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Sony MVC-CD350

Sony updates its CD-based digicam line with a new 3 megapixel model.

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 06/18/2003

The Mavica CD350 features an updated user interface, introduced on other members of Sony's 2003 digicam models, plus CD-R/RW image storage, a concept Sony pioneered with its CD1000 model almost two years ago. Conforming to the round, three-inch storage media, the CD350 body is smoother and more curved than floppy-based Mavica models, losing the boxy shape necessary to accommodate floppy disk media. Although it's still a handful, the CD350 is surprisingly compact given its large media size. At 5.25 x 3.75 x 3.0 inches (131.7 x 92.3 x 73.8mm), it doesn't offer pocket portability, but it does come with a neck strap and is easily carried in a small accessory camera bag (highly recommended to protect the camera). At 18.4 ounces (522 grams), including the battery, the CD350 is reasonably lightweight, with a hard, plastic body that gives it a strong, solid feel.

The non-telescoping lens dominates the left side of the camera's front panel, sharing its space with a small self-timer / autofocus assist lamp. Just below the lamp is the microphone grille. A rubberized finger grip protrudes from the right front side, providing a comfortable hold for your right hand, which should fit comfortably around the curve of the understated hand grip. When the camera is powered on, the 6.4-19.2mm lens does not extend beyond the lens barrel. A set of filter threads just inside the lip of the barrel accommodates Sony's line of accessory lens adapter kits.

The hand grip (right) side of the camera has only a neckstrap attachment eyelet.

The left side of the camera has the second neckstrap eyelet on top, an "Open" lever for the CD-R compartment, and connector compartment. A small, plastic cover protects the connector compartment, which houses the USB, A/V Out, and DC In connection jacks.

The CD350's top panel contains the Shutter button, Mode dial, and Power button. There's also a small, green LED lamp next to the power switch that glows steadily whenever the camera is powered on.

The remaining features and controls are on the CD350's back panel. These include the color LCD monitor, with the speaker alongside and control buttons below. A small, red LED above the LCD monitor indicates when the disc is being accessed. To its left is a small orange LED that indicates when the flash is charging or when the camera is powered off and the battery is charging via the AC adapter. In addition to serving as a navigational tool in the LCD menu system, the four-way Arrow Rocker Pad controls several camera functions through its four arrow keys, including Flash mode, Macro, Self-timer, and Quick Review. Three dedicated buttons control such features as Menu, Display, and Image Size / Trash. At the top right, the Zoom / Index button controls the zoom setting in Record mode and displays an Index of images and magnifies displayed images in Playback mode.

The CD-R compartment takes up the entire left side of the back panel, with the rear surface of the compartment door holding several camera control buttons and the LCD monitor. The compartment door flips open when the release lever is opened, but does not deactivate the LCD monitor. Instead a message on the LCD monitor reads "Cover Open." A tiny, red LED lamp above the LCD monitor lights whenever the camera is accessing the CD-R.

Finally, the CD350 features a fairly flat bottom panel with a battery compartment door and tripod mount. Depending on the tripod mount you might use, there's not quite enough distance between the compartment door and tripod mount is large enough to allow for quick battery changes while working with a tripod. A sliding, plastic door protects the battery slot, and a small button locks the battery into place and releases it when you're ready to recharge or replace the battery cell. The tripod mount itself is metal, a detail we always appreciate, especially on heavier models like the CD350. Also on the bottom panel (beneath the LCD monitor) is a tiny Reset button, which resets all the camera's settings to their factory defaults.

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