Steve's Digicams

Kodak Professional
DCS 620x Digital Camera


Kodak Professional DCS 620x

The DCS 620x accepts all Nikkor F mount lenses. Because the CCD imager is smaller than a 35mm film frame the focal length of the lens used must be multiplied by 1.6x   (50mm lens = 80mm)

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

On the bottom is where you'll find a hefty 7.2v NiMH rechargeable battery pack and dual PCMCIA card slots.

The DCS 620x offers a large variety of storage media options:

  • PC Type II cards
  • Type III hard drives
  • CompactFlash Type I or II*
  • SmartMedia*,
  • Memory Stick*
  • IBM Microdrive*.

(* = Requires appropriate PCMCIA adapter)

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

The DCS 620x comes with a dual battery rapid charger that runs off of the AC supply or cigarette lighter cord. One or two NiMH or NiCD type batteries can be charged or conditioned at the same time.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

On the side is the AC power input connector and an IEEE-1394 "FireWire" data port. The DCS 620x can be operated as a tethered camera (with extremely fast image acquisition speed) in a studio environment.

On the back is a 10-pin connector that interfaces the camera to options like a cellphone or GPS.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

The heart of the DCS 620x's camera controls. Main power switch (with safety button), shutter release, EV override, camera operating mode (Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual) and focus mode buttons. And a monochrome data LCD that displays the current settings for all of these options.

The LCD is displaying Vari-Program (P*) mode with dynamic focus tracking enabled.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

The prism finder is interchangeable and has a diopter correction knob on the side. In front of the diopter knob is the metering control switch. On the back of the prism is the shutter control which blocks any light from entering through the eyepiece when using the self timer.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

To the right is the Auto Exposure Lock (AE-L) / Auto Focus Lock (AF-L) and the AF-ON button. The Main Command dial is also used in conjunction with other function buttons to change most camera major options.

Kodak Professional DCS 620

Inside the viewfinder is an array of LEDs to indicate exposure and focusing, a data readout below the subject area shows shutter speed, f/stop, metering mode and camera mode. With just a glance you know the current settings of all major camera functions without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

On the front, below the shutter button is the sub-command dial, this allows you to adjust the f/stop values, shutter speeds and etc. depending on what mode of operation the camera is in.

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

The drive mode dial allows selection of:

  • S - Single frame
  • CL - Continuous Low-Speed 2.0fps
  • CH - Continuous High-Speed 3.5fps
  • CS - Continuous Silent Low-Speed 1.0fps
  • Self-Timer

Kodak Professional DCS 620x

Because of the physical size of the DCS 620x it has a vertical shutter release and secondary hand grip to make shooting in portrait orientation easier.

Steve's Conclusion

Kodak has greatly enhanced their DCS 620 camera with the addition of a new 2-megapixel ITO (indium tin oxide) imager, color filter array and associated image processing hardware. Photojournalists will probably like everything about this camera except for its size and bulk. However, a pro digicam benefits greatly when it's built around one of the most reliable and rugged film cameras on the market. Professional photographers are familiar with the Nikon F5's quality and Kodak adds their state of the art digital imaging components to this great camera.

Many photojournalists have been using the DCS 620 since its introduction and I'm sure that a good percentage of them have been waiting for a more sensitive camera. Well, the wait is over, the DCS 620x is here!   And Kodak has been chopping the prices of all of its professional series cameras since the arrival of Nikon's D1. The latest information as of July 2000 is that the DCS 620x can now be had for around $6500. This is quite a reduction from the prices of just a year ago when these cameras were closer to $10,000.

The DCS 620x is fully calibrated up to ISO 4000 operation and is enabled up to ISO 6400, users can further push its capabilities via custom settings. This camera captures a huge dynamic range in its images even when pushing the upper limits of its ISO capabilities. The Kodak DCS Host software and camera firmware have just been updated, it now supports the use of both of the PC card slots and has added a lot more FireWire support. New is the addition of an intervalometer (time lapse) mode, custom white balancing and in-camera JPEG processing.

The DCS 620x has the most versatile storage options of any pro digicam, you can use most anything in PC Type I, II or III format. Viking Components has recently announced their new 1GB Type II card which means you can put two of them in the DCS 620x !  Having used both the DCS 620 and 620x I was most impressed by the higher capacity NiMH battery packs. They easily run the camera at least twice as long as the old NiCd type packs and don't suffer from the related memory problems either.

Build quality of the camera is absolutely excellent, it retains the moisture and dust resistance qualities of the Nikon F5 body. The anti-aliasing filter is removable and of course it uses all of the existing Nikkor F-mount lenses. As with the F5, the DCS 620x has incredibly fast focusing, especially when using the new AF-S series lenses. Also fast is the high speed burst mode of 3.5fps which is good up to a depth of twelve images.

As with all digital cameras there are some negatives. The most notable is the size and weight which will make you appreciate that wide and well-padded neck strap. I noticed a tendancy to oversaturate colors, but is easily correctable in software after the image has been captured. The price used to be a negative factor but as I mentioned already, Kodak has recently cut the pricing of their entire line of "pro" cameras. The vast majority of DCS 620x buyers will not worry about the price, it's the performance that counts and this camera delivers lot of it. For the working photojournalist this camera is a dream come true with its enhanced sensitivity, storage options and long battery life.

Continue on to
DCS Host Software

Steve's DCS 620x Sample Pics

John Cowley's DCS 620x Review & Sample Images

A-Digital-Eye Review: DCS 620x

Kodak's DCS Professional 620x Pages

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