Kodak 420 was nice to start with but was exemplary of the beginnings
of this class of photography. For example, the field of view was
only a small portion of the viewfinder. This seems to have been
an early stage in development, but it was sure better than the consumer
cameras of the same year.
few months after I began testing the 420 the museum bought the Kodak
DCS model 460. This was the first digital camera which produced
a result which came close to comparing with the quality of film.
Pictures from the model 460 could be enlarged to 8x10, and if printed
with the Kodak model 8600 dye sublimation printer, the results were
as good as normal 8x10 lab prints. The cost, however, was staggering...$28,000
for the camera and $9000 for the printer. Just two years later,
you could get a camera with five times the quality (a BetterLight
or PhaseOne) for $19,000,
almost half the cost of the Kodak price of 1995. Today, with $449,
you can get an Epson model 800 printer that comes close to the quality
of a dye sub printer which still costs over $8000. The Kodak dye
sub printer is, however, a product of extraordinary quality.
Kodak model 460 made many improvements over the model 420, especially
in the field of view. Actually the Kodak system has one advantage,
it is an "area" array chip, which means you can record
a moving object. Area array chips (such as used in the ScanView
Carnival from Color Crisp of Denmark) can photograph any subject
that moves, such as animals, and plants (which tend to blow in the
wind). The 4x5 format Dicomed
and other linear array chips take a picture one line at a time,
so they do not handle movement very well (but linear chips do marvelous
jobs on panoramas and rollouts, which is controlled movement).
Kodak cameras operate together with a PC or a Mac system, which
is an advantage over cameras which are restricted to Mac-only situations.
you are dedicated to 35mm format, then you might wish to try out
one of the Kodak cameras. They come associated with Nikon or Canon
camera bodies. The Kodak model DCS465 fits onto a Hasselblad and
other cameras, though it makes little sense to affix a frame smaller
even than a 35mm format to a Sinar,
Toyo, or other large format camera. If you are already into large
format, then stay in large format with the Carnival
(for movement) or the Better Light, Dicomed or PhaseOne for still
the new crop of digital cameras that I saw at PMA trade show last
year, the Nikon D1 looked the best (for 35mm; the BetterLight won
the award for the best large format digital scan back). Kodak has
not fared very well in the digital world, ironic, since it is Kodak
that makes many of the best chips for the better digital cameras
(Philips mades the rest).
new Fuji chip caused a lot of excitement, but since all digital
imaging software and hardware works with square pixels, the Fuji
images have to be translated into square pixels at the end, thus
losing their advantage.
camera to check out (if you have plenty of money) is the Foveon.
you really want technical details on inkjet media, inks, and/or
inkjet printhead technology, and especially if you wish to meet
the movers and shakers in this industry, be sure to sign up for
the next conference organized by IMI. To contact them write to
These seminars are outstanding; the senior review editor of FLAAR
usually attends because he can get so much fresh information for
the readers of the FLAAR Reports in PDF format and the FLAAR Information
Network of web sites.
to digital photography
for conventional photography
and how to store your digital images? RAID,
of links to information on desktop
publishing hardware/software, www.laser-printer-reviews.org