Nikon F3 Hawkeye

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nikonnl
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Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by nikonnl » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:01 pm

Fellow collectors!
A Belgian friend sent me the pics below of a Nikon F3 with Kodak digital back. Anybody know more about this camera?

Image

Image

Interesting camera I've never seen before. The camera is called Nikon F3 Hawkeye.
Thanks & regards
Nico
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by Stan Disbrow » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:38 pm

Hi,

Looks like a variation of the DCS.

I guess that it's later, though. Perhaps Nikon wanted some way to compare film vs. digital using the F3 and not the F90 and this back is derived from one of the later Kodaks that was mounted onto the F90.

As I say, it's a guess. A SWAG (silly wild a$$ guess, as it were.

I don't see any processor or memory parts on there, unless they're on the flip side of the board. That makes me also think it might be a follow-on to the DCS where one needed an outboard processor and memory.

Anyone have a shot of the inside of the DCS digital back for comparison? I never had a DCS, so I don't know what the camera parts of the innards look like. I've seen shots of the stuff in the DSU only.

later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by nikonnl » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:18 pm

Stan, have a look at my website for a shot of the sensor of a DCS camera back; there isn't much to see, save the sensor. Everything else is in the large bottom. I do not see any battery compartment or so in the Nikon F3 Hawkeye. Can it be a prototype of the first digital F3 where you had to carry a PC in a backpack?
Regards,
Nico
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by Webmaster » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:37 pm

Yes, this is one of the early Kodak DCS models (there were several models/variations, but all of them are generally referred to as Kodak DCS or Kodak DCS 100). The DCS winder is missing. Images were stored on an external Digital Storage Unit (DSU). This is considered a Kodak camera. Nikon had nothing to do with it. Kodak just happened to build it around a Nikon F3 body. You'll find plenty of information about the early DCS models in the Vintage Kodak DSLR forum. Here's a thread listing the various models:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=28

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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:51 pm

I didn't realise the door just opened out like that - I always assumed the DCS back was attached like the later DCS 200 / 400, as part of a separate battery pack screwed into the tripod thread. I wonder if they ever thought of selling the back door and the processor unit separately as an "upgrade your F3 to digital" deal. I assume the cost would have been so high that the extra cost of throwing in a free Nikon F3 would have been trivial. Still, the thought of being able to slap a 6mp digital back onto any Nikon F4 or F5 or even an Olympus OM4 etc still feels attractive on an emotional level. If the separate processor unit could have been shrunk down to the size of a portable CD player... but I suppose Kodak thought of that idea and then dismissed it for no doubt sensible reasons.

I suppose the window for this kind of thing was very short - the period when film cameras were still popular but digital SLRs were enormously expensive. By the time of the D1 it was cheaper to just buy a digital SLR, junk the film body, and carry over the lenses.

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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by Webmaster » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:05 am

For more Hawkeye info (a prototype for the later DCS models), check the DCS history:

http://www.nikonweb.com/files/DCS_Story.pdf

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Stan Disbrow
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Re: Nikon F3 Hawkeye

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:01 pm

Hi,

I've never had, or even held for that matter, one of the original DCS F3 based units. I have, however, held and used one that was built on a Canon F1 body. The film door worked as normal just like this one, but you saw a sensor in there.

That was way back when around 89 or 90 when Kodak was trying to sell us at IBM on a manufacturing line vision comparison system. You know, uses a digital camera to snap shots of boards on the line and the compares each shot to a master shot to determine if all the parts are (a) there and (b) oriented correctly.

They brought this F1 based SLR camera with a sensor in it so we could play with shooting things in our labs to impress us on the capabilities of their sensors. It worked, as we bought the system! ;)

Anyway, this reminded me of that which made me think it must be a DCS or at least a very close cousin.

later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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