Toshiba PDR-2300 Review

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Steve's Conclusion

If you need a good, small (but not tiny) camera then the Toshiba PDR-2300 may be just what you're looking for. At first glance you might think it is a 35mm point- N- shoot until you turn the stylish silver body and see the digicam's rear LCD. The PDR-2300 seems to be very well built and should hold up well under normal use. It is an affordable ($229 as of November 2002) 2-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens. The lens retracts fully inside of the camera body when powered down and is protected by a slip-on lens cap. The PDR-2300 makes a great "go anywhere" and pocketable kind of camera due to its size and weight.

Press the power button and the camera is ready to take the first shot in about eight seconds. Most of that startup time is required to extend the lens. Shot to shot time in single exposure mode is about four seconds without flash or five seconds with flash. If you need to grab several shots in sequence there is no continuous mode, the only option would be to capture motion video at 320 x 240 resolution and 15fps for up to 15 seconds per clip. The optical zoom is not useable during movie recording even though it does not record audio, there is no microphone. Most digicams that do not record sound allow the zoom to operate during movie capture, the PDR-2300 does not. Images and movies are recorded on Secure Digital memory cards up to 256MB in size. The average "Fine" quality 1600x1200 JPEG image is between 375KB and 515KB in size. A fifteen- second movie clip is between 1.25 and 1.6MB in size.

The PDR-2300 is basically an automatic camera (meaning it has no shutter speed or aperture priority exposure modes), but it offers an exposure compensation mode in the Manual record mode. It has the usual white balance options and there's a 3-step control over image sharpness. When used as a live viewfinder the color LCD provides a fast-refresh display but it's covered by highly reflective plastic that makes it difficult to see outdoors. I sure wish the camera makers would use non-glare coated LCD screens, it makes them so much more useable.

Overall the image quality is good. The lens produces reasonably sharp images and the autofocus speed and accuracy is about average in normal lighting but there is no indication as to where in the frame the camera is focusing. Most digicams offer a set of focusing brackets on the LCD that indicate where the camera is focusing. Toshiba did include an eyepiece diopter correction that is a big help to those of us with less than perfect eyesight. The outdoor pictures tend to pickup the tone of sky or grass and add it slightly to the overall tone while the indoor flash pictures tend to be correctly color balanced and look very good overall (See Sample Photos page). Skin tones are well balanced in every flash picture we took.

The bottom line is that the PDR-2300 is a pocketable and affordable camera that takes good pictures and is easy to use. It has few creative functions and it's truly designed to just point-n-shoot. It's powered by standard AA size batteries and uses Secure Digital memory cards so it's inexpensive to power or upgrade the image storage capability. It looks and works just like a compact 35mm film camera so it makes going "digital" a breeze and the price is easy on the pocketbook. The best part is that it -is- a digital camera, no waiting to see your pictures.





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