Sony Mavica

Sony Mavica
Sony Mavica (1981), the first still video camera in history.
Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997), the first digital camera of the Mavica series.

Mavica was a brand of Sony cameras which used removable disks as the main recording media. In August, 1981, Sony announced the Sony Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera) electronic still camera, the first commercial electronic still camera. It was not a digital camera, as its CCD sensor produced an analog video signal in the NTSC format at a resolution of 570 × 490 pixels. Mavipak 2.0" diskettes (later adopted industry-wide as the Video Floppy and labelled "VF") were used to write 50 still frames. The pictures were viewed on a television screen. Otherwise, this camera is positioned as the "pioneer of the digital era".[1][2] The unreleased original MAVICA as well as the later ProMavica MVC-5000 and MVC-7000 were designed as single lens reflex systems with interchangeable lenses.[3][4] At least the ProMavica MVC-7000 also featured lens mount adapters for Nikon and Canon lenses.[5][6] The VF format soon evolved into the backward-compatible Hi-VF format, supported by the ProMavica MVC-7000 and the Hi-Band Mavica models.

The later Digital Mavicas recorded onto 3.5" 1.4 MiB 2HD floppy disks in computer-readable DOS FAT12 format, a feature that made them very popular in the North American market. With the evolution of consumer digital camera resolution (megapixels), the advent of the USB interface and the rise of high-capacity storage media, Mavicas started to offer other alternatives for recording images: the floppy-disk (FD) Mavicas began to be Memory Stick compatible (initially through a Memory Stick Floppy Disk adapter, but ultimately through a dedicated Memory Stick slot), and a new CD Mavica series — which used 8 cm CD-R/CD-RW media — was released in 2000.

The first CD-based Mavica (MVC-CD1000), notable also for its 10× optical zoom, could only write to CD-R discs, but it was able to use its USB interface to read images from CDs not completely written (CDs with incomplete sessions). Subsequent models are more compact, with a reduced optical zoom, and are able to write to CD-RW discs.

The Mavica line has been discontinued. Sony continues to produce digital cameras in the Cyber-shot and Alpha series, which use Memory Stick and other flash card technologies for storage.


Mavica models

Still video cameras with storage on 2.0" video floppy

Mavica MVC 2000
  • Sony MAVICA (1981) (Mavipak 2.0" VF, SLR design, 3 lenses, prototype)
  • Sony Mavica MVC-A7AF (1986) (Mavipak 2.0" VF)
  • Sony ProMavica MVC-2000 / MVC-2000 PF (prototype) (1986)
  • Sony ProMavica MVC-5000 (1989) (Mavipak 2.0" VF, SLR design, various lenses)
  • Sony ProMavica MVC-7000 (1992) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF, SLR design, 5 lenses, 2 lens adapters)
  • Sony Hi-Band Mavica MVC-C1 (1988) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF)
  • Sony Hi-Band Mavica MVC-A10 (1988) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF)

Digital still cameras with storage on 3.5" floppy disk

  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD5 (late 1997, early 1998, fixed focal length lens)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD7 (late 1997, early 1998, 10× optical zoom lens)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD51 (mid 1998, fixed focal length lens)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD71 (mid 1998, 10× optical zoom lens)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD73 / MVC-FD73CUSA / MVC-FD73K / MVC-FD73WR (1999, 640 x 480 pixels. fixed ISO 100. F/1.8 40-400 mm zoom. Shutter 1/4000 sec to 1/60 sec[7]}
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD75 / MVC-FD75CUSA / MVC-FD75WAL (2001) (10× optical zoom lens)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD81 (1998)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD83 / MVC-FD83CUSA / MVC-FD83K (1999)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD85 / MVC-FD85WR
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD87 / MVC-FD87CUSA (2001)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD88 / MVC-FD88CUSA / MVC-FD88K (1999) (8x optical zoom)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD90
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD91 / MVC-FD91CUSA (1999) (14× optical zoom)
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD92 (2001)
  • Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD95 (2000)
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD97 (2001) (10× optical zoom, 4× speed diskette and Memory Stick slot, similar to MVC-CD1000)
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD100 (2002) (Floppy and Memory Stick)
  • Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD200 (2002) (same as above but 2MP)

Digital still cameras with storage on 8 cm compact disc

Sony Mavica CD400, front view
Sony Mavica CD400, rear view
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD200 / MVC-CD200CUSA (2001)
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD250 (2002)
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD300 / MVC-CD300CUSA (2001)
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD350 (2003)
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD400 (2002) (First camera to use laser-assisted low-light focus)
  • Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD500 (2003)
  • Sony Mavica MVC-CD1000 / MVC-CD1000CUS (2000) (same as MVC-FD97, except a CD-R drive instead of diskette and memory stick.)

MaviCap digital still image capture adaptors

  • Sony MaviCap MVC-FDR1 / MVC-FDR1E (storage on 3.5" floppy)
  • Sony MaviCap MVC-FDR3 / MVC-FDR3E (storage on 3.5" floppy)

Cameras of similar concept

There were other digital cameras that used disk storage as memory media.

  • Sony Hi-MD Photo MZ-DH10P, a digital camera/audio player that used Hi-MD MiniDisc-Format
  • Panasonic PV-SD4090, a digital camera that used SuperDisk (LS120).
  • Iomega Zipcam a prototype digital camera shown at Comdex 1999 that used 100 MB Zip disks
  • Agfa ePhoto CL30 Clik! Used Iomega's Clik! (later PocketZip) disk technology

See also


  1. ^ "Объективный взгляд / №8 Январь 2001". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  2. ^ Rodger Carter (1981-08-25). "1980s". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  3. ^ "The Mavica was a single lens reflex with interchangeable lenses. The original Mavica was provided with three bayonet-mounted lenses: a 25mm f/2, a 50mm f/1.4, and 16-65mm f/1.4 zoom." Sony launches the MAVICA on August 21st 1981 - article in digicamhistory including a cutaway drawing of the camera's internals
  4. ^ Brooke Clarke's PSC-6 web site showing a ProMavica MVC-5000 and mentioning an assortment of compatible lenses: 400mm, 60-300mm zoom, night vision lens, "Wide Lens 5mm 1:1.8 Sony" (MCL-05H), "Zoom Lens 9.5 - 123.5mm 1:1.8 Made by Canon" (MCL-913T)
  5. ^ Sony Product Flyer of ProMavica MVC-7000 listing camera features and mentions accessories including Sony-bayonet-mount lenses: "wide lens" (MCL-06T), "zoom lens" (MCL-903T), "zoom lens" (MCL-806H), "wide lens" (MCL-05H) and "zoom lens" (MCL-710H) as well as two lens adapters for Nikon (MCL-200N) and Canon (MCL-300C)
  6. ^ Forum thread showing a photo of the ProMavica MVL-7000 SLR with MCL-200N lens adapter
  7. ^ - Camera in 1999

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