Technology: Video Snaps For Grandma?

The Japanese try to widen the market for electronic cameras

When Sony Chairman Akio Morita unveiled in 1981 a prototype of the first camera to capture images on electronic sensors rather than on film, he billed it the greatest breakthrough since Daguerre's silver-coated copper photographic plate. With Sony's still-video camera, photographers could instantly display their snapshots on ordinary TV screens. But when it finally came out in 1987 with a price tag of about $7,000, the product did not exactly overwhelm the marketplace. Except in a few specialized applications in business and journalism, the filmless camera virtually disappeared.

Now Japan's camera makers are ready to try again, this time with improved...

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