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Kodak DCS

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A Kodak DCS 420, a 1.2-megapixel digital SLR based on a Nikon F90 body.

The Kodak Digital Camera System is a series of digital single-lens reflex cameras and digital camera backs that were released by Kodak in the 1990s and 2000s, and discontinued in 2005.[1] They are all based on existing 35mm film SLRs from Nikon, Canon and Sigma. The range includes the original Kodak DCS, the first commercially available digital SLR.


Kodak DCS 100, based on a Nikon F3 body with Digital Storage Unit, released in May, 1991.

In 1975, Steven Sasson developed Kodak's first prototype digital still camera, which used a Fairchild 100 x 100 pixel CCD.[2][3] By 1986 Kodak had developed a sensor with 1.4 million pixels.[4] It was used in what is believed to be the world's first Digital Single-Lens Reflex (D-SLR) camera, known as the Electro-Optic Camera, which was designed and constructed by Eastman Kodak Company under a U.S. Government contract in 1987 and 1988.[5]

A number of other improvements were made to increase image quality and usability, including improvements in sensor technology, the first raw image format known as DCR (Digital Camera Raw),[6] and host software to process the DCR images. The original Kodak DCS was launched in 1991, and is based on a stock Nikon F3 SLR film camera with a CCD image sensor mounted in the film gate. It uses a 1.3-megapixel Kodak KAF-1300 sensor, and a separate shoulder-mounted processing and storage unit.

The DCS 200 series, introduced in 1992, condenses the storage unit into a module which is mounted onto the base and back of a stock Nikon 8008 SLR film camera. It was the first digital camera to use the Bayer color filter pattern. The module contains a built-in 80 megabyte hard drive and is powered with AA batteries. It was followed by the upgraded DCS 400 series of 1994, which replaces the hard drive with a PCMCIA card slot. The DCS 400 series includes the 1.5-megapixel DCS 420, and the 6-megapixel Kodak DCS 460, which retailed for $28,000 on launch.[7] In common with Kodak's later 6-megapixel models, the DCS 460 used the award-winning APS-H Kodak M6 sensor.[8] A modified version of the DCS 420 was also sold by the Associated Press as the Associated Press NC2000.[9] In parallel with the DCS 400 series Kodak also sold the analogous Kodak EOS DCS range, which was based on the Canon EOS-1N SLR. With the exception of the original DCS 100, these early models do not include LCD preview screens.

Kodak's subsequent models integrate the digital module with the camera body more thoroughly, and include LCD preview screens and removable batteries. The DCS 500 series of 1998 is also based on the Canon EOS-1N, and comprises the 2-megapixel DCS 520 and the 6-megapixel DCS 560, which initially had a suggested retail price of $28,500.[10] These models were also sold by Canon, as the Canon D2000 and D6000 respectively, and were the first digital SLRs sold under the Canon name. Kodak used the same electronics package for the DCS 600 series, which is based on the Nikon F5. The DCS 600 range includes the Kodak DCS 620x, a high-sensitivity model with an upgraded indium tin oxide sensor and a cyan-magenta-yellow Bayer filter, which has a then-unique top ISO setting of ISO 6400.

Kodak Professional DCS D-SLR cameras, Medium format camera backs, and film scanners

Kodak concluded the initial DCS range with the DCS 700 series, which comprises the 2-megapixel DCS 720x, the 6-megapixel DCS 760, and the 6-megapixel DCS 760m, which has a monochrome sensor. By the time of launch, Kodak faced competition from the popular Nikon D1 and Nikon D1x,[11] which were physically smaller and cheaper. The DCS 760's initial list price was $8,000.

Kodak final generation of DCS cameras was launched with the Kodak DCS Pro 14n, a 14-megapixel full-frame digital SLR, in 2002, and continued with the upgraded DCS PRO SLR/n in 2004. These two cameras are based on a Nikon F80 body, and are considerably more compact than previous Kodaks. They use sensors designed by Belgian imaging company FillFactory. The DCS PRO SLR/n was also accompanied by the Canon-compatible DCS PRO SLR/c, which is based on a Sigma SA9 SLR. Kodak discontinued the SLR/n and SLR/c in May 2005,[12] to concentrate on compact digital cameras and high-end medium format digital backs for Leaf, among others.

Kodak continued to design and manufacture CCD image sensors, including the full-frame 18-megapixel KAF-18500, which is used in the Leica M9 digital rangefinder, until its image sensor division was sold to Platinum Equity in 2012. This image sensor company operated under the name Truesense[13] and was later acquired by ON Semiconductor in 2014.[14] On Semiconductor began closing the former Kodak CCD manufacturing facility in 2019.[15]


35mm Nikon based[edit]

A Kodak DCS 760, a six megapixel digital SLR based on a Nikon F5

All models based on Nikon body and use Nikon's F mount.

A Kodak DCS 560, a six megapixel digital SLR based on a Canon EOS-1N

APS Nikon based[edit]

35mm Canon based[edit]

All models use Canon's EF lens mount.

View taken with a Kodak 760C from orbit.[16]

Medium format camera backs[edit]


  1. ^ McGarvey, Jim (June 2004). "The DCS Story - 17 years of Kodak Professional digital camera systems, 1987-2004" (PDF). NikonWeb.com. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  2. ^ How Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975 Archived 2012-01-10 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Carter, Rodger. "1970s". www.digicamhistory.com. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  4. ^ "What Is the History of the Digital Camera?". ThoughtCo. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  5. ^ "Electro-Optic Camera: The first DSLR". eocamera.jemcgarvey.com. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  6. ^ "CorelDRAW Graphics Suite | Free Trial". www.coreldraw.com. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  7. ^ Holusha, John (1995-07-10). "Kodak Sees a Future Where Film Is Optional". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  8. ^ Business Wire, October 1995, Kodak Imaging Sensor wins award from Technical Image Press Association
  9. ^ Eamon Hickey, January 2005, "A look back at the NC2000" Archived 2009-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Business Wire, September 1998, Kodak Professional Extends Portfolio of Digital Cameras
  11. ^ "Kodak DCS 760 Review". DPReview. 2001-07-16. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  12. ^ Kodak.com, May 2005, NOTICE OF DISCONTINUANCE
  13. ^ "Kodak's image-sensor spin-off gets a name: Truesense". CNET. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  14. ^ "ON Semiconductor Completes Acquisition of Truesense Imaging, Inc". onsemi. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  15. ^ Fanelli, Gino (2019-09-23). "ON Semiconductor downsizing Rochester facility". Rochester Business Journal. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  16. ^ Sand Dunes in Har Nuur (Black Lake), Western Mongolia October 16, 2006

External links[edit]