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Need camera expertise

  1. Aug 14, 2010 #1

    Evo

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    I'm thinking of using the Kodak DCS 520 I inherited. It's still in the original box and never been opened. Has anyone used it or something similar? How dificult is it to use? I'm a bit camera phobic.

    It's old in terms of digital cameras, but it's just sitting there and I'd like to take better quality photos than I get with my little point and shoot.

    Here's info on the camera. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/kodakdcs520/default.asp [Broken]

    Can anyone help me use this?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2010 #2

    turbo

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    That's a BIG step up from the point-and-shoots. I don't know how Canon and Kodak implemented pre-sets and automatic features in that camera, so you're going to have to find someone who has used one to judge how camera-savvy you'll have to be. I suggest taking out the manual first, and skimming it to see if there are some pre-sets that you can use for mostly automatic exposure control, etc. If so, you can learn how to use the camera little by little, wandering from the pre-sets to override automatic functions for artistic control, changing the ISO to adjust chip sensitivity in low light or to capture moving subjects like the birds and the bees.
     
  4. Aug 14, 2010 #3

    mgb_phys

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    Probably sell/trade it for something smaller.
    We use canon EOS1 (basically the same body) industrially
    They are indestructible professional machines, but weigh a ton (you will have arm muscles like Arnie from holding this) the array of buttons look complicated but thats mostly because they have a button for each function (pros don't have time to scroll through menus when shooting sport) and the buttons
     
  5. Aug 14, 2010 #4
    How old is it Evo? That article is 10 years old, so I am assuming the camera is at least that. Just curious.
     
  6. Aug 14, 2010 #5

    Evo

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    It's 6-7 years old, at least, the list price for the 520 was $15,500.000, I think it went for $12,000.00 when my friend got it. The 560 listed at $28,500.00.

    Obviously you can get them for a song now compared to the original price, but it's a waste to not use it.
     
  7. Aug 14, 2010 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Sorry - network died, and the router came back up in my special working from home physcisforums on blocked during working hours mode.


    The Eos 1 are worth about $1000 even in rough condition. (http://www.keh.com/Camera/format-Digital/system-Canon-Digital/category-Camera-Bodies?s=1&bcode=DC&ccode=2&cc=79269&r=WG&f [Broken])
    They are 6Mp which isn't great by todays standards but is all you actually need. They take all Canon full frame (EF not EF-S) lenses which are excellent quality but a bit pricey.


    You might need a new battery if it hasn't been used for a year or two - these had NiCd/NiMh which don't last as long.
     
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  8. Aug 14, 2010 #7

    Evo

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    I was wondering about the battery, the camera has never been used, it is still inside the original sealed box.
     
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  9. Aug 14, 2010 #8

    mgb_phys

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    Probably OK, we buy used cameras (they aren't made anymore but we have a rig that only fits with EOS1). These are pro units so the batteries are always heavily used.

    You can get refurb batteries made up by your local replacement laptop battery shop, the chargers are monsters.

    Give KEH a call, a mint boxed relatively rare early pro digital may be worth something, certainly enough to buy a nice modern compact
     
  10. Aug 14, 2010 #9
    :uhh: Oops, I'm afraid I could think of several reasons why using this camera could result in disappointments. Not only because of the progress of refinement and quality in some ten years. Maybe there could also be practical problems like the aging of the battery and the weight (58.2 oz) and the use of PC-cards

    Maybe compare also the http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/albums/kodak-pro-dcs-520-review-samples/slideshow [Broken], great for portaits of squirrels and notagoshawks.
     
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  11. Aug 14, 2010 #10

    turbo

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    That might be a good option, Andre. The superzooms cover a long range of focal lengths - no need to buy additional lenses. The Kodak (EOS1) only accepts Canon EF lenses, which are generally more expensive than the EFS models, so getting a decent macro or zoom lens for that body would start running into more money than the camera body is worth.
     
  12. Aug 14, 2010 #11

    Borek

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    http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_kw=Kodak&_kw=DCS&_kw=520

    I don't think it requires comments, but a short summary of what I see now: one body offered for $500, one body offered for $300, one body offered for $140, plus a lot of batteries. Doesn't look like something valuable. And I agree with Andre - this is probably not a good idea. My guess is that many of today's idiotcameras offer similar quality output.
     
  13. Aug 14, 2010 #12

    turbo

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    Those cameras are 1Ds. They are more modern than the EOS1 and have full-frame 35mm sensors (no crop factor to contend with). Very different beasts.
     
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  14. Aug 14, 2010 #13

    Evo

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    In good working condition they go around $600, the cheaper "bodies" say "not working, for parts".
     
  15. Aug 14, 2010 #14

    russ_watters

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    Is the camera 2 megapixels? (from that linked article). If so, you lose pretty much all the benefit of the better lens. I'd ebay it and buy either a new DSLR or compact superzoom - I'm loving my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3: http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=3957&review=panasonic+lumix+zs3

    ....mine's only a few months old, but it looks like it may already be discontinued. The next version is selling for $292 at Buy.com: http://www.buy.com/prod/panasonic-l...a-with-12x-optical/q/loc/33409/214532991.html
     
  16. Aug 14, 2010 #15

    Evo

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    Maybe I should hold onto it until it becomes a valuable antique? Or sell it now, it has all of the accessories with it. Perhaps I'll sell it and get a nifty new camera. What would be something high quality for dummies?

    I see Russ has responded.

    Russ, it has to be super simple, i do not have the patience to mess with settings. That's why my Nikon is unused, F stop, is that to set the aperture? It has all of these dials, and different lenses. ACK

    I also have a digital Toshiba that's a nightmare.

    I want my mother's old Leica.
     
  17. Aug 14, 2010 #16

    russ_watters

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    Well you can't get a DSLR or superzoom that doesn't have lots of settings, but virtually all cameras these days have a fully auto mode where you can use it just like a point and shoot. Neither a superzoom or a DSLR is a waste, as the lens quality really does make a big difference over a point and shoot.

    The big issue for me is portability. My last superzoom was great, but it was about the size and shape of a small DSLR and I rarely used it. That Panasonic will fit in a [guy's] jeans pocket or the inside pocket of a jacket, so it has all but replaced my subcompact point and shoot (a Sony that is smaller than my wallet).
     
  18. Aug 14, 2010 #17

    mgb_phys

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    Ok, I thought the DCS560 was basically a 1D with a kodak sensor
     
  19. Aug 15, 2010 #18

    collinsmark

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    And an Intel 386 based PC with a math coprocessor might become a valuable antique too. :tongue:

    But really, what your Kodak DCS 520 has going for it is that it was one of the first digital cameras that inspired professional photographers to migrate away from film to digital. So in that sense it is a piece of history.

    I remember drooling at the thought of owning that camera when it was first released (and even more-so when corresponding Nikon compatible version was released). I even contemplated what I could sell so that I could afford one. But alas, I didn't make a purchase. I waited a few years, and by then Nikon and Canon had caught up with their own digital SLRs that were more affordable.
    Evo, I'm surprised at you. :tongue2: So much of what takes place on the physics forum directly applies to photography (homework questions about lenses, optics, logarithms, powers of 2, inverse square behavior, are a few examples).

    Antique or not, your Kodak DCS 520 is a good camera. And don't let anybody fool you, your 2 Mega pixles are better than some of today's 10 Mp point-and-shoot sensors. I'm a bit of a photo-buff myself,

    http://www.collinsmark.com" [Broken]

    and I have some experience in this area. Not all pixels are created equal. The pixels in your Kodak camera are quite large and will produce higher quality images than most smaller sensors, even though the latter may have a higher pixel count. (The decrease in noise alone outweighs the resolution disadvantage.)

    It's not the kind of camera that you use for snapshots. Any cheapy camera will work for that. But that's what you'll end up with -- snapshots. But your Kodak is heavy, and due to its older, power hungry CCD (not CMOS) sensor, you won't get many pictures on a single battery charge. It's the kind of camera to use when you want to take good photographs, and plan on taking them ahead of time. With this camera, you have control of the depth of field, so you can intentionally throw the background out of focus (if you want to), giving the subject emphasis. That's something you simply cannot do reasonably well with a point-and-shoot.

    And your Kodak has a fairly decent shutter lag (compared to point-and-shoots anyway). In my experience, one of the biggest reasons for blown photographs is that there is a delay from the time the shutter is pressed until the time the picture is taken. This applies to all pictures other than landscape or still-life. With you Kodak, you can catch those fleeting facial expressions the moment they happen.

    And the Kodak will also alternately function as a blunt weapon.

    In the end though, you should ask yourself whether you are prepared to invest in any Canon glass. How many lenses do you have for it? It sounds like you already have a Nikon SLR, with a few lenses already. If you are not prepared to purchase more Canon lenses, perhaps you may want to sell or stash the Kodak and just stick with the Nikon and the Nikkor glass.
    Oh, baby!

    [Edit: Leica makes a digital rangefinder camera, which I drool over even today. But I warn you, it's not cheap! http://en.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/m9/" [Broken]]
     
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  20. Aug 15, 2010 #19

    Evo

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    Thank you for the great post collinsmark!! I think I'll give it a try. I will mostly be using it to photograph fossils and landscapes, and critters from the ravine next to my house.

    I'm sold!
     
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