Kodak DC120 Zoom (1996)

According to Kodak the DC120 Zoom was the world's first 1.2 million pixel point-and-shoot camera (this refers to the image resolution and not the native CCD resolution). Featuring a flip-up color LCD display and a 3x optical zoom lens, auto focus, auto white balance, 2MB of internal memory and built in flash. The camera also featured 4 image quality levels, self-timer, multi-image playback and auto and manual exposure. A flash sync cable was also optionally available and would plug in to the serial port of the camera. The camera was good value for your money but not all was well. The manual exposure was clearly not enough, the proprietay KDC file format was a pain in the ass, the color display was pretty much useless and the macro mode was more guess work than actual photographic skill.
 
Here is something no other website mentions. The term Digital Science that has been used with these cameras was not an empty marketing phrase. The DC120 for instance was equipped with an SDK controller and this provided a programming interface for the camera. This was actually a smart move as the SDK allowed access to all camera functions. This is why the camera stored images in the uncompressed but proprietary Kodak KDC file format. This picture file contained encoded image data and a fully processed thumbnail. The generic Kodak Digital Science SDK allowed to alter functions like deleting, viewing and transferring images. The SDK specifically designed for the DC120 contained special features like album management functions and support for compact flash card. The SDK controller could be programmed in Visual Basic and could handle Active X controls.
 
In 1999 Kodak voluntarily recalled some of the ELPAC chargers that came with this and other models. The reason was that when the charger was not fully plugged into the camera it might cause the batteries to leak, overheat or possibly explode. This applied to the chargers 2534, 2457, MI2008 and M42008. In the above gallery you can see some actual shots taken with this model some 20 years ago. I read a lot about this model and found very interesting websites where users complained about the battery life and started building D-cell battery packs to shoot some 150 pictures in a row! In 1997 there was a large web community devoted to this model an in those days the utmost people wanted was a simple point-and-shoot digital camera with a built-in printer. To them that was the ultimate gadget and would satisfy every camera tech savvy. Interesting how far we have come since then.....
 
All images © digicammuseum.com except the software stack picture © Kodak and the sample photos

Specifications

  • Brand: Kodak
  • Model: DC120 Zoom
  • First mentioned: 1996
  • Marketed: yes
  • MSRP: $880 - $999
  • Imager Type: 0.83MP CCD
  • Resolution: 850x984 (native) / 1280x960 (interpolated)
  • Internal Storage: 2MB
  • External Storage: Compact Flash
  • Lens: Ektanar lens F2.5 - F3.8
  • Shutter: 1/500s - 16s
  • Aperture Range: F2.5 - F16 (wide) / F3.8 - F24 (tele)
  • LCD screen size: 1.6" LCD
  • Size: 146 x 108 x 55mm
  • Weight: 520 gr.
  • Remarks: -

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