Apple QuickTake 100 – digital camera with Kodak technology from 1994

Apple has put out feelers in quite a few areas during the years that Steve Jobs was away from the company and was working on its “NeXT” offering. While under Steve Jobs the biggest focus was on Apple, Lisa and Macintosh computers and, after his return, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, there was a wild range of Apple products until 1997 - from “Newton” PDA to the flop game console “Pippin” to digital cameras from the “QuickTake” series. And this article will be about their first model.

Apple QuickTake 100 – Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Apple
  • Model: QuickTake 100
  • Model Number: M1644
  • Device type: digital camera
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 5,6 cm x 13,4 cm x 15,5 cm
  • Weight: 0,5 kg
  • Photo resolution: up to 640 x 480 pixels
  • Photo color depth: 24 bit
  • Lightning: yes
  • Image formats: PICT, TIFF, QuickTake
  • Focus: fixed
  • Focal length: 8 mm
  • Focus range: from 1,2 m
  • Shutter speed: 1/30 s to 1/175 s
  • Internal memory: 1 MB EPROM flash (enough for 32 photos in 320 x 240 pixels or 8 photos in 640 x 480 pixels)
  • Connector: GeoPort serial connector (RS-232C)
  • Computer operation: yes, emulation of the LCD display and the control buttons as Macintosh software as well as triggering and transferring recordings from the computer (but no live display or webcam use)
  • Batteries: 3 x AA cells (enough for approx. 120 photos)
  • Mains operation: yes, with separately available power supply
  • Tripod thread (1/4 inch): yes
  • Scope of delivery: Apple QuickTake 100, three AA NiCd batteries, battery charger, connection cable, three diskettes with Mac software, carrying strap, operating instructions

Apple's camera for digital color photos in 1994

The QuickTake 100 was the first model in the series. It hit the market in 1994 for $749, which, accounting for inflation since then, is about $2023 in 1.555. An Apple Macintosh or PowerBook with a 68020 processor or newer hardware was required for use. In addition, this camera was only made for Apple computers, and these had to have at least version 7.0.1 system software installed. Furthermore, at least 2 MB of RAM and 10 MB of hard disk space were recommended.

In addition to a poorly placed viewfinder, a sliding protector for the viewfinder and lens, as well as the battery compartment and the connection for the Macintosh connection cable, there was even more to discover about the chunky, gray housing. For example, the monochrome LCD display that provided information about the battery level, the number of photos taken and remaining, the resolution and the flash or its deactivation. Around the display there were buttons for various settings as well as a recessed delete button for cleaning up the image memory.

What's interesting is that the Apple QuickTake 100 served as a specialized digital camera for color photos at the time. There was a similarly priced competing product, the “Fotoman Plus” from Logitech, but this camera could only take monochrome photos. So just digital black and white photos, so to speak. On the packaging of the QuickTake 100, however, Apple promised amazing photos with 24-bit color depth. The “Dycam” camera, which looks similar to the Logitech model, also took color photos, but cost at least twice as much as the QuickTake 100. Apple therefore offered competitive technology at a lower price.

Continuation of the QuickTake series with the 150 and 200 models

The Apple QuickTake 150 was the successor model, which replaced the 100 model in 1995. The QuickTake was offered until 1997. In the same year, the QuickTake 200, developed with Fujitsu, was released, but - like so many other non-Mac products - was canceled by the returning Steve Jobs. Starting with the Apple QuickTake 150, the cameras were compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs, which should give them a larger market share. After the QuickTake series, Apple only released one camera that was not integrated into other devices, namely the “iSight” as a webcam for Mac computers from 2003 to 2006.

Further information for anyone interested

If you are interested in the beginnings of mass digital photography, in 90s technology or in Apple history in general, then there are other sources in addition to this article about the Apple QuickTake 100 and its successors. The corresponding one makes a start Wikipedia entry. It's also available at SmugMug a photo collection of old Apple hardware. Below are three photos showing the QuickTake 100 as well as its packaging and parts of the scope of delivery. One of the photos will also be in the Mactracker app used to describe the camera. In the Mactracker App you will find technical data and more.

Apple QuickTake 100 – unboxing, testing, software demonstration and review

I became aware of the camera and its role in the history of digital cameras in the 1990s through the retro tech channel “LGR” on YouTube. I can recommend LGR not just because of this video, but because of just about all of the channel's content on old computers, oddware, video games, rebuilt retro computers, and the like. The operator Clint Basinger has found a good style with which he can not only impart knowledge but also entertain. Take a look – in this one Video With the QuickTake 100 you will be shown and explained the camera, photos taken with it, the Macintosh software and more.

A good conclusion about the camera can also be found in the video:

Yes, it was expensive and low on features, but that's what you get when you're an early entry in a new product category. And if you actually look it up, critics at the time when this was released were praising the QuickTake for being as affordable and capable as it was, compared to the few other competing digital cameras back then.

Or in German:

Yes, it was expensive and had few features, but that's just how it is with early models in new product categories. And if you actually look, critics upon release praised the QuickTake for being as affordable and useful as it was compared to the few other digital cameras available at the time.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.