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Kodak licensee shows off Micro Four Thirds camera in China

By dpreview staff on Jan 18, 2013 at 18:43 GMT

Just a week after announcing it was licensing the Kodak brand name, JK Imaging has been showing a Micro Four Thirds camera at a press conference in China. Details are vague but the camera, reported to be called the S1, does appear to be sporting the official Micro Four Thirds logo. The camera, which will offer Wi-Fi for communication with smartphones, is said to be based around a Sony CMOS sensor (Reported as backside-illuminated CMOS in some sources. To the best of our knowledge, Sony only uses BSI designs in 1/1.7" and smaller sensor sizes, where it brings most benefit.)

Image from PCOnline's Weibo Digital Camera's blog

JK Imaging - a recently established California-registered company - has bought the right to make cameras under the Kodak name. At the same press conference it also showed a series of the sort of contract-made compact cameras such a deal would normally be expected to yield, but the decision to create Micro Four Thirds camera and have something tangible to show so quickly, is a surprise. The UK's Amateur Photographer magazine had reported that a Mirrorless system camera was planned.

Kodak was a founding member of the original, open, Four Thirds standard and its name has subsequently been added to the list of members of the Micro Four Thirds consortium.

Another slide in the presentation includes Asia Optical (a Taiwanese contract manufacturer) in the Kodak/JK Imaging partnership, though this may only relate to the compact cameras being launched in Q2 2013.

Image from PCOnline's Weibo Digital Camera's blog

While images available give little away, it's interesting to note that the position of the focus and zoom rings on the lens (along with the lip around the front of the lens), is very similar to Olympus' 14-42mm mark II design, though it's too early to know if this is much more than a mock-up. (via PetaPixel)

Comments

Total comments: 192
12
patoth66
By patoth66 (Jan 18, 2013)

Really hope they put a Kodak sensor in it! I mean whats the point calling it Kodak without there sensor technology in it? its like calling a intel based computer for Amiga!! I also like the Kodak sensor, like I like the Foveon sensor!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 18, 2013)

Kodak doesn't make sensors anymore - its former sensor division was sold off in 2011 and is now called Truesense Imaging.

6 upvotes
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Jan 18, 2013)

Besides what Richard says, Olympus was well advised to stop buying sensors from Kodak after their attempt to provide a live view capable sensor resulted in the worst sensor of all FT cameras, the 10 MP interline CCD of the E-400. While it did deliver excellent low ISO JPEGs out-of-cam, high ISO was catastrophic and it turned out not to be up to the task of delivering decent live view. At least that's what I gather from findings on the Net.

0 upvotes
quitomarez
By quitomarez (Jan 18, 2013)

As an e400 old user, I still remember the fabulous low iso images that I used to take with its Kodak sensor. As you said, hight iso was not so good. But all in all, it was an excellent small camera.

0 upvotes
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Jan 18, 2013)

what is the sensor inside of it?
really a Sony as Mirrorless rumors site reported ?
if it is really a Sony sensor , I wont get one , I do not like Sony sensors , especially the way they render skin tone.
I hope it will be a REAL Kodak CCD.
Kinda tired of boring CMOS from Sony and Canon.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 18, 2013)

With respect, sensors don't render skin tones. A combination of their colour filter array and the configuration of the image processing defines that.

15 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 18, 2013)

Besides Richard's point, Sony is making some of the best performing sensors in the world. The Kodak CCD sensors like the one in the Leica M9 is quite good, but it does not outperform the FF sensors from Sony.

4 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (Jan 18, 2013)

When is the last time Kodak was really selling a lot of sensors anyway? Are people clinging to the "magic colors" from their old Olympus E-1's and the like?

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (Jan 18, 2013)

This is just a Kodak branded product. There is no "Kodak" in this company or the camera.

5 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (Jan 18, 2013)

Richard is right, it is the processor that converts the data from the array to an image.
Anyway, the 16.3MP APS-C Sony sensor that is used by not only Sony, but Nikon, Pentax and rumour has it, Leica in their X2, is the stuff of legend!

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jan 18, 2013)

I am sorry to hear that you dont like Sony sensors. It makes it much harder for you to buy any camera if you have that prejudice.

BTW - I have got one of them Sony sensors in my K-5.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (Jan 18, 2013)

..and next year we get a FF from China..

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 18, 2013)

What could possibly be wrong with that? Chinese companies like Kinefinity are making some excellent gear like the KineRaw S35, which is a 2K Cinema camera similar to the Red Scarlet. They are about to release the less-expensive Mini S35 which is going to be a strong competitor to the Black Magic Cinema Camera. Competition comes from many sources and is always a good thing.

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/01/mini-s35-camera-kinefinity-2k-raw-price-cost-6000/

Besides that, you are aware that Kodak was one of the most important Camera/Photo companies the world has ever known?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Jan 18, 2013)

The key word about Kodak's legacy is "was". This startup company has nothing to do with Kodak except buying the rights to use the brand on products it will market.

0 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jan 18, 2013)

That would be about time.

Heck, I'd be surprised if the only reason we haven't seen one is because the Chinese haven't exported their Canon-clones yet.

0 upvotes
sphexx
By sphexx (Jan 18, 2013)

So why has this not been announced by Olympus and Panasonic who own the closed microFT standard or have they given that up. There is no mention of the latter on mFT web site. Could it be mirrorles four thirds instead?

0 upvotes
G Sciorio
By G Sciorio (Jan 18, 2013)

Micro 4/3 is mirrorless 43

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 18, 2013)

G Sciorio - that's not quite true - Micro Four Thirds is /a/ mirrorless system that uses a Four Thirds sensor. Noticeably it's a different mount specification with a different flange-back distance.

I think what sphexx is suggesting a Four Thirds mount camera that doesn't have a mirror. The camera shown here isn't deep enough for it to be that, though (and I think the lens shown here is too close to the Olympus m.Zuiko 14-42mm II design for it to not be related).

And, although the logo on the front of the camera is too small to make out in detail, if you measure it, it's closer to the 16:9 aspect ratio of the Micro Four Thirds logo than the 4:3 design of the Four Thirds one.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Thoughts
By Thoughts (Jan 18, 2013)

Very clever move! better than Polaroid's offers seems

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 18, 2013)

What you don't like the idea of putting the sensor in the lens? :-)

2 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Jan 19, 2013)

I don't like the idea of putting the sensor in the lens because it leads to duplication. If you buy five lenses, then you are also buying five sensors. If you want to upgrade your sensor, you have to buy five more lenses instead of just one new camera body.

0 upvotes
Martin87
By Martin87 (Jan 18, 2013)

It's good to see the name and the KODAK logo alive and on a digital camera again. I kinda missed it.

3 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Jan 18, 2013)

I guess. Kodak marketed some good cameras but they sold a lot more cheap junk. I suspect the latter from this startup that's Kodak in name and logo only.

0 upvotes
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (Jan 18, 2013)

I like to know more about it, but it looks like nothing like Kodak, beside the logo.

1 upvote
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 18, 2013)

if the price point is good, it can compete with Polaroid

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jan 18, 2013)

See, it only took the Chinese a week to figure out how to make money with the Kodak name in Digital. Kodak could have done this 3-4 years ago.

14 upvotes
deleted_081301
By deleted_081301 (Jan 18, 2013)

The Chinese havent come up with anythin g have they ....It's a US company all the Chinese do is manufacture it ..... for JK imaging of California

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jan 18, 2013)

Yeah, probably a poor generalization on my part.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 18, 2013)

I can't find out enough information about JK Imaging to know what work is going to be done where.

2 upvotes
aliminator
By aliminator (Jan 18, 2013)

Why does American company introduce their camera in such a way? It looks like a Chinese company is presenting its product to Chinese market.

1 upvote
rayman 2
By rayman 2 (Jan 18, 2013)

So many negative replies yet nobody has seen the camera
and more so not used it.. !
How do you know how it is..... ?
Nikon and canon started small 70 years ago in the camera business mainly with cameras that looked like german cameras.. and today both of them are on the top and only a few german camera brands are left...
More MFT cameras is a good thing for the market !

3 upvotes
raven900sx
By raven900sx (Jan 18, 2013)

in reply to when kodak last sold sensors...that would probably be to pentax for the 645d. and that seems to be one mighty fine camera

0 upvotes
kitchenbug
By kitchenbug (Jan 19, 2013)

If they open-source the firmware, a paradigm shift can occur.

1 upvote
Total comments: 192
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