Too risky to buy the DCS 760 in 2017?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Ashley Pomeroy
Ashley Pomeroy Regular Member • Posts: 162
Re: Too risky to buy the DCS 760 in 2017?

Obviously this is too late for the OP, but for future reference I've owned two DCS 760s. They both failed in the same way - the images started to become corrupted. I sold the first one for parts but kept the second one on a shelf. Eventually I unscrewed everything and dismantled it, then blew air on the interior, reassembled it, and it worked! I have no idea what was wrong. A short?

The batteries are, surprisingly, still available, although postage is now difficult. You have to keep the batteries outside of the camera otherwise they drain. When the batteries are inserted you can hear a faint electrical noise coming from the camera. I believe Kodak engineered it so that the camera would start up quickly.

I wrote an extensive blog post about the DCS 760 here. Illustrated mostly with photographs taken around the Barbican in London with a Samyang 14mm lens, which is roughly 20mm on the DCS 760. It has an APS-H sensor. My recollection is that as with the DCS 520 and other second-generation DCS cameras the interface was surprisingly fast and easy to use; it had no problem with high-capacity compact flash cards; as a camera it was lightning fast.

Image quality-wise it was sharp and detailed with good highlight retention. Most of the images in that blog post make extensive use, perhaps overuse, of graduated filters to bring out details in the clouds. I use Photoshop CS4 - I paid for it, a long time ago - which opens .DCR files. Noise at ISO 400 is tolerable but the shadows are never going to be any good. In my opinion back when it was new the D1x's only real advantages were instant JPG production, lower noise, obviously a smaller body with proper weatherproofing; if you bought a DCS 760 back in 2001 I doubt you were disappointed. My recollection is that Kodak's software package was much more extensive - you had to pay extra for Nikon Capture.

I'm not uploading a RAW file because I want to preserve the illusion that every image I produce is super-terrific. If DPReview wills it, here's a full-sized image that's gone through Adobe Camera Raw's graduated filters and ePaperPress' geometric tweaking but nil else:

Note the overall sharpness, noisy shadows, moire patterns in some of the details, particularly the panels to the left. Price-wise the DCS 760 was expensive new and remained a credible professional tool until the mid-2000s - the 14n had more resolution but in my opinion felt like a step backwards - at which point used values were still quite high on account of the fact it was the last and best of the DCS cameras. I still have the original box with the extra cables, which are useless, although the box is handy if you want to e.g. transport a light machine-gun by car without attracting suspicious.

EDIT: One thing. The camera's size and weight helped keep vibration down. The following was shot at ISO 80 and 1/6th second handheld, albeit that I was bracing myself:

Not one of the Tate Modern's most memorable exhibitions.

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