Flashback: Nikon N90S film camera with Kodak NC2000 digital back

The Camera Store put the Nikon N90S camera with Kodak NC2000 digital back to the test. Here is their video review:

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  • Melkor

    That really looks like a “frankamerastein”…

  • Alexander Thomas

    Very cool video and cool to see / get insight from people who originally used them!

  • D700s

    Really enjoyed the video. Fun to look back and hear from original users.

  • There were some crazy frakindigitals back in the day. Check out the Sony Mavica (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-nfqPrzf3Y)

    • Jonathan Björklund

      Good old times

      • true

        I don’t miss the floppy disks. I couldn’t move games very reliably with floppys (didn’t know about winzip part 1.2.3 at the time etc). Even a 2mb exe file of some game was impossible to transport.

    • That was going to be my first digital camera. Then I tried taking one out in the store, and the result was so horrible I dropped the idea completely.

      I got a Canon XL1 video camera instead, and it served me well for many years, up until HD video finally took over. Loved that camera even though it cost me $4,400. I would take video in their Frame Movie Mode and make digitally distributable stills out of it.

  • Larry Angier

    This was one of the breakthrough cameras that lead the way for us all in digital today!

  • Henri De Vreese

    17K each? That’s why we don’t have any digital backs today for camera’s like the Nikon FM range and the Olympus OM.

  • Julian

    I’ve still got my F90X in the cupboard at home, just missing the digital back!

  • Scott

    In ’94, my budget only allowed for an Apple QuickTake.

  • Marc Stowe

    And now that immediacy has just about brought us to the extinction of the photojournalist.

    • SpecialMan

      Not quite extinct. This winter I covered the presidential campaigns and there were a LOT of photojournalists from all over the world. It seems that there is still a market for talent combined with integrity and the ability to bring a fresh eye to what can be a maddeningly repetitive day to day grind.
      There certainly aren’t as many news shooters, but at the same time very few people are blessed with the physical tirelessness, people skills, aesthetic sensibility, and technical knowledge to pull great shots from every assignment.

      • whattheblazes

        Totally agree, and I would also add, it is a blessing in disguise. Everyone, nowadays, has a camera of some variety and can shoot. That being said, to have the knowledge, skill, and the ability to read an environment on the fly, without effectively missing a beat, is essential trade craft. Most who possess cameras of any type, can produce a photo, but only a few can truly capture a moment in time. If anything, market saturation will weed out quantity, leaving only quality. Craft discipline and skill will always determine quality to the creator and the observer.

  • Ralf Jannke
  • harvey

    Rob Galbraith – now there’s a name out of the on-line digital photography past

    • AlphaT

      Nice to see Rob’s presence on the web again. I miss his compact flash reviews among other things.

      Another one I miss is Bjørn Rørslett.

  • Kiboko

    Interesting video, Thanks for posting and thank yo on TheCameraStoreTV!

  • ZoetMB

    There were a bunch of these. I may not have them all because there were many variants and Wiki has some different dates than I do, but with those disclaimers, before this one, there was:
    DCS 1990 1MP
    DCS100 1991 1.3MP Modified F3 $13,000
    DCS200 1992 1.54MP 80MB HD modified F801 (and my notes claim it was mirrorless)
    DCS410 1994 1.54MB Modified F90
    DCS420 1994 1.54MB Modified F90. $12,000
    Then came this one:
    NC2000 1994 Modified F90 $17,600
    After that:
    DCS460 1995-6 6.23MP Modified F90s $35,600
    DCS620 1999 2MP Modified F5
    DCS620x 1999 2MP Modified F5 $10,495
    DSC660 1999 6MP Modified F5
    DCS760 2001 6MP Modified F5
    DCS720x 2002 2.74 MP Modified F5
    Pro14n 2002 Modified F80
    Pro SLR/N 2004 Modified F80.

    And there was also the Nikon QV-1000c which used a 2″ floppy. Monochrome only. In 1991 with two lenses and a transmitter unit, it cost $20,300.

    There was also a line of Nikon/Fuji cameras:
    Nikon/Fuji E2 1995 1.3MP $20,000
    Nikon/Fuji E2S 1995
    Nikon/Fuji E2N 1996 $20,000
    Nikon/Fuji E2NS 1996 $20,000
    Nikon/Fuji E3 1998 1.3MP $20,000
    Nikon/Fuji E3S 1998 1.3MP $20,000

    Nikon then released the D1 in 1999 at $5500. 2.74MP.

    Kodak made backs for Canon cameras as well.

  • David in Signal Mountain

    What ever happened to the project that someone was working on that would have a made a digital “adapter” that was the size and shape of a 35mm film canister with a “leader” that laid across the film path to place the sensor director behind the shutter? This would make any 35 mm film camera into a digital camera. I suspect that miniaturization of the electronics and the power requirements proved to be too big an obstacle to overcome.

    • ZoetMB

      I think that Nikon and the other DSLR makers have never reached the level of miniaturization that Apple and the other smartphone makers have achieved. Ever open up the iPhone? About 7/8 of the left side is battery. Input/output is at the bottom along with the control button and the microphone and speaker. Camera, flash and sensor is at the top. The “motherboard” is down the right side. What’s unbelievable is not just how small the processors are, but how small each of the many plugs are.

      So I think what you’ve described could have been achieved, but it wasn’t in the interests of the camera manufacturers to have produced it because they need to sell a whole new camera and this canister wouldn’t have gotten the same price. Plus, I bet there were some technical issues, such as precise alignment and positioning of the sensor and power issues as well.

      If you’ve ever looked at a disassembly of a Nikon DSLR, it’s quite complex with wires running all over the place. I can’t help but feel that if Apple (or even Samsung) wanted to replicate it, they would be able to drastically simplify the design, perhaps putting all the circuitry onto a chip or two.

      • RC

        Sensor technology back then was not good enough.

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