The Kodak DCS series, which stands for Digital Camera System, was a groundbreaking line of professional digital cameras developed by Eastman Kodak in partnership with Nikon and Canon. These cameras were some of the first to bring digital photography to professional photographers, and they played a pivotal role in the transition from film to digital imaging.
The first camera in the DCS series, the Kodak DCS 100, was introduced in 1991 in the retail price range of $20,000 to $25,000. It featured a 1.3-megapixel resolution, making it one of the first commercially available digital cameras with over a million pixels. The DCS 100 was based on the Nikon F3 body and included a separate digital storage unit, which connected to the camera via a cable. The camera’s sensitivity ranged from ISO 100 to 400, and it could store up to 156 images on the external unit’s 200 MB hard drive.
In 1994, the Kodak DCS 200 series was released, based on the Nikon N90 film camera body and priced between $8,000 to $12,000. This model boasted a 1.54-megapixel resolution and came with a built-in hard drive capable of storing up to 50 images. The camera featured an ISO range of 100 to 1600, which was a significant improvement over the DCS 100. The DCS 200 series also introduced an integrated LCD screen on the back of the camera, allowing photographers to review their images directly on the device.
The Kodak DCS 400 series, introduced in 1995, was based on the Nikon N90s body and came in two variations: the DCS 420 with a 1.5-megapixel resolution and the DCS 460 with a 6.2-megapixel resolution. Both models featured improved image quality and processing speeds compared to their predecessors. The DCS 400 series also had an expanded ISO range of 80 to 1000 and supported removable PCMCIA storage cards, making it easier for photographers to manage and transfer their images. The Kodak DCS 400 series cameras were priced between $10,000 to $35,000, depending on the model and features.
In 1998, the Kodak DCS 500 series was launched, marking a significant departure from previous models as it was based on the Canon EOS-1N body. Priced between $12,000 and $28,000, the DCS 520 had 2-megapixel resolution, while the DCS 560 offered 6-megapixel resolution. Both models featured an ISO range of 200 to 1600, a faster autofocus system, and improved color reproduction. These cameras were the first in the DCS series to utilize CompactFlash memory cards for storage.
The Kodak DCS 600 series, released in 1999 and priced between $5,000 to $30,000, returned to the Nikon partnership with a camera based on the Nikon F5 body. The DCS 620 had 2-megapixel resolution, and the DCS 660 boasted a 6-megapixel resolution. These models introduced an advanced noise reduction system and an ISO range of 200 to 4000, which was a substantial improvement over earlier models. The DCS 600 series also featured improved battery life, making them more suitable for professional use in the field.
The final iteration in the Kodak DCS series was the Kodak DCS Pro series, introduced in 2002 and priced at around $5,000. The DCS Pro 14n, based on the Nikon F80 body, had a remarkable 13.5-megapixel resolution, making it one of the highest resolution digital SLRs available at the time. The camera featured an ISO range of 80 to 6400 and used both CompactFlash and SD memory cards for storage. The DCS Pro SLR/c and SLR/n, released in 2004, were based on the Canon EOS-1D and Nikon F80 bodies, respectively. Both models maintained the 13.5-megapixel resolution found in the DCS Pro 14n. The DCS Pro SLR/c and DCS Pro SLR/n featured an ISO range of 80 to 1600, with an extended mode pushing the upper limit to 3200. These models also supported simultaneous writing to both CompactFlash and SD memory cards, allowing for easy file backup and management.
In addition to these main models, the Kodak DCS series also included a few specialized cameras. For instance, the DCS 760 was introduced in 2001, based on the Nikon F5 body, featuring a 6-megapixel resolution and an ISO range of 80 to 400. This model was aimed at professionals in the fields of photojournalism, sports, and nature photography, with its rugged construction and compatibility with Nikon’s extensive range of lenses and accessories.
Another specialized model, the Kodak DCS 720x, was released in 2002. Based on the Nikon F5 body, it had a 2-megapixel resolution and a high ISO range of 400 to 6400, making it particularly suitable for low-light photography. This camera was specifically designed for photojournalists, law enforcement, and scientific applications, where high sensitivity and low-light performance were crucial.