This is a blog by Ricochet to show my love to the old Kodak Color Science cameras that I've purchased in the last few months. This is to testify that, for a consumer product intended to appeal to the masses at a Wally price point, they really did take some good photos. Sit back with a kuppakoffee and a bagopoppycorn and see how many of these you've had or will soon own :)
Background: My story starts with when digital photography started getting cheaper. "Cheaper" being under $100 for a camera and a memory chip. Up until I had my first digital, I had taken pictures, lots of pictures, but not that many pictures. Cheapest camera, cheapest film, cheapest processing. Ah, but it always cost about $10 for 24 pictures. Always. So, lots of memories went by the wayside because it was always a hassle to load film, take pics, take film to developer, wait, pick up film, some shots were not worth keeping.
Ahhh, but with digital! Erase what you don't like, print out what you do. Save them on disc forever. Make websites without a scanner. The digital photography world was my oyster. So, as with all "expensive" (...to me back in 2004) purchases, I asked for a cheap digital camera for Christmas and got the Cintar DC3505 2.1m cam. It had a Sony CCD. Whoohoo!
I was off! I used the hell out of this camera. It took 4 "AAA" batteries and also took forever between pics to process. It ate the charge on a set of NIMH AAA's really really fast and it had only a few picture taking options, adjusted by the ring around the lens. It also used CF chips and I got a 64 Meg with it. I bought a 256 Meg chip for 19.99 at a Best Buy black Friday sale. (It was the only time I'd ever shopped on black Friday and the chip was normally $40.) I used to tell my friends that I had to "warm up the coals" while waiting for it to turn on. It also took slightly blurry pics so I used Irfanview to sharpen the results up 30%.
Pictures taken outside were pretty decent but still had that pasty black that cheaper/earlier digital cams usually had in their photos. When my financial situation started looking up, I decided to go "state of the art" or "state of the cheapest cam I could get at Wally". It was then I entered the world of "Color Science", I became a Kodak user.
The Kodak Easyshare C653. 6.1 Meg, 2 "AA" batteries and saved to SD cards. Wally had it for $119 plus two generic SD 1g chips were $20. Now I was in business. The pictures it took were so good. It was really fast (compared to my Cintar) and so easy to turn on, snap a few photos and put away. It was like going from a Polaroid Instamatic to a Canon Rebel. I took it with me on a trip to Florida and well, like any other cheap point and shoot, did get some dud photos. For the most part, I was very very happy. So much that I took a picture of my new fursuit that I was "gifted" while I was in Florida and sent them to Boomer. He liked them so much, he had the same camera sortly thereafter.
(Yeah, the "coffee table" is faded like that, it's not the cam's fault.) In fact, I liked this cam so much, when I destroyed the screen on mine, I went to the store and bought the same model the next day. Bigger LCD's need a bit of kid gloves when handling them. I was a bit "under the weather" returning from a visit of friends at AC in Pitt and fell down in bed (futon) with the cam still on my belt, extra batteries in the front pocket. When I awoke, the batteries had pushed on the screen and broke it. So, when I got the new one, I put the old one back in it's box if someday I'd need it again. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pictures later...
I was still using this cam in 2012, but it was funky. It had been dropped a few times. The battery door was not seating properly and my camera was turning off on it's own. Bless the world of EBAY as Boomer looked up the C653 and started buying replacement units for about $10 each. Here I thought I could replace my LCD finally on the cam I hadn't used from way back. Stupid me, I had put the batteries that came with the cam in the cam and forgotten about them. Bad move. The batteries leaked and made the camera worthless. I was so pissed I went out and bought a new NIKON Coolpix L28.
You see, by this time, the old Kodak had gone bye-bye. Wally now had Sanyos and Fujis and one Nikon model cheap, and that's what I bought. Never mind that a day later we combined the Kodaks into the one I currently have. I used the Nikon and was floored by the speed and quality of the pics. Ahhh, but the trouble started a few months later. The CCD was having a distortion problem. I could have gone the service route, but I found it was pretty easy to clear it when having this problem. (Maroon "rainbows" would appear on every image.) Ahh, but then I dropped it, so now the service route was out. 6 months later of steady use, the distortion showed again, and this time, stayed. About 1 year is all I got from the Nikon. That was it for me. I remember a friend saying Nikon is what someone has in grade school then they graduate to Canon college. Hmmm.
Enter Kodak again! We'd heard that the "new" Kodak was making cameras again under license from Kodak. Surely they must be as good as the older Kodaks right? They had to be using "Color Science" technology right? I wanted a new cam right away, so we went to a participating K-Mart and I bought the Kodak FZ41. It is a 16meg point and shoot and was $69. Here is a sample pic:
I was impressed with how easy it was to use and how good I thought the pictures looked. At least, THOUGHT they looked. I took a ton of pictures and bragged to Boomer about it, so much that history repeated itself, and he bought the same thing a few days later. Ahh, but the wheels came off the wagon. Boomer thought something was odd and took some test photos, and then took some of the same photos with his Kodak 6.1 camera. The proof was in the pictures. I did some research right after that. You know, they didn't say "Kodak Lens" on the barrel of the camera. There was no mention of "Color Science" anywhere. The pics taken with the FZ were a little bit muddier and the color wasn't as good as our 6.1's. Then I noted that JK Imaging also owned the name for GE digital cameras. (You know them? GE has been famous for quality cameras right?) Sure enough, the FZ41 was just the lowest GE camera. That's why I don't have a picture of it. When I went to Pitt two weeks later, Boomer and I returned them. (In praise of K-Mart, we returned them hassle free.) I had bought the cheapest Fuji that Wally had, and I've been moderately happy with it since. (Something changed with the FUJI and now I'm totally happy, but that's a later story. Boomer bought one of the last "new" Kodaks that was a Color Science model, but that too is for him to tell.)
A few weeks later, I was at the thrift shop that is near Boomer's house and found a Minolta Dimage 2.3 camera and two Fuji 1.3 cameras. The Fujis took Smart Media cards which I learned were scarce and no longer made. The MInolta was 4AA batteries and took a CF card. It took pics a little better than my Cintar and was two years older. I wondered what other stuff might I find at said thrift store and started looking at every thrift store...and soon I had amassed a stable of cheap cameras with some gems and a LOT of Kodaks. So, the only order for these will be their mega pixel count as they were all purchased within the last three months.
1.3 Meg. LCD picture display, in addition it has a monochrome LCD display for modes at the top. CF Card. Digital zoom only. 4 AA batteries. I took a few demo shots with this camera and decided it was too primitive. It operates really smooth and predates the "Color Science" menus on the LCD screen. A common problem with these is the 4 AA batteries fit in a flimsy plastic tray that slides into the bottom of the camera. They are very easy to break and then the cam will not work because the batteries will not stay in. Mine is broken but a little tape fixes this up. It turns out that Boomer has this camera and was what he was using until he got his 6.1 Kodak. Here is one he took while I still had my Cintar. Not bad in the daylight. (Is that me with a CVS "disposable" camera? )
Now we're cooking with GAS. This is one of the first "Color Science" cameras. A 2.2 meg, 2AA battery, CF card camera with no frills. It's point and shoot. Period. There is a switch that allows macro pictures to be taken and it has a digital zoom. It also used a manual view finder that is just like an old non digital camera. Polorized for your protection. I thought this would take dark muddy pictures as well, but wow! It was every bit as good as some of the pics I took with the 6.1. It's big, and no frills. I like it. The only real drawback is, with no ISO adjustment, it doesn't do well in lower light situations. So be it. Look at this Waffle House!
3.2 M, 2AA, SD... No frills, great pictures. By this time, for the average consumer, the mega pixel wars was all that was left. Almost all the cameras you could buy took good pictures. (*cough no name will be mentioned, you VIVID ly know who you are*) I got this for $4 out of a pile of cameras. Boomer remarked that it would be the cam that his mother would like. No frills, great pictures. (He just got one on another of our thrift shop trips.) This one even does video, which, looks like a old silent movie except in color. No sound, blocky, fun. However, no frills, great pictures. Ziggy Zocky Ziggy Zocky Hoy Hoy Hoy!
4.0 M, 2AA, SD and 5x Zoom. I was so happy to find this one in a pile of cameras. It was my first jr. "bridge" cam, in that it had a grip, a better zoom and all glass lens. However, for $6, it had issues. It was FILTHY. I had to clean it lots with cotton swabs and alcohol to get all of the dust out and the intense ethnic food smell off of it. Luckily the lens still comes out fine. Ahh but the small leaves that open and closed on the lens when in use got stuck. Some of the early pics I took were taken in daylight where I couldn't see the screen so I used the view finder and didn't note half the screen was obscured by semi opened leaves. It does shoot videos, but the microphone is blown because you need to be right up on it and shouting to hear anything. Also it changes modes on it's own when it's in auto. (I fixed this by using the auto-scene mode which uses auto plus any special settings I chose.) Plus, as you can see, the silver coating flakes off of the plastic. A common issue with some Kodak cams of this vintage. It also has some hard to press buttons. Boomer had purchased a 4.0 Kodak off of EBay and it takes some really amazing photos in any mode with no adjustment and also has all glass lenses. I'm happy with what this cam can do as well. I ended up taking the leaves off the lens and getting a lens cap for this. With all the issues, this cam has been getting sparse use. Here's a pic of the Robinson mall area when the leaves were fully open.
5.0 M, 2 AA, SD, Fixed with some sort of zoom. This camera was a real suprise! It was found after a second look through a box of lots of analog cameras. I missed it the first time. Glad I looked again. Other than the one broken hook on the battery door (door still closes without tape) and the extremely worn finish, this cam is the sheit! I've now made it my "car cam". It's the cam that, if I don't have any other cam with me, is small enough and takes great enough pictures, that I can have to catch the moments a tablet computer cannot. It has an ISO control which helps taking indoor photos and has a fixed/sealed lens so there is no worries about dust and dirt. The screen on the back is small but does the job, and it's still got a view finder for bright days. I guess this was Kodaks cheapest and they released three seperate model numbers of the same cam. With a cam this good and this small, it's amazing it has taken several years for the pinhole cameras on tablets and phones to match what this can do. (Does this look like Al Stewarts "Time Passages" album cover? ) *thanks Boom*
6.1 M, 2AA, SD, 640x480 QT at 30FPS -- Here's the one I just added to my collection. At first I thought it was the same thing as the C653 which wouldn't be a bad thing but then I used it and well... It's a year earlier that the C653 and seems like a better cam. More powerful and better pics and pic handling than the C653 (although the C653 is no slouch.) It's seems like the C653 was a Wally special, therefore dumbed a bit to his a price point that a fat guy with a Cintar could afford. In fact, just about every camera photo on this blog was taken with the C643 and with great results. (The pic above and the family pics were taken by my Fuji.) It has a seperate place on the side of the camera to put in the SD card. A plus, except the spring on the door is wonky, but it stays closed. It also does QT movies in a full 30FPS. So audio/video quality is a bit better than any other Kodak in my collection. (I believe the C653 did 640 but at 15FPS, and 320 at 30FPS.) The camera was virtually spotless except for some scratches on the plastic around the lens. The LCD display is coated with anti-glare and makes the pictures look nice even in the sunlight. It came with a 2G SD card, a nice case, 4 NIMH Energizer batteries (fairly new) and the video cable. When I got home I was going to wash the perfume smell off the case and noted a small zipper on the front. I opened it and found another 1G SD chip! So, this camera in like new condition with all the perks was...wait for it... $6! I should be happy that people are going to lower standard no option cell phone cams rather than LUGGING a seperate cam everyplace. Despite the picture quality and the zoom and the shooting modes, it's a lot easier to take a selfie of two dogs in line to buy Nimhs at a Wally near you with your cell phone. Maybe that's why Boom and I are enjoying the treasure hunt for something that we couldn't really afford when they came out.
That's it. The tale of the Kodaks and all the "Color Science" splendor. Sure, Boomer and I have gotten other brands of cameras. Some with bigger lenses, some with different modes or picture qualities. I've gotten a Canon with tons of features. Boomer has a rechargeable Olympus with a big 10X zoom. I even have some cheapies and even a Fisher Price kid cam. So far, except for the TIFFs (uncompressed) photos that two of our cams can take, the picture quality and vivid color produced by as low as the 2.2 Kodaks seems to have that extra something. In the past few days, I've found a mode on my new cheapy FUJI that rivals the TIFFs we take, but they are huge photos that eat memory, battery time and take a lot longer to download and process. For general decent pictures, (at then cheaper prices, now junk prices) the older Kodak Color Science processing can't be beat. Check your local thrift store. You may find one and fall in love.