Check Out Sony’s First Ever Digital Camera Released 25 Years Ago

25 years ago, Sony unveiled the DSC-F1, a 0.3-megapixel digital stills camera with a rotating lens. Check out this piece of photographic history as Gordon Laing takes it on a quick tour of Brighton.

What’s truly fascinating about the F1 is how despite being one of the earliest consumer digital cameras, it was built with selfies and low shooting angles in mind. This is perhaps an indication that even in the mid-90s, manufacturers were keen to exploit the advantages offered by not having to rely on a mechanical shutter to make exposures. The lack of a viewfinder was also a selling point, with Sony explaining in the marketing that the “screen allows for easy viewing with no need to hold the camera up to your eye.”

The 1/1.3” CCD features 350,000 pixels offering 24-bit color, and the rear LCD measures 1.8" with a marvelous 61,380 dots. Readers might recall ArcSoft’s PhotoStudio DSC software available for Windows and Macintosh computers, which “lets you tile, merge, and add effects to your photos, thus letting you be creative.” Back then, the minimum requirements for PC users were a 386SX 66 MHz processor and at least 8 megabytes of ram.

Did you own one of Sony’s earliest digital cameras? Are you tempted to pick on up second-hand? Let us know in the comments below.

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3 Comments

Ben Coyte's picture

The first digital camera I shot with was a Sony Mavica that recorded onto 1.3mb floppy discs. Myself and my colleagues used it during the Tiananmen Sq protests after marshal law was declared when we could not shoot video with ENG cameras. We would then "feed" the stills down a phone line to HQ back in the USA, where they appeared similar to a fax. Took ages to do each photo, though I can't remember the file sizes. This predates the one above by a ways, though it was not necessarily consumer kit.

Rich Umfleet's picture

I used to get my Konica-Minolta a7D fixed at a camera shop just a short tank ride from Tiananmen Sq. On the 10th anniversary, my boss told me and my camera to stay away from that area of the city. Or risk jail time.

I also carried around a small digital "spy" camera when I lived in Beijing. I got an MP3 player with a camera feature. It came new with a 64mb compact flash. Security would look at it, see the headphones and let it through. The pictures were crap, but it was still proof that stuff happened. Although, nothing ever did happen while I was there. However, I can still brag that I did get a camera into Chairman Mao's tomb!

Robert Mack's picture

Yep...the Mavica came out I think in 1982. I used to use one to take pictures when our company vehicles were in accidents.