Kodak DCS 720x SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Kodak Professional DCS 720x

Review posted 12/23/01

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the DCS 720x

Kodak's DCS 720x was built for sports shooters, it has a 4.3 fps burst rate and ISO sensitivity up to 6400. Like many other DCS series cameras, the DCS 720x is built around the field-proven Nikon F5 professional 35mm SLR body. The DCS 720x offers the same camera features: Program AE, Shutter speed and Aperture priority or full Manual exposure mode, 3D Color Matrix metering and selectable autofocus to name a few.

The all-metal chassis is built to take the day to day abuse required by working pro photgraphers and operates reliably even in the most challenging conditions. The Kodak DCS cameras have been used on many Shuttle missions, several of them are permanently assigned to the International Space Station. The high-capacity, rechargeable NiMH battery pack captures approximately 1000 shots per charge. The DCS 720x has composite video out and a removeable low-pass filter that can be swapped for an anti-aliasing filter.

DCS 720x Features:

  • Burst rate -- 4.3 frames/second
  • Burst depth -- 3 to 25 images
  • Selectable ISO 400 to 6400 in 1/3-stop increments
  • Kodak 2-million pixel CCD (1728 x 1152)
  • 12-bit dynamic range
  • Large, 2-inch color LCD panel for image analysis
  • Graphical user interface with --
    • Instant review
    • 1:1 focus check
    • Spot densitometer
    • Histogram
  • New stand-alone applications -- DCS Photo Desk and DCS Camera Manager
  • Metal-frame NIKON F5 Camera body and familiar SLR functionality
  • NiMH battery up to 1000 shots or unlimited number with AC adapter
  • Composite-video out--NTSC or PAL
  • IEEE 1394 interface provides fast and reliable transfer of images.
  • Voice annotation provides audio notebook to document specific shots.
  • Dual PC card storage interface offers storage flexibility.
  • Serial port for GPS receivers and direct cellular telephone connectivity.
  • Intervalometer to enable automated capture over timed intervals for remote applications.

Physical Views

Kodak Professional DCS 720x

Kodak Professional DCS 720x

Kodak Professional DCS 720xKodak Professional DCS 720x

Kodak Professional DCS 720x

Kodak Professional DCS 720x

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DCS 720x Specifications

Camera type:Interchangeable lens digital SLR
based on Nikon F5 body
Lens mount:Nikon-F
Focal Multiplier:1.6X
CCD Imager:Kodak 2-megapixel, ITO type with RGB color filter array
Finished image size:1728 x 1152 pixels
Bit depth:36-bit color (12 bits per color) original capture
Image ratio:3:2
Image type:Kodak proprietary DCR format
lossless compression (approx 5.6MB each)
Image processing: In-camera JPEG or

TIFF or JPEG using the Kodak DCS PhotoDesk software
ISO equivalents:400 to 6400 in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speeds:30 secs to 1/8000 (in 1/3 stop increments) plus Bulb
Recording modes:Programmed AE w/Shift
Aperture priority
Shutter priority
Full Manual
Burst recording: CS (Continuous Silent) 4.3fps
CL (Continuous Low) 4.3fps
CH (Continuous High) 4.3fps
Burst depth:Kodak guarantees 25 frames before card write
but it varies and can be as high as 31 frames
Memory Buffer:128MB
Color LCD:2 inches TFT active matrix
Viewfinder: Nikon multi-meter finder DP-30 provided as standard for the DCS 720x camera; fixed eyelevel pentaprism high-eyepoint type; 0.8X magnification with 50mm lens set at infinity; approx. 100% frame coverage; metering system selector, diopter adjustment knob, accessory shoe and eyepiece shutter lever provided; interchangeable with Nikon AE action finder DA-30, 6X high-magnification finder DW-31 and waist-level finder DW-30 with limited functionality
Eyepoint:Approx. 20.5mm
Focusing screen: Nikon advanced EC-B-type screen; interchangeable with 12 other optional screens
Viewfinder information: LCD shows metering system, focus indication, exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, electronic analog exposure display, exposure compensation mark; exposure level indicators, flash ready light LED, aperture direct readout, focus indicators and focus area indicators also shown
Top LCD information: Shutter speed, aperture, exposure information mode, AF area mode, focus area, Flexible Program mark, exposure compensation mark, exposure compensation value, exposure bracketing mark, and shutter speed/aperture/focus area position lock marks
Back LCD information: ISO, flash synch mode, personal computer connection, auto exposure / flash exposure bracketing, custom setting, white balance, microphone active, card present, frame number, frames remaining, battery level
Accessory shoe: Standard ISO-type hot-shoe contact; ready-light contact, monitor contact; mount receptacle for SB-50DX / SB-28DX / SB-28 / SB-27 / SB-26 / SB-25s Posi-Mount System provided
Reflex mirror:Automatic, instant return type
AF area mode:Single Area AF and Dynamic AF selectable
Autofocus area:Five selectable focus areas
Autofocus mode:Single Servo AF with Focus-priority and Continuous Servo AF with Release-priority
Focus tracking:Automatically activated when subject moves
AF detection range:Approx. EV -1 to EV +19 at ISO 200
AF lock:Possible once stationary subject is in focus in Single Servo AF; in Continuous Servo AF, focus can be locked with AE-L/AF-L button
Metering:3D Color Matrix
Center-Weighted (8, 12, 15 or 20mm selectable)
Metering range:
ISO 200 w/f1.4 lens
EV0 to EV20 in 3D Color Matrix and Center-Weighted
EV2 to EV20 in Spot
EV compensation:-5 to +5EV in 1/3EV steps
White balance:Auto, Preset from image, Fluorescent, Daylight, Incandescent, Flash
Focusing system:Dynamic (5 area) autofocus, single or continuous AF
Flash mount:Hot shoe with Nikon-specific contacts, PC sync connector
Flash modes: Normal
Slow Sync
Rear Curtain Sync
Auto Slow Sync
Flash sync control: In Programmed Auto or Aperture-priority Auto, shutter operates from 1/250 to 1/60 sec in normal sync, 1/250 to 30 sec in slow sync; in Shutter-priority Auto or Manual exposure mode, shutter operates at speed set, or at 1/250 if speed set between 1/250 and 1/8000 sec 1/300 TTL High-Speed sync can be selected using Custom Setting #20 in Shutter-Priority Auto or Manual exposure mode
Self-timer:2 to 60 secs (10 sec default)
Voice annotation:Microphone on back
Special features:Intervalometer (time lapse) mode
Image Storage:2 PCMCIA card slots accept:
2 Type II or 1 Type III cards
2 CompactFlash Type I or II cards (in PCMCIA adapter)
2 IBM Microdrives (in PCMCIA adapter)
Data I/O:IEEE 1394 FireWire @ 400mbps
Video Out:NTSC or PAL, selectable
Serial Port:1200 to 38,400 baud (for GPS or cellphone)
Power source:Kodak 7.2v 1700mAh NiMH battery packs
Battery life:Up to 1000 shots
Size:7.6in. tall, 6.2 in. wide, 3.4 in. deep
194 mm x 158 mm x 88 mm
Weight:4.1 lbs. (1.86 kg) without lens or battery
DCS Kit Contents: Kodak DCS 720x camera body, IR blocking filter, hand strap, neck strap, power supply kit (includes dual slot battery charger with AC and 12 volt adapter, camera AC adapter), Premium Plus rechargeable battery (NiMH), universal AC cable kit (for international use), IEEE-1394 cable, documentation and host software CD's, warranty card and service information

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