The 1999 Sony Mavica FD88

Is kinda fun! The party piece is that it stores the images on 3.5 inch floppy disks – but it also makes surprisingly nice pictures.

1.3 mega pixels!!!!

It’s really quite a joy to use, I’ve personally had much worse digital cameras that came out much later. The color rendering is competent but somewhat boring, the display is absolutely useless, and it takes like three seconds after taking each picture to write it to disk – but other than that it’s really quite nice:

(unedited, taken with in-camera b&w mode)

This is at maximum resolution (1280×960), which is still okay for viewing on a screen. The camera is also pretty good in low light conditions, with a surprisingly organic looking sort of grain/noise. The flash is somewhat overpowered but it’s adjustable in three steps so that’s alright.

One can also take 15s videos with it, with sound. But one can also just not do that, because that feature shows its age quite a bit (320×240 video isn’t that great to look at).

the dynamic range isn’t great but I like how this all looks (in b&w – in color it’s all a bit meh)

The autofocus is alright, and the lens has 8x optical zoom which is nice. It also has a stupid amount of distortion at the widest setting, but we’ll file that under “adds character”.

The only slight usability problem is that there’s only space for 4-6 images (at max resolution) per disk and then that’s it. Though of course that’s also the fun part, lots of disk changes.

DISK is basically always FULL

The disks are of course why I got it in the first place – modern digital cameras are a bit boring to me. The Mavica adds exactly the right amount of hassle to make this fun again. Plus, you still have to be somewhat conservative in what to take a picture of, unless you want to lug around 500 floppy disks everywhere. So that’s just like with film. And it can’t shoot faster than once every three seconds, which is even slower than some of my film cameras.

Anyway, it’s a fun little device, and still surprisingly usable. I’ll try and use it outside a little bit more and see what I can come up with.

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