Original Source Press Release:
Kodak DCS 720x Pro SLR - more pics! (UPDATED)|
(Monday, June 4, 2001 - 07:00 EDT)
New Nikon F5-based digital SLR will replace the DCS 620x in Kodak's lineup...
Eastman Kodak Co. has this morning announced the latest addition to its lineup of SLR digital cameras targetted at professionals, the Kodak DCS 720x. Based on Nikon's F5 film camera, the DCS 720x replaces the now-unavailable DCS 620x digital camera in Kodak's lineup, and will be available late next month. The camera has a 2 megapixel Indium Tin Oxide full-frame CCD image sensor, ISO ratings from 400 to 6400 (the highest calibrated rating being 4000), two stops of push beyond this for exposures up to 25600 (!), and Kodak's fifth-generation camera architecture which includes an improved LCD display with histogram capability. The camera has a burst-mode rate of 4.3 frames per second for up to 25 images, and an improved shutter response speed claimed to rival that of film cameras.
The DCS 720x also includes what Kodak calls 'Picture Protection', a package of features including post-shot exposure compensation, white balance corrections and file recovery. Other features include an IR blocking filter, removable anti-aliasing filter, IPTC captioning and white balance uploading. A wireless Ethernet connection allows automatic uploading of images to a laptop computer, whilst an Intervalometer enables automated image capture over timed intervals. The camera body is a lightweight magnesium alloy casting, and the camera captures 12 bits of color per channel for a total of 36-bit color depth.
IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connectivity offers what Kodak describes as "wicked fast" transfer of images. ;) This fast connectivity is particularly important considering the potential for up to 10GB of storage in-camera through dual PC card slots! Images can be annotated with audio clips (length unspecified); images can be stored at multiple resolution and compression levels. New NiMH batteries offer extended battery life, whilst an AC cable kit with five international power cords and auto-adapter provides for mains power on extended shoots.
Included with the camera are Kodak Professional DCS Photo Desk and DCS Camera Manager. Pricing has not been announced at this time, and is expected to be made public towards the end of June. Kodak notes that it "will be in keeping with Kodak Professional's more aggressive marketing stance of the past year, so the marketplace should be very pleased"...
Kodak has provided us with the following "Q&A" document that contains more details on the camera:
Kodak Professional DCS 720x Digital Camera
How does the DCS 720x differ from the DCS 620x digital camera?
The DCS 720x offers significant technological and workflow advances over its predecessor - including Kodak's fifth-generation professional digital camera electronics architecture; a new LCD display with enhanced brightness, functions and ease of use; and unsurpassed software-driven image management, manipulation and transmission capabilities also found in the DCS Pro Back and DCS 760 digital cameras. It has a faster burst rate (4.3 fps vs. 3.5 fps), a greater burst depth (25 frames vs. 12) and faster image transfer. Shutter response speed now rivals that of conventional "pro" film cameras.
What types of users will benefit most from the DCS 720x?
The DCS 720x is designed for professionals who face challenging action, variable-condition and low-light situations, and who need an edge over either other photographers or competing image capture systems. The list would include photojournalists (especially those shooting sports, breaking news and other action); photographers in the medical, scientific, government, military and law enforcement fields; and other photographers for whom the need is critical and window of opportunity to get the shot is small.
What other features does the DCS 720x offer?
The DCS 720x retains all the performance and features of its host Nikon F5 body, and Kodak's "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. It delivers enhanced image quality and higher color saturation.
Does the new camera replace the DCS 620x?
Yes. The DCS 620x is no longer available.
You say the DCS 720x has an ISO of up to 6400 but is calibrated to ISO 4000. What does that mean exactly?
The DCS 720x is optimized, calibrated and tested for operation from ISO 400 to ISO 4000. In-the-field testing and customer usage indicates that, for low-light photography at very high ISO, the trade-off of quality for speed is acceptable. So that means the camera can be operated at up to ISO 6400, although image quality and color may not be suitable for some applications. The DCS 720x also supports two stops exposure compensation to enable a top-end exposure at up to 25600 ISO for extreme situations.
Why is the lowest ISO setting 400 when other cameras offer lower settings?
The DCS 720x is designed for photographers who shoot in low-light - especially action - situations, and a 400 ISO is an acceptable minimum setting for that type of photography.
What comes in the box with the DCS 720x?
The DCS 720x ships with an IR blocking filter, hand and neck straps, power supply kit (includes a dual-slot battery charger with AC and 12-volt adapters, and a camera AC adapter), universal AC cable kit for international use, IEEE 1394 cable, Kodak Premium Plus rechargeable battery (NiMH), host software CDs, documentation, warranty card and service information.
What is the camera's focal length magnification?
It is 1.6, the same as with the DCS 620x. This means a 100mm lens on a DCS 720x would capture an image area roughly equivalent to that of a 160mm lens on a Nikon F5 film camera. The DCS 720x viewfinder is optically modified to display the actual image capture area (WYSIWYG).
Can I operate the DCS 720x with my present Macintosh Acquire and PC TWAIN software?
No. Kodak Professional is including DCS Photo Desk and DCS Camera Manager software to operate this camera. Both are available now and can be downloaded from the Kodak Professional web site.
Photo Desk is a stand-alone image browser created specifically to support files from Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras. It allows imaging functionality similar to older TWAIN and Adobe PhotoShop acquire modules. Its many features include exposure compensation, color correction, cropping, rotation, file naming, and coping/converting of images from storage cards.
Camera Manager enables tethered functionality for DCS digital cameras utilizing IEEE 1394 to a Mac or a PC. This includes camera control, downloading of images, setting camera properties, and the ability to capture and save images directly to a host computer's hard disk.
Will a software development kit (SDK) be available, similar to kits offered with your other Kodak Professional digital cameras?
Yes, an SDK supporting Kodak Professional's 7XX series cameras will be available to developers in late July on the Kodak web site at no charge. It will incorporate improved functionally, and therefore will differ from that of previous models. Developer support for the new SDK will also be provided at www.kodak.com/go/drg.
There was no Canon-based "cousin" to the DCS 620x. Are there any plans to build a Canon-based version of the DCS 720x?
Kodak currently has no plans to create a Canon EOS-mount version of the DCS 720x, but that determination could change.
What, if anything, does this say about your relationship with Canon?
Our relationships with Canon and with Nikon are good, and commonly involve aspects of both cooperation and competition. Regarding the 720x, there are several valid business and technical reasons for introducing this high ISO capability on a Nikon platform at this time. For obvious reasons, we wouldn't go into specifics.
What is the suggested price of the DCS 720x?
Pricing information will be made available toward the end of June. Pricing will be in keeping with Kodak Professional's more aggressive marketing stance of the past year, so the marketplace should be very pleased. Pricing information will be available from all authorized dealers of Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras.
When will the DCS 720x be available?
The DCS 720x will be available from authorized Kodak Professional dealers by late July.
Where can I find more detailed information about the DCS 720x?
More information is available online at www.kodak.com/go/dcs720x. Or you can reach Kodak Professional by phone at 1-800-235-6325.
UPDATED 2001-06-04 14:05ET:We now have a number of new images of the Kodak DCS 720x from various angles, courtesy of Kodak:
Eastman Kodak Co.
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|Feature-Laden Kodak Professional DCS 720x Digital Camera Delivers Superior Performance for Action, Low-Light Photography|
DCS 620x Successor Blends Highest ISO With Improved In-the-Field Functionality
ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 4 - Professional photographers can tackle the most challenging action, variable-condition, and low-light photography situations with confidence using the new Kodak Professional DCS 720x digital camera. The DCS 720x combines the highest ISO settings available - 400 to 6400 (calibrated to 4000), with two-stop push for exposures at up to 25600 - with a variety of functional improvements to enhance and simplify even the most critical, high-pressure forms of in-the-field photography.
The 2-megapixel DCS 720x offers significant technological advantages over its predecessor, the versatile DCS 620x. These advantages owe primarily to Kodak's fifth-generation professional digital camera architecture, improved bright LCD display with histogram, and other imaging capabilities first introduced in the new DCS Pro Back and DCS 760 cameras.
Based upon the rugged Nikon F5 camera body, the DCS 720x features a faster burst rate - 4.3 fps - and a greater burst depth - 25 images. Shutter response speed has been improved so it now rivals that of conventional film cameras. Kodak Professional's newest camera comes with numerous other enhancements that make it easier to use in the field.
"The DCS 720x gives the professional photographer a clear advantage when the conditions are challenging and the windows of opportunity to get the shot are small," said Madhav Mehra, Worldwide Director, Digital Capture Product Development, Kodak Professional. "If you're shooting fast-action or low-light situations - such as military and law enforcement applications, sports and action, and spot news events - this is the ideal camera to get the scoop, and not to be scooped by others. Serious photographers can rely on the DCS 720x for excellent image quality, fast response and expandability. And we think they'll find the price very appealing."
The DCS 720x is yet another world-class demonstration of how Kodak both influences and participates in infoimaging - the $225 billion industry created by the convergence of image science and information technology to create new opportunities. Infoimaging describes images enabled by technology, improving communication and commerce, and creating significant new revenue and market opportunities for businesses.
Key to the DCS 720x are Kodak's improved, proprietary indium tin oxide (ITO) full-frame CCD, color filter array (CFA) pattern, and low-noise electronics including a new software noise-reduction filter. The CFA delivers unsurpassed spectral response to produce exceptional picture quality at extremely high ISO ranges.
The DCS 720x, built on the Nikon F5 platform, retains all the durability, functionality and lens compatibility of that acclaimed single-lens-reflex camera. Photographers will especially appreciate Kodak's "Picture Protection" - a unique package of complementary features including post-shot exposure compensation, white balance corrections and file recovery to ensure the viability of the image file.
Plus, photographers can customize the DCS 720x with an IR blocking filter, removable anti-aliasing filter, IPTC captioning, white balance uploading, and a wide choice of storage options. Direct e-mail image transmission over web-enabled cellular phones will become available as an upgrade later this year
Other Innovative Features
Inside, the new camera builds on the latest DCS series firmware and software upgrades that enable dual memory card slots, GPS data recording and laptop-free image transmission via cellular phones.
- Rapid auto-save-to-laptop feature enables wireless Ethernet connection
- On-the-spot exposure accuracy verification via patented on-board histogram
- Full lightweight cast magnesium alloy body ensures high durability for field use
- Calibrated color response and TTL auto color balance adjust image color to match light source
- 36-bit color (12 bits per channel) for capturing color and detail in shadows and highlights
- Intervalometer enables automated capture over timed intervals for remote applications
- Kodak Professional DCS Camera Manager, a new software application for controlling the DCS 720x (and Kodak's other IEEE 1394-equipped cameras) from a computer
- An enhanced version of Kodak Professional DCS Photo Desk, a powerful yet easy-to-use software application for image browsing, management and enhancement
- Open Application Programmer Interface (API) lets third-party developers write their own custom software applications
- Color liquid crystal display (LCD) provides improved contrast, increased viewing angle
- IEEE 1394 interface provides "wicked fast" and reliable transfer of images (three images per second across FireWire)
- Voice annotation to document specific shots with "audio notebook"
- Dual PC card storage interface offers storage flexibility
- Internal file storage of up to 10GB
- Onboard JPEG compression with multiple levels of resolution and compression
- Universal AC cable kit with five international power cords and auto-adapter
- New NiMH batteries for extended battery life (removable for easy transport / recharge)
The Kodak Professional DCS 720x digital camera will be available in late July from authorized dealers of Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras. Pricing will be available in late June. More information on the camera is available online at www.kodak.com/go/dcs720x.