I was interested in photography since I was a child. I most probably have inherited the hobby from my father. The first camera I got, as far as I remember, was a point and shoot camera which was loaded with film cassettes. My first "real" camera was a Canon FTb which is way older than I am. With that camera, I learned the basics about focal length, shutter and aperture. Digital photography, of course, changed a lot. Photography became way cheaper and with that more experimental.


The first digital camera I would call "mine", was not actually mine. In my former school, I was heavily engaged in a student activity in which we developed and maintained the school's website. For that the school had bought a Sony Digital Mavica MCV FD-81 which you can see in the image above. (The one in the photo I actually bought a few years ago from ebay. The original one unfortunately is broken). In terms of image quality, the camera surely was not the best. Unlike today, at the time Sony was not in the business of producing hight end photo cameras, but they indeed were in the camera business for a long time in terms of video cameras. In contrast to film cameras, video cameras used magnetic storage media. In the 1980s, Sony produced a number of "still video" cameras which recorded images onto a specially developed form of floppy disk. The cameras they called Mavica for magnetic video camera. The images these cameras recorded had standard US television resolution (NTSC) and were saved in analog form, similarly to a video recorder of the time. In the late 1990s, they revived this brand in the form of their Digital Mavicas. The FD-81 we had came out in 1999. Just like the old Mavicas, the new cameras saved photos magnetically on a disk, on a standard 3.5 inch floppy disk to be precise (hence the FD in the name). Now in the digital age, it did stored them as standard JPEG files.


The FD-81 can take photos up to 1024 x 768 pixels in size. That makes it a wapping 0.8 Megapixel camera. 12 of such images fit on a 1.44 Magabyte 3.5 inch disk. That's not a lot. The images above are from 2000, when I took the camera to a school trip to Tuscany in Italy. Both photos show me with the camera. Notice the trousers I am wearing in the image on the left. It had a feature that was perfect for the camera – two additional pockets in which you could easily put a package of standard floppy disks. A mate somewhere had access to numerous used disks which at the time, we jokingly called the "kilo byte". On the right hand side you see me handling them. If I remember correctly, I was in the process of testing them all as some of the disks were not in working order.

The camera had its qualities. It had a zoom lens with a focal length of 37 to 111 mm in full frame equivalent. Otherwise it was just a point and shoot camera with not much to think about. It had autofocus but with its small sensor, everying was in focus most of the time anyway. The camera could also record short videos if need be and it could record a few seconds of audio together with a photo. Its most intriguing feature however was its recording media. Floppy disks were cheap and everybody who had a computer owned a few of them anyway, and there was a floppy drive on every computer so you did not have to cope with expensive and fragile memory cards and card readers. Sure, its resolution was low, but 1024 x 768 was the resolution most screens had at the time, so it was full screen pictures. How much more do you want?

Here are some of the pictures I took in 2000 in Italy:


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