Sharp VN-EZ1 (1999)

The Sharp VN-EZ1 was announced on 1999-04-27 as the Internet Viewcam. The novelty of this camera was the possibility to shoot MPEG-4 movies and record them on Smart Media cards. The video clips, 160x120 and 320x240 resolution, were intended for web sites only though. A 270° swivel lens allowed for 'video and photo selfies'. A 4x digital zoom on board was certainly a nice idea but pretty useless as well. In the lowest resolution mode it was possible to record 2 hours (!) of video clips on a 32MB smart media card, this means that the video buffs could shoot an entire movie on a smart media card! The camera also had a built-in speaker.

Not too many collectors know that this was the world's first digital camera to adopt the new MPEG-4 standard. Needless to say it was also the world's smallest and lightest digital camera to do so. Sharp also held an online event where users could send in their clips and they would be published on the website until 1999-05-10. The Sharp website still has a page devoted to this camera as well as some very early sample clips of the above mentioned contest! The camera spawned two successors, the VN-EZ3 and VN-EZ5, both with only minor changes.

For marketing reasons the model name differs from VN-EZ1U and VN-EZ1H.

Specifications

  • Brand: Sharp
  • Model: VN-EZ1
  • First mentioned: 1999
  • Marketed: yes
  • MSRP: $679
  • Imager Type: 0.35MP 1/4" CCD
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Internal Storage: -
  • External Storage: SmartMedia
  • Lens: f=3.8mm /F3.4
  • Shutter: 1/4 - 1/4,000s (still) / 1/15 - 1/4,000s (movie)
  • Aperture Range: F3.4
  • LCD screen size: 1.8" TFT
  • Size: 89.5 x 81 x 42mm
  • Weight: 240 gr. (fully loaded)
  • Remarks: -

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