UPDATED 28/7/99: Japan's Sanyo Electric Co Ltd , Olympus Optical Co Ltd , and Hitachi Maxell Ltd said on Tuesday they have jointly developed a new high-capacity memory disc for use in next-generation digital cameras.

"The high memory capacity is suitable for taking high definition still pictures and moving pictures for long periods of time,'' a spokesman for Sanyo said.

The new rewritable magneto-optical disc has a memory capacity of 730 megabytes, enabling it to store about 20 times more data than memory devices presently used in its digital cameras, he said.

This disk is only 60mm across (2 1/3")

Specifications (from the Japanese pages):

  • The disk is based on AS-MO standards (Magento-Optical), 50mm in diameter
  • Cartridge size: 59mm x 56mm x 4.8mm (2.3" x 2.2" x 1/5")
  • About ten times the density of Compact Disc, the 730MB disk (4.6Gb/in) is also only 0.6mm thick single board disk.
  • Technical: 0.6µm track pitch, 0.235µm shortest mark length (and shortest bit length)
  • Ability to store around 1,800 2 megapixel images (400KB a piece) or 20 minutes of 30fps 320 x 240 video (4.8Mps).
  • High speed re-writing, between 10Mbps - 50Mbps
  • Has a reliability and of over 1,000,000 re-writes
  • Very long-term data life (over 100 years)
  • Solid cartridge structure and seal
  • Sanyo and Olympus are in charge of development of the drive, Hitachi Maxell to develop the disk
  • AS-MO standard: The standard was initailly published from the Advanced Storage Technical Conference (ASTC) which comprises of 15 companies, based on a standard where a 120mm disk stored 6GB of data (jointly designed by Olympus, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony and Hitachi).


In the fiscal year 1999 of 4.5 million digital cameras are forecast to be sold, by 2002 this number will be closer to 10 million. The increase in resolution and applications including animated, video and audio capture require more and mroe storage.

Flash card memory such as SmartMedia dn Compact Flash have been adopted as the recording medium of the digital camera, however most people must always replicate the data between digital camera and the home computer because of the high cost of such memory.

A record medium which is small, has long-term data life, a drive based system would allow users to store images on the re-writeable disks permanently. The "Digital album disk" fits the function of electronic digital album. Kyocera, Konica, Nikon, Minolta and Ricoh agreements have been obtained to this standard.