Properly "classic" digital cameras (and imaging)

J. Peterson pdp11 at
Mon Jun 4 05:07:51 CDT 2007

If you fudge "digital" camera to "electronic", my 
first goes back a bit further, to '91 or 
so.  Canon offered something call the "Xapshot". 
It was a still video camera that stored the 
-analog- signal of a single video frame on a 
track of a small 1.5" microfloppy drive.  It held 
50 frames on one of those little floppies, though 
the picture quality degraded a bit on the inner 
tracks because the disk spun at a constant 
speed.  You "uploaded" the photos by digitizing 
the image with a video card like the RasterOps 364.

The little floppies gave the Xapshot one huge 
advantage over the actual digital cameras of the 
day - you could travel with it!  The other 
"consumer" cameras of the era didn't have 
removable storage, and had to be emptied out at a 
computer after just a dozen pictures or so.

The Xapshot did take color photos, but the 
quality was pretty grim, about 320x240 resolution 
accompanied by various analog video 
artifacts.  It was a fun toy for the time, but I 
regret taking it on a European vacation in 
'92...all I have to show for the trip now is 
tiny, murky stills.  A $50 35mm point 'n shoot 
would've done a much better job.  Sony sold a 
similar still-video camera line called the 
"Mavica" (MAgnetic VIdeo CAmera).  The Mavica 
line later morphed from still-video to true 
digital, storing the photos on 3.5" floppies.

I no longer have the Xapshot...I sold it to a collector in the late '90s.


>  > My oldest is not quite there--a Mustek VDC-300 from 1998....
>That jogs my memory, my first digital camera was 
>a Mustek VDC-100. I bought it second hand in 
>1998 for £50, it was already a couple of years old then.
>It was truly awful....

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