Steve's Digicams

Sony Mavica FD-91

User Review - Page 2


Sony Mavica FD-91

The famous Sony InfoLITHIUM "battery with a brain" that tells the camera exactly how much time it has left. The FD-91 comes with a NP-F330 and a rapid charger.

Sony Mavica FD-91

The 14X zoom lens is the 35mm equivalent to a 37-518mm super zoom lens. To insure the best possible images the zoom lens is equipped with a digital stabilization system to minimize camera shake that would otherwise blur pictures taken handheld at 14X.

The lens is threaded for 52mm filters and attachments.

Sony Mavica FD-91

All of the zoom and focus controls are located on the left side of the lens and they're exactly where your fingers can easily find them.

Out there on the end of the lens is a manual focusing ring.

Sony Mavica FD-91

Also on the left side of the camera are the white balance control buttons and the mode switch for the various programmed AE settings.

Sony Mavica FD-91

You can frame or review your pictures with either the big 2.5" color LCD or the high-resolution color viewfinder. There's a switch below the finder to select which display to use. Below that is the button the enables or disables Spot metering.

Sony Mavica FD-91

The builtin Pop-Up Flash has three modes: On, Off or Automatic where the camera will determine when to use the flash in low light and/or adjust for the optimum amount of flash. You must manually pop the flash up or it is disabled.

Sony Mavica FD-91

The 2.5" color LCD can be tilted up and away from the camera body. It can even be flipped all the way up and viewed from in front of the camera for self-portrait shots.

Steve's Conclusion

There's no denying that Sony is a major force to be reckoned with in the digital camera world. My feeling has been that Sony makes the best toys, my living room is full of black and shiny things with the silver "Sony" logo on them. Their Mavica line of digital cameras are the only ones out there that use a floppy diskette for image storage. It may limit the number of pictures you can store per disk but you can't beat the ease of transferring them to your computer. Just pop the diskette in your floppy drive and do whatever you want with them -- it's that simple!

The FD-91 represents a marriage of the best of Sony's technologies from the diskette drive that they invented for the computer world and the digitally stabilized zoom lens that came from their camcorder engineering. The image resolution is sub-megapixel at 1024x768 but that big zoom lens makes up for what it lacks in resolution. After you use a 14X lens it really leaves you feeling totally inadequate as you zoom the normal 3X lens in and out on your one or two megapixel camera. It's positively amazing how close you can get to things by just pressing that zoom switch.

The digital stabilization on that big zoom really works! I used to own the Sony DKC-ID1 with a 12X optical lens and I had to set the shutter speed for 1/1000 or faster whenever I was zoomed out to maximum telephoto. If you don't think the stabilizer is working all you have to do is switch it off for a couple of pictures and believe me, you'll be turning it back on in no time. The macro capability is equally amazing and mirrors what Sony's camcorders can do. You can get so close to a flower that bugs end up walking off of the petals and onto the end of your lens!

I really like the color viewfinder, it is just like those on a camcorder and is totally shielded for use in brightly lit environments. When you're inside you flip a switch and use the big 2.5" color LCD if you so desire. You can flip the LCD all the way up and have it facing forward for self-portraits too! Running the big color LCD is a little hard on the battery but the FD-91 is powered by a Sony InfoLITHIUM which carries enough power to run everything for well over an hour on a good charge. There's no guessing when the battery will die either as it constantly displays the time it has left on either viewfinder.

Besides the big lens, the whole camera is big. This bad boy is not going to fit in your pocket and you'll definitely know when it is dangling around your neck. I like big cameras, they're easy to hold steady and operate as the buttons and dials are bigger than those found on the little "pocket" cameras. There's just no way to shrink the size of the camera when it is based around a 3-1/2" floppy disk drive. Most people will think you're carrying a video camera and you know what -- they'd be right. The FD-91 can also capture MPEG movie clips in either 160x112 email size or 320x240 size.

Overall I like this camera but its image size and quality isn't quite up to par with its peers. For bird watchers or action freaks this camera will more than fill the bill as the 14X zoom makes up for a lot of things. Some of the newer MAVICA cameras have broken the megapixel barrier and I expect we'll be seeing future models using the Sony MemoryStick, either by itself or in the floppy disk adapter. The 1.44MB diskettes may be highly portable but they are severely limited as an image storage medium. Sony uses a little too much JPEG compression on its images to get more images stored per diskette.

There are a lot of Mavicas to choose from, starting with the 640x480 models with and without a zoom all the way up to the FD-88 which has an 8X zoom and 1280x960 megapixel resolution. There's sure to be one to fit your needs and budget, if not, then it's probably being engineered as you read this. Sony likes being the king of the digicam world and proves that by coming out with one innovative camera after another. Just look at their latest DSC-F505 that I recently reviewed or the undisputed king of consumer priced digicams, the DSC-D700 CyberShot Pro.

Steve's FD-91 Sample Pictures

Return To Our
Reviews Menu


Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 1999 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.

Nothing on this page may be used, distributed or
copied without the author's prior permission.