NEC PC-DC 401 (1996)
Since the Epix Pro, NEC PC-DC 401 and Obsidian Imaging IC/100 are identical cameras and share the same story, I will copy the text from the OEM section here.
The story here starts with John Moon, a former VP of Apple and responsible for the short-lived Quick Take digital cameras. After leaving Apple he founded Epix Imaging Systems. The goal was to combine hard- and software into a perfect image management workflow from capturing the image through to the ouput. Since their customers already had the hardware (computers, processors, databases) they looked for a possibility to integrate imaging into their systems. Soon they were to discover that there was no suitable digital camera that matched their purpose. So they decided to build a digital camera from the ground up with interfaces to transfer the images right into the hardware. To keep costs down they used off-the-shelf components as far as possible. A standard 1/2" Sony CCD with 640x480 pixels and a through the lens viewfinder. The camera was ti take interchangeable lenses which was a novelty among other low-res digital cameras. To keep it simple they used the C mount for their lenses. It became the Epix Pro.
With NEC of Japan they found a company that could build the camera exactly to Epix's design plans. This was also an opportunity for NEC to market the camera in Japan as the NEC PC-DC 401. What makes this camera so special is the fact that it has an onboard 486 processor that allowed the user to upload his own parameters for resizing, compression etc. right into the camera. The Epix Pro had two internal PCMCIA slots and could therefore store 1600 images on a standard 131MB PCMCIA Type III drive. So basically it is a mini computer with a lens attached to it. Obsdian Imaging (first a subsidiary of Epix then in 1996 Epix changed it's name to Obsidian Imaging) took this camera to the next level by developing a way of encrypting the images in the camera to safeguard secret agents. The digital photograph is encrypted when taken and stored on the camera's memory chip. The Obsidian Imaging IC/100 system became the world's first digital camera with built-in anti tampering software but not all was as it seems. Although everything looked very promising and Epix/Obsidian had plans for future cameras, the Epix Pro and NEC PC-DC 401 sold poorly and the companies shelved their digital camera plans.
Above you can see the top LCD status display and an unedited sample picture of a candle, taken in a well lit room with the camera's strobe and a 12.5mm Cosmicar TV lens. Another thing not many people know is that NEC sold special lenses for this camera:
NEC PC-DC401-11 f=8.5mm /F1.5
NEC PC-DC401-13 f=12.5 - 75mm /F1.8 ~ 22
More lenses might be sold, we just do not know. In the gallery you can see what impact the big lens has on this camera. The lenses in their original boxes are very rare.
All images digicammuseum.com and digitalkameramuseum.de
- Brand: NEC
- Model: PC-DC 401
- First mentioned: 1996
- Marketed: yes
- MSRP: $900
- Imager Type: 0.41MP 1/2" Sony CCD
- Resolution: 768x494
- Internal Storage: -
- External Storage: PC Card Type II/III
- Lens: interchangeable lenses
- Shutter: 1/60s to 1/10,000s
- Aperture Range: lens dependent
- LCD screen size: -
- Size: 149 x 145 x 87mm
- Weight: 600 gr.
- Remarks: -