Sony MVC-FD73 (1999)

Announced 1999-05-20. The camera had a very small CCD (only 1/4") and poor VGA resolution but 10x optical zoom. This camera was no highlight on the digital camera market but apparently it sold well. Initial production began in 1999 with an estimated 1,000 units per month.

The Sony Mavicas were mass-market products and dominated the digital camera market in the late 90's. More than a dozen different Floppy Disk Mavicas were marketed and over half a dozen CD Mavicas. Together they accounted for a 40% market share! So despite their bulky, unattractive appearance and so-so picture quality, they became immensely popular because of their simplicity and cheap storage media. Cheap because a Floppy Disk would cost you $1 while Compact Flash and SmartMedia would tear $30 to $70 out of your wallet. Simplicity because you could take a shot, remove the storage medium and load it into any computer, all without the use of cables or expensive cardreaders.

After all Sony had it all, the brand name, the broad distribution channels and their own invention, the cheap Floppy Disk. The Sony Mavica sales soared and by the end of 1999 more than a million units were sold. These impressive numbers also led to a bitter side effect. Because of the market penetration of these cameras they are nowadays almost completely worthless from a collector's point of view. They are neither rare nor valuable and will most likely never be.

I'll give you an example, on any average day you can find around 500 of them for sale on a well known auction site. Ranging from an average $10 to a ridiculous $350+! So don't be fooled when someone tries to sell these as rarities, they are not! You can even buy them in lots for less then $10 a piece. Another popular error is that some sellers frequently mix up the digital Mavicas with the 1981 prototype SVC Mavica and therefore write total nonsense in their item description like "the Mavica was the first digital camera". The only exceptions are models like the MVC-FD91 / 95 / 97 and the Mavica CD-series, they tend to be a little bit more expensive.

All images © MercadoLibre


  • Brand: Sony
  • Model: MVC-FD73
  • First mentioned: 1999
  • Marketed: yes
  • MSRP: $550
  • Imager Type: 0.35MP 1/4" CCD
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Internal Storage: -
  • External Storage: 3.5" Floppy Disk
  • Lens: f=4.2, 42 mm
  • Shutter: 1s to 1/2,000s
  • Aperture Range: F1.8 - F2.9
  • LCD screen size: 2.5" TFT
  • Size: 137.5 x 103 x 62mm
  • Weight: 590 gr.
  • Remarks: 10x optical zoom

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