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Kodak DCS 620X

By dpreview staff on May 16, 2000 at 04:00 GMT

Kodak today announced an enhanced version of the DCS620 named the DCS620X. The major new feature is the new camera's ability to work at very high ISO's (up to ISO 6400), typically trying to get this amount of sensitivity out of a CCD is a problem but with a new CMY colour pattern allowing more light through and some noise reduction processing built into the cameras firmware Kodak think the DSC620X will produce usable high quality images even at high ISOs. List price $10,495. Note: This drops the price of the DCS620 to $8,995.

For those of you who don't know the DCS620(X) is a professional digital version of Nikon's F5. Back in the earlier days of this site I was lucky enough to review the DCS620 and was mightly impressed, the DCS620X takes that to a whole new level with higher shutter speeds available for sports photographers and more flexibility for those working in low light.

For a technical document written by Stephen A. Noble (Advanced Development Manager, Kodak Professional) on the new CCD technology of the DCS620X click here (Adobe Acrobat PDF - 25KB).

Click here for downloadable samples from the Kodak Website

Below is are four 100% crops (from the Kodak press pack) of the same scene shot at different ISO's with Kodak's new noise reduction software enabled. As you can see at higher ISO's the software "smears" flat areas to remove noise...

Kodak DCS620X, ISO 400
 
Kodak DSC620X, ISO 1600
Kodak DSC620X, ISO 3200 
 
Kodak DSC620X, ISO 6400

Here's the official press release from Kodak:

Kodak Professional Pushes Boundaries of Available-Light Shooting

New Version of DCS 620 Digital Camera Performs at up to ISO 6400. Kodak Professional DCS 620x Digital Camera Also Delivers Improved Image Quality

ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 15 - Digital photographers who shoot in changing and low-light situations can now reap the benefits of extremely high ISO settings with the new Kodak Professional DCS 620x digital camera. A version of the workhorse DCS 620 model, this new camera features ISO settings ranging from 400 to 6400. The new model also provides improved image quality, which enables photographers to push the boundaries of digital imaging to even greater limits.

"Photojournalists and other professionals have already come to rely heavily on our DCS 620 camera," said Peter Jameson, Director, Digital Capture, Kodak Professional. "This enhanced version of the camera will make it even more invaluable for photographers who are challenged to shoot fast action or in low-light conditions, including sports/action, medical and scientific imaging, government, military and law enforcement. The DCS 620x camera offers improved flexibility and expandability along with increased quality - a truly winning equation."

Key to the DCS 620x digital camera are a new CCD (charge couple device), color filter array (CFA) pattern, and low-noise electronics. The new CFA on Kodak's 2-megapixel ITO (indium tin oxide) CCD provides enhanced spectral response, producing high picture quality at extremely high ISO ranges.

Like the DCS 620 camera, the DCS 620x is built on the Nikon F5 platform and retains all the durability, functionality and lens compatibility of that single-lens-reflex camera.

The Kodak Professional DCS 620x camera provides a host of features that ensure superior image quality and higher color saturation. In addition to a new software noise reduction filter, the DCS 620x offers Kodak's "Picture Protection" - a range of features that includes post-shot exposure compensation, white balance corrections and file recovery.

Plus, photographers can customize the DCS 620x with such options as removable anti-aliasing and IR blocking filters, IPTC captioning, white balance uploading, direct cellular phone transmission, and a wide choice of storage options.

Innovative Features

  • 2-megapixel (1736 x 1160) 13um, ITO, CCD sensor.
  • Flexible ISO of 400 - 6400 (calibrated from ISO 400-4000).
  • Serial port for GPS receivers and direct cellular telephone
  • onnectivity.
  • Burst rate of 3.5 frames per second, and a sustained burst depth of 12 images.
  • Patented on-board histogram lets photographers verify exposure accuracy on the spot.
  • Cast magnesium alloy body ensures high durability, while its light weight makes it ideal for field use.
  • Calibrated color response and the TTL auto color balance option ensure that the camera adjusts image color to match the light source.
    36-bit color (12 bits per channel) for capturing color and detail in shadows and highlights.
  • Intervalometer to enable automated capture over timed intervals for remote applications.
  • Open Application Programmer Interface (API) lets third-party developers write their own custom software applications.
  • Color liquid crystal display (LCD) provides instant review of images.
  • IEEE 1394 interface provides fast and reliable transfer of images.
  • Voice annotation provides audio notebook to document specific shots.
  • Dual PC card storage interface offers storage flexibility.
  • Delivers 6MB finished files in 24 bit RGB.
  • Onboard JPEG compression with three levels of resolution.
  • Removable batteries for easy transport and recharge.
  • New NiMH batteries for extended battery life.
  • Improved version 5.9.1 Adobe PhotoShop Plug in / TWAIN acquire software tools.

The new camera follows closely on the introduction of the latest DCS series firmware and software upgrades that include enabling dual memory card slots, GPS data recording and laptop-free image transmission via cellular phones.

The Kodak Professional DCS 620x digital camera carries a suggested U.S. list price of $10,495. It will be available starting June 1 from authorized dealers of Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras.

Kodak DCS620X Q&A

How does the DCS 620x differ from the DCS 620 digital camera?

The DCS 620x has all the functionality of the DCS 620, but also incorporates a new CCD (charge couple device), color filter array (CFA) pattern, and low-noise electronics. As a result, the DCS 620x features ISO settings ranging from 400 to 6400. The new CFA on Kodak's 2-megapixel indium tin oxide CCD delivers enhanced spectral response for high-quality images at extremely high ISO ranges and with greater color saturation.

Who will benefit most from the DCS 620x?

Photojournalists, especially those shooting sports and action; photographers in the medical, scientific imaging, government, military and law enforcement fields; and others who have to capture digital images in low-light or changing lighting conditions.

What other features does the DCS 620x offer?

The DCS 620x has a range of features that ensure superior image quality and higher color saturation. In addition to a new software noise reduction filter, the DCS 620x offers "Picture Protection" - a menu of features that includes post-shot exposure compensation, white balance corrections and file recovery. Photographers can customize the camera with such options as removable anti-aliasing and IR blocking filters, IPTC captioning, white balance uploading, direct cellular phone transmission, and a wide choice of storage options.

Does the new camera replace the DCS 620?

No, there is a market for both. The DCS 620, as well as the DCS 520, remain in Kodak's award-winning line of professional digital cameras.

Given the advances in the DCS 620x, why would anyone want to buy a DCS 620?

The DCS 620 is an excellent camera in its own right, offering high performance with an ISO range of 200-1600. For photographers who don't need extended low-light capabilities, the DCS 620 provides all the features of the DCS 620x at a reduced price.

You say the DCS 620x has an ISO of up to 6400, but is calibrated only to ISO 4000. What does that mean exactly?

The DCS 620x camera is optimized, calibrated and tested for operation from ISO 400 to ISO 4000. Comments from early users suggested that, for low-light photography at very high ISO, the trade-off of quality for speed is acceptable. So the camera can be operated at up to ISO 6400, but image quality and color may not be suitable for some applications.

Why is the lowest ISO setting 400 when other cameras offer lower settings?

The DCS 620x is designed specifically for photographers who shoot - especially action - in low light, and a 400 ISO is the minimum setting for that situation.

Are there any plans to market a DCS 520x?

Kodak currently has no plans to create a Canon EOS-mount version of a high ISO digital camera, although that determination could change.

What, if anything, does this say about your relationship with Canon?

Our relationship with Canon, as well as with Nikon, is a good one and evolves over time. Regarding the 620x, there are several valid business and technical reasons for introducing this new low-light capability on a Nikon platform at this time.

What is the suggested price of the DCS 620x?

In the U.S., the suggested list price for the DCS 620x is $10,495. Please contact a local authorized dealer of Kodak Professional DCS cameras for detailed pricing information.

Are you resetting the price on the DCS 620?

Yes. Effective May 15, the suggested U.S. list price of the DCS 620 is $8,995.

When will the 620x be available?

The DCS 620x will be available from Kodak Professional dealers on June 1.

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