Steve's Digicams

Toshiba PDR-M70

Review posted 5/19/00
updated 8/13/00


Click to take 360-degree QTVR tour of the Toshiba PDR-M70
Click to take a 360-degree QTVR tour of the PDR-M70

The Toshiba PDR-M70 has a 1/1.8-inch, 3.37 megapixel CCD imager capable of recording either 2048 x 1536 or 1024 x 768 size still images in Fine, Normal or Basic quality. There's also an AVI movie function that records up to two minutes of 320 x 240 video at 15fps with audio. Equipped with a Canon F2.0 3X optical zoom lens with a 2X digital zoom option. For image download to the computer the PDR-M70 has a USB port that eliminates the need for a card reader.

Still images can be recorded in Programmed Automatic, Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority mode. The shutter speeds can be set from 8 to 1/1000 second. The aperture values available are F2.0, F2.3, F2.8, F4, F5.6 and F8.

Continuing the tradition of speed that we saw in the PDR-M4 and PDR-M5 cameras, the new PDR-M70 has an exceptionally quick powerup time of about 3 seconds. And a shot to shot recycle time of around 1.5 seconds thanks to a large 24MB SDRAM buffer. This allows high-speed continuous shooting at a rate of 1.25 frames per second. Plus, in the Multi Shot mode it is possible for the PDR-M70 to capture up to thirty-six 320 x 218 fast action shots in only 2.3 seconds (ten 320x218 images/second).

Toshiba PDR-M70

On the back is a wideview 1.8-inch TFT active-matrix color LCD used to access the menus and as a real-time viewfinder. It can be switched off to conserve battery power when using the conventional eyelevel viewfinder.

Toshiba PDR-M70
The PDR-M70 sports a large and bright optical finder complete with a diopter control adjustment knob on the side.

A tri-color (red/yellow/green) LED indicates autofocus, flash and memory processing status.

Toshiba PDR-M70

The bottom of the PDR-M70 is nice and flat and lends itself well to being mounted on a tripod. Note the speaker for audio playback.

Toshiba PDR-M70

On the top there is a monochrome data LCD, the Mode Dial, the Shutter Release and Power Switch and control function buttons. When powered down the lens is retracted and the time is displayed on the LCD.

Toshiba PDR-M70

The mode dial on top lets you select the recording mode (Automatic, Aperture or Shutter priority or Movie), Playback, Connect to PC or Setup mode.

And it also lets you select the Voice Recorder function (blue microphone icon), a mode we've never seen before on a digital camera.

Toshiba PDR-M70

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.

Toshiba uses a backlighted data LCD display. Whenever a function button or the shutter release is pressed, the LCD is illuminated.

Toshiba PDR-M70

The Canon all-glass aspheric 3X zoom (35-105mm equivalent) is made up of 8 elements in 7 groups and features a large F2.0-2.5 aperture for superior low light performance. The lens mount is threaded for a special adapter that allows for mounting of 52mm lenses and filters.

The focus range is from three inches to infinity in Macro, or 20 inches to infinity in normal Autofocus mode.

Toshiba PDR-M70

The PDR-M70 has a five-mode flash system (automatic, red-eye reduction, forced-fill flash, slow synchro and force-off) with a working range of 13-feet.

Below the flash you'll see 2 small holes for the microphone.

Toshiba PDR-M70 The PDR-M70's I/O ports:

On the top is the audio out.

A combination Video/Audio/Data Out port for playback on a TV set or to connect to a PC. The USB port is rated at 12mbps and is capable of transfering a high-res picture in about 2 seconds.

Behind the rubber cover is the 5VDC input jack for the charger/AC supply.

New on any Toshiba digital camera is a standard flash PC sync connector

Toshiba PDR-M70

Access to the SmartMedia memory card slot is via a door on the side.

There is no ejector mechanism but thankfully there is sufficient finger grip area (even for my big fingers) to grasp the edge of the card and remove it.

The PDR-M70 accomodates any capacity 3.3v SmartMedia card and comes with an 16MB card.

Toshiba PDR-M70

As with other Toshiba digital cameras that we have reviewed, the PDR-M70 comes standard with a proprietary lithium battery. Included is a combination 5-hour, in-camera battery charger and AC power supply. Toshiba sells an optional 70-minute rapid charger that charges the batteries outside of the camera.

According to Toshiba a fully charged battery is capable of capturing 110 pictures using the flash or 165 pictures without the flash.

Toshiba PDR-M70

The PDR-M70 has a compact and sturdy brushed aluminum body with a weight of just 14 ounces (including the battery.) To give you an idea of its size, here it is with the Olympus C-3030 Zoom and the Nikon Coolpix 990 cameras. The physical dimensions are: 116mm x 76mm x 62mm.

The PDR-M70 comes bundled with multi-platform CD software from Sierra Imaging for accessing, managing and enhancing digital photos. Also included is a rechargeable lithium battery with extended power capacity; a USB cable (Mac/PC); audio/video-out cable; neck strap; soft case; and a 16MB SmartMedia Card.

Page Two
Record Screens & Menus

PDR-M70 Specifications

CCD Sensor 1/1.8-inch CCD Sharp; total pixels: 3.37 Million
Resolution Full Size: 2048x1536, Half Size; 1024x768
Interface USB (12 MBPS)
Zoom Lens 3X Optical, 2X Digital
Movie Function Max 300 secs/1 shot - Half & Basic Mode
Boot Speed Less than 3 seconds
Internal Memory 24MB Internal bufffer
File Format JPEG (Exit 2.1)
Storage Media SmartMedia 2-64MB, 16MB included
Firmware Fully upgradeable
Lens All glass aspheric lens F2-F2.5
Focal Length F7.0mm-21mm (equivalent to 35mm - 105mm on a 35mm camera)
Focusing Range Macro Mode Approx. 9cm (4") to infinity
Normal Mode Approx. 80cm (35") to infinity
LCD Monitor 1.8 inch TFT (Wider Vertical Viewing Angle)(122k pixels)
View Finder Real Image Type (Cross Target)
Power Source (3.7V) Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery (included)
LCD Play Mode Zoom(1.6/3.2x), Single Frame, Slide Show, Thumbnails (9 in 1 ), Movie, Audio
6-Mode Flash Auto, On, Off, Slow-Sync, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in
Mode Dial Set-up Menu, Playback, Auto Shutter, Aperture, Movie, Audio
LCD Control Buttons Self Timer, Picture Quality, Flash Mode
Recording Mode auto Portrait, Landscape, Fast Action Freeze, Low Light, Multi-Shot, AV Movie, Audio Record, Manual Modes for Shutter Speed and Aperture Settings
Battery Life 110 Shots LCD On, 165 Shots LCD Off (Flash at Full Power 100%)
No. of Images 16mb SmartMedia
13 frames (2048 x 1536) 55 frames (1024 x 768)
19 frames (2048 x 1536) 82 frames (1024 x 768)
39 frames (2048 x 1536) 165 frames (1024 x 768)
Dimensions 4.6 x 3.0 x 2.4 (116mm x 76mm x 62mm)
Included Accessory 16MB SmartMedia, Rechargeable lithium-ion Battery , AC Adapter (PDR-AC10), USB Cable, Video Cable, Neck Strap, Lens Cap, IMAGE EXPERT 1.8 Software CD-Rom, Soft Carrying Case
Optional Accessory PDR-BT1 (Battery), PDR-AR52 (Lens-Filter Attachment Ring), PDR-CG1 Quick Charger

Return To Steve's
Reviews Index


Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 2000 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.

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