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Sony MVC-CD250

Sony adds features, and brings the price down on a 2 megapixel CD Mavica!

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 02/20/2002

CD-RW provides 156 megabytes of write-once or rewritable storage!
2-megapixel CCD delivers up to 1,600 x 1,200 pixel images.
Surprisingly compact for a disc-media camera.
Excellent image sharpness, color, and low light shooting capability.


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Manufacturer Overview

The year 2002 brings important new capabilities to Sony's revolutionary CD-Mavica digital camera line, which first began in late Spring 2000 with the introduction of the Mavica CD1000. Storing their images on CD-R (and now CD-RW) discs, the CD-Mavicas are a logical extension to Sony's original and enormously popular floppy-disk-based Mavica design. With each 80mm CD-R/RW disc storing 156 MB of data for well under a dollar at retail, the CD-Mavicas make nearly perfect traveling companions, since you can fit gigabytes of permanent storage into less space than that occupied by one paperback novel.

Sony seems to be making a habit of practically flooding the digicam market with new models each year at the Spring PMA show. (At least I certainly feel flooded with new models here, needing review! ;-) This year, in addition to three new P-series Cyber-shot units, Sony has also introduced a pair of new CD-Mavicas, the MVC-CD4000, and the MVC-CD250 that's the subject of this review.

As with last year's CD-Mavica introductions, Sony has again updated the technology to improve performance and enhance features. The biggest news of this year's Mavica announcements is the addition of large buffer memories to both cameras. The buffer memory not only reduces shot to shot cycle times, but also allows a "confirm before write" option, that lets you preview photos before deciding whether to keep them or not. This was perhaps the feature most mentioned by readers as topping their wish lists for future CD Mavicas.

With introductory list prices of $599 and $899 for the MVC-CD250 and CD400 respectively, the new models also bring CD-R(W) technology down market, competing with conventional digicams at fairly modest price premiums. Of course, all the whizzy CD technology would be meaningless if the cameras didn't perform up to par with other non-CD models on the market. Fortunately (for Sony and our readers alike), my preliminary tests indicate that the new cameras perform very well indeed, on a par with the top models in their respective resolution categories. (Emphasis on the word "preliminary" there: The images from the prototype models I looked at were a little noisy, something that will hopefully be addressed in the production models.) Given the low cost of the (very high capacity) media and their relatively compact sizes, these new cameras could be the ideal "vacation cameras," perfectly suited for extended trips without a computer to offload images. If you're planning a long trip this summer, you'd do well to seriously consider one of these new CD-Mavica cameras!

High Points

  • 2-megapixel CCD delivering up to 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution images.
  • Glass, 3x, 8-24mm lens.
  • 2x Precision digital zoom.
  • New multi-area autofocus system, plus optional manual focus settings.
  • Color LCD monitor with backlight option.
  • Full Automatic exposure control.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to two seconds.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8 - f/5.3, depending on lens zoom position.
  • Movie mode with sound, as well as Clip Motion, and "Multi Burst" recording modes.
  • Scene mode with Twilight, Twilight Portrait, and Landscape preset modes.
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Picture Effects menu with Black-and-White, Sepia, Negative Art, and Solarize effects, plus a Sharpness adjustment.
  • E-mail (320 x 240-pixel) and "Burst 3" record modes.
  • Spot and Multi metering modes.
  • Built-in, pop-up flash with four operating modes.
  • Adjustable white balance with five modes.
  • Automatic ISO or 100, 200, and 400 equivalent settings.
  • JPEG, GIF, and uncompressed TIFF file formats.
  • Images saved to three-inch (80mm) CD-R or CD-RW media (156MB per disc).
  • USB cable for high-speed connection to a PC or Mac.
  • Pixela Image Mixer software and USB drivers included for both Windows and Mac platforms.
  • Power from NP-FM50 rechargeable InfoLITHIUM battery pack or included AC adapter.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.

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