Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

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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Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Webmaster » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:28 pm

Kodak DCS 720x was Kodak's last Nikon F5-based DSLR camera, announced in June 2001.

http://www.nikonweb.com/dcs720x/

Jarle

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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Ashley_Pomeroy » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:55 pm

Coo - if only they had used the same technology in their compact digital cameras. They could have had a kind of early Fuji F30 low-light compact with a good ISO 400 at a time when most compacts struggled badly at that speed. The shot of the port is gorgeous.

I have one tiny picky question. The DCS 520 came with either an infrared or an antialiasing filter. The impression I get from this article:
http://www.lonestardigital.com/DCS620.htm
is that Kodak combined the two filters into a single unit for the DCS 600 and 700. The article describes the DCS 620's filter as an "anti-aliasing / infrared reduction filter" and then goes on to talk about a probably extremely rare infrared filter that did not affect image sharpness. Is the filter in the DCS 720X an infrared, an antialiasing, or an infrared/antialiasing filter? Did you take any pictures without it?

Actually, I have a second question. A lot of the news reports about the DCS 760 mention that in-camera real-time JPG encoding would emerge as a firmware update. Given that the 720X was almost the end of the line, can it spit out JPGs instantly, without having to use the camera's processing menu, and in the latter case is it any faster than the DCS 520 (which took about a minute per image)?

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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Webmaster » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:13 pm

Ashley_Pomeroy wrote:Is the filter in the DCS 720X an infrared, an antialiasing, or an infrared/antialiasing filter? Did you take any pictures without it?

From the DCS 700 series user manual:

"Your camera contains an IR filter which maintains proper focus, filters out infrared light, and helps protect the imager’s coverglass. You can replace the IR filter with an anti-aliasing filter (available as an accessory). The anti-aliasting filter improves overall image quality and helps reduce aliasing at certain focal distances."

No, I haven't tried to shoot without the (IR) filter.

Regarding JPEG: Haven't tried it - I've only captured DCR files. In fact, I don't think I have the latest, JPEG enabled firmware - can't remember having seen a JPEG option anywhere.

Thanks,
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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Stan Disbrow » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:36 pm

Hi,

This could almost be in a new thread. However, the subject did come up here.

I shoot most of the time with no filter at all in either my 760c or my 720x.

I put the IR-only filter in the 760c when the sun angle is low and the IR light becomes an issue. I rarely ever put in the AA/IR filter.

Since I use the 720x for flashless shooting indoors, there's no need for the IR filter at all. I don't need the AA/IR filter as color aliasing never seems to be a problem for the subjects I use this camera for.

Now, I most always have the AA/IR filter in my 560 since I use that one in the studio for shooting printed textiles. Since the shots take up most of the image area, and I'm using studio strobes, the weave of many textiles produces serious color aliasing. So, the AA/IR filter is most useful.

You don't want to use the AA/IR filter unless you really need it, though. It does soften the image quite a bit.

This is, for me, the main feature of these old cameras - that you get to pick the filter you desire (or no filter at all) based on your shooting needs. Plus, the worry about scratching the soft Lithium Niobate filter surface is taken out of the equation - you remove it first. Plus, even if you had a minor scratch, it doesn't show up in the image - it's not mounted at the focal plane like every other design!

The Kodak filter nomenclature is confusing, though. There are three types of filters in two styles for these cameras.

The styles are, of course, for the Nikon F5 body and the Canon EOS-1N body. They don't interchange.

The types are IR blocking only, and a combination of Anti-Aliasing *and* IR-blocking. Kodak referred to them as IR-filters and AA-filters. This has always been confusing, so I tend to refer to the AA filter as an AA/IR filter as they do, indeed, perform both functions. I refer to the IR filter as the IR-only filter to avoid confusion.

The AA/IR filter types are further broken down into one for the 2 MP sensor and one for the 6 MP sensor. This is because the diffusion pattern is different to match up with the different size pixels for the two sensors.

You can use a Nikon style 2 MP AA/IR filter on any of the 2 MP Nikon F5 Kodaks, and any of the 6 MP AA/IR filtes on any of the 6 MP units. Meaning, the one from the 620 works thru the 720x and vice-versa and the same is true for the filter from the 660 and the 760.

There's no sensor size 'gotcha' associated with the IR-only filter since it is a smooth sheet of Lithium Niobate without a diffusion pattern. All you need to have is the style of filter that fits your body.

There were different Kodak part numbers for all the filters as the models progressed. This further confused the issue, of course. The worst part was that it made folks think that an AA/IR filter from a 660 would not work on the 760.

This, I think, was on purpose. Kodak included the AA/IR filter stock with the 660, with the IR-only filter being optional. To help them reduce the price tag on the 760, they included the IR-only filter and had the AA/IR as the option. They wanted to sell new filters for 760's and not have folks keep a filter from a 660 when upgrading. ;)

I have a complete set of Kodak filters for both the Canon and Nikon bodied DCS units. The IR-only filter for the Canon body was the hardest to come by. I finally had to buy a spare 520 that I really did not want, just to get the IR-only filter to use with my 560. Then, a few months later I relegated the 560 to the studio when I picked up a 760c to replace it. So the 560 had to have the AA/IR filter installed and the IR-only sits on the shelf!

This means I doubt that I'll ever use the now way overpriced Canon IR-only filter again. Oh, and you know how all this all works, too. I paid less for the 760c than I did for the 520 I'll never actually use but bought only for the filter that was in it! :P

Oh, well. I have a 520 that might one day have to serve as spare parts for the 560. ;)

Later!

Stan
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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Stan Disbrow » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:40 pm

Hi,

Nicely done article on the old beast. :)

Having had the D1, D1H and D2H on the Nikon side and the 1D-I on the Canon side, I can say that the 620x worked much better at ISO 1600. Not to mention my usual indoor sports ISO of 3200......

The 720x works even better.

I think that Kodak made a larger improvement with the 720x from the 620x than they did with the 760c from the 660c.

I originally was not going to upgrade my 620x for a 720x, but then a 720x showed up at 'the right price'. ;)

Also, I am still sad that they never improved the F5 based series one more generation. I still maintain that they could have done better with one more generation of the 'handful' cameras than they did with the 'SLR' series.

I know why it didn't happen, but I sometimes still sit and dream of a 'DCS 811', as I called it at the time. That would have been the venerable F5 conversion mated with the sensor that eventually showed up over at Leica.

Oh, well. I do quite well with my 760c/720x pair. :)

Later!

Stan
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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Stan Disbrow » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:47 pm

Hi,

The Jpeg processing in the 720x is the same as all the older Kodak PJ units (520, 620, 620x, 720x): You shoot in raw mode and then there's a menu option to have the camera go 'offline' and convert the raws into Jpegs.

I never use it.

Well, I did once way back when I got my first 620x, found it took forever and did a fairly sad job of things, and then never used it again.

I just live with post processing each shot after the fact. I use Photoshop directly for the 760c files but perform a first pass raw-to-tiff in Kodak's Photodesk for the 720x files - to gain the benefit of the yellow-cast color correction PhotoDesk provides.

Of course, one can opt to batch process in either PS or PD if the shots don't have wildly different lighting bewteen them. I use the time to go get a cup of scriptless Java and then sit down to do the final tweaking and printing. ;)

Later!

Stan
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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Webmaster » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:21 pm

Stan Disbrow wrote:The types are IR blocking only, and a combination of Anti-Aliasing *and* IR-blocking. Kodak referred to them as IR-filters and AA-filters. This has always been confusing, so I tend to refer to the AA filter as an AA/IR filter as they do, indeed, perform both functions. I refer to the IR filter as the IR-only filter to avoid confusion.

Thanks Stan - very useful and informative (as always)! I'll probably put this in its own article - to make googling and linking from the front page easier.

Jarle

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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Ashley_Pomeroy » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:15 pm

"The IR-only filter for the Canon body was the hardest to come by."

I had one with my Canon D2000, or at least I'm fairly sure it was the IR-only filter (if I recall correctly it had "IR" written on it in what looked like white pencil).

I believe I had the "base body kit" mentioned on this page:
http://wwwuk.kodak.com/global/en/profes ... 38.6&lc=en

The "original body kit" had an antialiasing filter and the "base body kit" had the IR filter, which seems the more useful of the two. It would be totally rad if you could fashion a pair of sunglasses out of them - or use them as a means of making unburned patterns on sunburned flesh. (thinks) Although, having said that, it's ultraviolet that burns skin, not infrared. I must remember that in future. Some of the newer Sigma SD cameras also have an unscrewable infrared filter.

On a tangent, there's a DCS 620x on eBay at the moment for £180, another one of those "no battery, no charger, unable to test" models. The base plate looks to have been well-used. I'm not sure as to the differences between the 620x and the 720x, although assuming Kodak shared components between the 760 and the 720x I surmise that the latter had a larger screen and a faster processor.

On another tangent, whilst writing about the DCS 460 I came across this page, which has lots of photographs of astronauts and their cameras. It's simultaneously hilarious and awesome, and I'm still surprised that Kodak didn't pump the NASA angle for all it was worth - I can find a few press releases that mention the connection, but a big full-page shot of a DCS 760 reflected in a spaceperson's visor would surely have worked wonders for Kodak's sales figures:
http://www.capcomespace.net/dossiers/ph ... /index.htm

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Re: Kodak DCS 720x (link to NikonWeb article)

Postby Webmaster » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:55 am

Ashley_Pomeroy wrote: I'm not sure as to the differences between the 620x and the 720x, although assuming Kodak shared components between the 760 and the 720x I surmise that the latter had a larger screen and a faster processor.

Some info from Stan Disbrow, posted in another thread:

Another tip is to use a 720x over a 620x. I know you've already made this choice, but for other folks reading thru this thread in the future, the signal-to-noise ratio *and* the tendency toward yellowish tints are greatly improved in the 720x over the 620x. BTW, I have had multiple units in each model that I used extensively when I was shooting night motorsports some years ago.

Finally, do not overexpose with the 'X' series cameras. The CYM CFA sensor images do not recover nearly as well as the RGB CFA sensor camera ones do......


Here's some info from dpreview:

Kodak Professional has today announced the new Pro DCS 720x. Essentially an updated 620x based on the new '7 platform' it also utilizes the high sensitivity 2 megapixel (1728 x 1152 ) CMY CCD sensor (ISO 400 - 6400) we first saw in last years 620x (which is based on the Nikon F5). The differences are in the details, the 720x now has Kodak's new onboard software, the new brighter LCD and can shoot faster (4.3 fps) for longer (25 images).

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0106/01060 ... cs720x.asp

Regarding marketing: Most people don't buy a $8000 camera just because they see a photo of an astronaut using it.

Jarle


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