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Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera) was a brand of Sony cameras which used removable disks as the main recording medium. In August 1981, Sony unveiled a prototype of the Sony Mavica as the world's first electronic still camera.
As with all Mavica cameras until the early 1990s (including later models sold commercially) this first model was not digital. Its CCD sensor produced an analog video signal in the NTSC format at a resolution of 570 × 490 pixels. Mavipak 2.0" disks (later adopted industry-wide as the Video Floppy and labelled "VF") were used to write 50 still frames onto tracks on disk. The pictures were viewed on a television screen. Otherwise, this camera is positioned as the "pioneer of the digital era".
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sony reused the Mavica name for a number of digital (rather than analog) cameras that used standard 3.5" floppy disk or 8cm CD-R media for storage.
- 1 Original analog Mavica models
- 2 Digital Mavica line
- 3 Later Sony digital cameras
- 4 Mavica models
- 5 Cameras of similar concept
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Original analog Mavica models
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. At least the ProMavica MVC-7000 also featured lens mount adapters for Nikon and Canon lenses. The VF format soon evolved into the backward-compatible Hi-VF format, supported by the ProMavica MVC-7000 and the Hi-Band Mavica models.
Digital Mavica line
From the late 1990s on, Sony released a number of cameras based on digital (rather than analog) technology under the "Digital Mavica", "FD Mavica" and "CD Mavica" brands.
The earliest of these digital models 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 finalized (CDs with incomplete sessions). Subsequent models are more compact, with a reduced optical zoom, and are able to write to CD-RW discs.
A couple of the models were formed with a single lens reflex component combined with an interchangeable lens. And to give them flexibility, one or two versions also had lens mount adapters.
Later Sony digital cameras
Still video cameras with storage on 2.0" video floppy
- Sony MAVICA (1981) (Mavipak 2.0" VF, SLR design, 3 lenses, several prototypes)
- Sony Mavica MVC-A7AF (1987) (Mavipak 2.0" VF)
- Sony ProMavica MVC-2000 1989) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF)
- Sony Hi-Band Mavica MVC-C1 (1988) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF)
- Sony Hi-Band Mavica MVC-A10 (1989) (Mavipak 2.0" Hi-VF)
- Sony ProMavica MVC-2010 (1990) (Mavipak 2.0" VF Hi-VF) 
- Sony ProMavica MVC-5000 (1990) (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)
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 (1999)
- Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD75 (2001) (10× optical zoom lens)
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD81 (1998) (First mavica cam capturing video in 162x112 for 60s or 320x240 for 15s in 16fps,1024x768 common images)
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD83 (1999) (1024x768 still images, 320x240 @16fps MPEG-1 video up to 15s)
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD85 (1280x960 still images, 320x240 @16fps MPEG-1 video up to 15s)
- Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD87 (2001) (6x digital zoom - 3x optical, 1280 x 960 image size max, 1.3 megapixel CCD)
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD88 (1999) (8x optical zoom, 1280x960 still images, 320x240 @16fps MPEG-1 video up to 15s))
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD90 (same as MVC-FD80 with upscaling, external flash jack, and manual focus available. 1280x960 still images (upscaling to 1472x1104), 320x240 @16fps MPEG-1 video up to 15s)
- Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD91 (1999) (14× optical zoom)
- Sony FD Mavica MVC-FD92 (2001) (8x optical zoom)
- 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 CD Mavica MVC-CD200 (2001)
- Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD250 (2002)
- Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD300 (2001)
- Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD350 (2003)
- Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD400 (2002) (First Mavica to use "Hologram AF" laser-assisted low-light autofocus)
- Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD500 (2003)
- Sony Mavica MVC-CD1000 (2000)
MaviCap digital still image capture adaptors
- Sony MaviCap MVC-FDR1 (storage on 3.5" floppy)
- Sony MaviCap MVC-FDR3 (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
- "1980-83 (subsection: SONY MAVICA ELECTRONIC CAMERA - 1981)". Archived from the original on 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
On August 25, 1981 [..] Sony unveiled a prototype of the company's first still video camera, the Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera) [which] was not a digital camera, but a TV camera capable of writing TV quality stills onto magnetic disks [..] 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.
- "Объективный взгляд / №8 Январь 2001" (in Russian). Pentax.ru. Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- 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)
- 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)
- Forum thread showing a photo of the ProMavica MVL-7000 SLR with MCL-200N lens adapter
- "Facts About Mavica Cameras". The Vintage Mavica.
- "1986". DigicamHistory.com. Archived from the original on 2018-09-19.
The MVC-2000PF was a pre-production, hand-built camera sent to specific photographers for testing. The production model went on sale in 1989.
- Sony ProMavica MVC-2010 (1990) on The Digital Camera Museum