Polaroid PDC-2000

Polaroid PDC-2000 (1996)

Only the most elaborate collector knows that Polaroid already had a prototype of this camera back in 1992! But the market introduction was delayed by the management and for several other reasons. Therefore the Polaroid PDC-2000 was announced quite a few years later on 1996-03-11 in the US and 1996-08-30 in Japan. Polaroid's anticipated entry to the digital market. The camera was a highly professional digital camera with a Polaroid-designed CCD and was made entirely in Massachussets, New England. ETIPA (European Technical Image Press Association) chose this camera as being the Best Digital Product of 1996. This camera is a fine example of why collecting vintage digital cameras is so much fun. First of all it looked nothing like any other camera on the market back then. It's body was made out of durable and indestructible magnesium alloy and it had a sonar auto-focus mechanism! Something that derived from their SX-70 land camera. Another interesting feature was the possibility to take off the lens and swap it with an optional 17mm lens ($199). Also, the camera had a huge and expensive 40/60MB of solid-state memory on board. Other cameras back then only had 1-2MB. It's unique design was created by Matthew Hern of FITCH and Product Genesis.

The image resolution was 800x600 pixel and could be interpolated to 1600x1200. The camera was a bit on the heavy side with almost two pounds. It had a SCSI-2 connector so images could be transferred faster than the regular serial port. Because the camera had no manual focus the images appeared soft and a sharpening filter really helped improve the image quality. On the downside the camera didn't allow the user to manually change anything. There was simply no way for the user to manually change focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture settings, metering or red-eye reduction.

To make it easy on the customer, the Polaroid PDC-2000 was available in three different edition:

PDC-2000/40 - internal 40MB memory harddisk ($3,695)
PDC-2000/60 - internal 60MB memory flash drive ($4,995)
PDC-2000/T - no internal memory, camera had to be tethered to a computer ($2,995)

If you do the maths, 60MB of solid-state memory would therefore cost $2,000 in 1996! An interesting side effect was that most of the sold PDC-2000 ended up in photography studios and therefore Polaroid responded to that by offering a Studio Kit which included strobes and software to give the users more control over their cameras.


  • Brand: Polaroid
  • Model: PDC-2000
  • First mentioned: 1996
  • Marketed: yes
  • MSRP: $3,695 (PDC-2000/40)
  • Imager Type: 1MP Polaroid CCD
  • Resolution: 800x600
  • Internal Storage: 40 and 60MB
  • External Storage: only PDC-2000/T
  • Lens: f=11mm /F2.8
  • Shutter: 1/25s to 1/500s
  • Aperture Range: F2.8 - F11
  • LCD screen size: -
  • Size: 201 x 160 x 56mm
  • Weight: 900 gr.
  • Remarks: Made in New England, USA

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