A Threat to the Darkroom

Canon's new SVS camera uses computer technology instead of film

For years camera manufacturers have pursued an elusive grail: an all- electronic camera that would, like modern video equipment, replace the chemical film of still photography with new forms of image making. In 1981 Japan's Sony Corp. announced a breakthrough with the Mavica, which looked like a conventional 35-mm camera but stored pictures on miniaturized computer floppy disks. Technical snafus, however, kept the product from coming to market.

Now it is Canon's turn. At a New York City press conference last week, Fujio Mitarai, president of the Japanese company's U.S. subsidiary, formally introduced the SVS (for still-camera video system), a six-piece...

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