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Sony's Mavica MVC-CD500 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sony updates the Mavica lineup
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:00 EST)

Sony Corp. has announced numerous updates to its Mavica lineup of floppy-disk and writeable CD-based digital cameras today.

The Sony Mavica MVC-FD75 has now officially been retired, and the pricing on the two remaining models - the MVC-FD100 and MVC-FD200 - has been adjusted to reflect this. The -FD100 is now selling for $299, and the -FD200 for $399. Both cameras were announced in January 2002 , and are now selling at $100 below their initial launch pricing. The -FD100 is a 1.3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom camera, and the -FD200 updates the resolution to 2 megapixel. Sony noted in an interview with us before the announcement that since both cameras also offer Memory Stick slots, this means that all current FD Mavica models are now dual-media, and in a way unique for being able to copy images from a Memory Stick to a floppy disk in-camera for instant sharing. If you want a floppy-based camera, these two cameras along with Panasonic's 1.3 megapixel 3x zoom SuperDisk-compatible PalmCam PV-SD4090 are your only options - and Panasonic's camera is likely no longer in production, with only old stock on store shelves for around $200 as far as we can tell.

Realistically, though, floppy-disk cameras are now a small niche at best - and Sony's CD Mavica cameras are your best bet if you need wide compatibility with a range of platforms without the need to install drivers or connect cables. Many computers now sell without floppy disk drives, or offer them only as an option - but most computers have the ability to read CDs. With today's announcement, Sony refreshes its CD Mavica line by retiring both the MVC-CD250 and -CD400, and replacing them with the MVC-CD350 and -CD500.

The most obvious change will become apparent as you look at the images of the cameras (below) - unlike last year's CD Mavica models, these new cameras don't share the same body with each other. The MVC-CD500 features a similar body to its elder siblings, but the -CD350 has a brand-new body designed to reduce camera size as much as possible. Sony's engineers have done a rather impressive job, considering that somehow they must shoe-horn both a digital camera and a CD deck into one chassis - and the MVC-CD350 now assumes the title of "Smallest CD-based digital camera", something that should help broaden the appeal of the format.

The camera block has been moved to one side of the CD deck in the new design, allowing the depth of the camera to be reduced significantly to just under three inches - the same depth as an FD Mavica - and believe it or not in the other dimensions the camera is actually smaller than its floppy-based siblings. To be sure, this is still no pocket-camera, and you'll not forget it around your neck - but it is certainly going to be a noticeable improvement and less likely to stay at home when you need it most. The -CD350 has also seen other updates as compared to its predecessor, with resolution increased to 3.2 megapixels and the other features you'd expect from this year's Sony digicam line such as MPEG VX video (640 x 480, 16 frames per second), improved user interface, new scene modes, etc.

The Mavica MVC-CD500, meanwhile, is being aimed squarely at the enthusiast who doesn't mind carrying a little more camera to ensure they get that shot. A 5 megapixel resolution coupled with the same Zeiss lens as its siblings is matched with Sony's new Continuous Autofocus mode (which optionally focuses whenever the camera is in record mode to keep focusing times to a minimum, and can also track moving subjects across AF sensors when the shutter button is partially depressed). There's also the new program shift function seen in the Sony DSC-V1 announced today, which allows you to choose the best combination of shutter and aperture speeds without switching program modes. Other features include a new advanced hot shoe for external flash units, hologram autofocusing - indeed many of the functions of the DSC-V1, with the noticeable exception of the night shot / night framing functions. All this is wrapped in a new all-black body color, with body design being similar to the past CD Mavica models as already noted.

Both cameras will hit stores in the US at the end of April or the beginning of May, with pricing set at $499 for the Sony Mavica MVC-CD350, and $699 for the MVC-CD500. Full specifications for both cameras follow:

Sony Mavica MVC-CD350
Sony's Mavica MVC-CD350 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Imaging Device 1/2.7" 3.2 Megapixel Effective Super HAD™ CCD
Recording Media 3" (8cm) CD-R/RW Optical Disc
Zoom 3X Optical, 3.2X Smart Zoom (at VGA size), 9.6X Total
Filter Diameter 37mm
Focal Length 6.4 - 19.2mm
35mm Equivalent 41 - 123mm
Aperture f3.8 - 3.9
Focus 3 Area Multi-Point AF, 5 Step Manual Preset
Minimum Focus Distance 19.7" (50 cm)
Macro Focus Distance 3.9" (10 cm)
Shutter Speed Auto, 1/30 - 1/1000 sec, Twilight 2 sec - 1/1000
Manual Exposure ±2.0 EV, 1/3 EV Steps
Color LCD 2.5" 123K Pixels Low Temperature Polysilicon TFT
Flash Modes Auto / Forced On / Forced Off / Slow Synchro
Red-Eye Reduction On / Off
Flash Effective Range 1.6 - 8.2 ft (0.5 - 2.5m)
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash
Picture Effects Black & White, Solarize, Sepia, Negative Art
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400
Scene Modes Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Fast Shutter
Self Timer Yes, 10 Seconds
Video Output Yes NTSC / PAL Selectable
Still Image Modes JPEG (Fine/Std.), Burst, Email, Voice Memo
MPEG Movie Modes
MPEG VX (640x480, 16fps, with audio)
MPEG Video Mail (160x112, 8 fps with audio)
Clip Motion Normal (160x120), Mobile (80x72)
Microphone / Speaker Yes / Yes
USB Terminal Yes, Supports USB 2.0
Memory Stick PRO™ Media Compatibility Tested to support up to 1GB media capacity; does not support high speed transfer function; does not support Access Control security function
Battery Type / Capacity InfoLithium® NP-FM50 1180 mAh Rated
Supplied Software Pixela™ Image Mixer Software for Sony v1.5, USB Driver SPVD-010
OS Compatibility Microsoft® Windows® 98 / 98SE / Me / 2000 Professional / XP Home / Pro; Macintosh OS 10.1 / 10.2
Supplied Accessories NP-FM50 InfoLithium® Rechargeable Battery, AC-L15 AC Adaptor/In-camera Charger, A/V and USB Cables, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, MCR-156A CD-R Media, MCRW-156A CD-RW Media; Software CD-ROM
Dimensions (W / H / D) 5 3/16" x 3 5/8" x 2 7/8" (131.7 x 92.3 x 73.8mm)
Weight 1 lb 2 oz (522g) (w/Battery, CD-R/RW, Strap)
Additional Features
  • 2 Shot Burst Mode
  • Adjustable Color Saturation / Contrast
  • Clear Color / Clear Luminance NR
  • MPEG1 Cue and Review
  • 3:2 Aspect Ratio Mode
  • Video Output (PAL / NTSC Selectable)
  • 4 Mode In-Camera Picture Effects
  • 5 Step Manual preset focus
Optional Accessories
  • DSAC-MVC Clip-on Eye-level Finder / Magnifier
  • ACC-MVCD2 Starter Kit (LCS-MVC4, NP-FM50, MCRW-156A x3)
  • ACC-FMV50S Stamina Value Kit (LCS-VA3, NP-FM50)
  • NP-FM50 InfoLithium® Battery
  • AC-SQ950D AC/DC AC Adaptor/Quick Charger
  • LCS-MVCA Deluxe Soft Carrying Case
  • VCL-HG0737X Hi-grade Wide Angle Conversion Lens
  • VCL-HG1737X Hi-grade Telephoto Conversion Lens
  • VF-37CPKS Polarizing Filter Kit
  • VF-37NK Neutral Density Filter Kit
  • MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media
  • 5MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media (5 pk)
  • 10MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media (10 pk)
  • MCRW-156A 8cm (3") CD-RW Media
  • 3MCRW-156A 8cm (3") CD-RW Media (3 pk)
  • VMC-14UMB Replacement USB Cable
  • VCT-MTK Travel Tripod
  • VCT-R640 Lightweight Tripod
.

Sony Mavica MVC-CD500
Sony's Mavica MVC-CD500 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Imaging Device 1/1.8" 5.0 Megapixel Effective Super HAD™ CCD
Recording Media 3" (8cm) CD-R/RW Optical Disc
Zoom 3X Optical, 4X Smart Zoom (at VGA size), 12X Total
Filter Diameter 52mm w/Adaptor
Focal Length 7 - 21mm
35mm Equivalent 34 - 102mm
Aperture f2.0 - 2.5
Focus 5 Area Multi-Point AF, Manually Selectable Point, 13 Step Manual Preset
Minimum Focus Distance 19.7" (50 cm)
Macro Focus Distance 1.6" (4 cm)
Shutter Speed Auto: 1/30 – 1/1000 sec, Manual: 8 –1/1000 sec
Aperture Range f2.0 - 8.0 13-step
Manual Exposure ±2.0 EV, 1/3 EV Steps
Color LCD 2.5" 123K Pixels Low Temperature Polysilicon TFT
Flash Modes Auto / Forced On / Forced Off / Slow Synchro
Red-Eye Reduction On / Off
Flash Effective Range 1.3 - 16.4 ft (0.5 - 5.0m)
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash, Manual
Picture Effects Black & White, Solarize, Sepia, Negative Art
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400
Scene Modes Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Snow
Self Timer Yes, 10 Seconds
Video Output Yes NTSC / PAL Selectable
Still Image Modes JPEG (Fine/Std.), TIFF, Burst, Auto Bracketing, Email, Voice Memo
MPEG Movie Modes
MPEG VX (640x480, 16fps, with audio)
MPEG Video Mail (160x112, 8 fps with audio)
Clip Motion Normal (160x120), Mobile (80x72)
Microphone / Speaker Yes / Yes
USB Terminal Yes, Supports USB 2.0
Memory Stick PRO™ Media Compatibility Tested to support up to 1GB media capacity; does not support high speed transfer function; does not support Access Control security function
Battery Type / Capacity InfoLithium® NP-FM50 1180 mAh Rated
Supplied Software Pixela™ Image Mixer Software for Sony v1.5, USB Driver SPVD-010
OS Compatibility Microsoft® Windows® 98 / 98SE / Me / 2000 Professional / XP Home / Pro; Macintosh OS 10.1 / 10.2
Supplied Accessories NP-FM50 InfoLithium® Rechargeable Battery, AC-L15 AC Adaptor/In-camera Charger, A/V and USB Cables, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, MCR-156A CD-R Media, MCRW-156A CD-RW Media; Software CD-ROM
Dimensions (W / H / D) 5 7/16" x 3 3/4" x 4" (138.5 x 95.7 x 103.1mm)
Weight 1 lb 6 oz (606g) (w/Battery, CD-R/RW, Strap)
Additional Features
  • 3 Shot Burst Mode
  • 3 Shot Auto Exposure Bracketing
  • Adjustable Color Saturation / Contrast
  • Clear Color / Clear Luminance NR
  • Spot Auto Focus
  • MPEG1 Cue and Review
  • 3:2 Aspect Ratio Mode
  • Video Output (PAL / NTSC Selectable)
  • 4 Mode In-Camera Picture Effects
  • 5 Step Manual preset focus
Optional Accessories
  • DSAC-MVC Clip-on Eye-level Finder / Magnifier
  • ACC-MVCD2 Starter Kit (LCS-MVC4, NP-FM50, MCRW-156A x3)
  • ACC-FMV50S Stamina Value Kit (LCS-VA3, NP-FM50)
  • NP-FM50 InfoLithium® Battery
  • AC-SQ950D AC/DC AC Adaptor/Quick Charger
  • LCS-MVCA Deluxe Soft Carrying Case
  • HVL-F32X External Auto-Programmable Flash
  • HVL-F1000 External Flash
  • VAD-S70 Conversion Lens Adaptor Ring
  • VCL-DEH07V Hi-grade Wide Angle Conversion Lens
  • VCL-DEH17V Hi-grade Telephoto Conversion Lens
  • VF-52CPKS Polarizing Filter Kit
  • VF-R52K Neutral Density Filter Kit
  • MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media
  • 5MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media (5 pk)
  • 10MCR-156A 8cm (3") CD-R Media (10 pk)
  • MCRW-156A 8cm (3") CD-RW Media
  • 3MCRW-156A 8cm (3") CD-RW Media (3 pk)
  • VMC-14UMB Replacement USB Cable
  • RM-VD1 Multi-Function Wired Remote Control
  • VCT-D680RM Remote Control Tripod
  • VCT-MTK Travel Tripod
  • VCT-R640 Lightweight Tripod
.

Source: Sony Corp.

Original Source Press Release:

SONY'S TWO NEW CD MAVICA CAMERAS UNDERSCORE EASE OF USE AND PERFORMANCE

One Slims Down, the Other Dons a Different Coat, and Both Add New Features

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Feb. 24, 2002 — Compact disc-based digital photography will soon travel down both the enthusiast and the digital newcomer roads, with two new CD Mavica® digital still cameras from Sony.

The new MVC-CD350 model combines the advantages and capacity of the instant-archive CD-R/RW format with a compact size that anyone can use for go-anywhere shooting. Meanwhile, the MVC-CD500 model features advanced resolution and control flexibility, which has made CD Mavica so popular among digital photography enthusiasts.

Both models record directly to low cost, high capacity 3-inch CD-R/RW discs. They will be available in April, and will sell for around $500 and $700, respectively.

“Our strategy centers on making technology easy-to-use,” said Steve Haber, senior vice president for Sony Electronics’ Digital Imaging Products Division. “By matching the design of these new CD Mavica cameras to a wide variety of users’ tastes, more consumers will be able to enjoy the unique advantages of CD photography.”

Compact Size for Go-Anywhere CD Photography

The MVC-CD350 will soon be the most compact CD Mavica camera available. Consumers will enjoy the capacity and instant archiving of CD photography in the size of a typical 35mm film camera.

The new camera sports a 3.2 megapixel imager, 3X optical zoom lens and Sony’s new Smart Zoom — all of which help to easily frame shots for higher quality pictures.

Though simple enough for a novice, the MVC-CD350 model includes advanced Multi-point Auto Focus and Multi-pattern exposure systems to capture the shot properly the first time. The camera’s new Auto Fill Flash function can even sense when a subject is in shadow and automatically fire the flash.

Beyond still images, the MVC-CD350’s new MPEG VX mode captures full frame video clips with audio – up to six minutes continuously on a 156MB CD-R/RW disc.

Advanced Technology to Capture Advanced Images

Optimized for photo enthusiasts, the MVC-CD500 can capture extraordinary digital images. Highlighted by Sony’s 5.0 megapixel Super HAD™ CCD imager, Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar® lens with 3X optical zoom and direct-to-CD-R/RW sequential recording, this new model also features:

Manual Exposure Controls: Flexible exposure control is provided with aperture priority, shutter priority and manual exposure modes. For better command of motion and depth of field, Program Shift feature allows direct to various aperture/shutter speed combinations from within the auto mode

Five-area Multi-Point Auto Focus: The camera evaluates five separate areas of the frame and intelligently focuses on the subject, displaying the selected focus point, or the user can choose any of the five points for manual control.

Continuous Auto Focus: With Single, Monitoring and Continuous AF modes, the photographer can optimize focusing to the situation – especially useful for fast capturing action.

Multi-Pattern Measuring: Independently meters the light in 49 points of the frame to establish the optimum exposure, even when highlight and shadow are not centered in the frame.

Hot Shoe and ACC Terminal: Allows the user to connect Sony’s HVL-F32X flash or remote controls with the ACC terminal, or synchronize other flash units or studio lighting with the Hot Shoe terminal.

Hologram AF™ Illuminator: Projects a laser pattern on the subject to artificially create contrast, even in low or no light.

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