Lo-Fi: A ‘test roll’ in the Sony Mavica MVC-FD51, 04 November 2022

Running from 01 December 2022 to 31 January 2023, the latest #ShittyCameraChallenge will feature cameras from the 1990s. I already have two analogue cameras to use in the challenge, a Canon Epoca 135 and a Samsung Fino 35s point and shoot, but the 90s were when digital cameras started to appear in the consumer marketplace and I really fancied trying cameras from the dawn of the digital age.

I had wanted a Sony Mavica for quite a while, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to get one, so I headed to my trusty website, OLX. There were a few available, from 20€ to 100€, so I checked out a couple of the cheaper offers and sent off messages. 

After several false starts, two Sony Mavicas were soon in my possession; an MVC-FD51 and an MVC-FD81, both from 1998. It was a little challenging to get a working floppy disk drive, but soon I had all I need to take and share photos just like it was in the 90s.

Today the sun came out and it was perfect weather to take them for a test drive. The MVC-FD51 is a basic 0.3MP camera. Like it’s first generation brother, the MVC-FD5 launched in 1997, it has a fixed focal length lens and a simple slider for macro mode. The main difference between the two units is an improved floppy disk drive, that could save images in five seconds, and optical effects such as black and white or sepia.

The MVC-FD51 was a joy to use, and was as simple as a camera could be. I took a short walk and recorded (literally, as the display says ‘recording’ as each image is saved to the floppy disk) several images that used about half of the disk space available on the floppy. 

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Published by Keith Devereux

'Let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars.' Mira Furlan

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