Dead Kodak digicams get grand post mortem

Apple Quicktake 100I spent 20 minutes taking a digital camera to pieces last night. It played havoc with my fingernails, but they grow fast and they needed cutting anyway.

I was at Susan Hutchinson’s excellent West Oxford Academy, held at WOCA, and Iain Tullis gave a most interesting talk on the technology of digicams. He bought 16 broken Kodak cameras at a quid a pop and provided screwdrivers and tools to help us all pull the stuff apart.

Kodak, of course, lost the plot on digital cameras and is now selling off its patents as it is in Chapter 11 – not that that helps much the folk in Harrow and in Rochester NY who have lost their jobs.

Techies will know that the choice for manufacturers is between CCDs (charge coupled devices) and CMOS – silicon tech. Iain said that the choice these days is down to fashion and of course to pricing.

After I’d broken my thumb nail, I got down to the circuit board of the Kodak cam I was breaking up. A Zoran chip and Hynix stuff and apparently it’s the Zoran chip that held all the software algorithms and that. All that Zoran stuff is no more, of course, the IP is all over the place.

Iain showed some fab pictures of the first Kodak digicams – in 1986 we had the Steven Sasson 1.4 megapix baby, storing its stuff on an audio cassette. Then he showed the model Kodak tried to sell first – the Dycam model one at a cool $1,800.  Kodak, of course, cobbled together the Apple QuickTake 100 – a 640 by 180 display and that.

So what went wrong with Kodak? Iain Tullis said: “This is MBA fodder.”  We knew it had a problem in the tech industry and the infamous recall didn’t help its credibility in the 1990s.  However, Iain Tullis said that Nikon, Canon and others managed to change.

So which digital camera is the best to buy, one of the audience asked.  The more you spend, apparently, the better the camera, it seems. The 16 corpsed Kodak digicams were collected at the end, for their uncertain fate on a container ship to China.  ♦

6 responses to “Dead Kodak digicams get grand post mortem

  1. drat I meant to go
    do you have his contact details?
    As this is just the sort of thing we like at the oxford hackspace
    we currently have a small studio space at OVADA in osney lane
    were still in the process of boot strapping ourselves as far as kit is concerned but were typically open every day

    thanks for all the local info!

    best wishes

    • Susan H has his details, Big Kate, I am sure.

      Mad Mike

    • I’ve got to pop round and see you guys, hadn’t realised you had all this stuff going on – three minutes away dot com – Mike

      • you would off course be very welcome
        thursday nights are our main social nights
        were open to all – you don’t have to ba a member to come
        come and hack some stuff!
        Ovada is alos holding an open exibition this month!

        As i said were still getting going – working out what tools we need to buy, we don’t even have a policy on donations and pledges etc yet
        the only sadness is that we don’t have a bar merely a fridge with various alcoholic beverages and an honesty basaed donation mug but if you come along and i am there I would love to buy you a drink

        go well

      • I am often to be found in the Kite – but I will deffo pop round soon…

  2. thomasxstewart

    Kodak claims first digital cameras, from long while ago & patents. Kodak is big, yet using hot furnces, suck oil out of person, quickly, then throwing product out by barrel full, very wasteful company. human eyeball is worth 5 cents, for plasticizer.

    George Eastman home is identical to Bonn,Germany convent. same entrance & stairway. same back patio. maybe avoiding security conferentations. if had x ray, Kodak has copy. all Kodak pics are copied to private libarary. after looking over digicam, can mike fix one. looks like was working.ccd is true camera sensor. by having preexisting charge, much more sensitive . cmos debate was going even in high school physics. cost is cost for misinformation.not much choice on retaiol floor.

    keep those cameras rolling….

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