The Design & Publishing Center_/_&FOTOgraphic _/_ Christopher Wright Reviews the SONY Mavica MVC-FD71

Review: Sony Mavica MVC-FD71 

Christopher Wright

       This is the first time I have actually had a Mavica in my hot, sweaty, little hands and while there are criticisms that can be levelled at both the concept and the camera, the base premise of using a floppy disk as the recording medium is inspired. 

"As the Sony Mavica has only a nominal
ISO equivalent of 100 and a maximum aperture of f1.8 it's not a camera which
one would normally use for available light photography. Which is what makes this photograph of Ramses II lit only
by a single spot, remarkable.

(Click on the photo to view a larger sample)

    It is limited, it is true, by both the compression chosen (JPEG) and by the capacity of the disk (nominally 1.44MB, but closer to 1.39MB), but for many people the sheer convenience is going to outweigh such considerations. 
    Being able to take a single photograph as I have just done, remove the disk from the camera and slip it into my computer's floppy drive to have an image in Photoshop with sixty seconds of pressing the shutter smacks of something akin to witchcraft. 
    Sony adopted the floppy disk as the recording medium for the Mavica because its market research showed that while many people felt uncomfortable with more advanced technology, no one felt threatened by the floppy. Everyone understood its function, and more importantly understood how to use it. 
    None of which would be of any benefit if it didn't work but the download procedure is fast and it is convenient. With all of its camcorder design experience, Sony knows a thing or two about ergonomics and the Mavica reflects this. The upright boxy shape looks unsexy, but is very comfortable to hold and all of the key controls are within easy reach of the right thumb, while all of the minor ones are covered by the left. 
    The grip one adopts when using the Mavica is unorthodox by conventional camera standards - the right hand wrapped around the side of the body and the small grip normally enough, but the index finder of the left hand went above the lens, while the rest of the fingers gripped the body beneath the lens - but it is steady and very positive.   

Next: a look at some pros and cons of the Mavica

Christopher Wright is publisher of "Digital Photography and Imaging" and "PhotOZine," Australia's only two online photography magazines

&FOTOgraphic wishes to thank Christopher for sharing this review with you. We're looking forward to hearing more in future articles!