The Pioneering Sony Mavica: Video and Stills on Video Floppy Discs

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket

In August 1981, Sony unveiled a prototype of the Sony Mavica as the “world’s first electronic still camera.” The Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera) was a brand of Sony cameras which used removable magnetic disks as the main recording medium. The early models weren’t digital, but relied on an analog video signal produced by the sensor, stored on the disks and shown on a television screen. They are considered forerunners of digital photography because the Mavica name was also used for a series of digital cameras (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Mavica). In 1996, Sony introduced the Mavica FD5 and FD7 simultaneously. “These two were the first truly digital models in the Mavica series from Sony, as the earlier Mavicas were still-video cameras recording analog scan lines onto 2″ Video Floppies. The FD designation referred to the use of 3.5″ computer floppy disks for storage, which continued through to the 2002 Mavica FD100 and FD200” (http://camerawiki.org/wiki/Sony_Mavica_FD7). The higher-end FD7 used a 640×480 pixel sensor and saved JPEGs image files. Images could be saved in pastel, sepia, and black-and-white. The next series of Mavicas include the FD71, the mid-range FD81, and the top-of-the-line FD91. All cameras in this line stored images on standard floppy disks. The cameras accommodated much higher pixel resolutions, so fewer images could be stored on a disk. “With its ungainly body design and image quality lagging even its 1998 peers, the FD91 is mostly a curiosity today” (http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sony_Mavica_FD91). A later Mavica series stored images on 8cm compact discs. This included the Mavica MVC-CD200, 250, 300, 350, and the 400 which was the “first Mavica to use ‘Hologram AF’ laser-assisted lowlight autofocus” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Mavica#Digital_Mavica_line). The Mavica line is no longer being produced.

You May Also Be Interested In:

Coming Up

May 1 — Philip Pressel & the Hexagon KH-9 Spy Satellite Stereo Camera
June 5 — Vladimir Khazan on the Exakta

To everyone who participated in this year’s Photographica 89 — Thank You!

Get ready for 2023: PHSNE’s 50th year and Photographica 90

Dealers: Contact Show Manager John Dockery

Use the Contact Form

 

Become a PHSNE Member

Our members bring their curiosity, enthusiasm, and knowledge to bear on every aspect of photo history, from the earliest experiments to the present day—and tomorrow. We welcome your participation and support of our society. Join PHSNE today!
Your membership includes:
    • The New England Journal of Photographic History
    • 10 Issues of snap shots newsletters
    • Monthly meetings online and in-person
    • Informative presentations
    • Periodic field trips & vintage camera shoots
    • Free admission to PHSNE’s Photographica show & auction

PHSNE

Bulletin Board

Coming Up

May 1 – Philip Pressel & the Hexagon KH-9 Spy Satellite Stereo Camera

June 5 – Vladimir Khazan on the Exakta


A Big Thank You

To everyone who participated in the years’ Photographica 89!

Get ready for 2023: PHSNE’s 50th year and Photographica 90

Dealers contact show manager John Dockery through the