Sony Mavica CD400 Review
Features & Controls
An exceptionally sharp and fast F2.0-2.5 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3x optical zoom equivalent to a 35mm 34-102mm lens. Further enhanced with a precision 2x digital zoom.
Focus range is 19.7 inches to infinity in normal mode and down to 1.6 to 8 inches in the macro mode. The focus is either automatic or manually via presets for 0.1m, 0.2m, 0.3m, 0.5m, 0.8m, 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m, 10m, 15m or infinity.
The CD400 features high-speed scan autofocus and a new "hologram" focusing assist device
to insure properly focused pictures no matter what the light levels are. This new
autofocus system was first seen on the Sony F707
and uses a Class 1 laser to paint a grid pattern on the subject and is perfectly safe,
even when aimed directly at someone's eyes. I found it nearly impossible to "fool" the
AF, the only out of focus pictures I ever got were when I was using the manual focus mode.
The CD Mavica cameras are equipped with miniature CD-Recorder drives
that write to the small 3-inch (8cm) discs with a capacity of
156MB and cost about $3.00 each (or less).
The Mavica CD200, CD250, CD300 and CD400 cameras employ a new optical drive
that can record to both CD-R and CD-RW (rewriteable) type 3-inch discs. The capacity is
156 megabytes per disc.
The CD400 does not come with an optical viewfinder but you can add one as an optional
accessory if desired. Pictured here is the
DSAC-MVC, a clip-on, eyelevel
finder/magnifier for the CD200, CD250, CD300 and CD400 Mavicas.
It features a real optical system
complete with diopter adjustment. The DSAC-MVC magnifies the LCD and makes
the manual focus adjustment really useable. It sells for $79.95.
The built in flash has modes for automatic, redeye reduction, forced on (fill) and
disabled. It automatically "pops up" when it is needed. New for any Sony camera is
a flash hot shoe that can be enabled/disabled via the Setup menu.
Need more flash power? Attach an optional HVL-F1000 flash on the
accessory shoe and connect it into the ACC jack on the side. Besides greater
flash range the HVL-F1000 also gives you the benefits of bounce flash illumination.
Located on top of the camera is the microphone, shutter release and the combination Mode
Dial and Power switch. The Mode Dial has operating positions for SETUP, SCeNe (quick
selection of Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape or Portrait modes), Manual,
Aperture-priority, Shutter speed-priority, Program AE, Playback and Movie.
Below the color LCD on the back are control buttons for: DISPLAY - turns the color LCD on/off
and also controls the data overlays on the screen in record and playback. Spot - Center
waited Average or Spot metering. Focus (press to activate manual focus or to change the AF
area, adjust with the jog dial). Exposure compensation (like the Focus, press to activate and
dial in the value with the jog dial), and the AE LOCK to hold the exposure while you re-
compose your picture (resets automatically after one focus confirmation).
To the far left
is the ACCESS indicator which illuminates red when the camera is accessing the disc.
On the back is the zoom control which serves as the index and zoomed playback control when in review mode. The Jog Dial Navigator is used to select shutter speeds, aperture values or focus options.
4-way selector switch navigates and makes selections from the menus. When the menu isn't enabled it is used for setting flash mode, enabling macro focus or self-timer mode. Pressing the 4-way to the "left" lets you to review the last picture recorded.
The MENU button enables the onscreen menu system.
Next to the MENU button is the speaker for audio
playback and camera sounds.
The ACC jack allows connection to an optional Sony HVL-F1000 flash unit that can be mounted on the accessory shoe on top of the camera.
Behind a small hinged door on the side is the high-speed USB data port and the
A / V Out port that carries both a monaural audio and video signal, the video format
is user-selectable for NTSC or PAL.
The battery is a Sony "M" series NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable 7.2v "battery with a brain" -- it tells you on the LCD exactly how many minutes of runtime is left. Supplied with a combination battery charger and AC power adapter (AC-L10) that plugs into the DC input jack on the back of the camera.
For faster charging out of the camera you can purchase the optional AC-VQ800 ($150) external AC charger for the NP-FM50 battery packs.
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