Sony Mavica CD400 Review

Steve's Digicams

Sony Mavica CD400

First Look posted 2/20/2002
Full Review posted 07/05/2002

Introduction & Physical Views

Click on the CD400 to take a QuickTime VR tour

Last year Sony introduced two Mavica CD-based cameras, the CD200 and the CD300. These were the first digital cameras to incorporate a CD-RW drive for image storage. For 2002 Sony is introducing two new compact cameras using rewriteable CD drives, the CD250 and the more advanced CD400. Both cameras share the new MPEG HQX Movie mode that records QVGA resolution video with audio at 16fps and the length of the video clip is limited only by available storage space. There's also a three-shot burst mode for taking photos in rapid succession and multi-point auto focus to allow the camera to automatically find the best focus among three different areas within the picture. The CD400 expands this by automatically or manually selecting the best focus from five separate parts of the picture.

The Mavica CD400 employs a high-resolution 4.0 megapixel (effective) CCD imager that captures still images at up 2272x1704 pixels and a sharp and fast f2.0 Carl Zeiss 3x optical zoom lens. It features the Hologram AF focusing system first introduced with the Cyber-shot F707, a Sony- exclusive laser focusing system designed to achieve accurate focus on subjects with little contrast, even in dark conditions.

The CD400 gives you complete control over the photographic process with a choice of exposure modes; Program AE including four Scene modes, aperture and shutter priority and full manual. There is also the advantage of exposure bracketing and the addition of a standard flash hot shoe for connectivity with a wide range of external flash options. Allowing the camera to more accurately calculate exposure, Sony's pre-flash exposure metering actually calculates exposure with light from the flash itself. To provide accurate exposure in uneven lighting, multi-pattern metering divides the scene into a matrix of 49 separate cells, each of which can be metered independently.

Sony MVC-CD400

Maximizing the benefits of writable CD photography, Sony's new CD400 Mavica digital still camera incorporates focus, exposure and archiving features that help make every picture worth keeping. CompactDiscs are easy-to-use, long-lasting, and allow instant archiving of pictures - a lot of pictures. The CD250 Mavica comes with a a media pack of six CD-Rs and one CD-RW disc, giving the user over one gigabyte of available storage.

MVC-CD400 Features at a Glance:

  • 4.0 Megapixel Sony Super HAD CCD imager
  • Carl Zeiss 3x optical (34-102mm) F2.0 lens
  • 5 area AF w/user selectable AF point
  • MultiPoint AF and 13-step manual focus
  • Class 1 laser hologram AF assist for low light
  • Multi Pattern, Center-weighted or Spot metering
  • 8cm (3-inch) CD-R / CD-RW storage, 156MB per disc
  • Program AE, Shutter priority, Aperture priority or Manual
  • Slow shutter speed Noise Reduction
  • 4 Scene modes: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Portrait
  • 2-1/2 inch, 123,000 pixel color LCD w/solar assist
  • Compressed JPEG or TIFF image storage
  • MPEG HQX movie mode, 320x240 @ 16fps w/audio, unlimited length
  • 3-frame Burst mode at 2fps
  • White balance - 5 presets plus custom one-push
  • Hot shoe flash (a first for Sony!)
  • Optional HVL-F1000 external flash
  • Sony InfoLITHIUM NP-FM50 rechargeable battery

The Sony MVC-CD400 will be available in May for a suggested retail price of $899.

Physical Views

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony MVC-CD400

Sony CD400 and CD250

The 4-megapixel MVC-CD400 and the 2-megapixel MVC-CD250.

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Page Two

MVC-CD400 Specifications

Imager 1/1.8" 4.0 Megapixel (effective) Super HAD CCD
Image Sizes Still Image:
2272x1704, 2272x1525(3:2), 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480

MPEG: 320x240 and 160x120

MultiBurst: 16-320x240 frames as 1280x960 image

ClipMotion GIF: Up to ten 160x120 or 80x72 frames
Recording Formats Still: JPEG, TIFF, GIF
Movie: MPEG HQX (320x240 @ 16fps w/audio)
MPEG standard (320x240 or 160x112 w/audio)
Image Storage 8cm (3-inch) CD-R or CD-RW 156MB discs
A/D Conversion 14-bit DXP
Lens Carl Zeiss 3X F2-2.5 7-21mm (34-102mm 35mm equiv)
52mm lens adapter (optional)
Focus Contrast Detect w/Hologram AF assist
5-Area AF w/user selectable AF point
Selectable wide or narrow AF point
Autofocus 19.7" to infinity
Macro AF 1.6" minimum
13-step Manual focus
ISO Sensitivity Auto (100-400) or fixed 100, 200, 400
White Balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, Incandescent, Fluorescent, One-Push Custom
Exposure Metering MultiPoint, Center-weighted Averaging or Spot
Shutter Priority Range 1 sec to 1/1000 sec in 31 steps
Aperture Priority Range F2.0 - 8.0 in 13 steps
Manual Exposure Yes, with EV indicator
F2.0 - 8.0 aperture in 13 steps
8 sec to 1/1000 sec shutter speeds
(Noise Reduction with 8 sec to 1/2 sec)
Program AE Auto plus Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape or Portrait
Burst Mode 3 frames at 2fps
Confirm Before Write User selectable
Noise Reduction Automatic at 1/2 sec or slower
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Image Sharpening +/- 2 in 1 step increments
Flash Modes Auto, Forced, Redeye, Off
Flash Level Adjustment Auto, High, Low
Flash Range 1 to 16.4 feet
External Flash Optional HVL-F1000 via ACC port plus a
Standard ISO Hot Shoe flash
Color LCD 2.5-inch 123,000 pixels TFT w/backlight
and solar-assist window
Eyelevel Viewfinder DSAC-MVC (optional)
Playback Zoom 1.1 to 5X in 17 steps
Playback Index 9 frames, 3 frames w/exposure info
Review / Quick Delete Yes / Yes
Trimming / Resizing Yes / Yes
MPEG 6X Cue/Review Yes, EX or HQX
Connections Video/Audio, USB, AC power, ACC port
Battery Supplied InfoLITHIUM NP-FM50
w/AC-L10 charger & AC supply
Supplied Software Pixel ImageMixer 1.0, Sony SPVD-004 USB driver
Dimensions 5-7/16 x 3-3/4 x 4 inches
136 x 95 x 101mm
Weight (w/out battery) 1lb 7.3oz (638 g)
Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.

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Page Two

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