Steve's Digicams

Panasonic PV-SD4090
User Review

Review posted 3/18/2000


Panasonic PV-SD4090

The Panasonic PV-SD4090 SuperDisk PalmCam has a 0.37" CCD imager with over 1.3 million pixels that captures 1,280 x 960 pixel images. Recording options include still images, still images with 5 seconds of audio, 10-second 320x240 QuickTime movies with sound or bursts of up to sixteen 640x480 images at 0.5 second intervals.

What really sets this camera apart from the others is the storage media. The SD4090 uses 120MB SuperDisk diskettes or regular 1.44MB diskettes. Up to 1,500 images can be recorded and stored on $10 SuperDisk diskettes. For the ultimate in image portability you can use standard 3-1/2 inch floppy diskettes, just pop them into any PC's floppy drive and read in your pictures.

Camera to computer connection requires a PC with USB port and Microsoft® Windows® 98 or iMac® or Power Macintosh G3 with USB port and Mac OS version 8.1 or later.

Panasonic PV-SD4090

Any camera that has a floppy drive built into it has to be a little on the large side. Here's the SD4090 dwarfing the Canon S20. At one and a half pounds (without the battery) it beats the heck out of me who decided to call this a "PalmCam"

Panasonic PV-SD4090

On the back is a large, 112,000-pixel, 2.5" TFT color LCD display with a refresh rate close to 30fps. The display gets grainy in low-light conditions. Outdoors I found it quite readable even in the bright Florida sunlight. The backlight illumination is adjustable.

Panasonic PV-SD4090 Panasonic PV-SD4090

Here's at look at both sides and the top of the SuperDisk camera.

Panasonic PV-SD4090

Panasonic PV-SD4090 Panasonic PV-SD4090

The SD4090 is equipped with a 3x optical (34-102mm 35mm equivalent) F2.8-4.7 zoom lens. It also has a 2x digital zoom option. On the side is the lever that opens and closes the builtin lens cover.

Panasonic PV-SD4090

The metal tripod socket is positioned near the center line of the lens and reasonably close to the camera's balance point.

Panasonic PV-SD4090

The I/O ports are hidden behind a securely closing door. There's a DC input jack, a high speed USB port and an Audio/Video out with NTSC ouput format.

I was able to copy the 230-300Kb sized SuperFine JPGs from the camera to the hard drive in about 1 second each.

Under Windows you can access the camera as "Floppy Drive E" and do simple drag-n-drop Copy operations with Explorer. Utilities are included to format diskettes.

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