"Found Treasure - Kodak DC20" - Digital Photography Podcast 147


What were you shooting with in 1997? One of the cameras I had in my hand was a Kodak DC20. This primitive digital camera could hold 8 shots of sub-VGA resolution images (493 x 373). It had no LCD finder, so you had to upload the images via a serial port before you could even see what you had shot. It was focus-free, automatic exposure, ISO 800-1600. And I was fascinated with it.

In this podcast, I pull the DC20 out of the closet, put a battery in it, and connected it to an old PowerBook 1400 that has a serial port and Mac OS 9, which supports the camera software. Why? Because by doing so, I'm able to actually step back into the history of personal digital photography.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Missing is this month's photo assignment. This can be taken so many ways. A series of objects with one missing, someone missing someone else, a clear omission... lots to work with here. You can read more about how to submit on our Submissions page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Found Treasure - Kodak DC20." You can download the podcast here (27 minutes). You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

The Digital Story podcasts are available for direct download from Apple iPhones. I've created a special mobile download page here. Just load the page in Safari, browse the podcast line-up, and click on the one you want to listen to.

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our new Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!

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I had the same Kodak camera, that definately brings back some memories.

The first digital camera I ever used was a Sony FD71. A friend graciously allowed to use it for almost an entire week at a kite festival. 640x480 resolution and it used 3.5" floppies for storage. I was hooked. When the Sony FD91 came out I had to have one. It seemed perfect: 14x zoom, 1024x768 resolution and a lot of 'real' camera features. It also used floppies for storage. The massive images only allowed 7 or 8 on each disk. It was perfect if you had a jacket with two large pockets. One for full disks and one for blank disks. You could stay out and shoot for hours. When the Sony CD1000 came out I upgraded. This was still before DSLRs and it was the most advanced camera around (for a month or two anyways). The CD1000 had a 1600x1200 resolution and the images were dazzing. It used 3" CDRs for storage. The disks held several hundred images. It had a 10x zoom and met my needs for quite a while. Each of these two Sony's were around $1200. I gave the FD91 away. Sony had a pretty good idea with these two - it was so easy to share. Snap a picture and hand them a disk. No drivers or cables needed. They were universal. I still have the CD1000. It's still useful for images that are intended for the web. I'm holding onto it for now, but may give it up if I can find a good home for it.

My first real camera was a Canon A1 (film) and I have heard the call to come home (still have the A1). I have really enjoyed my 30D the last year or so. Ironically the 30D was the same price as the old Sonys.

Really enjoy your show,

Wow, do I feel like a Luddite compared to you guys! First digital was a 1999 Olympus D-340R. I think I was waiting for the cost of a megapixel camera to come to Earth before taking the plunge.

My MO is to give or sell old gear to folks that are true Luddites in some attempt to convert. Figured there are more than enough packrats in the world to compensate. I think this podcast confirmed that belief :)

And a 64MB Powerbook? Bah. I still remember the family drooling over getting the 64K expansion unit added to the TRS-80 Model 1...

It was great to hear this podcast, I didn't get my first digital until 2001, so I didn't have the original "experience" of making the drivers work etc. I started right off with a Smartcard and a card reader.

The perspective of someone who used the camera originally and still finds enjoyment coming back to it is really interesting. A great story.

We'd love to have any photos taken with the DC20 (or any other old digital cameras) added to the Vintage Digital Group on Flickr. My name should link to that group.

We are just checking out our new KODAK M893 IS camera!


I have the Kodak DC20 with the box, CD ROm software included. I am considering selling it. It has hardly been used. Looks like new. How much would this camera be worth?

Thanks, Vic

Great article!!! I am definitely looking forward to seeing more posts

Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it's nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.