for a current value for the Kodak DCS-100 System

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.
Dan
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Looking for a current value for the Kodak DCS-100 System

Post by Dan » Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:19 am

Does anyone have and idea of a current value for the Kodak DCS-100 Digital Camera System? Thanks for the help!

Dan

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Re: Looking for a current value for the Kodak DCS-100 System

Post by Webmaster » Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:24 pm

Hi Dan and welcome aboard!

Great question. Unfortunately, there's no definite answer.

Obviously, it depends on the equipment. Is it a complete kit? Is everything working properly? Is it in mint condition or badly beat up?

A common answer is that any given item is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. If you think about it, the same is true for most things in life.

Most people will still consider these early digital cameras as useless (and worthless) junk. Generally speaking, they are not yet considered valuable collector's items.

In the case of the original DCS (later known as DCS 100), many people will buy these simply to get a nice-looking Nikon F3. Few people are interested in the DCS stuff.

These days, a nice F3 will sell for around $300 on eBay. A Kodak Digital Storage Unit was recently sold for just below $80. Another DSU has been listed twice for $200, without attracting any bidders.

So what's a complete, fully-functional and nice-looking DCS kit worth? Anywhere between $500 and $1000, in my opinion. Someone else might say $50 or $2000. It all depends.

Jarle

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Value of DCS 100

Post by drummond93 » Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:13 pm

Dan,
Do you have one to sell? :-) or are you looking for one? Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!

I'm one of the people that's bought a DCS-100 unit piecemeal... not as a single kit. The camera ran me a little under $500 (Nikon F-3 w/ DCS 100 back- the F-3 probably accounted for 95% of the cost! :-( and the DSU about $80 (I'm the buyer Jarle mentioned)

If you have a complete, intact kit w/ the F-3, DCS-100 back, DSU unit, keyboard, manuals, cables, etc.... then I'd say you'd get be in excellent shape if you got $800 or so for it. Ebay has been the only real market that I've seen for them.... unless you know of a private sale. Otherwise, the parts/ pieces are only as valuable as the use the person has for it. Obviously, it's become technically obsolete, so anyone buying one is wanting it for a collection... and from this webboard, I think there are all of about 8 people worldwide actually interested in this early technology!

Dan T.

Kodak DCS

Post by Dan T. » Sat Jul 23, 2005 1:39 am

Thanks for the input guys! I recently bought a complete system, including camera w/DCS back and DCS winder, NIkon zoom lens, DSC with keyboard, user manual, communications manual, remote shutter, soft case & strap for the DCS, AC adapter, 3 batteries, and all necessary cabling including one for downloading through a phone line. All of it came in a hard case similiar to a suitcase with wheels. System even has some of the original warranty cards! Kit looks pretty complete, let me know if anything is missing. I haven't tried it out yet, but am anxious to do so. Serial number on the camera body is K370-0117, on the motor drive the serial number is K370-1148, and the serial number on the DSU is K370-2143. Does that mean this is the 370th unit produced? I understand no one knows how many of these were made, and speculation has it that as many as 2000 or more were made. What are the serial numbers on the ones you both have? As far plans for the system, I don't have any at the moment. Doesn't sound like too much interest in these right now, but things could change at some point... In the camera world, I would say these have to be in the stratosphere as far as rarity goes. Could be a good investment! Will let you know what I find out when I power it up.

Best,
Dan

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Post by drummond93 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:07 am

Dan,

Congratulations on your purchase! Quick answers;

The K370-xxxx serial number is seemingly always a K370 and then different 4-digits. The 2 examples I know of do not have any sequence or order to the last 4-digits... they are not sequential between the 3 units (camera, back, or winder). There may be an order to the 4-digits; example 0xxx is the winder (bottom section of the camera), 1xxx is the back and 2xxx is the DSU, but with only 2 other complete examples to go on it's a guess at this point.

Kodak has not publicly released the official production numbers for the DCS-100 camera, but based on relative numbers seen and some educated guesses, the figure of 150-200 has been estimated by myself and others on this board. Web searches show that a few newsbureaus and universities had purchased some, but only in single digits... so not many out there. It's not the rarest digital camera.... since it actually went into production, at least several dozen were made.... discussion on this board would place the Nikon QV-1000 or the NASA F-4 digital prototype ahead (more rare/scarce) than the DCS 100.. but it's certainly an early entry into the field. Sony had an earlier (by 5 years) digital still camera SLR version with the MVC-5000 and Canon with the RC-701/760, circa 1986/1987, which I would also consider more rare (especially since they required a dedicated player/reader and video display as well as a telephone interface unit.

The serial numbers on my DCS 100 are:
F3 body: 1923317
DCS back: K370-0848
DCS bottom plate (winder): K370-2014
DSU unit: k370-2024


If you have some pictures and can post either a web link (or send them to the webmaster) it would be neat to see your setup. Scans of the documention would also be of particular interest -especially the communications manual, which has not appeared in print on the web- (the users manual is online as a .pdf file from Kodak)


If you run across any more of the kits, and would want to sell one, let us know.. several otheres on this forum have expressed interest in a DCS-100 setup.

Congratulations!
Nathan

Guest

Post by Guest » Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:04 pm

Hi Nathan,

Thanks for the response! Odd it is, the way the serial numbers are so out of sequence... You have to wonder if they did quite a few modifications on the different pieces as the kits were produced. I will try to post a few pix of the equipment when I have a chance. Don't have a scanner for the manual, don't know if there are any other options. I would like to find out more about the other early digital cameras you have mentioned. Any good resources? Will post a new thread if I decide to sell the equipment.

Dan

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Resources for the Kodak DCS 100

Post by drummond93 » Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:35 pm

Dan,

I don't think they modified much at all on the actual DCS100 during production; the different serial numbers may seem out of sequence but it's possible that they were produced only as ordered, perhaps several days or weeks apart, and instead gained serial numbers relating to the week or julian day of the year of production. With the different components they may have custom assembled each one as required, and perhaps the serial numbers were entirely random between complete units.

Other than this webboard, the only other comprehensive site for info the DCS-100 info (and other early digital cameras) that I'm aware of is the Malaysian photography website; see the following link:

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/co ... /index.htm
(lots of other good information from this website as well, I highly recommend it)
A google search will locate a few references to people using it in the early 1990's.... but not even Kodak keeps anything on their website that old.

If you decide to sell, I'm interested in the complete kit and would be glad to discuss/ negotiate price... as mentioned, I picked mine up piecemeal and am missing the keyboard and original manuals/ documentation. My email is ndrummond@aol.com or cell 937-689-6493 (lv message on voicemail)

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DCS serial numbers

Post by Webmaster » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:17 pm

A list of serial numbers:

Jarle:
DCS back: K370-0729
Winder: K370-1874
DSU: K370-2900

Dan:
DCS back: K370-0117
Winder: K370-1148
DSU: K370-2143

Nathan:
DCS back: K370-0848
Winder: K370-2014
DSU: k370-2024

Photo at www.mir.com.my:
Winder: K370-2135
DSU: K370-2801

Jarle
Last edited by Webmaster on Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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DCS communications manual

Post by Webmaster » Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:51 am

drummond93 wrote:Scans of the documention would also be of particular interest -especially the communications manual, which has not appeared in print on the web
I have the original communications manual. Don't know how many pages, but it's quite a job to scan it (unless you have an automated scanner with a paper feeder, which I don't).

Anyway, most of the content is not very interesting or useful, IMO. Much of it deals with installing and operating Mac software, modem settings, etc. (I know for sure I'll never bother connecting a modem to the DSU). I may scan some of the more interesting parts later, but I doubt anyone will really need it.

Jarle

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DCS 100 production numbers

Post by Webmaster » Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:50 am

drummond93 wrote:Kodak has not publicly released the official production numbers for the DCS-100 camera, but based on relative numbers seen and some educated guesses, the figure of 150-200 has been estimated
I don't know if the serial numbers are sequential, but if they are, our short list would indicate that at least 900 units or so were made (the difference between the lowest and highest numbers).

Kodak UK: 'Accurate total numbers are not available but it was certainly well below 2000 units'.

Whatever the correct number, I'm pretty sure 150-200 is too low. I believe it's closer to 1000, perhaps even more.

Jarle

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DCS 100 numbes

Post by drummond93 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:06 pm

I'll agree, now that we have some serial numbers, that more DCS 100's must have been produced than our original values of 100-200. I can see 1000 as a decent production run... if so, wonder where they are all?
I only know of about 4 DCS 100 sets, which if taken from overall production means only about .4% have surfaced.

I compare this to collecting theodolites, where in a specific case only 357 of a specific type were made, and I know the locations of about 30 of them- closer to 10%. Just wondering. I can see some of the units getting tossed (or bodies separated from the backs) but that leaves quite few sitting in closets?

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Re: DCS 100 numbes

Post by Webmaster » Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:22 pm

drummond93 wrote:I can see 1000 as a decent production run... if so, wonder where they are all?
1000 units worldwide isn't really that many. In your theodolite example, you probably know about 30 of these simply because it's a collector's item, right? This is not yet the case with early digital cameras.

I'm sure there are still quite a few cameras out there, even if you don't see them listed on eBay every month.

Jarle

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Collectors item...

Post by drummond93 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 4:21 pm

Yes, I didn't think of that way... although the relative pricing was about the same between the DCS 100 and the theodolite.

Hopefully, this means that a few more cameras will show up sometime.

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# of DCS 100 producted

Post by drummond93 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 4:53 pm

Another nagging thought, however... where/who were the 1000 users (or some smaller number) that could afford a $25,000 camera system in 1991? There was no internet to speak with, reliable cell-phone image transmission was still a few years away, and I don't recall seeing lots of digital B&W images being used at all in that time frame. B&W was common and used- the tried-and-true photojournalist used B&W since it was what papers printed in and a lot cheaper, but any professional photographer would have been using a film-only Nikon or Canon F-3 not some clunky digital version of either.

Plus the DCS-100 had pretty lousy pictures, compared to the quality available with film and halftoning... the only reason I can envision someone would have used a DCS-100 was for quick-turn around between image and seeing it, as opposed to the film-negative development-printing process. But the DCS image quality very poor (for the time) compared to film. I'd like to say that newspapers could have been the majority of early users... but I don't think that's the case... I recall very little publicity in the early days of digital camera press use- images weren't up to the quality needed for newsroom production, and the Vancouver, BC (Canada) press made a big splash when they became the first newsroom to go digital much later in 1994, I think.


Anyone have any other thoughts?

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Re: # of DCS 100 producted

Post by Webmaster » Tue Aug 09, 2005 6:12 pm

drummond93 wrote:Another nagging thought, however... where/who were the 1000 users (or some smaller number) that could afford a $25,000 camera system in 1991?
I can imagine many were used by various government agencies (military, law enforcement, coast guard, etc.), hospitals, research facilities, major corporations (like oil companies), etc.

There are plenty of potential users, even at $25000 a piece.

I agree that it was probably not very popular with newspapers, although 1.3 megapixels was good enough for most newsprint. The quality of the analog drum transmitters used in the 1980's and early 1990's wasn't exactly impressive, I can tell you (I worked at a news picture desk at the time). You'd be suprised how good bad photos can look on print!

You'll find some info in this great article at robgalbraith.com (see 'The Seeds of the Revolution' in particular):

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_ ... -6463-7191

Some of the documentation that came with my DCS kit indicates that it was previously owned by the Royal Air Force (UK).

Jarle

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