10.13.2018

Kodak DC25 Digital Camera from 1996!

Hi everyone!
Just picked up a bunch of retro tech stuff, so it's back to the '90s for a little while here on coolstuff4819.
First up, a camera that I've seen very little written about (past its release date), so I'll introduce it here.
The Kodak DC25

Released in 1996, the Kodak DC25 was the first consumer digital camera to support CompactFlash cards for image storage. At this time, many cameras only used internal flash storage (like the Apple QuickTake series). Of course, CompactFlash cards were not cheap, with one writer linked here noting that he paid $150 for a 10 MB card in 1998 (about $230 in 2018). However, this eliminated the need to rely on an extra cable and special driver software for your PC to get the files off of the camera, provided you had a way to read the CompactFlash card. (Since USB was not common yet, the easiest way would have been to use a PCMCIA to CF adapter, with a laptop computer.)

This was not the end of the story, however, as the camera records images in a proprietary .k25 raw file format, which then need to be processed into standard .jpg files. A utility was included with the camera in the box, but that program did not allow for batch processing of images, and was extremely slow. Fortunately, Rick Kaseguma at the previous link wrote a fast, compact file converter for Windows 95 (which runs on my ThinkPad X220 tablet running Windows 7). This, combined with a simple USB card reader, is all I need to get the pictures off the camera.

DC25convert:


Though 1GB cards hit the market six years after this camera was released (Q1 2002), the one I've got seems to work fine with the DC25. However, given that the "fine" images are only 137KB each, and that Windows reports 976MB free on the card, the theoretical maximum would be 7124 images. Either way, this shows that even super-high capacity CF cards are supported. I'll bet that the maximum number of standard images is actually 10,501.
Status screen with a totally blank 1GB card
Actually taking the picture is as simple as can be. Put the batteries in (2x CR123A lithium), turn on the camera, aim using the viewfinder (the screen is exclusively for reviewing photos), and press down the shutter button. Flash can be turned on or off, but that, along with a resolution selection (standard vs. fine) is the only control accessible to the user.
Reviewing a picture
Since the camera has a fixed-focus lens, there is no "halfway down" shutter button position - just point and shoot.

Through the viewfinder

Buttons on top. Note
The screen, viewfinder, and buttons for picture reviewing
Information and screen brightness control wheel

And what pictures they are! With a resolution of just 493x373 pixels, and a fixed-focus lens, this camera's output can hardly be considered "hi-fi," even for the time. But the do have a certain charm; they remind me of the stills from my parents' Handycam when I was a kid, and that makes this camera a valuable addition to my collection. Here are some of the shots that I've taken with the Kodak DC25!


2 comments:

  1. Nice find! Congratulations of finding a piece of the past that still works. The images look quite nice. If Kodak had only fully realized what they had with all the digital imaging technology they invented (including high speed arrays) we'd all be shooting Kodaks instead of all the other brands.

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  2. Interesting collecting area, a bit like wedges that no-one (or very few) peple show an interest in using thanks to the advent of the mobile phone camera.

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