New Mavica Swaps Out Floppy For CD-R Drive

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NEW YORK -- Sony will take the floppy diskette-based Mavica digital camera to the next technological level this summer when it ships a camera that uses a CD-R drive to store images.

The Mavica MVC-CD1000 is scheduled to ship in early August with a $1,299 suggested retail price. The new camera is basically a Mavica FD-95 with the floppy diskette drive removed and replaced with a scaled-down CD-R drive. The 2.1-megapixel camera's drive handles 3.5-inch CDs capable of holding 156MB of data, compared to a floppy's 1.44MB capacity.

"The resolution on these cameras has increased so much that the floppy was just maxed out," said Jay Sato, Sony's VP of digital cameras and services.

Cost was the primary reason Sony chose to develop the CD-R drive instead of using flash memory, Sato said. Although the CD-R is a write-only drive, Sony believes the cost per disc, about $4, is low enough that consumers will not miss the rewritable nature of the floppy.

Each CD-R disc can hold about 160 2.1-megapixel images, and the media can be displayed with any PC CD-ROM drive.

Sato said Sony has solved the battery life problem that in the past has stopped other vendors from installing optical storage drives in digital cameras. The new Mavica can take about 1,100 shots on one charge, with each shot being burned onto the CD in about three seconds. The camera does have onboard flash memory, but it serves as a buffer.

The camera can take low-resolution video clips and has several camcorder features, including image stabilization. The camera can be operated in full automatic or manual mode.

Sony also will start shipping an updated version of the 505V this month with a suggested retail price of $899. The new model features 3.3-megapixel resolution that can be boosted to 3.7 megapixels when image interpolation software is used.

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