Sony Mavica CD400 Review

Steve's Digicams

Sony Mavica CD400

Features & Controls

An exceptionally sharp and fast F2.0-2.5 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3x optical zoom equivalent to a 35mm 34-102mm lens. Further enhanced with a precision 2x digital zoom.

Focus range is 19.7 inches to infinity in normal mode and down to 1.6 to 8 inches in the macro mode. The focus is either automatic or manually via presets for 0.1m, 0.2m, 0.3m, 0.5m, 0.8m, 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m, 10m, 15m or infinity.

Sony MVC-CD400

The CD400 features high-speed scan autofocus and a new "hologram" focusing assist device to insure properly focused pictures no matter what the light levels are. This new autofocus system was first seen on the Sony F707 and uses a Class 1 laser to paint a grid pattern on the subject and is perfectly safe, even when aimed directly at someone's eyes. I found it nearly impossible to "fool" the AF, the only out of focus pictures I ever got were when I was using the manual focus mode.

Sony MVC-CD400

The CD Mavica cameras are equipped with miniature CD-Recorder drives that write to the small 3-inch (8cm) discs with a capacity of 156MB and cost about $3.00 each (or less).

Sony MVC-CD400

The Mavica CD200, CD250, CD300 and CD400 cameras employ a new optical drive that can record to both CD-R and CD-RW (rewriteable) type 3-inch discs. The capacity is 156 megabytes per disc.

Sony MVC-CD400

The CD400 does not come with an optical viewfinder but you can add one as an optional accessory if desired. Pictured here is the DSAC-MVC, a clip-on, eyelevel finder/magnifier for the CD200, CD250, CD300 and CD400 Mavicas.

Sony MVC-CD400

It features a real optical system complete with diopter adjustment. The DSAC-MVC magnifies the LCD and makes the manual focus adjustment really useable. It sells for $79.95.

Sony MVC-CD400

The built in flash has modes for automatic, redeye reduction, forced on (fill) and disabled. It automatically "pops up" when it is needed. New for any Sony camera is a flash hot shoe that can be enabled/disabled via the Setup menu.

Sony HVL-F1000

Need more flash power? Attach an optional HVL-F1000 flash on the accessory shoe and connect it into the ACC jack on the side. Besides greater flash range the HVL-F1000 also gives you the benefits of bounce flash illumination.

Sony MVC-CD400

Located on top of the camera is the microphone, shutter release and the combination Mode Dial and Power switch. The Mode Dial has operating positions for SETUP, SCeNe (quick selection of Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape or Portrait modes), Manual, Aperture-priority, Shutter speed-priority, Program AE, Playback and Movie.

Sony MVC-CD400

Below the color LCD on the back are control buttons for: DISPLAY - turns the color LCD on/off and also controls the data overlays on the screen in record and playback. Spot - Center waited Average or Spot metering. Focus (press to activate manual focus or to change the AF area, adjust with the jog dial). Exposure compensation (like the Focus, press to activate and dial in the value with the jog dial), and the AE LOCK to hold the exposure while you re- compose your picture (resets automatically after one focus confirmation). To the far left is the ACCESS indicator which illuminates red when the camera is accessing the disc.

Sony MVC-CD400

On the back is the zoom control which serves as the index and zoomed playback control when in review mode. The Jog Dial Navigator is used to select shutter speeds, aperture values or focus options.

4-way selector switch navigates and makes selections from the menus. When the menu isn't enabled it is used for setting flash mode, enabling macro focus or self-timer mode. Pressing the 4-way to the "left" lets you to review the last picture recorded.

The MENU button enables the onscreen menu system. Next to the MENU button is the speaker for audio playback and camera sounds.

Sony MVC-CD400

The ACC jack allows connection to an optional Sony HVL-F1000 flash unit that can be mounted on the accessory shoe on top of the camera.

Behind a small hinged door on the side is the high-speed USB data port and the A / V Out port that carries both a monaural audio and video signal, the video format is user-selectable for NTSC or PAL.

Sony MVC-CD400

The battery is a Sony "M" series NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable 7.2v "battery with a brain" -- it tells you on the LCD exactly how many minutes of runtime is left. Supplied with a combination battery charger and AC power adapter (AC-L10) that plugs into the DC input jack on the back of the camera.

For faster charging out of the camera you can purchase the optional AC-VQ800 ($150) external AC charger for the NP-FM50 battery packs.

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