Toshiba's new PDR-M3 expands on its megapixel brother with the addition of a 3x (35-105mm 35mm equivalent) optical zoom lens with macro focus down to only 25cm. Toshiba made some other improvements over the PDR-M1 that improved the overall picture quality.
Here's a rundown of the PDR-M3's major specs:
|Image Sensor||1/2-inch CCD with 1.5 million square pixels|
|Resolution||1280x1024 or 640x480 pixels|
|Compression Levels||Fine (1/4), Normal (1/8), Basic (1/16)|
|File Format||JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.1)|
|Storage Media||SmartMedia Card
(3.3V, 2MB to 32MB capacity)
|Lens||3x optical zoom 7.4-22mm
(35-105mm in 35mm equivalent)
|Aperture||F3.8 to F11|
|Focusing Range||0.9m to infinity (macro : 0.25-0.9m)|
|Exposure Metering||64-zone through the lens (TTL)|
|LCD Monitor||1.8 inch color LCD
Low-Temp TFT 70,000 pixels
NTSC video output
|Power Source||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
AC power adapter/charger included
|Dimensions||122 (W) x 85 (H) x 60 (D) mm
4.8 (W) x 3.3 (H) x 2.4 (D) inch
|Weight||350g (without battery)|
|Accessory||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (Fuji's NP-100), AC power adapter, SmartMedia, hand strap, lens cap video cable, CD-ROM, cables|
|Play Mode||9 images multi, zoom, slideshow|
|Strobe||Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-In, Ext Sync, Off
Wide : 0.4-3.0m (1.3-10ft)
Tele : 0.4-2.0m (1.3-6.7ft)
|Mode Dial||Setup, Self Timer, Manual Rec, Auto Rec,
Play Back, Erase, Protect, PC Connect
|Advanced Functions||Digital 2x Zoom, Black/White, Playback Filters
Manual White Balance, Exposure Comp, Ext Strobe)
The Toshiba PDR-M3 is a compact and lightweight camera housed in a silver plastic body and sports both an optical viewfinder and a 1.8" TFT color LCD display screen that can also be used as a viewfinder. The 3x zoom lens extends out from the body when the camera is switched on and automatically retracts when powered off.
The optical viewfinder is bright and large and has a diopter adjustment to suit your visual capabilities. It shows about 75-80% of the captured frame depending on the focal length of the lens.
I use my left eye for aiming and framing so the LCD gets plenty of nose prints on it. Not to fear though, the LCD is protected by a plastic lens that is easy to clean. The color display is excellent indoors but it isn't very easy to see when used outside in the bright light.
Toshiba has an optional external, rapid charger that can replenish the lithium pack in about one hour.
The Video Out port allows you to connect the camera to any TV or VCR with a RCA video in jack.
The 5V input port is where the AC adapter/battery charger is plugged in to power the camera and charge the battery.
The PDR-M3 can use any size SmartMedia card from 2MB up to the soon to be released 32MB.
Here's the Setup screen where you can set the image sharpness for Normal, Hard or Soft. Color or B/W mode. Consecutively number images or start back at number one on each memory card. Turn the Beep on or off. Set the time and date. And Reset all parameters to default.
A 4-way rocker switch controls the zoom by pushing the top or bottom when in Manual or Automatic Record mode.
Pressing the rocker switch to the right or left activates the advanced functions when in Manual Record mode:
Pressing the "Set" button brings up another menu where you select:
One very nice touch is that when you are viewing an image you can press the 4-way switch and zoom up to 400% of the original picture. This is super handy to see if the focus was right on a certain portion of the image, even on the small builtin 1.8" LCD.
The Toshiba PDR-M3 is an OEM Fuji MX-600
Read an even more comprehensive user review of the Toshiba PDR-M3 at the Imaging-Resource and they have sample pictures too.
I was very impressed with the ease of use of the M3 and the placement of the controls. The camera is small and light and easy to use. The 1280x1024 resolution will yield excellent 3.5x5-inch prints on today's color inkjet photo printers and even the 5x7-inch prints I did were good. 640x480 mode is good if the desired output is going to be your television screen. You can eliminate some of the expenses of other digicams as you don't need to buy batteries, chargers or AC adapters. For the money the PDR-M3 is a good buy in the current megapixel market.
The real test of any digital camera is what the images it captures look
like and for that you need to move on to: