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|Canon RC-360 Video Still Camera (October 1992). The Canon RC360 is an analog video still camera prior to the wide spread introduction of true digital cameras. Information was stored electronically in analog fashion on small diskettes and could be played back on a television. The Canon Camera Museum states it had "a 1/2 inch 260,000 pixel CCD image sensor, recording and playback with horizontal resolution of 380 TV lines." There is no LCD display of the image. Digicamhistory.com states it cost $2,600 or about $3,650 in 2006 dollars! It had a fixed focus lens equivalent to a 51mm focal length 35mm film camera lens but could be equipped with wide angle (which mine has) and telephoto auxilliary lenses. See Vision Quest. To get a digital image you would need a digital capture board on your computer. The Vision Quest article states the only true digital system at the time was the single lens reflex (SLR) Kodak DCS 200 which cost over $18,000 at the time! The Kodak DCS 200 was a Nikon SLR based camera with 1.54 megapixels and no LCD viewing screen. See Kodak DCS cameras based on Nikon. As of Summer 2006 you can buy a 4 or 5 megapixel compact digital camera for about $100 or an 8 megapixel Canon Digital Rebel XT SLR with lens for under $800. Truly a revolution in photography has occurred in the past 15 years. I purchased my Canon RC-360 on eBay on 5-16-06 for $10.23 and $4.05 shipping. It is in good cosmetic condition. It comes with a miniature diskette. It has a sticker indicating it was owned by the Orange County (Florida) B.C.C. (Board of County Commissioners). It has a small 8 volt sealed lead battery, Canon Battery Pack BP-4P, but no charger. I am therefore not aware of the operating condition. The battery compartment is clean.|
|Ricoh RDC-1 (1995). Introduced in late 1995 and selling by the Spring of 1996 for $1,800! (CBR; See also Steve's Digicams.) That's over $2,400 in 2007 dollars. The RDC-1 was the first camera to record both digital stills and video with sound. (See dycam.com.) In November 1995 it won a Best of COMDEX Award. (See highbeam.com.) There was an optional LCD monitor which attached to the camera. The camera takes a PCMCIA memory card. Mine comes with an 8mb card. In this photo of the camera and memory card, I have included a modern, and much smaller, 2GB SD card, which holds 250 times more information. The camera did contain all the elements of a modern camera including 3X zoom lens, relatively small size (camera, without monitor, is roughly 13cm x 7.5cm x 2cm, and weighs 9 oz.), optical viewfinder, LCD viewfinder/monitor (optional), flash, and movies with sound. Resolution was only 380,000 pixels (.38 megapixels), however. Movies with sound were at a respectable 30 frames per second, but only lasted 5 seconds and you could only take 4 of them on a card. (See Henshell, Ricoh RDC-1 Digital Camera.) I have two complete camera sets each in a plastic case with the LCD monitor, remote control, charging unit and instruction manual. I have not tried them yet, but they are near new cosmetic condition. I paid $9 each at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale on 9-29-07. These are fine examples of early digital camera history that show how far we have come in a little over ten years.|
|Kodak DC-50 (1996) the first digital zoom camera with external storage selling for (just) under $1,000. The manual is available in PDF format from Kodak. Specifications at page 74 indicate 754 x 504 pixel image size at high resolution which equals 381,024 pixels or 0.38 megapixels. 3X optical zoom from 7mm to 21mm equal to about 37mm to 111mm in 35mm format. Dimensions of the camera are 15.2cm X 11.9cm X 6.4cm which equals a volume of about 1.158 Liters. (It is roughly a rectangular prism. I hence multiplied length X width X height and expressed the answer in Liters.) It weighs 1.16 lbs or 18.56 oz.
Compare the 1996 DC-50 with the Kodak EasyShare C330 that I purchased on clearance at Office Depot in July 2006 for $100 which included a Kodak docking station/printer. The manual at pages 50-53 states the C330 is a 4.0 megapixel 3X optical zoom (34mm to 102mm 35mm equivalent) camera with dimensions of 9.15cm X 6.5cm X 3.5cm which equals a volume of about 0.208 liters. (It is also roughly a rectangular prism.) It weighs 5.6 oz. In 10 years the C330 has 10 times the resolution at one tenth the price, one fifth the size and about one third the weight! My DC-50 came with a 5mb PCMCIA ATA flash card. A 1.0 gb SD card for the C330 has 200 times more capacity with a physical volume of about one tenth that of the PCMIA card. (I just eye-balled this. The SD card looks to be about half the thickness and you can fit nearly 6 SD cards on top of the PCMCIA card.) This rapid change in a single decade is amazing! My fascination with such rapid technological growth is why Mr. Martin's Web Site's Museum exists. DCVIEWS has a similar wonderful comparison of the DC-50 with Kodak's smallest camera in 2006, the Easyshare V550. Also, compare the DC-50 with the first sub-$1,000 digital SLR, the 2003 Canon Digital Rebel below, which came out only seven years later.
I purchased my DC-50 on eBay on 8-20-06 for $5 plus $6.05 shipping. Pretty steep depreciation in ten years! It works well although it took awhile to figure that out. There is no LCD image display. (Camera back.) You have to download the images to a computer to view them. Kodak states that the DC-50 is "fully supported" by "Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Mac OS 7.6.1 - 9.x" and is "not supported" by "Windows 3.1, NT, 2000, ME, XP; Mac OS 7.5.0 and earlier, OS X." The camera also stores images in a unique file format. Therefore, if you want to see the images you better have some old computers sitting around. No problem there for me. Here are the steps I went through to view the images!
Here are some DC-50 photos of some canine friends of mine: dog 1 and dog 2. Dog 1 (159 kb) is not changed in any way. Dog 2 (63.3 kb) was cropped and the contrast increased slightly in Picture Works. Both were saved in JPEG format from the original Kodak format.
Many sites discuss the DC-50:
|Sony Mavica MVC-FD7 introduced late 1997, early 1998. The FD7 with a 10X optical zoom lens and the FD5 with a single focal length lens were the first Sony Mavica cameras which used floppy disks as the storage device. The Mavica name had previously been used for Sony analog video still cameras in the 1980s. Also, the Mavica name was also later used for the Sony digital cameras that used CDs for storage. The manual is available from Sony online in PDF format. Page 44 gives the specifications. I used a similar Mavica at my first teaching job in 1999. It has a 4.2 to 42mm 10X zoom lens which equals 40mm to 400mm in 35mm format. The maximum aperture is f1.8 to f2.9. Both of these statistics are impressive. The lens also has wonderful closeup features. At the time the use of standard 3.5 inch floppy disks for storage was also wonderful. They were reasonably inexpensive and made transfer to the computer a breeze. On fine mode one floppy disc would store about 15-20 images. Maximum resolution was 640 x 480, about 0.3 megapixel. That made it okay for Web viewing of relatively small images. Just "okay," however, and really poor for printing. It is very easy to use. There is no optical viewing but the large 2.5 inch screen is good under most circumstances. Mavicas were great cameras to use in a school setting. The original price appears to have been around $700. Its successor the FD71 which was lighter and faster had a list price of $799 according to PC World (July 28, 1998). I believe I used the FD71. I remember Mavicas having a street price of about $500 when I first used one in late 1999 - early 2000. Several sites discuss the FD7: Wikipedia, wrotniak.net, jerrypournelle.com, purpleplanetmedia.com, aardvark.co.nz, reviewsonline.com, videomedia.com. My Mavica FD7 was purchased on eBay on 8-4-06 for $51.53 with $6.50 shipping. It included a nice case, battery and a Canon ShurShot 60 film camera. Sort of on the pricey side for a 0.3 megapixel camera but Mavicas still seem to have a following on eBay. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. I bought a new off brand charger and battery from a different source on eBay.|
|Sony Digital Mavica WVC FD-95 (February 2000) (Large Image) 2.1 megapixel, 10X optical zoom, 6 to 60mm, f2.8 lens. (Same angle of view as a 35mm film camera with a 39 to 390mm zoom lens.) Sony Steady-shot image stabilization. Uses 3.5" floppy disks. Mine comes with the optional adapter that allows you to insert a Sony Memory Stick. 2.5 inch, color, TFT LCD monitor. Additionally, electronic eye-piece viewing. Cost new was $999. The Memory Stick adapter was extra. Spot metering and manual focus available. It is a large camera weighing about 35 oz. I purchased mine for about $30 at an estate/garage sale in the Del Cerro area of San Diego on April 25, 2010. (This and a Nikon 55mm f1.2 lens for $120. In my mind, I allocated more of the $120 towards the Nikon lens.) It is a very cool camera for its day with a pretty amazing wide aperture lens. The floppy disks were convenient at the time, but very slow. With 2.1 megapixels, this camera represented the limits for using floppy disks which would quickly be filled up. Another model recorded on small CDs instead. I remember seeing an FD-95 in action in the summer of 2000 by another participant at a Forestry Institute for Teachers at Humboldt State University. I still just used a film camera. I was very impressed the participant could have a slide show at the end of the camp. I was also very impressed with his shots of, for example, spotted owls using the lens which extends out to 390mm. It would still be a fun camera to play around with today. Mine is in good cosmetic condition. Unfortunately, it is not reading disks and disks are very hard to insert. I tried formatting a disk in the computer first. This did not help. It looks like a piece may also be missing on the disk eject button. Bummer! :(|
|Olympus Camedia C-2100 Ultra Zoom (June 2000) (Large Image) 2.1 megapixel with 10X optical zoom lens with a focal length of 7mm to 70mm (equal to angle of view for 38 to 380mm in 35mm format). The maximum aperture is f2.8-3.5. It has optical image stabilization. According to www.dpreview.com the suggested list price was $1,300 and the street price was $900. It has a 1/2 inch CCD sensor. ISO is 100, 200 or 400. Shutter speeds are 1/2 to 1/800 second in automatic modes and up to 16 seconds in manual mode. It takes the very thin Smart Media cards. Mine has one 128MB card in it, which I think was the maximum capacity for SmartMedia cards. It takes 4AA batteries. It has auto focus and manual focus. It takes 42 second movies at 320 x 240, 15 frames per second with audio. www.dpreview.com gave it a recommended rating but wished it had 3 megapixels. It averaged 4.8 out of 5 stars in 80 ratings at amazon.com. To me it seems very well balanced with a large grip where the batteries go. The size and mass aren't bad with dimensions of 113 x 78x 141 mm and a mass of 540g. The lens is wonderful and the images are good for 2.1 megapixels. Even at the time 2.1 megapixels didn't really let you replace your film camera, however. Once resolution started to get over 3 megapixels I left my film camera behind more often. I bought my C-2100 from an ad on Craigslist on June 28, 2012 in the Clairemont Mesa area of San Diego. I purchased this and a Yashica TL-Electro 35mm SLR with extra lens and flash for $25. The price on Craigslist was $25 for the Yashica and $10 for this. I negotiated the price down to $25 since the slower shutter speeds on the Yashica are hanging up and the Olympus was only intermittently turning on. When I got home and put fresh batteries in the Olympus it worked perfectly, however. It is still a very useable camera if you are just putting things on the web. It is nice that it has both the regular screen and an electronic eye level viewfinder. Today, most point and shoot cameras just have the regular LCD screen which can be difficult to view in sunlight. The problem with these early electronic viewfinders, however, is that the image is not clear enough to see fine detail or focus manually. That may finally be changing with the very high resolution electronic viewfinders in the new Sony Alpha SLRs such as the Sony Alpha 55 that has 1,152,000 dots used in the electronic viewfinder compared to I think 114,000 in the Olympus C-2100. (Dpreview.com specifications for the Sony Alpha 55 compared to Steves-digicams.com specifications for the Olympus C-2100 (describes electronic viewfinder as "0.55 inch wide-angle colour TFT LCD monitor with 114,000 pixels (low-temperature poly-silicon)," although that pixel count is the same as for the large LCD viewfinder.)|
|Canon Digital Rebel, introduced September 2003, the Digital Rebel was the first digital optical single lens reflex camera to break the $1,000 price barrier, with a initial street price of $899 for the body only, or $999 with an 18-55mm zoom lens (about 28-90mm 35mm equivalent). I use it frequently for sports photos since it has very little shutter lag, shoots at approximately 2.5 frames per second, and has a top ISO setting of 1600, great for indoor sports. It has a burst mode for up to four shots. Top resolution is 6.3 megapixels with JPEG and RAW settings available. It has the same sensor as the significantly more expensive EOS 10D. I bought my Digital Rebel new from B&H Photo in October 2004 for $815 with lens and a 1gb high speed Compact Flash storage card, after rebates. In March 2005, Canon introduced a new Digital Rebel XT that is 1/2 inch smaller, 3 ounces lighter (due to a smaller battery) and 8 megapixels. It also has a faster startup time. The street price with lens is $999, which has caused the prices of the original Digital Rebel with lens to fall to around $750. I have included the Digital Rebel in both the autofocus SLR category and the digital camera category since it is both. The look and feel is very similar to EOS film cameras. It has several advantages over film cameras since you can shoot about 300 high resolution JPEG images on a 1 gigabyte CompactFlash card - there's no film to change. You can switch the ISO from frame to frame. You also can see what your image looks like on the back of the camera after you take the photo. The lens that comes with the kit is for the digital camera only - it will not fit film cameras since it will protrude too far into the camera. The Digital Rebel will accept all EOS lenses, however. Since the film sensor is smaller than a 35mm frame, the effective focal length is increased by a factor of 1.6. This is both positive and negative. It effectively gives me fast, telephoto lenses. For example, it makes my 70-210 f4 zoom effectively a 112-336 f4 lens. A lens for a film camera with that range and maximum aperture would be very expensive. On the downside, the 1.6 factor limits the use of wide angle lenses. Unlike other digital cameras, optical digital SLRs do not display the image electronically before the image is taken and as yet do not have video modes.|
|Canon Powershot S70 (Large Image) Introduced September 2004. 7.1 megapixel camera with 3.6X zoom, 5.8 to 20.7mm focal length, with a field of view equivalent to a 28mm to 100mm lens on a 35mm film camera. A 28mm equivalent is quite wide for a compact digital camera and is the main reason I got the camera. Maximum aperture ranges from f2.8 at 28mm to a relatively slow f5.3 at 100mm. ISO can be set at 50, 100, 200 and 400. According to dpreview.com, which gave it a "highly recommended," the original street price was a hefty $549. I got mine with the WP-DC40 underwater housing allowing shots underwater to 40m or 130'. The underwater housing currently sells online for about $163. Recent used sales on eBay of Powershot S70 cameras range from $103.50 (plus shipping) to $137.50 (shipping included) as I write this at the end of August 2009. That's pretty high for a compact digital camera introduced five years ago. A housing went for $45. I purchased my camera and housing in about 2007 used from an ad on Craigslist for $200 as I recall. It is in good working condition. My intention was to use it snorkeling which I haven't done yet! Wide angle lenses are primarily used in underwater photography to reduce the distance, and hence amount of water, between the camera and subject.|
|Canon PowerShot A720 IS, purchased new in mid 2008 for $99.99 on clearance at Office Depot. I purchased one for my older son around March 2008 for $160, also at Office Depot. My sister purchased the similar prior PowerShot A710 IS for about $200, also at office Depot. 8.0 megapixel processor. 6X optical zoom lens. Focal length 5.8-34.8mm, equivalent to 35mm to 210mm in a 35mm format, which is a very nice range from moderate wide angle to telephoto. f2.8 to f4.8. ISO range from 80 to 1600. 2.5" viewing screen. Also, has a simple optical viewfinder. While it is not very accurate, especially with such a wide zoom range, an optical viewfinder is still a very useful item. Even the best LCD screens are difficult to see in bright sunlight. Also, an optical viewfinder conserves battery power and is more stable compared to holding the camera out at arms length. Unfortunately, the majority of compact cameras today omit an optical viewfinder. Uses high capacity SD cards. Close focus on macro to 1cm when at the most wide angle focal length. It is really an astonishing value compared with digital cameras a few years ago or simple film cameras a few decades ago. For example, it's the same price as the Kodak C330 I purchased two years before, yet it has twice the resolution, twice the zoom range, twice the ISO range, and features like optical image stabilization. As indicated above, the Kodak C330's price and features were astonishing compared to the earlier Kodak DC-50. As to film cameras, consider the family camera we had when I was growing up - a Kodak Instamatic 104. The list price in 1965 was $15.95. Sounds like a bargain, but adjusted for inflation that's equal to $108 in 2008 dollars. The Instamatic 104 has a single focus length, fixed focus lens, with no exposure adjustment. Close focus was I think around 4 feet. Added to that, you had to buy film, flash cubes, and batteries for the flash. You could only view your photos as prints. (Slide film was available, but you really should have exposure controls to use slide film.) Reviews for the PowerShot A720 IS include dpreview (highly recommended) and DCRP Review. I recommend setting the ISO level yourself since the auto ISO can unexpectedly bump up the ISO and result in considerable noise.|