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CD-R In A Digital Camera: The Ueber-Mavica? 246

DigicamMan writes: "Sony's dominated the digicam market (well, at least have owned 30-40% of it) with their "Mavica" floppy-disk based digicams. Never really a Nerd product, they appealed to Neo-Luddites who didn't mind trading off image quality to avoid having to deal with cables & software. (Mantra of the sales clerk, answering *any* question about a Mavica, relevant or not: "No problem, you just stick the floppy disk in your computer, and...") Worked great when "high resolution" cameras had 800K pixels. Kinda runs out of gas when you try to cram multiple 6 MB images into a 1.44 MB bag though." (More.)

"(Now, Sony's announced (OK, preannounced) a new model with a 77mm CD-R drive built in. Several of the digicam sites have picked up on this. Imaging Resource seems to have gotten their hands on a demo unit first, has a bunch of pictures and product shots posted (they're who called it an "Uber Mavica"). Steve of Steve's Digicams is promising a "First Look" later today or tomorrow. Watch his news page for when he posts his take on it. This looks like a big deal in digicamland, because it extends the "no brainer" Mavica appeal into the multi-megapixel world, and eliminates the image-quality penalty in the process. (Of course, true Nerds may choose to wait another year or so until the digicams arrive built around the tiny 500MB micro-optical disks...)"

I'm excited to see a product which may spur sales (and availability!) of 77mm CD-R media, which when last I checked at Recorded Media Supply were available only in fairly large quantities (hundred lots) and cost considerably more than their bigger cousins. But they're so neat! Wanna split an order? ;)

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CD-R In A Digital Camera: The Ueber-Mavica?

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  • I just got a set of Kodak rechargables for my DC-215(mill. edition), and I have taken a lot more than 31, and I still have battery juice.

    Just remembber though, do NOT cover up the flash with a piece of paper. You will hear a weird popping sound and a burning smell.
  • 77mm CD's have been around for quite some time, in fact, if you look at you cd-rom drive, there is a cutout for about a three inch disk, most of you probably use this for Oreo cookie storage, but it is actually a 77mm CD slot. I have a Nine Inch Nails 77mm CD from inside the "Broken" case, I've had it since the early nineties.
  • Why bother? Just use a CompactFlash camera.

    CF is nothing more than a stripped down PCMCIA interface. This is why the adapters are so cheap since there is little circuitry needed.
    CF is conviently smaller that PCMCIA and are cheaper per megabyte than PCMCIA flash cards due to their larger market.

    The only edge PCMCIA has is the availability of hideously expensive high capacity cards. This edge is rapidly being eroded with the 300+MB CF cards coming out now.
  • Seems Hitachi have gone one better....

    http://www.hitachi.com/about/pressroom/a-2000-Ju n-7-ZZZV8A5679C.html

    a DVD-RAM camcorder that does stills as well..yummy

    but only available in Japan to start with :-(
  • Black box in the car ? Are you mad. End of year, the black box is analysed and Speeding and parking tickets issued accordingly huh ? Or are you trying to tell us you never ever speed, or park anywhere for any length of time, that you are not supposed to ? Big brother is here, and he is going to use black box..
  • I've used only two digital cameras: an Epson, and the Mavica.

    The Mavica wins, hands down, for two reasons. First, because it gives better pictures, especially in low light (and has a flash). Second, most important, I can whip out the floppy, slip it into my linux box, and there's the JPEG format image. No messing with cables and Win95 software.

    But for those who want to be able to cram several 6MByte images onto a single diskette/CD/Flashcard, what's the point? The optical quality of the lens is not what you could call "professional photo quality", the CCD can only give a limited number of pixels, and if the end result is for display on a 75 dpi screen, why try to grab images at ridiculous resolutions?

    I'm quite happy to use a Mavica for web-page jobs.

    If I want real quality, I'll either go for a good SLR body and a professional digital back, or use traditional film and ask the lab to digitize onto a CD-Rom for me.

    It's just a question of using the right tool for the job.

  • Huh? You did read the article and see that the camera only writes to 77mm CD-R's, right?
  • You're right, but your comment ignores the fact that the world is changing, and not just amongst geeks:

    Cable and xDSL "modems" have brought 10baseT to millions of homes, and the incredible sales (backordered most places) of gadgets like Linksys' little $150 NAT/Firewall/switch/DHCP server box convince me that this is a market that's rapidly maturing. Not to mention that such a camera would plug in transparently to any LAN, providing value to corporatations and SOHO customers.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me: Ethernet silicon is at least as cheap as USB silicon, and you get to completely ignore troublesome drivers in the bargain - forever.

    Internet standard interfaces have significant value for all kinds of things, not just networked PCs and servers...
  • Indeed, the IBM microdrive works in several digital cameras. You can find a list at the IBM compatibility matrix [ibm.com] online. The Canon Powershot S20 is in the list and looks like a nice camera. It seems like a far better solution (performance and robustness) than the Sony approach.

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that a 1GB version of the drive is expected in the near future.

    Tim

  • Sony has a digital camera based on the MiniDisc (check their web site). Unfortunately, it's about $2300.

    The reason the MiniDisc hasn't caught on more for computers is likely concerns of the audio recording industry (Sony is a big recording company in addition to an electronics vendor). Otherwise, it would be the clear choice of things like the Zip drive and Superdisk.

  • by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @07:35AM (#1002523) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, those cameras cost about $1000, and you still get crappy battery life.

    Get a set of 1600 mAH NiMH rechargeable batteries, minimize your use of the LCD screen (if possible), and you'll get reasonable battery life. With my Kodak DC290, I can take enough high-resolution photos to fill my 64MB CF card (about 100 photos at 1792x1200) using a freshly charged set of NiMH AA cells. I've also run some extremely long time-lapse photos on a single set of batteries: one low-res photo per minute for 5 hours.

    I'm not saying that digicams don't suck power -- just that it's a manageable problem.

    --jim
  • ...just put a 2.5" laptop Hard Drive in a camera, and give us FAST UBS, Firewire, etc. and the ability to link to other cameras and share pictures? With a Hard Drive, an LCD screen, USB, etc, there is a lot we could do with a product like that. Hell, we could probably find a way to hack the ROM and install Linux on it! :)
  • Score:5???

    Here's an idea: Read the article, realize that they even tried smacking the thing while shooting photos and were unable to prevent it from writing, post something more informed on Slashdot. Just a thought.
  • i got one. it's excellent. yes it does take time to write the pics to the disc(5-10 sec for hi res or for movies), and i haven't found a way to get the camera to work under linux.
    The trick is that the camera has a usb port, and when you put the camera in pc mode the pc will just see a usb ls-120 drive with some jpeg's on it. cool huh? no special software required. So far i've only got it to work under 95, no NT, no win2k (yet). If anybody can tell me how to nake this happen in linux, you'll make a new friend ;)
    It's a 1.3Mpixel camera. this picture quality is real good, nice zoom. It can take low/high res pictures, low res can be in (extra) zoom mode, a quick 5 shot sequence, or a 10 sec quicktime movie (with sound!) fsckin cool!
    the best part is that it lists for about a grand, but i found it for only $600 at www.harmonycomputers.com, they charge too much for shipping, but the total is still at least $100 below the rest.

    -earl
    p.s. here's my favorite pic favorite pic [earlrobinson.com]so far:

  • Yup.
    Slot-loading drives can only use normal sized CD. I've been wondering why no one's come up with come kind of carrier/holder that these small CD would snap into so they'd work with slot-loading drives...

    ummm, the above is copyright FyreFiend!

    ...Off to the patent office
  • REAL Neo-Luddites don't use digital cameras. They don't even use manual 35mm cameras.

    They use paint.
  • Yeah, I have a tough time taking 15-20 pics on my DCS-315 even with the 'long lasting' batteries. What B.S.

    I just plug the damn thing into the wall now...
  • Neo-Luddite? Please. I bought my Mavica because of one overwhelming reason: floppies are highest common denomitor of computer storage media.

    I just sold my Amiga. While it was extremely customized and very high-end, there's no way I could expect to use another digicam's proprietary interface with my system. Now, at home, I use Linux and FreeBSD. When I fill a disk, I can pop it into any of my servers or workstations, and instantly view my pictures. No moving weird cables around, no fiddling with arcane drivers, no praying that the manufacturer has actually heard of Unix... I get to concentrate on the content, rather than the media.

    That, to me, is important. While I'm perfectly happy at hacking a microcontroller into a toaster, why should I have to screw around just to take a snapshot of my baby? Even more to the point, why should my wife? She's not a neo-Luddite either, but I'm glad that I don't have to teach her about advanced interfacing just so she can look at the pictures she took of her garden.

    Finally, floppies make great "film". If I drag a 10-pack with me, I'm guaranteed to have more storage than interest in taking enough pictures to fill it. Furthermore, I'm not always in major metropolitan areas. If I run out of "film", I can grab another 10-pack at the nearest Wal-Mart. Where am I going to get memory cards, or possibly even CD-Rs in a town of 5000?

    No, I bought my Mavica because I liked the freedom and flexibility that it offered. I had the money to buy any digicam I wanted, and the technical expertise to hack any of them to work on my systems. However, sometimes it's nice to have something that just works without hours and hours spent.

  • Floppies are cheap, and readily available wherever you go. I'd much rather buy a couple of boxes of floppies for a trip than try to lay in a supply of memory sticks or flash memory modules.

    How could I forget? We have a couple hundred recycled floppies that are destined for the Mavica, and once we use a disk, we don't re-use it, we just keep it as an archival copy. And floppies are indeed cheap, and you can buy them even at a grocery store, if necessary.

    I haven't priced flash memory lately, but I'm sure it's not cheap. Same for memory sticks and tiny hard drives.

    I do like your idea, though, for a hip-pack. Put a 2.5" (or even 3.5") hard drive in it, and you're good to go.

  • It's the Panisonic PalmCam Superdisk, Model PV-SD4090. I has one and am very happy with it. My cost was about $900 with a 2 year "accident" plan. Res is 1280x960 and can take about 800 pictures on one superdisk. If you use the "normal" picture res, you can take over 1500 pics on a disk. Uses a 1250mAh LI-Ion battery that lasts for about 200 pisc (100 flashes). Also can take about 80 to 100 ten second quicktime movies. Other features include red eye flash mode, timer, sound recording, 3x optical zoom, and rapidfire mode (16 640x480 at 2 pics a second).
  • Okay, since so many people are saying the same things, I thought I'd provide you all with some links talking about the various minidisc data solutions.

    PC World - Is Sony's 140MB MiniDisc Drive the Next Betamax? [pcworld.com]
    minidisc.org - Sony MDH-10 [minidisc.org]
    minidisc.org - Minidisc Data Product Index [minidisc.org]
    Storewell (norway) - Selling the Sony MMD-140 [storewell.no]
    minidisc.org - What was cool in minidisc [minidisc.org] (mostly audio)
    newstimes.com - Computer News [newstimes.com] (November 28 1995)

    It used to be a lot easier to scare up a lot more hits, but I guess some of that stuff has decayed over time. Amazingly enough, altavista has forgotten it :)

    There was at least one other Sony-released Minidisc data drive, but I don't remember much about it. It's not like I have one. I have a Zip 100, because everyone else has one, even though they suck.

  • ...and I would scratch my head whenever someone I knew bought one. It was *big* and couldn't fit many pictures on a disk.

    I have two Kodak DC-2xx series cameras. Transferring images is easy--I pop out the memory card and plug it into the PCMCIA (PC) slot on either my laptop or my Linux server (you can get a PC "drive" for under $99). There's a small adapter needed. Then I can mount the card as a disk drive and copy them off.

    I'm very surprised that few people use this option. However, I beleive there are similar USB readers for Sony "Memory Sticks", etc.

    A CD-ROM camera would be handy for specialized applications, like when you want to give the photos away to someone else on-the-spot. Kinda like how the old Polaroids worked. In that vein...why not put a tiny ink-jet printer in the camera that can print a little 3x5 photo? Surely they can fit a printer in the space of a CD-ROM drive, can't they?

    --- Speaking only for myself,

  • There are companies that will do that, but they're in the $5000+ range. Of course, they're a digital-backed SLR...

  • ...but minidiscs 1) are reusable, and 2) would come down in price significantly if there were actually a market for them. If Sony's not going to scrap MD technology, they're going to have to get people to use 'em.

    Not that I prefer proprietary technology, I'm just finding it interesting.

  • Pixelation is what keeps digicams from being a perfect replacement for film cameras.


    You, my fine feathered friend are obviously both a true geek (a compliment!) and not a photographer. While these digital toys are wonderful for the coolness factor, I sincerely doubt that you will be seeing any pro photographers using any of them.

    You have two serious misconceptions:

    1> You will NEVER be rid of pixelation. (Unless someone finds a way to generate vector images from super-complex life still -- I'm not holding my breath). The whole thing of pixelation is that it is a representation of color and shape made for a grid. You cannot alter this fact.

    2> Digital media is not long lasting. How many of you here believe that a CD, hard disk, etc.. will still functio (or even be remotely compatible!) in 100 years. Contrast that to the photos that we have from over 150+ years ago and I think that you'll agree that chemical film is safer and simpler in the long run.

    [Disclaimer :: I am an amateur photographer and I do not think that I will ever really feel the need to use a digital camera for anything more than point, shoot, dispose. I am most certainly biased. :) ]

    Rami James
    GUI Dev Guy
    --

    The thing that makes
  • A friend of mine has an FD71, and loves it not just because it has a floppy drive (he is quite computer illiterate), but finds it's easier to hold. He finds that the smaller (and cheaper) cameras are too fiddly to handle.
  • by Nexx ( 75873 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:27AM (#1002539)
    Besides, isn't it curious that they'd push CDR over Minidisc?

    Well, there may have been several reasons for this. First, almost all computers sold have CD-ROM drives in them. I haven't seen a single puter with a minidisc-rom (MD-ROM?) drive. Second, if there's no data spec for the MD's, and no real way to implement it--i.e. no "data type field"--then they shouldn't put data on there.

    Of course, my main concern for these things is the CD-R's susceptibility to vibration, and latency for the bloody things. Digital Photography Review [dpreview.com] had a review of the latest Mavica, and they reported a latency of 15 seconds, per picture after the exposure for the bloody things, when using a flash card. Granted, it's much better while using a floppy, but still, a floppy drive or a CD-R drive aren't the fastest of media these days. That's fine and dandy for portraits and other stills, but for anything else, it makes it kind of obnoxious, if not downright useless, relegating it to the "toys" section.

    Nah... who needs battery life?

    Reminds me of an old joke about a Russian gentleman with a suitcase, talking to an American tourist. The gist of the joke was that though it was a nice watch, it needed a battery the size of a suitcase. A Lithium-Ion battery is probably a requirement for these beasties, and by the time you have a charger, why not make it a cradle?

  • I've owned an FD81 for 18 months now, and I find it a good companion to my Canon 35mm.

    I do a lot of composite work, so I tend to use the 35mm for high res items, and the mavica for smaller items (like macro shots of a flower which is then included in the main shot).

    How many of the other (non mavica) cameras can have additional lenses added? Not many.

    Ok, they don't replace the existing lens, but I now have a wideangle, 2 telephoto and a macro conversion lens which are really handy.

    During the Solar Eclipse [retep.org.uk] last year, I used it with a 5x conversion lens & a filter, and it worked beautifully. Since then, I've used those eclipse shots to place an eclipsed sun in a shot comprising a nice castle/coastline scene (even though the castle wasn't anywhere near the eclipse, nor the coast).

  • Well, I have actually considered setting up your suggestion with the backpack. I have a VERY small CCD, that I was thinking of hooking up to a customized computer, and doing exactly that... However, bluetooth isn't really suited to the transmission of the data for a wireless unit. It's only 721 Kbps, which is nice, I mean, heck, it's faster than I get onto the net. When you consider recording COMMERCIAL GRADE VIDEO though, and buffering and such, you are really going to want a faster signal, especially if you are dealing with raw output, as you are speaking of. The other option would of course be on board compression, but that would increase the size of the camera. My recommendation would be to build the camera on the 802.11 standard, which is much faster. After all, why settle for a nice pirated quality .ram, when you can have a DVD quality mpeg?
  • nikon coolpix only has a cf type 1 slot for compact flash storage cards which means a max of 128meg. for the same price you could get a ibm microdrive that fits into the cf type 2 slot on the canon s20, which is also 3megapixelsand small enough to put in your pocket. i cant wait till i get my crusoe palm replacement with a cf type 2 slot and pcmica slot and get a 2gig toshiba pcmica drive for the crusoe. then i could swap my 340 meg microdrive out of my s20 into my crusoe and download it all onto my 2gig pcmica drive. phun phun phun.
  • by seanmeister ( 156224 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:27AM (#1002543)
    This is great! With a 77mm CD-R in my camera, I can burn mini-coasters on the go! No need to keep burning big, bulky CD sized coasters from my desktop CD-R!


    seanmeister

  • It's not DVD quality, but X10 has a mini unit that works similarly.
  • casi might come with a microrive but casio cameras are renowned for being fairly cheap quality. the canon s20 is smaller and much better quality, and also takesa microdrive but doesnt come with 1. i was comapring the two for some time. the only thing i liked about the casio was it took standard aa bateries over the expensive proprietary but much smaller and long lasting canon batteries. i also believe phillips? make batteries of this type for the canon cameras which last longer than the canon ones. they probably dont last alot longer than two aa's but are sure alot smaller. i got tha canon cause i knew the lens and camera quality would be better and it was WAY smaller to fit into the pocket. i ended up having to give it to my gf cause she loved it even more than me :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The really small 1F capacitors have a quite high ESR. Translation: they hold a hefty charge, but you can't drain more than a few milliamperes at a time out of them. That's the complete opposite of how photoflash capacitors are designed (for very short duration high current drain).

    My buddy who develops defibrillator capacitors could go into further detail on the subject.
  • I think the technology that will obsolete this sort of thing is high bandwidth next gen mobile phones with low cost/always on data connections. Have one built into your camera and your photos are on your webpage a short while after you press the button. No local storage and no problem if your camera gets broken/stolen. Also when minor celebs snatch the camarea from some photographer and stamp on it, if the bandwidth is high enough, the photo may already be with the paper.

    Bob.
  • Citiscape Shapes also has them here [cardiscs.com] - 25 for US$56.25
  • I have a Sony Mavica F81, which I love specifically because it does exactly what you say: I can take my pictures, full up a storage unit (floppy disk), change it and take some more. I can go out in the morning with $10 worth of floppies and a recharger that plugs into my van's lighter, and I can take all the pictures I care to. No muss. No fuss. And photos that are great for publishing on the web.
  • News Headline Japan - Sales of Sony Corporations new tray loading CD-ROM have skyrocketed. Says Vice Prez Yamishi Hatsimora "We love all those suckas with slot loading CD-ROM's. Told you - I'm gonna git you sucka."
  • blink to take a picture

    Yeah, unless you got something in your eyes, and then you'd have no HDD space left in seconds!

    Josh
    -------------------
  • I agree about the viewfinder. I wish that it had either a real lens or a pivoting screen.

    As far as the movie mode - while I rarely use it, it's great for sending waving babies to the grandparents, or quick 360-degree views of an object (to give a 3D "feel"). Besides, I honestly don't think that the added components amount to much. I mean, if you can already compress to JPG, then MPEG isn't a giant leap. The sound feature is so-so, but once again, I think it was probably cheap enough to add.

    Finally, regarding pixellation, my -FD88 does 1280x960. No, it's not film. It's not too shabby, either, though.

  • You might want to be careful about keeping all your archives on floppies. I have had nothing but bad experiences with info on floppies. I've seen new, brand name disks give read errors within a month. I've had 30 disk spanning archives ruined by a single bad sector in disk 23. I would hate to think of irreplacable photos gone due to media failure.

    It might be a better plan to copy the floppies to your hard drive and when you get enough pictures burn a CD - CD burners are incredibly cheap as are the media. CD have the advantage of being even more widely accepted than 3.5s these days.
  • Neo-Luddite? Please. I bought my Mavica because of one overwhelming reason: floppies are highest common denomi[na]tor of computer storage media.

    ...unless you have an iMac or an iBook, or an iOpener (I think). And many people cart around laptops with removable floppy drives they've left behind.

    Almost no computers are being sold nowadays without USB, although I'll grant you OS support for it (and specific reader devices) is nowhere near the universality of PC-format floppy reading.
  • For your purposes, digital cameras are as advanced as you need. For others, they will be in a few years. And some will never be satisfied.

    What you have to look at is:

    What do I need.
    What do I want.
    What works..

    What technology is out there that is good or not good enough is a personal opinion.

    For me (as an exanple) , I won't settle for 1023x780 because my desktop is 1280x1024, and I couldn't fill it. Second, I don't have a good use in buying a camera for play use at that res. Third, I don't want to spend that much for a camera that will do that. Fourth, I couldn't be happy with 3000x3000 because when I get married and want to capture my kids, I want it to be perfect, and to be able to see every scrap and scar to remember the fun times we had. Fifth, I just plain can't justify buying something so expensive yet. Sixth, I don't want propritary equipment who wants to force me to use windows.

    Next for battery life, those fall under the wants, and not needs. I would be happy with 32 pictures on a battery. 100 is amazing I think, in terms of what the world offers. The nice, utopian one would be a universal disk that holds enough pictures to be a lot, but not to much to organize once you want to sort through them, a life-time battery, and a resolution that from 10 feet away is better than seeing something a foot away.

    Will that happen? maybe, but it still won't please everyone, but by then there will be something to replace cameras anyway.

    I'm not satisfied with my non-digital camera, but honestly, Technology is wonderful and I'm glad to capture it somehow.

  • That is a fabulous idea. Unfortunately it requires either

    a) A DHCP server on your network or
    b) Someone to set the IP and add it to your windoze machine

    and

    a) Knowing how to use FTP. On Windows, this is actually pretty easy.
    b) An ethernet card and hub in your main machine

    I would buy such a thing but for the 90% of people using Win98, USB works great.
  • How could I forget? We have a couple hundred recycled floppies that are destined for the Mavica, and once we use a disk, we don't re-use it, we just keep it as an archival copy. And floppies are indeed cheap, and you can buy them even at a grocery store, if necessary.

    Personally, I use the "number pictures sequentially" feature to give every picture I take a unique filename. Then, I use a rotating queue of about 15 floppies as film. Whenever most of the floppies are full, I copy the JPGs into a directory on my file server, quick-format the floppies, and rotate them right back into the film queue.

    I regularly backup my hard drive, and keep monthly off-site backups in my safety deposit box. Honestly, I trust that arrangement more than I'd leave any of my valuable pictures to floppy-rot.

  • I have one of the Mavicas with MPEG support. The movie feature is worse than useless. The maximum length movie you can take on mine is 15 seconds, and that eats a goodly portion of the floppy disk storage. What in the hell am I supposed to do with 15 seconds of video? Pass on my memories to people with short attention spans? The only thing that it's good for is party games, like "Film the drunkie" or "wait 'til his wife sees this". Those are fun.

    "Sweet creeping zombie Jesus!"
  • I have played with the Mavica and consider it one of the best consumer products to come out in years. I don't own one because I have been pondering the alternatives.

    One of the more interesting alternatives (for geeks only) is to buy a Sony digital Hi-8 camcorder and a Fire Wire card. It is hard to believe that a good Sony digital camcorder costs as much as a Mavica, but it is true. I have seen still shots captured from this type of system and they are of similar quality to the Mavica. If you don't mind the Mavica quality, why not get two devices in one? I would personally find a camcorder more flexible in most situations.

    Does anybody have thoughts on this type of setup?

  • I beg to differ. I own a Mavica FD-81 and I absolutely love this camera. The only "image quality" related complaint I've had is the tendency for the camera to use too much flash and create an overexposed image. It's easily correctable in Photoshop (just drag the "brightness" adjustment a little to the left, and voila) - but to avoid the hassle, it seems to be best to select the option on the camera to disable the flash, whenever it's possible.

    Sure, this camera doesn't create super hi-res 6MB images, but so what? I really don't understand the need for that. One of the things I actually liked about the Mavica was the ability to create a decent looking 640x480 image, perfect for cropping and posting to web sites. I don't want to generate huge images that take forever to d/l from a web page.

    In all the hype and rush to offer consumers "film-like resolution" digital cameras, they seem to be forgetting the large number of us out there who use these cameras as supplements to real 35mm cameras. If I want high quality photos, I use my trusty Minolta. If I want to post to the web, or upload photos to a friend, I use the Mavica. I never bought this camera to serve as a total replacement for a film camera!
  • As much as I can't stand them they seem to have this mantra, much like Microsoft, to keep at it until they get it right. CD-R's are going to be so much more cheaper than using smart media to store pictures. I guess I'll have to take a look at this when it comes out.
  • I've heard they were called Buzz Cards... I got one in the mail a few weeks back from Fedility Online Investing.
  • MD <-> MD-data ???

    Can someone please explain the difference?
    I guess the price difference is just misssing mass market, but where are the technical differences?
    Why can't I use a 74 or 80 min MD in a data drive?

    Cheers,
    Peter

  • True. Even if I were Mac-bound, though, I'd still make the same decision. I'd just buy an external floppy drive. I possibility of having the ability to view my pictures at a friend's party, or at my parents' house, or at school, etc. would be worth the extra investment for me.

    I also think that the vast majority of iOpener users either:

    1. Use it as their only computer, in which case they couldn't use any of the other digicams, or
    2. Have a Unix fileserver anyway, in which case they'd likely have access to a floppy anyway.
  • by NevDull ( 170554 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:13AM (#1002566) Homepage Journal
    Nah... who needs battery life?

    31 shots on my Kodak DC-215 wiped a set of Duracells - and everything on that is solid-state except the zoom bit.

    Besides, isn't it curious that they'd push CDR over Minidisc?

    Just my 2...
  • nope, if you have another ls-120 drive (which i don't) you can just put the "superdisk" in there, and go to town.
    -earl
  • Except that those CD-R are Sony specifics, so I doubt they'll be as cheap as 1$ a piece. Plus, 156 MB of storage doesn't mean you can fit as much : since it writes one pic at a time, it must be a multi-session disc... which means huge quantities of wasted space.
  • ...but I mean you can buy a Flash Memory Card -> PC Card adapter for about $10 and move you pics to your laptop (or if you are one of the 8 people who have a desktop with PC Card support). Or you can get a Flash Memory Reader with a USB interface for $50 these days which isn't quite a fast, but is nothing to sneeze at either...

    Did I mention the concept is really cool though?

  • Wasn't there a mavica (or other camera) that at some point had an imation superdisk drive in it instead of a floppy? That seems to be a better solution, because the media is reuslable, cheap, and small. (Plus, quite a few mac owners have superdisk drives because it's often the cheapest way to get a floppy drive on a mac).
  • So they took a minidisk and put it in a camera? That's not a bad idea. Not a new one though, either. What I'm waiting for is a palm-sized camcorder with jitter-adjustments - just mount it on the side of your head and run a fiber-optic link down to the waist where the actual unit is. Give it the ability to do wireless (ala bluetooth?) transmission to a base unit back at the van. It would revolutionize the way reporting is done. That, and if the price was low enough, I could see the vaporware product of so-called "blackboxes" for automobiles becoming a reality. I, for one, would love to have GPS tracking and stuff on my car - I hate missing my exit. Having my car beep or something (QUIETLY beep) to let me know if I'm about to miss my exit would be *so* cool. And writing out my vehicle's vitals to cd-r would make it easy to prove it was the "other guy" who creamed my car, not the other way around.
  • $30 for a USB card reader. I disrecommend the SanDisk "SDDR-05", because it's totally undocumented. They said they could probably document the SDDR-31 model.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:39AM (#1002583) Homepage Journal
    Battery life in digital cameras is bad enough as is - let alone how it'll get worse with mechanical equipment like a CD-R (even a small one). You have to spin the motor, operate the servos, and fire the laser in order to write. Combined with everything else (the LCD's suck power too, and so to the CCD's), I really don't see the future of digital photography including floppies or CD's much longer - even the optimized drives like the IBM Microdrives or the Iomega Clik are going to suck more power than flash.

    Right now, digital photography is in a flux state anyhow. At the high end, it's been adequate for years (my old company was shooting production ads with digital medium-format backs like the Leaf back 6+ years ago), but the low end is just arriving at the point now where the quality equals what you can get from consumer-grade film.

    Unfortunately, those cameras cost about $1000, and you still get crappy battery life.

    Digital photography has really taken off the last couple of years, but I won't replace my trusty Nikon until I can buy a 3K x 2K pixel camera with 3x optical zoom, lens switching capability, USB and CF support, and enough battery life to take 150-200 photos on a charge (with flash as needed) for about $500. The feature set is out there today at twice that price. Until then, I'll continue to schlep my handy Apple QuickTake 200 (with 5v Smartmedia) to parties as my only digital device.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • You will NEVER be rid of pixelation.

    If the pixels are smaller than film grain then digital cameras win out, however. Pixelation is only a problem when it negatively affects the defninition of images.

    Digital media may not be long lasting but digital data IS. You can't back up and restore photos in a lossless manner.

  • "I'm excited to see a product which may spur sales (and availability!) of 77mm CD-R media, which when last I checked at Recorded Media Supply were available only in fairly large quantities (hundred lots) and cost considerably more than their bigger cousins."

    You can sometimes get these things at computer shows. I picked one up from a KGP Productions [pcshow.com] PC Show a few months ago. Cost me something like $3-4 for one piece.

    The only problem I see with this camera is the 77mm CD-R media -- Sony's going to hear from a lot of people who tried to stick them in their slot-loading drives. Many of these drives will jam when given 77mm media. They can also cause problems with tray-loading drives, if they're not centered on the tray properly the litte CDs can get jammed inside.
  • "I mean how will I supply a burner with enough power to burn actively when im taking photos? A burner usually suck up a lot of power, so how can they get this thing working good and portable? "

    Propane?

    carlos

  • I'm reading too many posts where no one read the article.

    The model in question DRC-PC100 is indeed a CD-R camera. DO NOT confuse it for DCM-M1, which uses the 640 Megabyte MD-II format.

    Although the DCM-M1 camera bests the CRC-PC100 in most areas with it's own ethernet port and webserver it's only a 640K pixel camera... No good for those high quality shutter bugs.

    The DRC-PC100 will serve a nitch market, just like the DCM-M1 does. I'd personally love to see a 2 Mega-Pixel version of the DCM-M1.
  • **First, how will it deal with shaking? Hopefully, well.

    This is discussed in the article. They whacked on the camera pretty good during write, and it didn't fail.**
    *******************************

    Ok, smacking a CD writer once, and walking down the road with it are 2 very different things. A new walkman works better than an old one. How is this going to stand up to REAL USE.

    **Second, will you have to finish the CD and nullify the oportunity to write more data to it in order to get the pictures off?

    This is discussed in the article. The disc must be finalized before it can be read anywhere but in the camera, but the camera also has USB so you can transfer images out that way. **
    *******************************

    In some formats, you can finalize and open a second session. This product hasn't got an official "this is what is going to be built" model yet, which may behave quite diffently

    **Third, will it be generic CD-R's, or it gonna be a "memory stick" at the last minute, totally proprietary, and useless in anything buy a sony product.

    This, too, is discussed in the article, which you obviously didn't take the time to read before posting. It uses standard 77mm CD-R media, which can be read in just about any CD-ROM drive. **
    *******************************

    Ever hear of a Kodak Photo-CD, didn't really take off, did it? Ever see those CD-RW's labelled especially for MUSIC? They cost 5 times as much... I've been writing music to regular CDs for a long time now, seems to work about the same, doesn't mean that they can't screw with that somehow in order to sell a proprietary product.

    **Please, people, take the time to read the article. And moderators, why do you up-moderate posts by people who haven't even bothered to familiarize themselves with the source material? Those are good questions, but they're answered by just doing a little reading.**
    *******************************

    Please, take the time to visit the real world and how real business works. There are plenty of data formats which are all pretty much the same thing. Copy protection on CDs comes in a lot of formats, you might have to have a CD which is only SLIGHTLY different to work in their products, which was pretty much the idea behind the memory stick... To lock your customers in on your products. As for shaking. It's one thing to smack the brand new one. You can put sawdust in parts of a car to make it run better too, for about 5 days...

    You are what you do when you count --Steakley
  • The Nikon Coolpix [nikon.com] has a viewfinder that rotates independent of the lens/body. And the Coolpix (now up to the 990, 3MegaPix) is pretty consistently rated one of the best by digicam users. See DCResource [dcresource.com] for more info.
  • Sorry, no. It's that it takes what is today a supercomputer to encode DVD video and audio in realtime. Even the audio alone would really be cutting it close on today's top-end personal computers. And nothing can write quickly enough if you don't heavily compress it, so that's not an option either.
  • I looked at the Sony Mavica FD-81, and was ready to buy it, but first I wanted to see the image quality. Yuck! I bought an Olympus 610 instead - much harder to use, but sweet images!

    Sony's camera UI and features are great - easy to use, lots of things to tweak, great zoom, great light level response - but they seem to have trouble with the storage medium. Floppys are cheap and convenient, and the 4X drive is nice and fast, but the image quality is too lousy.

    Other solutions? Memory sticks are too proprietary and deficient. CD-R? Why not reusable CD-RW? Why not another storage medium that is smaller and more shock-resistant? SuperDisk, Zip, Iomega's "Clik"... oh yeah, not Sony. Minidisc... there's the shock problem again. DAT... killed off by Big Music. IBM's mini-drive... not Sony again.

    Sony needs to get over their proprietary formats (they did "invent" the 3.5" floppy drive), and adopt something more useable in a digital camera. That issue solved, combined with their great camera designs, would be hard to beat.

    Oh, yeah, don't CD-R's eat electricity for lunch? Get plenty of spare batteries!

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:41AM (#1002608)
    (Of course, true Nerds may choose to wait another year or so until the digicams arrive built around the tiny 500MB micro-optical disks...)

    Not really... true Nerds, like Andy Ihnatko [maccentral.com], have been taking digital pictures of everything in their line of sight, and writing about it, for years. With better cameras than the Sony, too.

    Not many Wintel and Linux people read Ihnatko's stuff, because the old saw, "Macs are for graphics" is often wrongly correlated to "graphics are for Macs"... but his stuff is worth reading if you are interested in this stuff, no matter what platform you use.

    Amid his humorous Mac-centric rants, you can find some darn good advice about digital photography (and other gadget lore).

    As for Sony using CDR's? Well, every innovation drives down the cost of earlier iterations of any given gadget, meaning that this might make the camera I actually want a little bit cheaper. Even if I don't want the Sony, this is good news to me. :)

  • Buy a set of NiMH rechargables; you'll be amazed. Even though they are rated at less total mAH, you will get more life out of them because even when they're half gone, they can still run the camera. When Alkalines are half gone, they can no longer deliver the instantaneous current required to run a DC. I have a Kodak DC280 and I get typically over 100 shots out of a set of NiMH's per charge. It doesn't take long to make up the $25 for batteries and charger, plus I'm not filling the landfills with old batteries. NOTE that NiMH's aren't perfect; they self-discharge in about a month, so they are not good for remote controls, flashlights, etc. However they're the best for DC's, kid's toys, etc.
  • I want a digital camera integrated with my cell phone. That way, I don't have to store much of the images -- I can just upload as I go. Take it a step further and integrate that with the digital photo album websites out there, and even mom-mom and pop-pop can participate quickly and easily.
    --
  • wasn't one of the original ideas behind iomega's click disks that they be used in digital cameras?

    After all the "click of death" reports on some of the earlier ZIP drives, I wonder which marketing genius thought of that product name....
    /.

  • Tey ention that as well... seemed to survive being slapped etc as it was writing an image but had to be placed flat for initialising and finalising a disc

    troc
  • First of all, Minidisc requires you to own a minidisc drive to read on your PC. CDR can be read anywhere. Nearly every cd-rom drive (At least as far as tray loaders) supports 3" CDs with no problems at all. Minidisc drives tend to be >US$200 (Except you can only get them in Japan so you pay in Yen.)

    Second of all, this is what NiMH batteries are for. They last twice as long as alkalines, and you can recharge them ~10,000 times. You can pick up a starter set at battery stores for ~US$30 with a charger and four AAs. I have two of them, because I have RC cars which take four AAs at a time, and when you have just drained eight alkalines because you forgot to turn off the transmitter, you are a sorry mofo.

    If only 31 shots kills your camera, that's pretty pathetic. Remember the crappy little Casio QV-10 and QV-11 cameras? I had a QV-11 and, while it had no flash, it did have a little screen, and that sucker got 96 images in memory; If I did it all the same day I could shoot that twice, at least, AND dump them via serial (powered by the camera) back to my PC.

  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    And I just shelled out buku bucks for their FD-91 35mm camera!

    It sucks when even CAMERAS have a product life cycle now!


    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • The NiMH battery in my canon A50 lasts long enough for me. It just has one problem: it always run out when you don't expect it. Tough shit. Easy solution: travel with an extra battery. Problem: I can't buy it anywhere. My brother tried to call Canon and co ... to no avail.
  • Actually, I keep 2 sets of batteries and a charger handy for my Quicktake - it works pretty well for a low-end camera like that one. But for the mass market to take off, we need battery life comparable to a heavily used conventional camera, where you drop a new photo lithium battery in it every few months and then shoot away. Then you only need one spare in your pack, and if it dies you can replace it at any store.

    Digital camera power consumption is way higher than that for most uses. There are ways you can minimize battery consumption, but since most cameras offer no real TTL viewfinders, the LCD is a valuable substitute. The other caveat is that conventional camera users don't have to worry about power management, so I figure that digital users shouldn't have to, either.

    Granted, this is a very high, difficult standard, but it should be the target that camera makers shoot for. The natural price curves that happen over time will bring a camera with the features I want into the target price range, but it'll take some really good engineering to hit the power budgets that I'd like to see.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • You need to cache 1 or 2 pictures to avoid having to write to the disk in real-time. The compression ratio they're using is about 1MB/picture (160 pix per 156MB disk), so that's 1-2MB. They could either do this with flash, or just use regular RAM (which they need to have for their compression/processing stuff anyway.) RAM is cheaper, but you need to keep it powered while you're using it, so there's a risk of losing the last picture you've taken if you run out of battery, but flash has a limit on how many times you can write to it, which isn't a good thing for the memory that you copy every picture to before saving on disk.
  • I've been looking for a good digital camera lately and the one I'm really interested in is the Panason ic PV-SD4090 [panasonic.com]. It has a 120MB LS-120 drive in it (from Imation [imation.com] that will also read and write 1.44MB floppies. It
    • weighs less
    • costs less
    • stores slightly less
    • let's you delete crap pictures
    and a wealth of other features. I just don't see the point of a CDR in my camera.

  • If you read the review, you'd see that it has a 'steady-shot' system that Sony have been putting in their camcorders for years (works very well in my Hi8).

    You would also note the interesting discussion about finalising, what it takes and how to get around it - you can hook up a USB cable and take images off the unfinlaised disc for example.

    I wish people would read the articles before posting (and the getting modded up?)

    troc
  • There is the Panasonic [panasonic.com]that writes to a SuperDisk. The camera also serves as an external SuperDisk drive. If you are looking for mega storage, try the Casio [casio.com] with a 340 MB IBM Microdrive.
    It seems to me that burning to a small disk would be quite slow compared to these two methods.

  • Actually, I keep 2 sets of batteries and a charger handy for my Quicktake - it works pretty well for a low-end camera like that one. But for the mass market to take off, we need battery life comparable to a heavily used conventional camera, where you drop a new photo lithium battery in it every few months and then shoot away. Then you only need one spare in your pack, and if it dies you can replace it at any store.

    I use three sets of batteries -- typically one set of NiMH cells in the camera, the other NiMH set in the charger, and a pack of Lithiums in the camera bag as my emergency backups. Lithium cells last a long time in a digicam. They're expensive, but they have a long shelf life (on the order of years) so they make great spares.

    Your comments about conventional camera power management are right on the mark -- it's something we shouldn't have to worry about. But I'm willing to put up with it for the benefits of my digital camera.

    --Jim
  • First, how will it deal with shaking? Hopefully, well.

    Second, will you have to finish the CD and nullify the oportunity to write more data to it in order to get the pictures off?

    Third, will it be generic CD-R's, or it gonna be a "memory stick" at the last minute, totally proprietary, and useless in anything buy a sony product.
  • > Second, if there's no data spec for the MD's,
    > and no real way to implement it--i.e. no "data
    > type field"--then they shouldn't put data on
    > there.

    MD does have a data format, and has done for some
    time.

    http://www.minidisc.org/md_data_table.html

    They seem to store approx. 140MB on the 2.5" disk.
    Costs more than an audio MD (~$2) at ~$11.

    There's also the MD Data2 discs which store 650MB
    (up to 20 minutes of MPEG2 video (10 minutes in
    HiQuality mode) as well as still photographs).

    See the above page for info on the Sony MD Discam.

    There are already image cameras based on it; see
    the Sony DSC-MD1 MD digital still camera.
  • So as an amateur photographer, can I do double exposures by slapping the side of the camera while it is writing to disk? On the serious side, I'm curious if any of y'all have looked into the digital backs for Nikon, Hasselblad, and Canon? These are larger in size, but for studio use are unbelievably superior to anything Sony has to offer... Just the fact that I can use my Zeiss lenses, and keep the interchangeability is almost worth the $15,000 for the Hasselblad back!

    regards,
    Benjamin Carlson
  • Every CDR system I have seen suffers from bounce, unless your machine is sat on concrete it's pretty inadvisable to jump around in the same room as a write in progress, and shaking the machine about is a definite no-go. So how would a CDR camera work? Unless this drive uses a CDRW or perhaps a load of flash for temporary storage which is written to the drive all in one go.
  • This is pure FUD perpetuated by the DVD industry.

    I assumed you wanted real DVD quality. If you just want ~VHS quality, then yeah, real-time with dedicated hardware isn't a problem. But it won't match a real DVD movie's quality.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @07:17AM (#1002706) Journal

    Don't get me wrong, I love it to death, but here are a few critiques:

    Now, it's a good product, but they have ignored some things that could make it a truly great product. First, scrap this business of having to hold it at arms length and look at the video screen. The screen is nice for previewing pictures, but I would rather look through a viewfinder.

    Mount the viewfinder so that the camera would be turned 90 degrees towards you when shooting, with respect to the way it is held now. (my ascii art sucks, so I hope I am conveying this clearly). In that position, you would be holding the floppy unit "flat". I think that would be much more natural.

    Also, as I look at the newer model Mavicas, I see that they have added a lot of features like sound, MPEG movie mode, etc. Big mistake!!! The whole point of having a Digicam is to take stills. If I wanted a camcorder, I would have bought one. All the effort they spend engineering those features is a big WASTE!!! If I were in charge of the Mavica design, I would strip any feature that didn't have to do with taking excellent still pictures, and plunge any savings into making the CCD larger. Pixelation is what keeps digicams from being a perfect replacement for film cameras. Eliminate visible pixelation, and you've got yourself a killer product.

    Here's hoping Sony people read /.

  • by chrisd ( 1457 ) <chrisd@dibona.com> on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @07:03AM (#1002710) Homepage
    The card adapter (at 10$) is very inexpensive, and under linux, it mounts as easily as any other partition. I don't see why you say few people can use it.

    Here's some instructions for you:

    First root yourself, then:

    tail -f /var/log/messages&

    put the compact flash in the adapter, put the adapter in your pcmcia slot, when you do this, you'll get a line or two tell you which drive device it has been assigned to (assuming pcmcia is set up right).

    Supposing it's hdc, then do this:

    mount -t vfat /dev/hdc1 /mnt/flash

    cd into /mnt/flash and there's your pix. Enjoy. Don't forget to unmount before ejecting.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • First, how will it deal with shaking? Hopefully, well.

    This is discussed in the article. They whacked on the camera pretty good during write, and it didn't fail.

    Second, will you have to finish the CD and nullify the oportunity to write more data to it in order to get the pictures off?

    This is discussed in the article. The disc must be finalized before it can be read anywhere but in the camera, but the camera also has USB so you can transfer images out that way.

    Third, will it be generic CD-R's, or it gonna be a "memory stick" at the last minute, totally proprietary, and useless in anything buy a sony product.

    This, too, is discussed in the article, which you obviously didn't take the time to read before posting. It uses standard 77mm CD-R media, which can be read in just about any CD-ROM drive.

    Please, people, take the time to read the article. And moderators, why do you up-moderate posts by people who haven't even bothered to familiarize themselves with the source material? Those are good questions, but they're answered by just doing a little reading.

  • First;
    I'm excited to see a product which may spur sales (and availability!) of 77mm CD-R media
    YES! - I've been trying to source these little suckers on and off for ages. If a popular product increases demand, and subsequently supply, of this smaller media size I'm all for it. (Anyone know if the DVD standards support this size?)

    That said, 156MB is pretty small. I've got a 128MB CF card in my TRGpro. There's a 400+ MB Microdrive-type product coming soon. Never mind, it is for people not interested in playing with cables.

    That said, both SmartMedia cards and Sony's own Memory Stick can be used in a floppy-disk adapter, and that works up to 64MB. (and draws a lot less power, is smaller, etc).

    Basically, it's a cool product, but it will need some luck to really get into the market...

  • Why isn't there more use of minidiscs or zip disks. In the case of minidiscs the technology has been long established is availabe and is pretty reliable.

    I wonder how many people will get a coaster full of memories when the CD-R fails to burn or drains the last few amps from the batteries.

    Digital Cameras are at the stage where they don't need marketing gimmicks (floppy disks, CD-R etc). What people need is something as usuable as a 35mm camera - you take your pictures, fill up a media storage unit, change it and take more.

    This is what users need right now.
  • There's some interesting MD stuff at the MiniDisc MD Data Product Table [atr.co.jp] page, including two MD still cameras (one Sony, one Sharp, both 640x480) and a MD Data2 Video camera - with heaps of links. Enjoy.
  • by MartinG ( 52587 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @06:20AM (#1002723) Homepage Journal
    I wonder why we haven't also heard about video camcorders with build in DVD-RAM to record video in realtime to a DVD disc which you could replay on a standard DVD player and easily make high quality copies to send your friends and relatives?

    Oh yeah, It's because the DVD recording format and in fact almost the entire industry is under the tightly held control of a few elite greedy corporations who aren't interested in what the consumers want. That's right isn't it, I forgot.
  • Flash memory for temp storage would have no effect at all on mechanical disturbance.

    First, the camera has to have at least enough flash memory to hold a picture before it's written to the CD. Second, if the camera is jarred during writing to the CD, if the laser is bumped off of track when writing, you're SOL, buffer or not!
  • Zip disks are a really bad choice for any mobile application. When I worked for Dell, they really resisted selling Zip drives in their laptops for a long time because the non-operating shock limit for a Zip drive is less than the operating shock limit for a floppy. Of course, they eventually decided to sell them anyway - after all, who cares about a few thousand customers when there's money to be had?

    Zip drives are unbelievably fragile. This effect is well-known even among desktop Zip drive users as the "click of death" problem, where the head actually comes off the arm, usually destroying the disk in the process. And that's if you're lucky, since you'll only destroy one disk with that failure mode. If you're not lucky, the head doesn't come off, but just gets knocked cockeyed and will then destroy every disk you put in the drive trying to see if you can get it to work. (That said, I use Zip semi-occasionally and have never encountered the problem myself. I'm paranoid about shocking the drive, though, and treat it like a Faberge egg.)

    I think Minidiscs are just too expensive and proprietary.

    Why are we using disks anymore anyway? Hasn't anyone noticed that you don't need disks anymore when you have a network? Where are the cameras with a built-in FTP/file server and Ethernet, 802.11, or Bluetooth links?

    I'd buy an Ethernet camera in a heartbeat - that's far more interoperable than USB is right now, and avoids OS compatibility problems.
  • "I haven't seen a single puter with a minidisc-rom (MD-ROM?) drive. Second, if there's no data spec for the MD's, and no real way to implement it--i.e. no "data type field"--then they shouldn't put data on there."

    For the record, minidiscs are not ROM. They are most definitely read/write. Which is really cool, cuase you end up with an object smaller than a 3.5" floppy which can be used like a tape and store almost as much CD quality audio as an actual CD.
    I have two MD players and I love them. I just think it's really unfortunate that the best models aren't marketed over here in the states. Both my Kenwood and my Aiwa MD players were purchased in Japan and are smaller and nicer than the Sony ones available in the U.S.
    Apparently Americans aren't perceived as smart enough to be able to handle a new data medium. ("Hey, that doesn't look like a CD! People will never figure that out!")
    -slackerboy
  • by UncleRoger ( 9456 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2000 @07:33AM (#1002746) Homepage
    ..."Mavica" floppy-disk based digicams. Never really a Nerd product, they appealed to Neo-Luddites who didn't mind trading off image quality to avoid having to deal with cables & software. ... Worked great when "high resolution" cameras had 800K pixels. Kinda runs out of gas when you try to cram multiple 6 MB images into a 1.44 MB bag though.

    Well, having been a nerd for more years than a lot of slashdot readers have been alive, I have to disagree.

    I do a lot of web design and I can tell you I wouldn't have many visitors to my sites if I sprinkled "multiple 6 MB images" throughout. The 640x480 resolution of my Mavica FD-71 is more than adequate for web images, and the amazing zoom is well worth the lesser resolution. The advantage of the floppy disk is certainly there, but it's not the only one.

    My wife is not a nerd, but the floppy disk functionality means she can take a picture, then load it right into whichever Mac her student is using at the time. We don't have to worry about having cables for each computer, or loading software on each one, when their small hard drives are already overflowing. (Schools rarely have the latest and greatest, and while she spent about $3K on school supplies (not including computers), she doesn't get paid enough to be buying new computers for her classroom.)

    So yes, when everyone has super-high-resolution monitors (more than 72dpi), and photo-printer output is not fiendishly expensive, high-resolution digital cameras will be more important. For now, however, unless you are a professional in the (print) design world, a good old Mavica should be just fine.

    One last anecdote: Not long after we got the Mavica, my wife's grandmother had her 93rd birthday party. Naturally, we brought the camera. A little over a week later she passed away. We ran out and bought a new printer (cheapie Epson color inkjet -- <$200 at Price Club) and printed out one of the pictures we had taken. We put it in a frame and put it out at the funeral. Most people didn't realize that it wasn't a photograph until they got up close to it.

  • That's just the point. Someone will provide high quality video/audio to the consumer. And when they do there will be those that break ranks with the rest of the "consortium" and they will try to profit from the new technology.

    Some of these breakaway technologies will fail, but one of them will undoubtedly gain the critical mass necessary to force the content providers to switch to the new media or face destruction. Some of the industry elite will jump to late, and will become also rans. The people who were first movers on this new technology will fill their spots among the industry elite and will immediately throw all of their efforts into subverting any change to the status quo.

    The high and mighty have opposed change throughout history, but it still has marched inexorably forward.

    The fact that DVD players can't include firewire simply means that the DVD firewire combination is not going to be the combination that breaks open the digital media dam. Someone will have to come up with something else.

    Don't worry though, they will. Just don't expect it to come from a source that has competing products in a much higher price range.

  • You might want to be careful about keeping all your archives on floppies. I have had nothing but bad experiences with info on floppies. I've seen new, brand name disks give read errors within a month.

    Whups... I didn't mean to imply we only our pics on the floppies... They get copied to a hard drive (and one of these days, will get copied to CD as well). We just keep the floppies around as an extra bit of backup rather than re-using them.

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