Sony Mavica FD75 Review
Movable Type Admin
Features & Controls
The FD75 carries on the tradition of the original FD7 Mavica and the one thing that ties
all of them together is the 3-1/2" floppy disk drive. Millions of people have enjoyed
the ability to shoot a picture, place the diskette in their computer and then instantly
see the results. No special cables or software is needed and that's the real beauty of
You can get incredibly close to your subject without even moving thanks to the 10x
optical zoom lens. If this lens was on a 35mm film camera it would be a 40-400mm
focal length, now that's a telephoto! Filters can be easily attached thanks
to the 37mm threads on the lens.
Besides the long focal length, it's a fast lens. The maximum aperture is F1.8 which
makes the FD75 a good performer even in dim lighting conditions. I am constantly
amazed at how rarely the flash is ever needed.
The auto focus system works continually and lets you go from several inches to infinity
without a special "macro" mode. In fact, the closeup capability is very impressive.
I won't be able to show you all the onscreen operations of this camera like I usually
do because it lacks a video output feature. The above screen was captured directly off
of the LCD so please excuse the lack of quality. This is the Index Playback mode where
you can quickly scan the images stored on the diskette. From here you can pick one to
Other than the Power On/Off, zoom control, shutter button and LCD brightness controls -
this is all that is needed to control the camera. The FLASH button cycles through the
Auto, Forced On or Forced Off modes. The PLAY/CAMERA switch controls the only two modes
of operation that are available - Record or Playback. The PICTURE EFFECT button lets
you chose from Negative Art, Sepia, B&W or Solarize special effects modes. The
PROGRAM AE button gives you access to the following exposure modes:
Landscape, Soft Portrait, Sports, Beach & Ski, Sunset & Moon or Panfocus. The DISPLAY
button controls the amount of information that is overlayed on the color LCD.
The 4-way selector switch lets you navigate the camera's menu system (see below) and
make choices by pressing the center of the switch inwards.
This is the menu of options available during Record mode. It's pretty straight forward,
the FD75 does not have the multitude of options found in some of the other
Mavicas. The RECORD MODE lets you capture uncompressed bitmap (BMP) if the diskette
has enough room left for them. The EMAIL mode will generate smaller 320x240 sized
images that are easier to "modem" to friends. The QUALITY setting gives you 640x480
size images in Standard or Fine JPEG compression levels. The FLASH LEVEL gives you
some control over the output intensity of the flash. The FILE NUMBER options makes
the camera reset the file numbers on each diskette or it can also keep sequentially
numbering your images over many diskettes.
Just as the floppy drive is a standard Mavica feature, so is the "L" series Sony
InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery. The NP-F330 is supplied with the camera along with
the BC-V615 external charger. You can also use the NP-F530 or NP-F550 battery packs.
The amount of battery time remaining is displayed on the LCD so you never have to
wonder when it needs to be recharged.
With the introduction of the Mavica FD75, Sony is making it even more affordable than
ever to get into digital photography. Last year's FD73 had a MSRP of about $599, the
MSRP of the FD75 is only $399.
It's not full of whiz-bang features that you don't need - or understand. In fact I
doubt that most users will ever access the menu for anything other than formatting a
floppy. You just point and shoot, that's what it's all about. You don't have to be a
camera expert or even read the manual to get good pictures out of the FD75. All you
need to do is make sure that the battery is charged and remember to stick a fresh floppy
in the disk drive. Composing your picture on the huge 2-1/2 inch color LCD is
easy and fun, it's just like using a camcorder.
The 640x480-pixel VGA resolution images are OK for onscreen or web page
use but they aren't big enough for making prints any larger than average
"drug store" size (4x6") prints. Unlike most other digital cameras the FD75 does not
have a video output feature for displaying pictures on a TV set and it does not
capture motion video sequences. If this suits your needs then you'll probably be
satisfied with the FD75's pictures, if not, check out the higher resolution Mavicas or
the CyberShot cameras. Many people may not care for the size or bulk of these
cameras -- check out the new Sony DSC-P30 or DSC-P50 if you'd like higher
resolution in a smaller, lighter, pocket-size camera.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.