Everything counts in small amounts

Monday, June 28, 2004

Into the 21st Century

Old School Sony Mavica MVC-FD73

Well Jiyeoun and I finally did it today. After much discussion we decided to move into the 21st century and get a digital camera with image quality measured in megapixals and weight measured in ounces.

We’ve been using a first generation Sony Mavica MVC-FD73. It is a mammoth, sturdy beast: measuring 13.8 cm x 6.2 cm x 10.5 and weighing in at just over a pound. It has a 2.5” 24-color LCD screen and writes directly to 3.5” floppy disks. Its images are .35 megapixals and 13-20 fit on a disk. You can hear the thing writing each time it takes a picture. You press the button, there is a second pause, the screen goes black, you hear its little disk drive writing away for a few seconds, and then you are ready to go.

It was great on vacations. You didn’t need any cables, special programs, or a computer with Windows XP. You just needed a 3.5” disk drive and off the pics went in e-mails to everyone. You could send dozens of images and never risk filling someone’s inbox. Although over the last few years, 3.5 disk drives have begun to disappear and lugging the Mavica around by its huge blue strap became embarrassing. People would look at me and wonder if I was taking pictures or on a dialysis machine.

Nikon Cool Pix 3200

We replaced the Mavica with a Nikon Coolpix 3200. It weighs 4.9 oz — less than the Mavica’s battery — and measures 88 x 65 x 38mm — smaller than the 3.5” floppies that the Sony took. Yet, it has 3.2 megapixal resolution, nearly 10 times the old camera, and Windows XP automatically recognizes the Nikon when you plug it into the computer. You can even set XP to download the images automatically. But, it does not make a cool whirring sound when it takes pictures, it doesn’t write images to disk, and it doesn’t look like a heart dialysis machine.

Right now there are 48 Sony Mavica MVC-FD73s on sale on E-bay. They range from $10-$150 USD. One guy is selling his for spare parts. But, I’m hanging on to mine for a while. In a few years, people will be nostalgic for clunky digital cameras that made crunchy noises when they wrote to disk and the Mav’ ‘ill be kitsch. Then I’ll sell it for millions.


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