If someone asks you: "What was the first mass-marketed digital camera?" you can answer "this one".
The year was 1990. Two now-obscure companies, Dycam in America and King Jim in Japan, launched the first true commercial digital camera onto their home markets. Dycam's was the Model 1 – virtually identical to the Model 3 on this website.
King Jim's was the DaVinci DV55, this one. Who actually won this race is now impossible to know for sure but the DV55 won the technical race. The quality, style and functionality of DV55 is streets ahead of the Dycam. (It's better to compare the quality and features of my DV55 with that of my exquisite Apple Quicktake 100, but Apple's came four years later.)
There is more excitement to come. The DV55 produces its photos on thermal (fax) paper right out of the camera. Here's how you do it. You snap the photo and then print a thumbnail to check it's OK. Then you print the full-size print – actually it's only 63mm wide – from the roll of thermal paper stored in the camera. The DV55 gives you a choice of normal print, negative, posterised and other effects – even zoomed in. Wow! But being thermal paper, the image lasts about as long as those receipts you used to get from shops.
The sensor was 0.16 megapixels and the memory buffer held only 16 kilobytes. There was no screen to see either a preview of the photo or image data. There was a pull-out metal sighting frame for a viewfinder. For macro work, there was a optional lens attachment that doubled as the cover for the battery compartment.
Isn't that the most exciting camera to inaugurate the age of digital photography?