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The Floppy Disk Museum: The Bootable Floppy edition!

2-inch floppy disk (Video Floppy) (1986 - 1990s)

The 2-inch floppy disk, or Video Floppy, was first shown by Sony in 1981 with prototypes of its first still video camera, the Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera). The Mavica was not a digital camera as such, but an analogue video camera capable of writing composite video stills of 570 × 490 pixels onto disk . The Mavica was an SLR camera with interchangeable lenses, and the images it produced were equivalent in quality to standard-definition television.

Each image was recorded in its own circle on the disk that was called the Mavipak by Sony. Each disk had a capacity of up to 50 images in field mode, and could be played back on a video monitor or television set (there was no built-in display). The Mavipak disks shown in photos of the Mavica prototypes are slightly different in design to the later Video Floppy format.

The first camera to be commercially marketed that used the Video Floppy format was the Canon RC-701 of 1986, and this was followed by other still video cameras (manufactured by companies such as Minolta, Panasonic, Casio, Konica and Canon as well as Sony in its Mavica line from 1987). The disks were used in some standalone video still players (such as the Canon RR-511 of 1986), medical endoscopy and dentistry video systems, industrial video borescopes and fiberscopes, and were used in television production for on-air slides (such as station idents).

A Video Floppy disk drive and digitiser (the FV-540) was released by Canon in 1988, and this allowed the disks to be read and the analogue information converted to digital formats so images could be manipulated. It was an external drive that connected by SCSI so was easy to connect to Apple Macintosh computers, but it appears to be the only drive of its type. Without the external drive, images could be captured via a video capture card fitted to a computer.

A higher-resolution version of the Video Floppy (called HiVF) was developed in the late 1980s.

Still video cameras like the Sony Mavica line continued to use Video Floppies and HiVF disks until around the early 1990s, before being superseded by true digital still cameras. In 1997 Sony began using floppy disks in its Mavica cameras again, but this time using the 3.5-inch high-density format for several years. In 1998, Sony also made another foray into analogue video still photography with the Sony Ruvi camera, but this used Hi8 video tape rather than disks.

An incompatible version of the 2-inch floppy disk (called LT-1) could be formatted for 720 KB of data, and in this form was used in the Zenith Minisport laptop computer circa 1989.


Dimensions: 60 mm x 54.1 mm x 3.5 mm