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Everything's digital nowadays, so should your camera be any excepetion? Yes and no. While the Mavica FD83 does many things right, it drops the ball certain key areas. It is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. The Sony Digital Mavica FD83 is the middle child of the Mavica family. It's nestled quite nicely in terms of features and price between the lower model FD73 and higher models FD88 and FD91. For starters, it must be mentioned that the one outstanding quality of this camera (and the entire Mavica line) is its medium for storing photographs. Sony eschewed traditional forms of storage, such as flash cards and internal memory and even it's own memory stick in favor of removable 3.5" floppy disks. Yes folks, the floppy disk is not dead yet. It's been given new wind in the FD83. To sweeten the deal, Sony has seen it fit to include a 4X floppy drive, for quick image transfers. Although the drive increases the camera's size considerably, it's worth it. No more dragging cables behind the computer, just pop the disk in the drive, and you're ready to go. The resolution of the camera, however, leaves something to be desired. Through interpolation, the progressive CCD is able to capture a 1216x912 image. Interpolation however, can add unwanted artifacts, so for the more discerning user, the camera can also capture images at 1024x768 and 640x480. At the highest quality, expect about 6-10 images per disk. The picture can even be manipulated on the camera. The on camera editing options include negative art, sepia, black and white, and solarize. The available resolutions are decent for 4x6 printouts, and more than adequate for web publishing, but at the $700 asking price, more is expected. Generally speaking with the Mavica line, you'll be paying for the convenience of the floppy drive. The LCD display replaces the traditional viewfinder, and serves it's purpose quite well, except in direct sunlight.
The ability to view your pictures directly on the camera with no delay is a definite plus, and Sony has even thoughtfully included a video-out port on the camera for viewing on a television set. What separates this camera from the gamut of cameras in its class (aside from the inclusion of a floppy drive) is the MPEG movie mode. This camera is capable of taking movies with sound at resolutions of 320x240 and 160x112, with up to a minute of video per disk. This thoughtful feature is fun for sure, but lacks the resolution for any practical use. Other features of the camera include a 6x zoom (3x optical, 3x digital), built-in flash, email mode for smaller file sizes, and the ability to record sound files. The only included software is Arcsoft Photo Studio. One Sony Info-Lithium batter is included (NP-F330), but it must be mentioned that battery life with the included battery is quite pathetic, only reaching about 45-60 minutes in real world usage. To get any real usage out of the FD83, invest in Sony's higher powered battery (NP-F550), which gives you a little over 2 hours of time for a mere $60. It may take four hours to charge, but it will be worth it when you want to take the camera on an extended vacation. Bottom line, this camera has some intriguing features and would more than suffice for web, newspaper, and light photography work. Anything beyond that however, and the limitations of the camera become painfully apparent. If the price of this camera were $500 dollars as opposed the $700 it is now the FD83 would be heartily recommended without reservation. As it stands, however, the tradeoff in resolution for the convenience of the disk drive is not a wise one for anybody other than amateur photographers. For the price, pay for the higher resolution and deal with the wires.
1. handly floppy disc Floppy disc friendly allows u take more pics wherever u are! As u travel, have u ever run out of films? piss off isn't it? even digital cam will run out of memories. But with FD-83, you can just buy cheap floppy whenever u are out of memory space. Besides, 2. video recordable its fun that it can even record voice or video on a floppy where u can play it straight afterwards...great for parties! Unfortunately, the batteries doesn't last as long as the Model FD-73. But afterall, it has good quality pics and are easily control. 3. useful zoom - focus in 1cm the most cool feature is the zoom it gets! not just for distance object, but it can even focus stuff up to almost 1cm away from the len! 4. Further suggestions what will be even better is to purchase a wide angle lens so u can take even more stuff! HAVE FUN!
If I had $800 and could sneak it past my parents, I'd be sorely tempted to go out right now and buy one of these cameras. The pictures are even better than an older Sony MVC-FD7 with a 1/4" 380K pixel CCD I barrowed from my brother a few months ago. The one I used for this review belongs to one of my customers. He was gracious enough to let me take it for a spin. So, I spent four days between trouble calls learning about it and snapping pictures. IN THE BOX. The attractive retail box includes the following items: Camera. Battery charger and cord. Operating Instructions in English and Spanish. warranty, safety instructions, misc. instructions, etc. CD with.. ArcSoft PhotoStudio v. 2.0 SE, a photo editing/paint program. ArcSoft VideoImpression. Used to create, edit, playback, and E-Mail animated video. Mavica Floppy Utility. Audio-video cable (mini-plug to two RCA plugs for video and mono-audio). Shoulder strap. OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS. The Operating Instructions are well-written, amply illustrated, to the point, logically organized, and easy to follow. The index rather sparse. KEY FEATURES. One of the foremost features of this camera is that stores images on 3 1/2" floppy disks. Floppies are cheap and provide an immediate interface to almost all PC's. You can even make copies of whole floppies with the camera and immediately share photos with your friends and family the next time you go to one those family reunions, etc. In my opinion, after working with cameras which require tapes or CompactFlash cards, this is the only way to go. Gone are peripherals, printer interface problems, and the requirement to upload to specially-equipped computers. The 4X floppy drive in this camera is much faster than the one in the MVC-FD7. Other key features include: 1/3" 850K pixel Progressive Scan CCD. This CCD can
produce a one million pixel image (1216 x 912) using Sony's interpolated imaging technology. The Progressive Scan CCD reads all of the pixels in a single pass for sharper pictures--not interlaced. 3X Optical/6X digital zoom lens. f=5.2-15.6, 35mm conversion (f=37-111mm). Auto/manual exposure with six auto-exposure modes. Auto white balance. Back-lit 2.5" color LCD view panel. Shutter speeds (Auto): 1/60-1/4000 Sec. Voice and MPEG movie modes. Battery good for 1,500 shots per charge (so they say). Delayed shutter. Built-in flash. OPERATION. The operation of this camera is very similar to my brother's MVC-FD7 which I had used for months. Looking from the back, floppies are inserted on the right side. Buttons for key functions (zoom, on-off, floppy eject, Play/Still/Movie, brightness, etc.) are logically arranged and clearly labeled on the back. They have a nice tactile feel. The remaining functions are set with a menu which is displayed on the LCD and controlled by the large round Control button below the right side of the LCD. Pushing the top of the button turns on the menu and moves vertically through menu selections which are highlighted and very well organized. Pushing the button on the sides and at the bottom moves the highlight logically left, right, and down. The menu can be exited by continuing to push Control button down though the menu tree to the bottom and off the screen, taking the menu with it. Menu choices are executed by pushing the center of the button. The only problem I had with the Control button was when I pushed on the sides of the button. It didn't always take and I attribute that to my large fingers. Once you have learned how to use the camera, everything works logically--as one would expect--and without thinking hard about it. Sony has done an excellent job of ergonomic engineering. The only real proble
m I had with the camera was getting the brightness level set right. The picture would look ok when played-back on the LCD, but a good percentage of them would be dark and whites would be yellow on my computer. With practice, this problem was mostly solved by the third day. I may have been doing something wrong here, but I could not discover what it was in the time I had the camera. Pictures are saved to floppies with an HTML index file. Just open the HTML file in your browser and select a picture for viewing from the list. The only problem with this is that pictures shot in "Standard" and "Fine" resolutions are so large that only a portion of the picture can be seen in the browser one time and one has to scroll around the picture to see all of it. But this method is quite good for looking at pictures at remote locations and for identifying and sorting them. The ArcSoft software, which comes with the camera, is useful for viewing pictures in their entirety and manipulating them. Or, you can display you pictures on a TV set using the cable supplied with the camera. You must have video/audio in jacks on the TV for this function to work. What you see on the TV is what you would see on the LCD. Owing to the bandwidth and resolution limitations of most TV sets, the pictures are not nearly as sharp as they appear on a PC, but this capability is useful for displaying pictures at a party, etc. When playing back to a TV set, the LCD goes blank and the camera can actually be used by viewing the TV set as you would the LCD. The menu, etc. is displayed on the TV set. If the camera is set to the Still mode, live, moving pictures are displayed on the TV. With a tripod and a PC with a video capture card, one could use the MVC-FD83 as a videoconference camera. A separate microphone would be required for video-conferencing because the camera's internal mike is muted when it is used this way. NTCSC or P
AL standards for TV-output can be selected in the FD83 menu. I found I could shoot a box of 10 floppies or so with one battery charge.