Samsung SDC-007 (1999)

I used to skip this one because I always thought this was a video camera but it isn't! It is a futuristic looking fully-fledged digital still camera! This extraordinary camera was introduced to the public at the IFA 1999 in Germany and afterwards at the World PC EXPO 1999. It was released in the NEXCA series and it's design was intended to become the godfather of all future Samsung digital camera products (according to the Samsung press release)! Here comes the capper though, a mock-up model of this camera was already presented at the CeBIT 1998 in Hannover, called the C-Shot. Nobody would have thought that Samsung would turn this into a feasible product but they did! Samsung's plan was to export this camera at a high price ($100 over comparable products) to establish a market abroad where they could sell future digital camera products of the NEXCA series. It was therefore never sold in Asia because at the time the korean market was not doing well and the average price for a camera had dropped to SVGA class, so launching this product domestically would have been a bad marketing decision. In fact they thought that it's unique design would be appealing to foreign customers (I am not making this up, it's all in the Samsung press release from 1999-07-05).
 
The camera was officially announced by Samsung on 1999-07-05 and the world's first digital still camera to adopt a folder-like design. At the time of announcement it was also the only product in the world that could be rotated at 180 degrees with a foldable display and could therefore shoot at any desired angle. The body was made of a durable magnesium that was actually lighter than aluminum. Every aspect of the camera's design looked like you were holding a small video camera whereas the SDC-007 was completely incapable of recording moving images! So the design of the SDC-007 reminds us of the NEC PC-DC200 'Picona' and the Panasonic KXL-600. Because of their video camera like appearances all three models have been shunned and mostly ignored by vintage digital camera collectors where in fact they are all hard to find collectibles. Above you can see a picture of all three ill-fated models lined up.
 
The SDC-007 also reminds me of one of the early cell phones that could be folded. In digital camera design it was a first. There are a lot of positive things here to say about the SDC-007 though. The body is really durable and sturdy, the swiveling monitor comes in handy, the buttons are all easy to reach, the camera could be operated for left and right handed users, it had a small clip-on flash strobe that could neatly be tucked away when not in use (like the SDC-80 had). The camera came with it's own docking station so when charging the battery it could be connected to the PC or laptop and images could easily be transferred. As you can see in the pictures the camera came with a li-ion battery pack for mobile use and a regular battery pack where normal AA batteries could be inserted. The normal battery pack was not only a great add-on but also a necessity because it sported both the power plug jack and the tripod screw hole!
 
The camera was a complete commercial failure because it only had a one megapixel sensor on board and could not record moving images or sound. Almost nobody was willing to pay around $600 for a foldable digital camera with XGA resolution when the rest of the world was already shooting in the 2 megapixel class. So the SDC-007 got shelved and like most NEXCA digital cameras became a sought-after item. As you can see above, our museum piece has got a very low serial number indicating that not too many may have been produced.
 
© all images digicammuseum.com except promo shot © Samsung Corp and C-shot image © Impress Corp.

Specifications

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: SDC-007
  • First mentioned: 1999
  • Marketed: yes (sold in 2000 in the US)
  • MSRP: $599.99
  • Imager Type: 1.08MP 1/3" progressive CCD
  • Resolution: 1152x864
  • Internal Storage: -
  • External Storage: SmartMedia
  • Lens: f=6.6mm /F2.8
  • Shutter: electronic shutter
  • Aperture Range: F2.8
  • LCD screen size: 1.8" TFT
  • Size: 62 x 100 x 40mm
  • Weight: 206 gr.
  • Remarks: First digital camera with foldable screen

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