Retrotechtacular: Kodak Built World’s First DSLR… Using a Canon Camera Body

worlds-first-dslr

It has been far too long since we’ve seen an installment of Retrotechtacular, and this is a great one to start back with. It’s always a treat to get the story from the horse’s mouth. How about the tale of the world’s first Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera? [Jame McGarvey] shared the story of how he developed the device in 1987.

That’s it shown above. It’s not surprising to see that the only real modification to the camera itself is the back cover. The difference between an SLR and a DSLR is really just the D, which was accomplished by adding a CCD in place of the film.

The entire story is a treat, but there are a couple of nuggets the we enjoyed most. The possibly-clandestine purpose of this device is intriguing. It was specifically designed to pass as a film camera which explains the ribbon cable connecting the CCD module to the control box which would be stored in a camera bag. It is also delightful to hear that the customer who tasked Eastman Kodak with developing the system preferred Canon camera bodies. So this Kodak DSLR indeed used a Canon F-1 body.

Once you get done looking this one over you will also enjoy learning how a CCD actually works.

[Thanks Ben]

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.

Binoculars as a zoom lens

It may seem trivial at first, but the effect [Dan] gets when using binoculars as a telephoto lens is surprising. The images are well in focus with great colors. This technique not only brings your subject mater closer but also provides a depth-of-focus feature not normally available on simple cameras or camera phones.

The proof is in the example footage found after the break, but you’ll also find a video tutorial detailing the build. [Dan] already had the expensive components are a pair of mini binoculars and a Kodak Zx3 pocket camcorder. The camcorder is the same form factor as a smart phone so using different hardware will be a breeze. He started off by building a prototype out of paper. Basically it’s a bracket that properly aligns the camera with one lens of the binoculars. Once he had everything lined up he transferred his measurements to some sheet metal. The bracket for the binoculars is attached to the one for the camera using bolts and wing nuts to make it adjustable. One important part of the design is to gut a hole for access to the binocular focus wheel.

[Read more...]

Building removable epoxy mounting brackets

[Jykazu] wanted to use an external lens with his Kodak Zi8 but he didn’t want to alter the camera or glue something onto it. His solution was to build a bracket out of epoxy dough. He first covers the camera in scotch tape to protect the finish, then he kneads the dough to mix the two parts together, using it to form the bracket that you can see above. After curing, the bracket barely sticks to the smooth tape and can be gently removed. A lens cap with a hole drilled in it is glued to this bracket and works like a charm for connecting the lens. Check out his manufacturing method in the videos after the break.

This is a great method for many applications. Last year we saw a product called Sugru which seems to be made for this type of thing but [Jykazu's] epoxy method is just as impressive.

[Read more...]

doomBox: Classic keys meet tiny screen

The doomBox is a dedicated gaming rig for lovers of ID Software’s classic title. [JJ] built this from an old Kodak DC290 camera that had a broken lens. Since this runs the Digita OS, he was able to use the Doom port that already exists. But the camera’s factory buttons were not well suited as controls. By whipping up his own button board, and using the traditional keyboard keys for the button caps, he achieved a much more comfortable (yet squint-inducing) gaming experience. The finished project resides in an all-too-familiar black project box. See him fire it up after the break.

The original Doom for Digita OS pages seem to be down so here’s an alternate if you’re interested.

Update: Looks like the original website is back up.

[Read more...]

Kodak digital frame vulnerability

Kodak managed to release a product with a big fat security vulnerability. [Casey] figured out that the Kodak W820 WiFi capable digital frame can be hijacked for dubious purposes. The frame can add Internet content as widgets; things like Facebook status, tweets, and pictures. The problem is that the widgets are based on a feed from a website that was publicly accessible. The only difference in the different feed addresses is the last two characters of the frame’s MAC address. Feeds that are already setup can be viewed, but by brute-forcing the RSS link an attacker can take control of the feeds that haven’t been set up yet and preload them with photos you might not want to see when you boot up your factory-fresh frame.

It seems the hole has been closed now, but that doesn’t diminish the delight we get from reading about this foible. There’s a pretty interesting discussion going on in the thread running at Slashdot.

[Photo credit]

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