Steve's Digicams

Panasonic PV-SD5000

Review posted 10/25/2000

Click on the SD5000 for a QuickTime tour
Click on the SD5000 for a QuickTime tour

The Panasonic PV-SD5000 SuperDisk PalmCam has a 3.34-megapixel 1/1.8" CCD imager that captures 2048 x 1536 pixel images in standard JPEG or uncompressed TIFF format. Recording options include still images, still images with 5 seconds of audio, 12-second 320x240 QuickTime movies with sound or bursts of up to five 1024 x 768 images at 0.9 second intervals.

What really sets this camera apart from the others is the storage media. The SD5000 uses 120MB SuperDisk diskettes or regular 1.44MB diskettes. Up to 1,500 images can be recorded and stored on $10 SuperDisk diskettes. When connected to your computer the camera functionally becomes an external SuperDisk drive. You can also use standard 3-1/2 inch floppy diskettes which can be read in any PC's floppy drive but your image storage will be greatly limited.

The SD5000 has a fully automatic exposure system but it also has a limited manual mode with two choices of shutter speeds or aperture settings. Exposure compensation from -2 to +2EV is user adjustable. There is also a limited manual focusing mode with several preset distance ranges. 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-SD5000

Any camera that has a floppy drive built into it has to be a little on the large side. Here's the SD5000 dwarfing the Canon G1. Measuring 5-11/16 x 4-3/8 x 3-1/4 inches and weighing in at 1.53 pounds (without the battery!)

Panasonic PV-SD5000

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 a little grainy in low-light conditions. Outdoors I found it quite readable even in the bright Florida sunlight.

Panasonic PV-SD5000

Panasonic PV-SD5000 Panasonic PV-SD5000

Panasonic PV-SD5000

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

Panasonic PV-SD5000

The SD5000 is equipped with a 3x optical (35-105mm 35mm equivalent) F2.0-2.5 zoom lens. It also has a 3x digital zoom option. Focus range is 30cm to infinity in normal and from 6cm to 50cm in macro mode.

Panasonic PV-SD5000

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 2048x1536 SuperFine JPGs from the camera to the hard drive in about 2 seconds each.

Under Windows you access the camera as "Floppy Drive E" and simply do drag-n-drop Copy operations with Explorer. Utilities are included to format diskettes. The camera acts as an external SuperDrive when it is connected to the USB port allowing you to read/write any data desired.

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