Kodak Professional DCS 520 (click for larger image)
Kodak Professional DCS 520

The Kodak Professional DCS 520 (referred to as the DCS 520 from now onwards) lives up there in the dream world of professional digital cameras.

Although out of the reach of most consumers, these cameras are used every day by professional photographers, journalists and serious hobbyists.

The 520 is the fourth generation Kodak Professional digital camera, ignoring the first generation the second was made up of the 420 and 460 (2 million and 6 million pixels) based on the Nikon N90s body, the main drawback with the 400 series was the lack of an LCD.

First DCS100 1990-1992
Second DCS200 1992-1994
Third DCS4xx/EOS-DCS X 1994-Present
Fourth DCS5xx (Canon EOS-1 body) 1998 - Present
Fifth DCS6xx (Nikon F5 body) 1999 - Present

DCS 520 - based on a Canon EOS-1N body (click for larger image)

The 500 comes in two versions the 520 (2 million pixel CCD) and the 560 (3 x 2 million pixel CCD's - 6 million pixels total). The 500 series is based on the Canon EOS-1N body with Kodak's digital back, processing unit and expanded feature set.

The 500 series are also sold by Canon as the D2000 and D6000.

For this review Kodak were good enough to loan me the following equipment (thanks to Steve Seah of Kodak Singapore):

  • Kodak DCS 520 Body
  • Canon 28mm Lens
  • DPA 340Mb PCMCIA Type III Hard Disk
  • Battery & Charger
  • ELPAC 885047 AC Adapter (power supply)

Note: because of the size difference between 35mm film and the CCD in the camera you have to multiply the focal length of a lens by a "focal length multiplier", in the case of the 520 this is 1.6 (focal length multipliers are listed on the comparison engine for all pro SLR cameras).

Therefore the 28mm lens supplied had an effective 35mm film focal length of 45mm. Another example would be a 28mm to 70mm zoom lens would effectively be a 45mm to 112mm zoom lens on this camera. (And a 500mm lens would be 800mm !!)

Obviously to get true wide angle you would have to use an 18mm or less lens.

Anti-alias filter (click for larger image)The 520 and the 560 are also unique in that they feature an anti-alias filter which prevents the effect known as "aliasing" (rainbow coloured bands on fine detail such as hair / distant fences etc.).

The anti-alias filter sits between the lens and the mirror and can be removed if required by removing a small screw.

This has no noticeable effect on the viewfinder, exposure metering or focusing systems.