This $15 Floppy Disk Camera Is a Blast From the Past

Fancy exchanging your camera for one that shoots on floppy disks instead? You may actually be surprised by the images made on this retro camera.

If you've been a photographer for the last few decades, you will have witnessed all manner of innovations in the camera department, from the unimaginable high dynamic ranges of image sensors to the eye-watering resolution sizes now available in higher-end cameras. Many of us take for granted the luxury of memory cards being able to hold thousands of images, but how would you cope if your camera's memory could only take four pictures at a time? Photographer Arthur R experienced this very problem when he took a walk down memory lane to test the Sony Mavica FD83, a 0.8-megapixel camera from 1999 that relied on floppy disks for storage, all for the princely sum of $15.

For those who never had the pleasure of using floppy disks, each disk could only hold a whopping 1.44 megabytes of data, which, by today's standards, would not be enough to store even one image file on it. Thankfully, for the Sony Mavica FD83, the 0.8-megapixel pictures are only 1,216 by 912 pixels in size, which means each disk can hold between 3 and 5 images on it. For those video fans, the camera could also shoot moving images, but only a mere 15 seconds could be shot per disk, and the resolution was low, at 320 x 240 pixels.

While the specs of this camera may not be much, the pictures and video from it are not that bad considering they were made on something that is 24 years old. When I first saw some of the picture examples in the video, I thought they were initially snapshots taken on a modern camera phone. This camera is most definitely not going to replace anything in your bag, but it is a lot of fun to see technology like this still working almost a quarter of a century after it was made. A quick look on eBay for "floppy disk cameras" reveals there are many for sale if you fancy adding one to your collection. Just be sure you have a way of getting the pictures off the disks, as this camera, unsurprisingly, doesn't support Bluetooth or Wi-Fi image transfer.

What do you make of this floppy disk camera? Did you ever use one the first time around? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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I used one. In fact still have it. Took great pictures and I could move to computer fairly easily. The kids loved it. They didn’t waste film and could take pictures with abandon.

Its not 144 mb. . Its 1.44 mb

ok.. so he did state later on that it is 1.44 mbs for the disk