Sony's new Digital Mavica camera line includes three units, models MVC-FD73, MVC-FD83, MVC-FD88, at the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $599, $799 and $999, respectively.

The new cameras offer features designed to appeal to a wide range of users, from the typical "point-and-shoot" vacationer to the graphic artist needing high-resolution images. Due to the convenience of moving images from the camera to the PC with a floppy disk, the Digital Mavica cameras have made it easy to add images to a home page, send e-mail "mini movies," and share images through online services.

The MVC-FD88 Digital Mavica camera, features a choice of Super XGA (1280 x 960), XGA (1024 x 768) and VGA (640 x 480) resolution options. It also has an 8x optical/16x Precision Digital Zoom lens with auto macro.

The MVC-FD83 camera offers interpolated mega-pixel for increased digital enhancement of your pictures (1216 x 912). This technology produces a 17 percent increase in image size, resulting in a one million pixel image for viewing or printing. Both the MVC-FD88 and the MVC-FD83 Digital Mavica cameras have four times high-speed floppy disk drives (FDD), which means that files can be recorded and played back four times faster than the conventional floppy disk drive. The units also have A/V out connectivity, which allows for playback of images and MPEG movies as well as JPEG still images on a television.

In addition to producing high-resolution images, the MVC-FD83 and MVC-FD88 have MPEG Movie Mode, which captures up to 60 seconds of motion video and audio, and Voice Memo Mode, which adds narration to still images. The Digital Mavica line also has the Whole Disk Copy feature that lets users make a copy of images, MPEG videos or voice memos -- right inside the camera -- onto another blank floppy disk.

The Digital Mavica MVC-FD88 and MVC-FD83 cameras offer these additional features:

  • High-speed Scan Auto Focus with auto macro capability to deliver the highest level of focusing accuracy;
  • Precision Digital Zoom, which removes jagged edges even when zoomed to 6x or 16x the original image;
  • Two slow shutter speeds for extra versatility for capturing pictures in low light;
  • Four pre-programmed special effects.

"Digital Mavica means ease-of-use and superior image quality," said Jay Sato, vice president of digital imaging marketing for Sony Electronics' Consumer Products Marketing Group. "Digital Mavica cameras are designed to appeal to both the consumer and the pro. With business and personal communications increasingly taking place on the Internet, picture quality, accurate color reproduction, flexibility and ease-of-use are more important than ever."

The MVC-FD73 camera, which is priced at $599 (MSRP), features a powerful 10x optical zoom, two-times high speed floppy disk drive, E-Mail Mode and a 2.5-inch LCD screen. All Digital Mavica models employ standard 3.5-inch floppy disks, which are inexpensive, reusable and eliminate film and processing costs.

According to Sato, up to 40 JPEG images can be stored on a single floppy disk, depending on the features the user selects.

Also in the 1999 line is the high-performance MVC-FD91 with a 14x optical zoom lens -- the longest optical zoom currently available in a digital still camera. Other features include Super SteadyShot(R) image stabilization, which removes unwanted camera shake even in the telephoto position, a color view finder, a manual focus ring and a tilting 2.5-inch LCD.

Another Sony imaging option is ImageStation(SM) on PhotoNet(R), a virtual "photo album" on the Internet. It allows users to view, store and share Digital Mavica images via the Internet. Purchasers of a Digital Mavica camera receive a free one-year membership to the service, which includes uploading images to the owner's password-protected account and showcasing images in a personal photo album in the ImageStation Gallery.

ImageStation service gives users the option of ordering professional-quality prints of digital images or adding them to a variety of gift items, such as T-shirts or mugs. Sony's full Digital Mavica line also includes the world's first floppy disk printer, the FVP-1 Mavica(TM) printer, and MaviCap(TM) floppy disk recorders (MVC-FDR3 and MVC-FDR1), which store still images taken from a home video onto a floppy disk for quick e-mailing or adding to a Web site.

All Digital Mavica cameras come with photo manipulation software that allow users to edit images in their PCs. The MVC-FD73, MVC-FD83 and MVC-FD88 come with ArcSoft PhotoStudio(R) software, while the MVC-FD91 is bundled with MGI PhotoSuite(R) software.

The MVC-FD88 and MVC-FD83 will be available in June 1999 for $999 (MSRP) and $799 (MSRP), respectively. The MVC-FD73 will be available in May for $599 (MSRP); the MVC-FD91 is available now for $1099 (MSRP).

Phils personal comment:

I hate to say this but "WHY?", why introduce a 1.3 megapixel CCD into a floppy disk range which has been superceded time after time by other cameras, Sony themselves have "admitted" that floppy is a poor media for digital photography by launching the D700 with PCMCIA (and MemoryStick) and their new 2 Megapixe F55K with MemoryStick... And if you must introduce new "mechanical storage" models why not go for 2.88, MD, Clik! or 120Mb floppy???

We had enough trouble fitting an XGA image of any kind of quality onto a floppy, how are we suppose to get quality 1280 x 960 images on there? Sigh.. enough of my ranting and raving.