Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Kodak only has 3 current Digital SLR cameras. One is not really in production anymore (although it's still considered a currentmodel). It's the Kodak DCS 14N.
This camera was plagued with problems, and used a CMOS Sensor made by the Belgium Company Fill Factor, with the "top" of the camera made by Nikon (based on the F80 body).
Some users thought it to be OK for studio work, but it's sensor had very high noise as ISO speed was increased (especially in lower light), compared to most other DSLR models -- so usefullness was limited compared to other DSLR models.
If you search around, I've seen it discounted heavily lately (down to around $2,600.00 from some vendors).
After all of the problems and complaints with the DCS 14N, the CMOS Sensor was redesigned (by Fill Factory), and the Electronics were upgraded by Kodak.Kodak introducedthis upgraded model as the DCS SLR/N. They have also introduced a DCS SLR/C. Like prevous model Kodak Digital SLR's, the DCS SLR/N is based on a Nikon body, and will take Nikon lenses.
The newer DCS SLR/C, appears to be based on a Sigma body, custom made for Kodak, but is designed to take Canon lenses.
These models work much better than the original DCS 14N, andare selling for approximately $4,995.00
Note that these are 14 Megapixel "Full Frame" (35mm film size sensor) cameras, with the closest competition being the Canon EOS-1Ds (full frame, 11 megapixel CMOS Sensor). The Canon sells for considerablymore than the Kodak (around $7,999.00), and is aMUCH better camera.
Unfortunately, Kodak does NOT offer any "entry level" Digital SLR models (only consumer digital cameras with permanently attached lenses).
Right now, the two lowest priced Digital SLR models, from any manufacturers,are the Canon Digital Rebel, and the Nikon D70. These models sell for around $899.00 and $999.00 respectfully (body only, no lens). Both are also available as "kits", with entry level zoom lenses, for a little more.
As far as Olympus, their only Digital SLR model is the E-1 (introduced about a year ago). Ironically (since Kodak does not offer any models at this level), it's using a Kodak Sensor. The Olympus E-1 is selling for around $1,499.00 (body only, no lens).
This model (Olympus E-1) is using a new "4/3" System, and requires lenses specially designed for this format.
IMO, Kodak needs to put a LOT more emphasis on new product development. Otherwise, one of these days, you may be hearing people say "remember when Kodak was still around".
The Digital SLR market is really starting to take off now (with Kodak being left far behind). Consumers are beginning to realize that their consumer grade cameras,don't work well enough in many conditions (especially in lower light, when higher ISO speeds are called for).
Digital SLR models have dramatically larger sensors, and can shoot at much higher ISO speeds with lower noise (similiar to film grain). These larger sensors also give much better dynamic range. It's not about the "quantity" of the pixels, it's about the "quality" of the pixels.
An "entry level" 6 Megapixel Digital SLR (like the Canon Digital Rebel,or Nikon D70), can "run circles" around non-DSLR models at higher ISO speeds. This is because the size of the photosites for each pixel is much larger, allowing them to gather more light. As a result, not as much amplification of the signal is neeed, for equivalent ISO Speed sensitivty. Amplification adds noise. Of course, there are exceptions to a larger sensor always being much better -- the Kodak DCS 14N proved this. However, the Kodakwas the exeption to the rule.
As for Kodak, I really can't understand what in the world they are doing (from a new product development standpoint). In the past, they've made some of the most highly regarded Digital SLR models (based on Nikon bodies). Many photojournalists swear by some of these older models. But, for now, they seem to be satisified with a VERY small "niche", with the DCSSLR/N and DCS SLR/C models.