Toshiba PDR-M61 Review
Click to take a 360-degree QTVR tour of the PDR-M61
The entry-level ($399) PDR-M61 offers a 2.3-megapixel CCD that delivers photo-realistic images with vivid color and detail at resolutions as high as 1792 x 1200. It holds several advantages over other cameras in the sub-$400 category, including USB downloading, SmartMedia storage, an all-glass 38mm, 35mm equivalent lens with 3X optical zoom and macro capabilities, plus fast circuitry for quick start-ups and less processing time between shots.
The PDR-M61 has a powerup time of about 5 seconds and a shot to shot recycle time of around 3 seconds. This is basically an automatic point and shoot type of camera but through the Manual mode you can control the white balance and the exposure compensation value. Variable ISO sensitivity of 100, 200 or 400 and macro focusing down to 5cm gives you a versatile yet entry-level priced 2-megapixel digicam.
The PDR-M61 is physically identical to its higher resolution sibbling the PDR-M65 which has a three-megapixel imager and a 3X zoom lens.
On the back is a 1.8-inch active-matrix color LCD which can be used as a realtime viewfinder or to playback your stored images. It's also used to access the menu system. When using the eyelevel viewfinder the LCD can be switched off to conserve battery power.
A tri-color (red/yellow/green) LED indicates autofocus, flash and memory processing status.
The bottom of the PDR-M61 is flat and is well suited to being mounted on a tripod. The only thing on the bottom besides the tripod socket is the battery access door.
On the top is a monochrome data LCD, the Mode Dial, the Shutter Release and control function buttons. When powered down the lens retracts.
Closeup look at the top data LCD display and control buttons. From left to right the buttons are: Flash mode, Quality / Image Size and Self-Timer.
I was disappointed to see that the data LCD was not illuminated as is the case on most of Toshiba's other cameras.
A 4-way jog switch which is used to navigate the menu system, select images or activate various functions. You push it straight in to accept the selected menu choice.
There are dedicated buttons for displaying the MENU system. Turning the color LCD screen on/off (DISP) and controlling information overlays. Enabling the MACRO mode and Deleting files.
The all-glass aspheric 3x zoom (38-114mm equivalent) has an F3.2 maximum aperture. The focus range is 20 inches to infinity in normal mode or from two to twenty inches in Macro. When the camera is powered down, the lens retracts and is covered by a builtin lens barrier.
The zoom control is a rocker type switch that is located on the back of the camera just below the Mode Dial.
When the LCD is activated you can enable the 2X digital zoom by pressing the 4-way selector switch Up. Digital zoom can be used at any focal length setting.
The PDR-M61 has a five-mode flash system (automatic, red-eye reduction, forced-fill flash, slow synchro and force-off) and a working range of up to 12-feet.
The USB port is rated at 12mbps and is capable of transfering a high-res picture in about 1 seconds.
The PDR-M61 does not have a Video Out port
The card slot employs my favorite "push in - pop out" type of ejector mechanism which makes it a snap to change the tiny cards.
The PDR-M61 accomodates any capacity 3.3v SmartMedia card and comes with a 8MB card.
Unlike many other Toshiba camera we have reviewed, the M61 (and M60, M65) does not use a Toshiba lithium rechargeable battery. They have chosen four AA size batteries as the portable power for the camera. This will be good news to those who dislike proprietary battery packs.
Included with the camera are four alkaline batteries but I would highly recommend the use of NiMH rechargeables instead.
The PDR-M61 has a compact high-impact plastic body with a weight of just over ten ounces (without the batteries), here it is for size comparison with the Canon A20.
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Toshiba PDR-M61 Specifications
|CCD Sensor||1/2-inch CCD with 2.3 million square pixels|
|Resolution||Still image: 1792 X 1200 (Full) or
896 X 600 (Half) selectable
|Zoom||3X optical, 2X digital|
(35mm equivalent: 38mm-114mm)
|View Finder||Real Image zoom finder|
|LCD Monitor||1.8-inch TFT color LCD|
|LCD Play Mode||Normal, 16 image-multi, 3X zoom, slideshow|
|File Format||JPEG, Still Image: Exif 2.1, DCF|
|Storage Media||3.3V SmartMedia (2-64MB), upgradeable to 128MB by firmware|
|5-Mode Flash||Auto, red-eye reduction, fill-in, off, slow synchro|
|Mode Dial||Set up, PC download, off, auto record, manual record, playback|
|Control Buttons||Menu, Self timer, picture quality, flash mode, macro, erase/format, LCD display mode, Zoom|
|Interface||USB, Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable)|
|Record modes||1 shot|
multi-shot (16 images per frame)
bulb exposure (1 or 2 secs.)
|Focusing Range||50cm (20 inches) - infinity |
Macro: 5cm (2 inches) to 50cm (20 inches)
|Power Source||4X AA batteries [Alkaline, Lithium, Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride), Ni-Cad (nickel-cadmium)], AC power adapter (sold separately)|
|Dimensions||4.76(W) X 2.95 (H) X 2.4 (D)in.|
|Weight||10.2 oz (excluding batteries)|
|Included Accessories||4X AA Alkaline batteries, SmartMedia™ card (8MB), Shoulder Strap, Video cable, USB cable, CD-ROM|
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