Apple debuted the QuickTake 100 on February 17, 1994 and began selling it on June 20, 1994 for $749 US. It was one of the first digital cameras targeted for consumer use. We obtained our QuickTake 100 in 2007 for $20. The QuickTake 100, built by Kodak for Apple Computer, is a 24-bit color still digital camera designed to work with classic Macintosh computers with a serial modem or printer port.
Specifically, to use the QuickTake 100 camera, you need:
At least 4 MB of RAM with 8 MB of virtual memory or 8 MB of RAM
A Macintosh with serial DIN-8 modem or printer connector (RS-422, RS-232), or GeoPort
A hard drive with at least 10 MB available
The QuickTake 100 is Windows compatibility but we don't address Windows issues on this website.
You must have a Mac running classic Mac OS from System 7.0.1 up to 9 because the QuickTake 100 uses a unique codec (compressor-decompressor) that is not available in Mac OS X.
If you attempt to open a QuickTake PICT in Mac OS X, you will get the following message:
QuickTake pictures must be converted to a different compression format under Mac OS 9 or earlier to be opened in Mac OS X. The QuickTake Version 1.0 software that shipped with the QuickTake 100 facilitates communication between your Mac and the camera, and allows you to download images and perform basic image manipulation. It also converts QuicTake PICT files taken by the camera to a standard Macintosh PICT file or TIFF file that can be viewed in Mac OS X. QuickTake Version 1.0 requires at least Mac OS 7.0.1, but we were unable to fully use this software on a Macintosh IIci running Mac OS 7.6, so we used PhotoFlash 2.0 and the QuickTake Image Access control panel that Apple later shipped with the camera that replaced the 100, the QuickTake 150, to perform all image manipulation and to mount the QuickTake 100 to the IIci's desktop. PhotoFlash is an application Apple bundled with the QuickTake 150 and it is now available for free download on Apple's older software downloads page. All QuickTake 100 images on this webpage were converted to standard JPEGs in PhotoFlash in our Macintosh IIci.
Once you've connected the QuickTake 100 to a compatible Macintosh with the included serial cable, you can use the QuickTake software to download your images. You can also control and run the camera from your Macintosh, so images appear on screen as they are taken. Downloaded images can be rotated, cropped or scaled, then saved in PICT, TIFF or QuickTake file formats (JPEG format if using PhotoFlash). This can be accomplished using the original QuickTake Version 1.0 software that shipped with the QuickTake 100 or the PhotoFlash software later available with the QuickTake 150. Both programs will work, but the latter will probably be more compatible for Macs using Mac OS 7.6 or higher.
We were unable to convert QuickTake PICT files to TIFF or regular PICT files using the QuickTake, Version 1.0 software in our Macintosh IIci running Mac OS 7.6. Perhaps there is a compatibility issue because every time we tried it, the computer locked up. No further testing was done because we accomplished file conversion using Apple's excellent PhotoFlash program. As stated earlier, conversion is necessary because QuickTake PICT only works in classic Mac OS and thus must be converted to a standard format like JPEG or TIFF to share with the world. Unlike QuickTake Version 1.0, PhotoFlash has the ability to convert into JPEG format, which is the format we chose to convert our images for posting on this website.
This picture shows the QuickTake 100 connected to our Macintosh IIci. The IIci is running PhotoFlash. You can view the image appearing on the monitor, converted to a JPEG using PhotoFlash, in the thumbnails below.
Screenshots of Macintosh IIci using QuickTake 100 software:
The QuickTake 150 installer floppies we used because we could not get the QuickTake 100's QuickTake Version 1.0 software to work installs a control panel called QuickTake Image Access. This control panel allows you to mount the camera like an external drive. You can also use this control panel to set the camera's name, update the camera's internal clock, erase the stored images, and set the time the camera sleeps after inactivity. When mounted as an external volume, it is possible to drag and drop the camera's images into Macintosh HD.
The QuickTake 100 can take up to 32 standard-resolution images (320 by 240 pixels), 8 high-resolution images (640 by 480 pixels), or a mixture of both sizes. Images are stored in the QuickTake 100's 1 MB Flash EPROM internal memory. For those used to measuring camera quality in megapixels (Mpx), the QuickTake is capable of a maximum 0.3 Mpx. The Apple QuickTake 100 has automatic exposure and flash, along with simple controls for ease of use. Shutter speed is 1/30 to 1/175 of a second. The QuickTake 100 has a built-in flash, but no focus or zoom controls.
We mounted the QuickTake 100 and took some pictures of Vectronic's GoBots. Yes, Vectronic collects GoBots too. There is no end to our geekdom.
We took this GoBots picture using Vectronic's Nikon Digital SLR camera. We balanced the DSLR on top of the mounted QuickTake 100 seen in the image above to make this image match as much as possible the QuickTake images in the thumbnails below. Click this image to see the high resolution uncropped original. Compare this high quality picture with the QuickTake 100 images below. Our biggest complaint about the QuickTake 100 is that there is no way to control the focus.
(Click) 640 x 480 images taken on our QuickTake 100:
GoBots - no flash
GoBots - with flash
Vectronic's back yard
Vectronic's front yard
Up to 32 standard-resolution or 8 high-resolution images in internal memory
Automatic exposure with computer-controlled shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/175 of a second
Apertures from f2.8 to f16
8 mm (equivalent to 50-mm lens on a 35-mm film camera)
Focus range from 4 feet to infinity
Built-in automatic flash
Images can be stored in the camera up to one year before being loaded into your Macintosh computer
Battery life: 120 images (assuming about half taken with flash)
GeoPort serial connection for high-speed data transfer
QuickTake application to download and manipulate images
File formats: PICT, TIFF, and QuickTake PICT (JPEGs can be created using PhotoFlash)
QuickTake control panel to mount camera as a volume on your Macintosh desktop
Supports QuickTime system extension for image compression
ColorSync system extension for automatic color matching to screen and printer
The QuickTake 100 is shaped like a pair of binoculars and it weighs 1 lb (0.5 kg). It was one of the first digital cameras sold to consumers (another first for Apple) and thus the industry had not settled on the more familiar camera designs we see today. The QuickTake 100 takes three AA batteries. Apple provided a set of NiCad rechargeable batteries along with a battery charger. You turn the camera on by pushing the sliding lens cover over until it snaps into place, uncovering the front viewfinder lens. The cameral will shut down after a few minutes to conserve battery power, so it is necessary to turn it off and on again if the control panel display is blanked out.
The controls are very rudimentary. There are four buttons next to the viewfinder on the back of the camera surrounding the control panel display. The flash button sets the flash to on, off, or automatic. Automatic lets the camera's light sensor determine when to flash. The resolution button is used to set the image resolution to standard or high. Each time you toggle this button, the QuickTake 100 will tell you how many images you can take at the selected resolution.
The timer button gives you 10 seconds before the camera takes a picture. After you press the timer button and then press the shutter, a red indicator light on the top front of the camera glows steadily for eight seconds, then it blinks rapidly for another two seconds. When time is up, the camera takes the picture.
The recessed erase button will erase all pictures in the camera. This erases all of the pictures in the camera. You cannot erase a few and leave the rest in the camera. Pressing this button requires the use of a small pointed object like a bent paper clip or pen cap. If the camera is connected to your Macintosh, there's another way to erase pictures. You can use QuickTake Verison 1.0 or PhotoFlash 2.0 to initiate photo deletion.
The serial port is found behind a sliding door on the side of the QuickTake 100. There is an adapter plug next to the serial port. To conserve battery power, you can use a power adapter and plug the camera into an available power outlet. Use only the QuickTake 100 AC Adapter (part number M2851LL/A) or the PowerBook AC Adapter with the QuickTake 100. The power adapter will not recharge batteries in the camera. It is a good idea to use the adapter for power while the camera is connected to your Macintosh.
The QuickTake line of cameras did not sell very well and all models were discontinued after only three years. The QuickTake 100 itself was discontinued in 1995. Consumers were increasingly buying digital cameras but the problem was one of perception. Apple just wasn't seen as a photography company. The three models Apple released, QuickTake 100, QuickTake 150, and QuickTake 200, were all re-branded third party cameras produced by Kodak (100 and 150) and Fujifilm (200), so the innovation was not in the equipment on Apple's part so much as it was with the software and ultimately the QuickTake's ease of use.
Traditional photography equipment makers like Canon, Kodak, and Nikon began to flood the market with brands that consumers more readily associated with photography. Furthermore, even though the QuickTake cameras were all Windows compatible given the right drivers and cables, in the mid 1990s Apple was extremely paternalistic and increasingly viewed as a niche player so the QuickTake cameras never really gained a reputation as being anything more than a Macintosh peripheral.
The QuickTake line of cameras was discontinued in 1997 shortly after the return of Steve Jobs in an effort to streamline operations and focus all the company's resources on reviving the waning Macintosh. Although short lived, these cameras are today being snapped up by collectors as prized additions to Apple computer collections. Even though the QuickTake 100 produces a very low quality image, there is something heart warming in using this camera while pondering how far we have come.