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Toshiba PDR-M70

Toshiba brings true photographic features to their new 3 flagship model!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 8/17/2000

Toshiba's PDR-M70 features an all plastic, silver-toned body that keeps it relatively lightweight and portable, at only 12 ounces (340g) excluding the battery, SmartMedia and any accessories. Size-wise, it ought to fit in larger coat pockets, measuring a slightly robust 4.6 x 3 x 2.4 inches (116 x 76 x 62 mm). An accompanying neck strap should help with the portability. For some reason, Toshiba has left out the slightly bulky handgrip on the right side of the camera, but you still get a pretty good grasp around the side (although we'd really like some rubber finger grips or deeper grooves to hook into). The lack of a handgrip does help the camera to maintain its smooth design, which, discounting the lens, doesn't have too many protrusions.

The front of the camera is very basic, holding the lens, optical viewfinder window and flash. Whenever the camera is turned on with the mode dial is set to one of the capture modes, the lens extends from the body into its operating position. Likewise, it retracts when the camera is switched off. The lens is protected by a plastic lens cap, which doesn't attach to anything, so you'll need to keep an eye on it.

The back of the camera holds most of the controls, including the optical viewfinder with its dioptric adjustment dial, zoom control, rocker toggle button, LCD panel and various other control buttons. All of the back panel control buttons are placed very close together so that, with the exception of the top control buttons beneath the small status display, you could conceivably operate the camera one handed.

On the right (hand grip) side of the camera is the SmartMedia slot, which is protected by a smooth plastic door that snaps into place.

The opposite side of the camera houses the external flash sync terminal, an earphone jack, the USB/ AV jack and the DC-in port. The USB and DC-in jacks are protected by a soft, flexible rubber covering that snugly fits into place.

On top of the camera are the shutter button, power switch, mode dial, a few control buttons and the small status display panel. During our tests in the studio, we really appreciated the Image Quality button, which let us quickly change the setting without going into the LCD menu. The small status display panel is also nice, because it reports the majority of the camera's settings, allowing you to shoot and save battery power by not using the larger color LCD screen. In dark surroundings, the status display illuminates with a blue backlight so you can actually read it. (A very handy feature we'd like to see other digicam manufacturers adopt.) Also visible from a top view of the camera are the two neck strap eyelets on either side.

The bottom of the camera boasts the speaker, battery compartment and tripod mount. We were a little disappointed that the battery compartment and tripod mount are so close together, making it difficult to make quick battery changes while using a tripod. Additionally, the curve of the camera bottom so close to the tripod mount puts a lot of stress on the plastic mount threads if the camera is rocked even a little while attached to a tripod. Despite these limitations, we actually encountered a very solid mount while working in the studio.

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