The Kodak Hawkeye II / Nikon F3 was one of the first electronic stills cameras used by NASA in space

Kodak-Hawkeye-II-Nikon-F3-NASA-camera Kodak-Hawkeye-II-Nikon-F3-NASA-camera-in-space
Here's a video that shows footage of the very first electronic stills camera used by NASA in space during the last months of 1991, the Kodak Hawkeye II. Using a standard Nikon F3 body; the system was the forerunner to the Kodak Professional DCS-DC3, the world's first professional digital SLR camera system:

For more information  about the camera, visit the website of Jim McGarvey, one of its designers (additional links: The Electro-Optic CameraThe DCS Story).

See also this related [NR] post on the early Nikon-based Kodak DCS cameras.

Here is another video on the Hercules /Nikon F4 camera:

Thanks Ron!

This entry was posted in Other Nikon stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • koenshaku

    Then Kodak decided film was where the money was and we all know what happened after that.

    • rafakoy

      Yes, they made that mistake, but at some point film was indeed where the money was, and Eastman Kodak was a very successful company. It was founded in 1888 and it made a lot of money until after 1980. How many companies have been this successful for that long? I wonder where all these digital companies we gossip today are going to be in 100 years…

      BTW, I still buy Trix 400. The BW converted images I get from my D800 can’t compete with the mood, atmosphere and beautiful grain I get with BW film.

  • Glambike

    Kodak: So far ahead that they ended up with their head up their ass.

    • Along with horses, pay phones, Palm Pilots and Ansel Adams wannabes.

      • I’m still an Ansel Adams wannabe.

        • Ted

          I don’t get his picture. Most of them are landscape, but it’s in black&white.

          If they were for portrait B&W make sense (human has 2 side good&bad, rich&poor, B&W,…so on) BUT the world is so colorful that black&white doesn’t look appealing at all.

          • saywhatuwill

            You’re talking about Ansel Adams I’m assuming. I have a book with his color landscape images and believe me, they’re boring and lifeless. He even said that color landscape photography didn’t have the same potential as black and white. Color printing wasn’t as easy or even that great for manipulating a negative, certainly not in the same way as black and white.

            • Spy Black

              I used to be into Adams when I first got into photography. Bought an autograph book of Yosemite no less, with beautiful 10-tone rocks, trees…and a rainbow. Never shot another black and white picture after I saw that ever again…

            • nobody cares

              Ansel Adams didn’t like HIS color photography. As I recall, he was quite fond of Galen Rowell’s work. And Rowell’s work is stunningly beautiful. I love good B/W pics, but you won’t walk out of Mountain Light Gallery thinking, “those pictures would look better if they were B/W.”

          • peteee363

            today with modern software, b/w is even better. I shoot in color, then convert to b/w. but when doing the conversion, I can adjust each color separately, so it is like a whole pile of color filters on my camera. by adjusting the colors, it can do magic to your b/w finished work. also, the d-lighting can easily bring out shadow details, which used to take me hours in the darkroom. perhaps you are not looking at for the new easy ways to do what would take hours in a darkroom. don’t give up on b/w just yet.

            • rafakoy

              Yeah, I know, and I’ve seen people using these BW conversion methods and processing and the only thing I see are ugly HDR-like fake tones.
              However, I’ve seen some beautiful BW digital photography done (not that many actually) and I know for a fact that some of those pictures where achieved after spending a big amount of time with processing and expensive software (and cameras), while the pictures I take with a $5 roll of BW film are usually perfect as is, no retouching or processing needed.

          • CSIROC

            To each their own. I prefer black and white for some shots, color for others. I’ve personally transformed a boring grey day into an interesting shot by switching to B&W. In color, the clouds were completely lifeless – the car I was shooting was white and the surroundings all concrete. Hardly interesting in color. In B&W the clouds suddenly took on an amazing texture, and the sharp contrast between the black shadows and white car made the whole scene pop. That isn’t to say that B&W is only good in scenes that are devoid of color – in fact having color gives a B&W image even more to work with as you get more variation in the shades between black and white.

            But beyond that, for the longest time (perhaps still true?) black and white film had a noticeable advantage in dynamic range over color.

        • guest

          lol. Six replies so far, and I’m the only one that gets what you’re saying. It’s the End Times Mist, the End Times.

          • Guest

            Ironically, the answer to the question of black and white vs. color is, well, not black and white. There are any number of great reasons to use either palette as long as you have a concept in mind and a vision of something that you’re trying to communicate. But, to say that one is “better” or more “viable” than the other is just nonsense.

        • Ironically, the answer to the question of black and white vs. color is, well, uh, not black and white. There are any number of great reasons to use either palette as long as you have a concept in mind and a vision of something that you’re trying to communicate. To say that one is “better” or more “viable” than the other is just nonsense. It’s OK to be an Ansel Adams wannabe, as long as you’re communicating honestly.

      • saywhatuwill

        And soon Blackberry.

  • dan

    how does this qualify as rumors?

  • saywhatuwill

    Wow, that digital camera was as good or better than film. When the 3 MP camera came out “wow, that digital camera is better than film.” When the 8 MP camera came out “wow, that digital camera is better than film.” When the 12MP camera came out…well, it was as good if not better than film.

    • davye

      I assume you’re being being sarcastic with your post but film still has its own advantages over digital.

      • saywhatuwill

        Somewhat. People all over the photo BBS, Compuserve, the internet and even my uncle were saying 3MP and a little higher was better than film. If you looked at their photos now, they don’t look all that great. If you look at my pictures taken during the same time frame they look fantastic. Why? I used film up until the Nikon D700 came out. At that point I thought the quality of digital was good enough to replace my film Nikons. I still use my film Hasselblads though.

      • Patrick O’Connor

        Like? I’m totally serious. My father-in-law wants to give me his old SLR and I’m trying to think of situations where it would “shine.”

        • saywhatuwill

          What’s interesting is that people are now using filters to “simulate” film grain. In this situation it would have been better to just use film cause you’d get the “real” look of film. I find film to be faster and easier to print than on the computer where it takes a while to manipulate. There’s just a look to film that can’t be duplicated on digital. If it’s not to your liking, that’s okay.

        • Where’s my…

          Film still has some technical advantages over digital photography, esp. black and white, such as better tonal range, ability for highlight recovery and higher resolution (with some films e.g. Adox CMS 20 or shooting medium format), but I believe you’d have to discover the situations where film would shine _for you_ by yourself. As a heuristic, if LP’s sound different to CD’s to you in a positive way, you might like shooting film. A photography course that includes dark room training could be a good starting point to discover if you like film as a media.

          For me some of the upsides with film are the time trip back to the moment of shooting when seeing the developed/enlarged frame for the first time and that shooting film makes me often spend somewhat more effort in capturing the frame, leading to better results. Another positive is that there’s less distraction from checking previous shots etc. when photographing a subject. And then, analogue PP i.e. enlarging the frame in darkroom to photographic paper makes better looking B&W prints, maybe because of some technical merits of the media or maybe for some other reason that at this moment eludes my analytic capabilities.

  • Ames

    This site becomes dead horse now, no rumor update for a long long time.

  • NikonF4 lover

    So now the know how the Nikon D5 has to look and be like.

  • no care

    lol who cares?

  • arachnophilia

    i dunno where this “hawkeye” name came from. kodak’s used that for a plethora of consumer cameras, the most famous of which were brownies and folding cameras.

    THIS camera is very similar to the DCS-100, which was the first digital SLR on the market. the storage “brain” looks different, and the grip on the back is a little different, but i would wage on it being basically the same camera. they have issued NASA a prototype or two before they were released.

    • Spy Black

      Because hawks have vision with high acuity.

    • RonVol

      Kodak never made or referred to the term ‘DCS-100’.
      What you’re referring to is the DCS-DC3 system.
      When Kodak released the DCS-200, ‘SOME’ journalists at the time took it upon themselves to incorrectly refer to the DCS-DC3 as the DCS-100.

      If you take the time to read the info shown both in the post here and with the video on YouTube (follow the link to the site set up by Jim McGarvey, one of the engineers that helped design the DCS-DC3 and the Hawkeye II) then you’ll be able to understand where “this ‘hawkeye’ name” came from.

  • nobody cares

    Really? My negative scanner is something like 20 MP. No doubt that 12MP, with the right light, caught some details that I rarely caught on ISO 800 film (and I was shooting 800 digital), but I preferred until the mid to late 2000s. I didn’t think digital in the 90s came close.

  • jtorral
  • Back to top