Toshiba PDR-M61 Review

Steve's Digicams

Toshiba PDR-M61

Playback Screens & Menus

(NOTE: The PDR-M61 does not have video out capability so we are using the screens captured from the PDR-M65 which uses the same onscreen displays for Record, Playback and Setup. The M61 has a top resolution of 1792x1200, not 2048x1536 as shown above.)

Playback mode screen shown here after pressing the DISP button which turns on all of the overlay information. Upper right corner is the selected folder name and the image number. Lower left shows the image size and the lower right is the time and date of the exposure.

Toshiba PDR-M61

The M61 like most digicams has a thumbnail playback mode which allows you to quickly scan through the stored images and chose one to display fullscreen.

Toshiba PDR-M61

You can press the 4-way selector switch in the center and magnify the full screen image and then scroll around inside of it after pressing the DISP button.

Toshiba PDR-M61

The Playback mode menu options:

  • FOLDER - Select the folder to view images from
  • SLIDE - Starts the slideshow playback mode
  • PROTECT - Select image(s) to protect/unprotect from deletion
  • RESIZE - Resize large image to save storage space
  • QUALITY - Recompress images with lower quality level
  • LCD * - Adjusts the LCD backlight intensity

Steve's Conclusion

The sub-$400 PDR-M61 is a two megapixel camera for those seeking an easy to use camera with fairly good image quality. It is basically a fully automatic point and shoot type of camera without a complex menu system or a myriad of advanced controls.

It captures an image suitable for printing up to 8x10" photo quality pictures and a smaller size for web pages or email transmission. The number of pictures it can store is dependant on both the image size and the quality level selected. Quality can be Fine, Normal or Basic, all pictures are saved in standard JPEG format with Exif header information. It does not have an uncompressed still or motion picture capture capability.

Overall it is a fairly robust camera, it saves and retrieves 2-megapixel images in about 3 seconds. The shutter lag time is approximately 1.3 seconds or down to 0.3 secs if pre-focused. If the flash is used there is a rather annoying delay of about one second even after the shutter is half-pressed and held. The autofocus is very accurate under normal lighting conditions. The zoom lens mechanism is quiet but jerky with a focus range of about two inches to infinity. It does not have manual focus or any focus presets.

The LCD is not what I would call great, it's rather dim compared to the LCD displays on most all the other 2-megapixel cameras. If you increase the backlight's output it just tends to make the image "washed out" looking. When using the LCD as a live viewfinder the refresh rate is a little slow and the screen freezes for a moment as the focus and exposure is locked before the green LED comes on and you hear the "OK" beep. The LCD shows about 94% of the final captured frame area. The optical viewfinder is useable but terrible. In wideangle the lens itself blocks a good portion of the lower half of the field of view and there is both a horizontal and vertical offset which makes the captured picture different from what you saw in the viewfinder. And there is no diopter adjustment for the optical viewfinder either.

The M61's image quality is not what I would call "outstanding," the pictures often look "flat" as they lack contrast and many have a strong magenta cast. Outdoors the camera often overexposes about a half stop which can be compensated for in the Manual Record mode. Flash pictures were sometimes "hot" if the subject was closer than five feet from the camera. There's random noise visible in the shadow areas. With all the choices out there in the 2-megapixel arena I can't help but thinking that your money could be better spent on another camera.

Unlike Toshiba's earlier cameras, the M61 is powered by standard AA size batteries so you won't be required to buy expensive proprietary battery packs. Physically the M61 is larger than what I would call "palm size" but it's still lightweight and durable with a builtin lens cap that won't get lost. Operating it is as simple as turning the mode dial to Auto, point and shoot!

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