Mad_Cat's Sony Mavica FD81

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Hi everyone

I thought this could be an interesting subject: I have bought myself a late 90s digital camera, but the twist is that it shoots pictures on 3.5 inch floppy disks!

(these things)

Now everyone must be thinking, that thing must take awful photos! And in a way it does, but the pictures have a certain early 00s internet photograph vibe to them which I enjoy very much. Also, as the camera was by no means a cheap device back in the day, it has pretty solid features:

  • Manual focus (automatic is also an option)
  • Built in filters (Sepia, B&W, negative colors, and “Solarize” which makes the pictures look like they only have a 256 color pallette)
  • maximum res of 1024x768 (considering this camera came out in 1998, that’s solid, but 640x480 is also an option if you want to use less space on the disk)
  • Ability to take 15fps video clips (max length is 15 seconds but it does have audio)
  • Very good flash

The fact that the camera uses floppy disks is in a way really convenient, since you don’t need a card reader for some obscure 90s memory card format, but on the other hand one floppy disk only has space for 20 standard quality images (very compressed images) or 10 fine quality images (less compressed), using the 1024x768 resolution.

Anyways, here are some images taken with this thing:


I’ve always had an interest in the Sony Mavica floppy-disk cameras.

It’s just… It’s a cool concept that worked great for the time. Flash memory is expensive and slow, USB is in its infancy, transferring that much data over serial would be a pain, so why not use 3.5" diskettes? Everyone’s computer had a FDD, everyone knew how to use it, they stored a decent amount of information (for the time), and people were already used to the idea of film having limited exposures, so it wasn’t an outlandish concept to get maybe 10 pictures on a disk.

Yeah. They seemed so handy when I was still scanning everything. (Salesman: Buy an APS camera for your savings! It is the future! Digital ones will never give acceptable quality!)

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There is a few annoyances that come with using floppy disks as a storage medium in 2023.

First of all, my old floppy disks which werent the best quality to begin with won’t always work very well, due to their age (20, or even 30 years!)

Secondly, reading these disks has been an adventure involving an usb floppy disk reader that just would not read the disks (despite being brand new), so what I had to do was to find myself an old one that still worked, thankfully I did because I don’t want to buy an old XP pc with a floppy drive just to get my images.

Otherwise it has been fun! I get to look like a hipster when I use this thing in public and people sometimes give a confused look when I change the floppies (you really need a jacket with large pockets if you want to use this)


I remember using something like that in high school. At the time I thought that was one of the neatest things ever.

As a someone who is very into tech, both new and old, its pretty interesting to see how these floppy disk cameras work

Alright, so this camera has a few features that I haven’t really tried out as they seem pretty self-explanatory, except for one:


Ok, I get that bitmap means BMP photos instead of jpg, and voice is just… voice, but e-mail?
As an uncultured zoomer I didn’t realize right away that e-mail was for sending photos with dial-up connection speeds, so the picture had to take very little space.

But here is how an e-mail photo looks like compared to a regular one:

Glorious 320x240

Awfully mundane 1024x768 that lets you actually recognize things

Also this is a great example what I like to photograph: items that were made before/during the time this camera was still relevant! Enjoy this very portable Nokia television from the turn of the millenium. (I use this TV daily, my insanity does not get limited to cameras)

Here’s an another example about this for a good measure, which also just happens to be an another Nokia display device that uses CRT technology.

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The Mavica was one of the most advanced cameras of its time, but it was also a product of its time - and would become obsolete when flash memory and USB became fast and cheap enough to be viable for digital cameras.

-coughs- Some of us actually still use that resolution, you know. But, yeah, compared to the multi-megapixel madness of today, yeah, it is a little small.

Remember, at that time conventional cameras were still way cheaper than digital cameras. The pace was rapidly changing, but at that time it wasn’t there yet.


I love this! I have a few old cameras and tech pieces myself :thinking: perhaps I could share my oldies, too.

Keep up the good work! Saving ewaste is a whole lot of fun!


It truly is fun- until you find out that the battery that came with the camera is basically completely dead, and you have to buy a new battery for about as much as you paid for the camera itself :skull:

This thing also uses the Sony branded infolithium batteries that have a chip in them that ”talks” with the camera, and some aftermarket batteries won’t be usable as the camera recognizes it as a non-infolithium battery, and then shuts off. Thanks Sony!

Thankfully the aftermarket battery I got does work, but this, to quote your comment, ”e-waste” camera definitely didnt end up being quite as cheap as I originally thought :sob:


Damn that sucks, finding parts for old tech is always an experience to say the least and usually doesn’t end up being a cheap one either.

I’m hopeful about my camera batteries. I have an official Panasonic battery as wells an Energizer branded battery, this makes me believe that it was a common battery and replacement ones should be easier to get my hands on… Issue is that my two camcorders (Both Panasonic!) have slightly different battery designs! I cannot swap between them. Lame.