World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

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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ronvol
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World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by ronvol » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:53 am

The Electro-Optic Camera
The world's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

James McGarvey has put together a wonderful article detailing the history of these very early camera systems. They include the Kodak EO-1 and the Kodak Hawkeye.
Finally we have high quality images of what these cameras looked like along with information about the sensors and even some firmware code and circuit diagrams!!

http://eocamera.jemcgarvey.com/

Paul
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Re: World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by Paul » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:59 pm

Thanks for post. Great read. I copy and pasted the article to word.

drummond93
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Re: World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by drummond93 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:18 pm

I emailed the author to express my appreciation for his effort in documenting this era of digital imaging.. he replied as follows:

" Thank you for the kind note! - It's gratifying to see the growing interest in the old cameras. I really enjoyed the years of work on these products, and now I am enjoying telling the story. I have boxes of documentation, and will certainly be posting more as I have the time.

Regards,
Jim McGarvey"



Hopefully we'll be able to learn more about the engineering design that went into these early cameras as his time permits.

Paul
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Re: World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by Paul » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:22 am

Wonderful news Jim

ronvol
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Re: World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by ronvol » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:30 pm

Jim and I have been in touch about several things and I thought I'd post some of his comments about the DCS project as well as a little bit of technical info.........enjoy.

"I don't have a service manual for the original DCS-DC3. I do have all the schematics, and may scan and post them at some point.

Aside from the usual issues with connectors, and the hard drive, the most common repair need is the lithium battery on the master processor board. That battery not only powers the clock, but also the SRAM memory that holds the directory of images on the disk. You will see the "DeadLith" message on the LCD if it's no good. I was able to buy some of those batteries a few years ago, so they are still available.

The easiest way to get these to work with a computer is to buy an old Mac. If you get the newest model listed as compatible in your DCS manual, you won't have any trouble getting it all to work. And those Macs are pretty cheap!

I was the lead engineer on the whole series of DCS cameras. When the original DCS was going into production, we very much wanted to make a cheaper, simpler camera. The DCS was based on the Hawkeye II design because that was what we had, but it was not ideal. We especially had a lot of problems getting it to pass the FCC requirements for RF emissions. You've seen all the ferrites and copper tape and such that we had to put in there to quiet it down.

My boss, Larry McMillan, picked out the Nikon 8008 as the best body for our next camera. I think it was the lowest cost Nikon with a removable back and data-back interface. I have a priceless sheet of paper with my "back of the napkin" block diagram, mechanical concept, cost breakdown, etc. that I doodled up when we first discussed the project. The 200 ended up very close to that doodle. I will post that document when I get farther along in the history.

The 200 may have been my favorite of the DCS projects, because it was so simple and we did it so quickly. We called the project the "Desktop Camera" because we were intentionally targetting the desktop publishing community instead of the photojournalist, though many photojournalists used DCS 200's because they were so portable. But the desktop focus allowed us to greatly relax the performance requirements (mostly frame rate) resulting in a very simple electronic design. We did originally plan to offer the DCS 200 back by itself, to be attached by the customer to their 8008, to make the price lower. But we abandoned that so we could be sure the cameras worked and were in good focus - and to keep the imager cover glass clean!

I'll write all this up when I get there. One generation at a time."

jimmymc
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Re: World's first DSLR. Made by Eastman Kodak Company in 1987.

Post by jimmymc » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:38 pm

Good news this week! A friend rescued a box of the old cameras just days before they would have been in the dumpster.

I now have dismantled on my bench a Tactical camera http://eocamera.jemcgarvey.com/img/TAC1s.jpg, and a Hawkeye II Integrated camera http://eocamera.jemcgarvey.com/img/HEI1s.jpg (The first Nikon based DSLR).

I removed a shorted capacitor in the HE2, and now the CCD is running and light sensitive. I'm hopeful it will image when I reassemble it. I will be posting pics of the innards of both cameras on my site in the next week.

Both cameras will be going to the George Eastman House/International Museum of Photography collection when I'm done with them. http://www.eastmanhouse.org

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