Electro-Optic Camera (1988) Kodak DCS on a Canon F1n

Canon F1 Digital back | Electro-Optic Camera (1988)
Canon F1 Digital back | Electro-Optic Camera (1988)

By 1987, Kodak had developed the world’s first megapixel CCD imager, the M1. A US Government
customer contracted with the Federal Systems Division (FSD) to incorporate the M1 into a standard 35 mm
camera body to create the first megapixel portable digital camera, truly the prototype of the digital
camera system (DCS) product line. It was designed for covert use, with the black box in a camera bag
and the ribbon cable to the camera body concealed inside the neck strap. Images were downloaded
from the internal hard drive by docking the black box on an Exabyte tape archive unit. (The first
digital camera dock!) The Canon F1 film camera body had no electronic interface, so the shutter
release was detected by monitoring the battery current. The imager package was mounted to a TE
cooler to reduce noise, but cooling was limited to prevent fogging the cover glass and was not very
effective. Only one unit was built. The black box electronics were wire wrapped.

• Stock Canon F1 body with motor drive
• Monochrome KAF-1400 (M1) imager (1320 x 1035, 6.8 µm) with thermoelectric cooler
• 10bit A/D Logarithmic amplifier
• 10-Mbyte buffer for 6-image burst; buffer image count display
• Internal 100-Mbyte SCSI hard drive holds 60 images; disk image count display
• Docking archive unit with 2000-MByte Exabyte 8 mm SCSI tape drive and battery charger
• Raw image files in Unix TAR format; Time/Date stamp
• Intervalometer; log histogram. Pixel value readout.
• Image delete. Image recover; disk erase; disk format
• Alphanumeric LCD with menus, status, and error messages
• Three-color LED disk, buffer, battery status indicators on camera back
• Intel 80C196 uController, PL/M
• Internal lead acid camcorder battery


Courtesy of Jim McGarvey