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Kodak debuts digital camera kit

The all-in-one hardware and software bundle for digital photography lets users display photos in emails and on Web sites.

Eastman Kodak (EK) has released an all-in-one hardware and software bundle for digital photography that will allow users to take pictures and then send them through email or post them on a Web site.

Bundling an entry-level camera with software that will allow users to "develop" electronic photos is Kodak's way of easing the public's introduction to digital photography, said Paul Allen, a Kodak spokesman. "With this bundle, they can view pictures, manipulate them, transmit them, and pop them into a document," he said. "They can take snapshots of their family, test it out." Until now, customers bought their software separately.

The DC20 Web Camera Kit comes with a Kodak DC20 digital camera, a flash unit, PhotoEnhancer Special Fun Edition software from PictureWorks Technology, Kai's Power Goo animation software from MetaTools, and Communicator from Netscape (NSCP), which combines email and other Web functions.

The DC20, which Kodak released last year, is the company's low-end digital camera. It has a resolution of 493-by-373 pixels and can hold up to 16 images. The bundle sells for $219. Alone, the camera sells for approximately $199. By contrast, the DC120 has a resolution of close to 1,200-by-1,000 pixels and sells for close to $1,000.

Digital photography is expected to challenge film photography before the turn of the century. "All the film-based camera companies have told us that digital photography will wipe out film-based cameras," said Van Baker, director of consumer research at Dataquest. Widespread acceptance should occur in late 1998, he added, when high-resolution cameras like the DC120 drop to around $300.

Combining digital photography with email, in fact, has already been identified by Intel and others as one of the two major uses that will draw consumers into the digital format.

The bundle will be available through Kodak dealers as well as the Kodak Web site. "We have not been selling products on the Internet and we wanted to try it," said Allen. Kodak may try to sell hardware/software bundles for its higher-end cameras in the future.