Logitech Fotoman (1991)
In early 1991 Logitech approached Dycam. They wanted to market a digital camera as they were one of the leading brands in computer peripherals. A digital camera that could connect to a PC seemed like a good add-on to their portfolio. Dycam licensed Logitech to use it's technology to build their own version for $1M. The Logitech Fotoman FM-1 went on sale by Fall 1991. Physically similar to the Dycam but with different firmware, software and a white embodiment instead of black. The first digital consumer point-and-shoot camera to hit the european market. Not that many Dycam Model 1 cameras were made and only sold in the US through selected channels. The Logitech Fotoman FM-1 however was produced in larger quantities, sold and shipped all over the world. It was a market success. The reason was simple. The Fotoman had better software, better marketing, better firmware and Logitech gave away free camera bags upon registration. The Logitech software had a lot of features like picture alteration and the possibility to store the images in three different file types. It also allowed the user to transfer new firmware into the camera.
The camera was a grayscale point-and-shoot digital camera. Announced as a pocket-size-camera it would take pictures of 376x240 pixel resolution and stored them in it's 1MB flash memory. A one button, easy to operate digital camera. There was no display and the camera would communicate with users through beep tones. Without a manual you were lost as there was no way to figure out what the beeps meant. The camera worked on two rechargable batteries buried under the black plastic cover. You had to recharge these batteries frequently because when they were depleted your pictures were lost. Not only that, but once the batteries where recharged you had to connect your camera to a computer and download the software into the camera to make it work again!
The camera had a 27mm thread so a variety of (camcorder) filters could be used. The camera was also one of the first (if not the first) to sport a form of docking station. When places inside this cradle, the camera could be charged and pictured downloaded.
A little sidenote here. The Logitech Fotoman 1 was never completely white as you can seen on some photoshopped marketing photos. The camera has in fact a darker shade of white, something between a light yellow and light beige tint. The shutter button is also more mint colored than blue. So whenever you see a white Fotoman with a blue shutter button on the internet you can be sure that this picture was electronically enhanced.
I just now discovered that two versions of the Logitech Fotoman exist! A first and second generation as it seems. The first generation (serial number starting with FAL1xxx) completely resembled the Dycam Model 1 and was therefore the first one ever sold under the Logitech license. The second generation (serial number starting with FAL2xxx and up) received a small face lift and resembled the later released Fotoman Plus (or Fotoman FM-2). Maybe they wanted to move away from the distinct Dycam design (all Dycam cameras have the same shutter button design). Notice the shutter button in the photos above.
- Brand: Logitech
- Model: Fotoman (FM-1)
- First mentioned: 1991
- Marketed: yes
- MSRP: $995
- Imager Type: 0.15MP CCD
- Resolution: 376x240
- Internal Storage: 1MB (for up to 32 images)
- External Storage: -
- Lens: f=8.5mm / F4.5 (equiv. 55mm)
- Shutter: 1/25s to 1/1,000s (with flash) / 1/30s to 1/1,000s (without flash)
- Aperture Range: F4.5
- LCD screen size: -
- Size: 168 x 81 x 30mm
- Weight: 284 gr.
- Remarks: -