Digital Photo Archaeology: featuring hardware DRM from the crypt

So I picked up this large boy from the MSU Surplus Store:

Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD91 (c. 1998 CE) — yes, that’s a 3½” floppy drive on there

You get about 7 high-resolution pictures on a disk. And high resolution by 1998 standards means this:

1024×768 whole pixels: that’s huge! The camera is autofocus with image stabilization, so it was quite a nifty unit at the time.

Pre-dating EXIF, its image metadata is limited. There’s an external ‘411’ thumbnail file that looks a bit like this:

If you care to dig about in such an ancient file, I’ve got a matching image and its 411 file here: And manuals? Here: Sony_Mavica-FDC91-W0007229M.pdf

Most annoyingly, the camera really only likes real Sony batteries, or it shuts down with an “InfoLithium” battery error (swearies in link). As this battery format is now used in generate photo lighting systems and Sony don’t make it any more, this may be a camera that dies from DRM before anything else.

a pox on nonstandard USB cables and those who would create them

I’m trying to get all the bits of my Sony Cybershot P100 kit together, and I can’t find the dad-blamed USB cable. It’s a weird connector, and two reputable camera dealers have cried ixnay on the vailabilityay. So I have to find it.

I have already turned the house over looking for it. Yes, I know that the recipient could just use a card reader, but it wouldn’t be so good.

Gah! Things! They’ll get you in the end.

I hate Sony

While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.

Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …

p100 sensor size

so I don’t forget: the crop factor for the Sony Cybershot DSC-P100 is 4.786. All will become clear soon …

blue camera

I was half-thinking of trading in my Nikon Coolpix 2500 compact digicam, as 2 megapixels don’t make it any more. So I braved the Boxing Day sales, and came back with rather more camera than I bargained for.

Henry’s have a special on this week; $299 for the 5 megapixel Sony Cybershot P100. Any colour, as long as it’s blue. The other colours are $500. Go figure.

It’s small, feels solid, handles well, and has a Zeiss lens (ah, how I miss my Yashica T5). The downsides are that it uses Sony’s weird, expensive Memory Sticks, and it doesn’t record sensor size for field-of-view information (ignorable if you’re not a panorama nerd). It doesn’t seem to want to connect to my Gentoo box as a USB storage device, but that could be a config problem on my part.

I also got the quite ridiculous Sandisk 12-in-1 card reader, despite its crappy packaging. It seems to work nicely as both a CF and Memory Stick reader on the Gentoo machine.