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Sony Mavica CD200

Sony expands its CD-equipped camera line, adding erasability, buffer memory, and a more compact case!

<<Reference: Datasheet :(Previous) | (Next): Print-Friendly Review Version>>

CD200 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 3/9/2001

We've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it! ;)


Outdoor portrait: (817k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Sony MVC-CD200 gives a very nice performance in this respect. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (833 k), daylight (829 k), and manual (829 k) (One-Push) white balance settings, choosing the manual setting for our main series. Both the automatic and daylight settings resulted in similar, slightly cool images, with very pink skin tones. The manual setting produced warmer results, particularly in the house siding, but we felt that the overall color balance and the model's skin tones looked more accurate. Color looks good throughout the image, and the blues of the flowers and pants look about right, with only the slightest hint of the purple cast that plagues many digicams in the flowers. (These blues are hard for many digicams to reproduce correctly.) The red flower in the bouquet is just a little too bright at its center, with a halo effect that causes some loss of detail in that area (though we do pick up slightly more detail in the outer petals). Resolution looks good, with a nice level of fine detail visible throughout the image. Overall image sharpness is just a hair soft, but details are still reasonably crisp. Good detail in the shadow areas, with only moderate noise. (The shadow areas also look somewhat hazy, with softer details.) We also picked up a very tiny, almost imperceptible noise level in the house siding. Our main image was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure adjustment to get the best exposure in the shadow areas without overexposing the bright highlights. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.3 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 500
F/ 8
(874 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 500
F/ 8
(817 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 500
F/ 6.3
(832 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 500
F/ 5.6
(844 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 500
F/ 5
(865 k)



 
Closer portrait: (808k)
The CD200 also does a nice job with this closer, portrait shot, thanks to its 3x lens. (Shorter focal length lenses tend to distort facial features in closeup shots like this and the availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting closeup people shots.) We again shot with the manual white balance option, which provided the best looking skin tones and overall color balance. Resolution is much higher in this shot, revealing great detail in the model's face and hair. We can also see the subtle surface texture of the house siding. Details show just a hint of softness, particularly in the shadow areas, which also appear to have a slight haze. Noise remains moderate in the shadow areas, with trace amounts visible in the house siding. Our main shot was taken without any exposure adjustment, as this closer shot typically requires less exposure compensation than the wider Outdoor Portrait. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.3 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 500
F/ 8
(808 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 500
F/ 7.1
(824 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 500
F/ 6.3
(801 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 500
F/ 5.6
(846 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 500
F/ 5
(818 k)



 
Indoor Portrait, Flash: (757k)
The CD200's built-in flash does a very good job of illuminating the subject, though the camera produces an orange cast in response to the household incandescent lighting. We initially shot with the flash set to the High (757 k) intensity level, which decreased the orange cast somewhat, but overpowered the subject. Color is washed out and the flash is reflected in the model's hair and on her face. Next, we decreased the intensity setting to Low (733 k), which dimmed the exposure a great deal. (Sorry, we completely missed shooting with the "normal" setting.) Color looks a little better with the low flash setting, but the background orange cast is increased and the model is just barely lit. Finally, we tried shooting with the flash at the normal intensity setting, using a slower shutter speed (738 k), in an effort to balance the flash and ambient lighting. Though the orange cast remains in the image, the model is more evenly lit and color looks good. We can still see a reflection in her hair from the flash (inevitable with a directly aimed flash and no diffusion), but the colors are not washed out and the overall exposure looks better, despite being a tiny bit dim. Overall, we chose the version taken with the High setting for our main shot though, feeling that the color balance was best, while still holding good highlight detail.)


 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (761 k)
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, and the CD200's white balance system performed exceptionally well. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (725 k), indoor (726 k), and manual (723 k) (One-Push) white balance settings, choosing the manual setting for our main series. The automatic setting produced a slightly magenta image, while the indoor white balance setting resulted in a warmer image with brownish, sepia tints. Color balance looks unusually accurate with the manual white balance setting, though we still detect some purplish tints in the blue flowers. Skin tones look pretty good, though slightly pinkish, and the red flower is a little too bright, losing detail in areas. Resolution is good, but a lot of the details seem a little soft. We noticed that the pink flower and the green leaves around it are a little sharper than other areas in the image, this apparently being the point within the frame at which the camera judged focus. (With the lens wide open as it is here, depth of field is fairly shallow.) Noise level is moderately low throughout the image, and mostly visible on the model's cheek and neck. We shot our main image with a +0.7 EV (761 k) exposure adjustment, which is just a hair bright, since the +0.3 EV (779 k) exposure seemed a little too dim. The table below shows a range of exposures from zero to +1.7 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 15
F/ 2.8
(818 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 13
F/ 2.8
(779 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 10
F/ 2.8
(761 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 8
F/ 2.8
(738 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 6
F/ 2.8
(795 k)
1.7 EV
1/ 5
F/ 2.8
(778 k)



 
House shot: (881k)
NOTE that this is the "new" house shot, a much higher-resolution poster than we first used in our tests. To compare the image of the CD200 with previously tested cameras, here's a shot of the original house poster in the automatic (900 k) white balance setting.

We shot samples of this image with the daylight (348 k), automatic (347 k), and manual (348 k) white balance settings. The automatic setting produced a very cool, bluish image, while the daylight setting resulted in a much warmer, yellowish image. The manual setting also appeared slightly warm, but produced the most accurate overall color balance. The warm color cast gives a yellowish tint to the reds, blues, and greens of the image, but color still looks natural. Resolution is great, with a lot of fine detail visible in the bricks and shrubbery, and in the tree limbs surrounding the house. Despite a hint of softness, details are reasonably sharp, particularly the linear house details. Just a tiny trace of a halo along the light and dark edges of the white roof trim gives away the in-camera sharpening. Noise is moderately low in the roof shingles and shadow areas. Overall, the CD200 does a good job. The table below shows our standard range of resolution and quality settings.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(881 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(484 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(349 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(209 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(148 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(59 k)


Sharpness Series
We also shot a series with the camera's adjustable sharpness settings, which markedly affected the image sharpness. Contrast is also noticeably adjusted, and the halo effect of the in-camera sharpening is more obvious with the highest sharpness setting.

Very Sharp
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(891 k)
Sharp
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(885 k)
Normal
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(877 k)
Soft
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(881 k)
Very Soft
1/ 60
F/ 2.9
(821 k)



 
 
Far-Field Test (885k)
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

We shot this image with the automatic white balance setting, which produced a slightly cool white value. This shot is a strong test of detail, given the practically infinite range of fine detail in a natural scene like this, viewed from a distance. Resolution looks pretty high, with a nice level of detail in the tree branches around the house, as well as in the bricks and house front details. The stronger details of the wooden fence behind the house (visible on the driveway side) and the side yard shrubbery are also fairly distinct (we can even detect the stronger details of the woodpile in front of the white car on the right side of the image). Overall sharpness is just a touch soft (as we've noticed in most of our testing so far), with the sharpest details being the linear ones of the house itself. We also judge a camera's dynamic range in this shot, comparing how well the camera holds detail in both the shadow and highlight areas. The CD200 does much better than average in this respect, thanks to its 14-bit digitization. The dark shadow area of the porch fares moderately well, as the brick pattern and porch light are just barely distinguishable. Noise is moderate in the roof shingles and shadow areas of the house. We also shot with the 100 (893 k), 200 (899 k), and 400 (817 k) ISO settings. Exposure remained the same with the 100 and 200 ISO settings. However, at the 400 ISO setting, the highlight areas of the white trim became so bright that they appeared to "glow," softening the details significantly. (In fact, the entire image appears much softer, apparently due to diffraction limiting in the lens, due to the small aperture.) Noise level increases steadily with the 200 and 400 ISO settings, becoming moderately high at the 400 ISO setting (and arguably higher in the shadow areas). The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 500
F/ 8
(885 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 500
F/ 8
(483 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 500
F/ 8
(344 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 500
F/ 8
(214 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 500
F/ 8
(154 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 500
F/ 8
(61 k)


Sharpness Series
We again shot with the CD200's adjustable sharpness setting, which only slightly affected contrast. (A desirable characteristic.) We also noticed that the details of the bright, white bay window softened and decreased with the lowest sharpness setting.

Very Sharp
1/ 500
F/ 8
(871 k)
Sharp
1/ 500
F/ 8
(903 k)
Normal
1/ 500
F/ 8
(892 k)
Soft
1/ 500
F/ 8
(851 k)
Very Soft
1/ 500
F/ 8
(854 k)



 
 
Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, the lens at full 3x telephoto, and at full telephoto with the 2x digital telephoto enabled. The CD200's wide angle setting captures a very wide field of view, with reasonably good, though soft, details and just a hint of barrel distortion along the curb of the street. The level of detail and sharpness increases with the 3x telephoto setting, with sharper and stronger details in the bright, white bay window. Overall color balance appears to warm with the telephoto setting, losing the slightly cool cast of the wide angle shot. We were pleased with the CD200's 2x digital telephoto (as we usually are with Sony's Precision digital telephoto technology), which does a nice job of maintaining the level of fine detail as it digitally enlarges the image, though resolution is somewhat less than in the other two shots. Details are also a little softer with digital telephoto, and noise remains moderately low. (It's important to note here that we shot these particular images at a resolution of 1024x768, which means that the blurring effect of the digital telephoto is much less evident than if we'd shot at the full 1600x1200 image size.)

Wide Angle
Shutter: 1/ 500
Aperture: F8
(347k)
3x Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 500
Aperture: F8
(344k)
2.5x Digital Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 500
Aperture: F8
(347k)



 
 
Musicians Poster (847k)
For this test, we shot with the automatic (849 k), daylight (857 k), and manual (849 k) white balance settings, choosing the daylight setting for our main series. The large amount of blue in the image often tricks digicams into overcompensating, and we noticed that the CD200's white balance system had a little trouble adjusting the color balance for this shot. The automatic setting resulted in very cool, bluish image (undercompensating fairly drastically), with very pale skin tones. Color balance was slightly warmer with the manual setting, but the skin tones of the models still appeared too pale. The daylight setting, though a little warmer, produces the most natural skin tones overall, as well as some purplish tints in the blue background. The blue of the Oriental model's robe is nearly accurate, despite the warm cast. Resolution looks pretty good, with most the fine details of the bird wings visible on the blue robe. The fainter details of the smaller bird are just barely visible as well, though very soft. The violin strings are well defined, with only a slight moire pattern (many digicams produce moire patterns on these sharply defined strings), and the flower garland and beaded necklaces also appear reasonably crisp. As we've noticed all along, there's just a hint of softness in the image. Noise is moderate and mostly visible in the blue background (some of the noise may be in the actual poster itself). The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(847 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(495 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(344 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(221 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(150 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 40
F/ 2.8
(62 k)



 
Macro Shot (824k)
The CD200 performs nicely in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of just 2.38 x 1.78 inches (60.38 x 45.28mm). Detail and resolution both look great, with nice color balance throughout the image. We caught a moderate amount of barrel distortion from the wide angle setting of the lens, and just a hint of corner softness (mostly visible in the top corners). The gray background shows very little noise. The CD200's built-in flash (843 k) has some trouble throttling down for the macro area, due to the close proximity of the camera, creating a hot spot in the top half of the image, while the bulk of the lens barrel cast a strong shadow across the bottom of the frame. (If you're going to need flash illumination this close, plan on using an external strobe, such as the Sony FL-1000.)


"Davebox" Test Target (793k)
We shot samples of this target using the automatic (801 k), daylight (798 k), and manual (802 k) white balance settings, choosing the automatic setting for our main series. Daylight white balance produced a very warm image, which is typical with this shot. Manual white balance produced nearly accurate results, but with a slightly warm cast (mainly evident in the mini resolution target). Color balance looks good in the automatic setting, with pretty accurate color in the large color blocks. The cyan block may be slightly weak, but the overall color still looks nice. The brighter yellow, green, and orange color blocks have about a pixel of a halo around the outer edges, just inside the black lines. The CD200 clearly distinguishes the subtle difference between the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart (a common problem area for many digicams), even reproducing the black separator line which is often lost in the crossover between the two colors. The CD200 also captures the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 chart all the way up to the "B" range (another common problem area for digicams), though the color distinctions are somewhat faint. The tonal gradations of the smaller, vertical gray scales also look nice, but the darkest two blocks show no tone differentiation, blending into one. Detail is excellent in the shadow area of the briquettes, as well as in the bright, white gauze area. Noise is moderately low in the shadows, and slightly present in the black background. The mini resolution target looks reasonably crisp, with good detail. We also shot with the 100 (794 k), 200 (795 k), and 400 (890 k) ISO settings, noticing that exposure brightened slightly with each shot (mainly noticeable in the Q60 chart). As with the Far test shot, we noticed that the 400 ISO setting softened the image slightly, losing detail in the white gauze area. Noise level also increases with the 200 and 400 ISO settings, becoming moderately high at the 400 ISO setting. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(793 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(461 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(318 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(201 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(142 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 60
F/ 3.5
(57 k)



 
Low-Light Tests
The CD200 does a great job in the low-light category, as we were able to obtain bright, clear images at light levels all the way down to the limits of our testing, at 1/16 of a foot-candle (2.7 lux), at the ISO 200 and 400 settings. At ISO 100, the image was reasonably bright and clear at 1/8 of a foot-candle (5.5 lux). Images were usable as low as 1/16 of a foot-candle (0.67 lux) at all three ISO settings, though with slight color casts between 1/4 and 1/16 foot-candles. Noise level was highest, but still only moderate, with the ISO 400 images, with moderately low levels at the other two ISO settings. To put the CD200's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, so the camera should be able to handle most dark shooting situations. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Overall, a really excellent low light performance! Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

8fc
10EV
88lux
4fc
9EV
44lux
2fc
8EV
22lux
1fc
7EV
11lux
1/2fc
6EV
5.5lux
1/4fc
5EV
2.7lux
1/8fc
4EV
1.3lux
1/16fc
3EV
0.67lx
ISO 100 Click to see CD2L1000.JPG
732.7 KB
1/ 4
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1001.JPG
739.5 KB
1/ 2
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1002.JPG
768.1 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1003.JPG
816.9 KB
2
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1004.JPG
848.2 KB
4
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1005.JPG
753.2 KB
7
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1006.JPG
804.0 KB
8
F2.8
Click to see CD2L1007.JPG
737.8 KB
8
F2.8
ISO 200 Click to see CD2L2000.JPG
799.2 KB
1/ 8
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2001.JPG
806.1 KB
1/ 4
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2002.JPG
823.0 KB
1/ 2
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2003.JPG
863.8 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2004.JPG
835.0 KB
2
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2005.JPG
839.0 KB
5
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2006.JPG
856.5 KB
7
F2.8
Click to see CD2L2007.JPG
831.2 KB
8
F2.8
ISO 400 Click to see CD2L4000.JPG
859.7 KB
1/ 15
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4001.JPG
861.8 KB
1/ 8
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4002.JPG
875.2 KB
1/ 4
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4003.JPG
860.2 KB
1/ 2
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4004.JPG
852.2 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4005.JPG
911.8 KB
3
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4006.JPG
914.6 KB
4
F2.8
Click to see CD2L4007.JPG
887.4 KB
5
F2.8



 
Flash Range Test
In our testing, we found the CD200's flash effective as far as 15 feet from the target. Flash intensity was nice and bright at the eight foot distance, maintaining the same intensity level all the way out to 11 feet. At the 12 foot mark, flash power decreased slightly, and continued to decrease (though minutely) with each foot of distance up to the 15 foot mark. We'd rate the CD200's flash as usable out to 11 feet, quite a bit beyond the roughly 8 feet that Sony rates it at. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 15 feet from the target.

8 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(810 k)
9 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(781 k)
10 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(727 k)
11 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(769 k)
12 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(795 k)
13 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(716 k)
14 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(722 k)
15 ft
1/ 80
F/ 2.9
(709 k)



 
ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (844k)
In our laboratory resolution test, the CD200 shows very clean results out to roughly 600-650 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. Aliasing begins somewhere just past 600 lines, but detail is clearly visible out to 800 lines in both directions. Overall, a very good performance for a two megapixel camera.

Resolution/Quality series, Wide Angle
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(844 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(480 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(349 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(200 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(148 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(58 k)


Sharpness Series
Very Sharp
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(837 k)
Sharp
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(835 k)
Normal
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(838 k)
Soft
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(797 k)
Very Soft
1/ 30
F/ 5.6
(847 k)


Resolution Series, Telephoto
Large/Uncompressed
Note: Download and view in imaging software
(5626 k)
Large/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(832 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(468 k)

Medium/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(336 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(215 k)

Small/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(138 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.9
(57 k)



 
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
We found the CD200's LCD monitor to be very accurate, showing approximately 99.6 percent accuracy at wide angle (441 k) (99.37 percent at the 640 x 480 (59 k) setting). We couldn't measure the telephoto images, as our standard lines of measurement were just out of the field of view, making the LCD monitor a little "loose" at the telephoto setting, although still very close to 100% accuracy. Here is the viewfinder target at the 1600 x 1200,(485 k) 1024 x 768,(202 k) and 640 x 480 (51 k) resolution sizes, shot with the lens at the full telephoto setting. Since we normally prefer to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the CD200 does a great job in this area. Just remember to underestimate your framing very slightly when shooting with telephoto focal lengths. Flash distribution looks good at the telephoto setting, with just a slight hot spot in the center of the target, mainly evident in the black target lines. (An entirely normal behavior.) At the wide angle setting, flash distribution is relatively even, with a little falloff in the corners.

Optical distortion on the CD200 is moderate at the wide angle end, where we measured approximately 0.63 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared only slightly better, as we measured an approximate 0.42 percent pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is low though, showing about a two pixels of coloration on each side of the black target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

 

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<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

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