Timeless Tuesday – exploring early digital cameras – Sony Mavica

As the title implies, I’ve decided to take another look at some early digital cameras and to see if they can find a place in today’s photographic landscape. Here’s a look at what was essentially the first digital camera to use a 3.5-inch floppy disk as “film”. Sony used the advertising tagline “The Fun is in the Floppy” in its late 1990s ads.

The Sony Digital Mavica 1.3 model MVC-FD85 made its way to market in the late days of 1999 with an official release of February 2000. Here’s that camera.

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The strength of Sony has always been the sheer size of the company and the ability to do incredible R&D.

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Sony lenses in video cameras were almost beyond equal (maybe Canon would disagree) but the Mavica made good use with what it was given.

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The film. A standard 3.5-inch floppy. The “MVC” in the camera’s name refers to “Magnetic Video Camera” hence the use of a floppy disk for file storage.

At its highest resolution (1280 x 960) the Mavica FD85 will record only six images on one disk. This led to photographers carrying around a box full of disks if they were expecting to record a number of images. Six disks equaled one roll of 36 exposure 35 mm film.

I acquired this Mavica from the original owner – a local guy that was downsizing his collection of “stuff”. It’s in mint condition with only a few marks indicating gentle past use. From some of the other cameras that I purchased from him, I could tell that he took excellent care of his gear. It fired up perfectly after an overnight charge of the battery and with a fresh disk inserted here’s the first batch of pics. Except for the last photo, none of these images were enhanced in any way.

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After nearly 15 years of slumber here’s the first image taken with the Mavica and recorded to floppy. All things considered, the auto exposure and auto focus handled the scene perfectly. Yes, we’ve become accustomed to high def pics from our smartphones and this picture falls way off in that regard but I like it because it appears “film-like” with its softness and lack of mind-shattering contrast. This is a wide angle shot.

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Using the telephoto zoom lens this image is not technically bad. Auto focus and auto exposure appear spot on and the scene is pleasing. Remember, back in 2000 the main purpose of this camera was to upload the images to your PC and for emailing them as attachments. Most people had less than cutting edge PC’s at home – remember “Y2K”?

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I took the Mavica into my studio and under the harsh studio lighting (5600K) the camera did just great. This was shot using the macro setting but I believe the camera has a pretty broad focusing range. This pic was cropped a bit and I made a slight adjustment in the contrast. It looks like there’s good depth of field and overall it’s reasonably sharp. I would use this image for listings in my various online shops as it’s technically just fine for that venue.

Ads from back in the day suggest that this camera sold for around $700 to $800. That’s crazy big money then and still is today. It will be fun to give the camera a bit of a workout over the coming months – 1.3 megapixels might just be a new way of seeing things.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

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Timeless Tuesday – Yashica 8 U-matic

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Yashica 8mm film movie camera from 1961. Fast f1.8 Yashinon zoom lens. The camera sold for around $140. in the early 1960s.

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Complete kit. BTW, the little hang tag from LIFE depicts a cover from 1947.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Timeless Tuesday – Hippie Strap

Here’s a bit of throwback photo gear from my collection – it’s time to pass it along. This one is very lightly used and was actually on display with one of my 1970s Yashicas. It’s about 1.5 inches wide and about 36 to 40 inches long as it is adjusted now so it’s a nice long camera strap that’s perfect as a neck or shoulder strap.

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It has nice leather accents and the metal clips are shiny and bright.

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Great colors and an awesome vintage pattern.

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It holds two film canisters (film cans if you’re going old school) and the underside is a soft suede-like material.

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It’s available in my studio shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – lots of other neat items in the shop at 10% off too! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.