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Kodak DC50 Digital Camera

Found this Kodak DC50 at the markets on the weekend for the princely sum of AUD$5.00. Couldn't resist.


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It actually has a PCMCIA slot on it! I had only learned recently that PCMCIA cards came as 'storage' modules. I thought they were all peripheral cards (network, modem) or IDE interfaces but hadn't realised that they came as sealed storage. It turns out the camera also has 1-Megabyte of internal storage. Seems that it's also 'FUL'! I wonder whats on there?


I had no cable and no way to get the data off, so I went and found my own media for it.


Turns out I had picked up a 1.2gb sealed PCMCIA 'ATA' Card in Malaysia (actually, I still need to write up Malaysia!), but this card was way too big for this camera. At the same time I'd also picked up a PCMCIA-CF adapter with a 4GB card in it, but that was also way too big... I rummaged around in my desk draw and grabbed the nearest/smallest CF card I could find: 128mb.

It happily started taking photos! On high resolution, the card can store ~760 photos. It just says 999 when I set it to medium or lower. After getting carried away snapping around the apartment, I quickly realised I had no USB CF card readers! Not to worry, I had enough old Windows 9x laptops, and could read the card via the PCMCIA adapter I was using in the camera to store the photos. This all worked fine... the card appeared in my computer, but the images were in KDC format? Turns out Irfanview can read these, so I needed to get them to my main PC.

The laptop had a USB port, but Windows 98 First Edition didn't have the drivers. You'll find that the standard NUSB33e drivers wont work. Instead, follow the instructions here. You'll have to install the unofficial Service Pack and then the USB drivers. All worked perfectly!

Once the files were on the USB, I moved them to my main PC.... here's the end result!


It works perfectly. 64kb of JPEG goodness... I wonder if IrfanView is trashing the quality of if that is just it... I'll take this on the weekend taking photos of the neighbourhood.

Internal Storage and Serial Transfers

Check this site out: It's the Japanese Kodak site for the DC50 serial cable and it's still online? Of course, you can't purchase from it and the picture doesn't help much. Tinker North West seems to also have a cable available... but I don't feel like paying real dollars for this thing. Turns out the pinouts are readily available (over here too.) The cable looks oddly familiar... I wonder if my weird Video plugs fit? Nup... one extra pin...


Wait... is that a Macintosh Serial plug? More rummaging in the drawer and... magic! Let's rig up a cable...

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The wiring of the serial cable I had is as follows: 1 = brown, 2 = red, 3 = orange, 4 = yellow, 5 = green, 6 = blue, 7 = purple, 8 = black. Meanwhile the other end is a little controversial. DB-9 serial ports are easy to understand. But if you look here, they recommend RXD to RXD and the same with TXD? That kind of straight-through wiring really should not work. I have previously gone nuts trying to work out the difference between DTE and DCE here, and so didn't want to make the same mistakes again.

All Pinouts seem to have a wiring plan that's crossed over. That makes a lot more sense... but of course, the internet prevails. Back at Christophe Jacquet — Retro-digital photography: using the Kodak DC50, Christophe mentions that his minimal 'straight-through' cable worked perfectly? Maybe the pinout of the camera plug is wrong... i.e. they're mention RXD as the RXD of the computer, and it's actually TXD on the camera side? Let's just build it and see what happens... (Update: The cable needs RXD and TXD swapped. Build is as per this link!)


Ok... I have a cable... now software? Supposedly I need Kodak EasyShare, but that may be too new. Christophe links to Picture Transfer, but that link is dead... the Web Archive saves us again, but the binary isn't available! Grrrr... There's a newer version here of EasyShare, but I have no idea if that'll work. UPDATE: I found the software! (I'll come back to this soon.)

Open Source

Of course, there's a whole sub-culture in Linux regarding camera connectivity. The DC50 seems to be left out though. They mention that it uses standard serial transfer, and that the section will relate to that. But then the next area they say they'll add the documentation in a future HOWTO... but never got around to it?

Either way, that reference to kdcpi is a good hint. Fortunately, Tucows has saved it for future prosperity. Downloading it, one will find it's just a perl script. Three of the files are prepended with DC50... Let's do this! Perl is easy to set up on Windows (I used ActivePerl), with the script open in seconds...

Can't locate in @INC (you may need to install the DC50 module) (@INC contains: C:/Perl64/site/lib C:/Perl64/lib) at C:\kdcpi-0.0.3\ line 32.
BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at C:\kdcpi-0.0.3\ line 32.

First error... include libraries... I then copied all the files starting with DC into C:\Perl64\lib.

  C:\kdcpi-0.0.3\ camera port speed command [ command arguments ]

Ok... nice, what are the commands? Looking at the source...

  print STDERR "$0: unkown command\n";
  print STDERR "implemented commands:\n";
  print STDERR "  dumpthumb - downloads thumbnails from the camera\n";
  print STDERR "  dump      - downloads picture(s) from the camera\n";
  print STDERR "  delete    - deletes picture(s) from the camera\n";
  print STDERR "  status    - displays the cameras status\n\n";
  print STDERR "  list      - lists name and sizes of pictures in the camera\n\n";
  print STDERR "  snap      - takes a picture\n\n";
  print STDERR "  set       - sets information about the camera\n\n";

If we type in a shit command, we'll get the list above... but we can just see it anyway.. so... list?

C:\kdcpi-0.0.3> DC50 COM1 115200 list
If you know information about the DC50 file format, please mail and I will work on supporting it.
Access is denied.
Terminating on signal SIGINT(2)

Access is denied? A little bit of debugging proved that the following line of perl is problematic:

system("stty raw -parenb -parodd -onlcr -iexten -echonl -noflsh -tostop -echoprt -ixoff -olcuc -ocrnl -onocr -onlret -ofill -ofdel -echo -echoe -echok -echoctl -echoke min 255 time 5 cs8 9600 < $tty");

Hahaha... that's not even available on Windows. I'll continue this once I've spooled up an aging Linux laptop.

KODAK Picture Transfer Application

So, it does exist and it works. As mentioned in the update above, I found the application... I just don't trust the sites I downloaded it from. Anyway, that's why it's available here. With this, you'll need a Windows 9x vintage PC or Virtual Machine. I chose the latter....

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It needed a serial port. Mapping hte USB Serial port as a standard COM1 wouldn't be found in Windows 98. I therefore chose to feed the usb device to the VM and then gave it the driver here.

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Note that I couldn't get file sharing to work... you'll get this if you try to network and share with an SMB1 device:

C:\Users\Steven>net use \\
System error 384 has occurred.

You can't connect to the file share because it's not secure. This share requires the obsolete SMB1 protocol, which is unsafe and could expose your system to attack.
Your system requires SMB2 or higher. For more info on resolving this issue, see:

So I used Fenix as a webserver after installing the latest Opera from From there, we had connectivity! The next goal was to download and install the Kodak software.

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Oh golly... why does everything say DC120? I don't have that model! Please ... please ... please work!

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Oh yeah! There's the 11 photos we were advised of from the back of the camera! Let's download them! (Nice that the app happily translates them to Bitmap for us!)

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And we're done! What did we download?


A lovely cat that looks like a cow. I win!


About stevenh

Trains... trains... trains... + Electronics + Japan.
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