Digital Photography Comes To The Apple II

Back in the very early days of consumer digital photography, one of the first stars of the new medium came from Apple. The QuickTake 100 used a novel flat form factor and at its highest resolution could only shoot 640×480 images, but at the time it was a genuine object of desire. It came in Windows and Apple versions, and to use the Apple variant required a Mac of the day with appropriate software.

The interface was an Apple serial connector though, so it was quite reasonable for [Colin Leroy-Mira] to wonder whether it could work with Apple’s 8-bit machines. The result is QuickTake for the Apple IIc, the product that perhaps Apple should have brought us in an alternative 1994.

Fortunately the protocol has already been reverse engineered and forms part of the dcraw package, however the process of extracting the code wasn’t easy. The full resolution and colour of the original pictures has to be sacrificed, and of course once the custom serial cable has been made it’s a painfully slow process transferring the pictures. But to get anything running in this way on such elderly hardware which was never intended to  perform this task is an extremely impressive feat. We would have given anything for this, back in the 8-bit days.

If you have a QuickTake and want to use a more modern machine, we’ve got you covered there, too.

DIY $6 Serial Cable For Vintage Apple QuickTake Cameras


Knowing he was a guy who liked electronics and taking things apart, one of [Erik]’s friends sent him a vintage Apple QuickTake 100/150 digital camera as a bit of a joke. [Erik] enjoyed the gift, but since his friend hadn’t sent the necessary serial cable he really couldn’t do that much with it. He searched online only to discover the cable is very difficult to find these days, and thus very expensive. So, being the handy guy he is, he built his own.

Starting with an Apple MiniDin8 Male cable, he cut off one end and attached the wiring to a RJ45 connector. That got plugged into a modular adapter with a DB9 Female Plug end and wired up. The procedure required no soldering, and cost less than $6. Awesome.

Unfortunately the lack of serial cable isn’t the only problem he faced. QuickTake isn’t compatible with newer Apple computers that use Intel. You have to either have a much older Mac, or use a Windows XP emulator. If that wasn’t bad enough, the cameras only want to save photos in QuickTake file format. Luckily, [Erik] documents how he overcome all these issues in his post.

[Thanks Erik]