Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Sony Mavica Digital Cameras: Collectible or not?

Mavica MVC-FD5

The Sony Mavica name dates back to 1981, but it took 16 years to reach its stride.

The original Mavica electronic camera is laughable by today's standards. It was actually a video camera that stored up to 50 still frames on a 2-inch 'Mavipak' floppy disc. Even though it was an SLR camera that accepted interchangeable bayonet-mount lenses, it offered only one shutter speed: 1/60 second. The CCD resolution was a mere 570 x 490 pixels, offering only quarter megapixel resolution. The unit was expensive and of limited use.

Things changed dramatically when the fully digital Mavica MVC-FD5 hit the market in late 1997. Even though dozens of digital cameras were available at that point, the market was still in its infancy. The FD5 and the zoom equipped FD7 were the first to use standard 3.5-inch floppy disks (another Sony invention) for storage. both offered a 640 x 480 pixel CCD and variable shutter speed. The FD5 offered a 47mm f/2.0 lens, while it's slightly more sophisticated sibling offered a capable 10x zoom lens (40-400mm f/1.8).

Floppy Retailing at under $600, the FD5 proved an ideal companion for real estate professionals, insurance adjusters, and anyone who required instant electronic images. The Mavica lineup quickly grabbed the lion's share of the digital camera market, even though they had a few quirks: Each disk could store a maximum of 55 images, even if additional space remained. In addition, the LCD brightness adjustment on the back of the camera let you take pictures that looked good on the camera's built-in screen, but awful once viewed on computer. Later versions improved the optics and added CD and memory stick storage.

A decade has passed since the FD5 and FD7 burst onto the scene, and I doubt many remain in use, having been eclipsed by modern megapixel monsters with fancy flash memory, USB 2.0 connectors, and miniscule price tags. My first instinct would be to ignore it if I stumbled across one at a garage sale or flea market, but they might become collectible because of their place in history. That said, there's nothing they can do that can't be duplicated with a modern mobile phone camera - their images don't have a unique look. So maybe - just maybe - grab one if you get the chance for free.

Using the MVC-FD7 - Basic Instructions


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