Toshiba PDR-M71 Review

Steve's Digicams

Toshiba PDR-M71

Review posted 9/21/01

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The PDR-M71 has a 3.2-megapixel imager with 2048 x 1536 resolution and the same advanced feature set as competitive digital cameras retailing for hundreds of dollars more. It's an ideal first digital camera or upgrade for users at all levels. Surprisingly lightweight (8.5 oz) and compact, the sporty PDR-M71 is a breeze to take along anywhere, whether it's a business trip, a ball game or a family picnic. Its fashionable all-black exterior makes a striking impression, while the ergonomic design fits easily in the palm of the user's hand.

The affordable PDR-M71 employs a Canon all-glass 2.8x optical zoom (35-98mm in 35mm) lens with macro, built-in five mode flash system with red-eye reduction; AVI movie/audio recording; SmartMedia storage; a full range of shooting modes and options; USB connectivity; and enhanced signal processing technology for fast, continuous shooting and quick operation.

The PDR-M71 is intuitively easy to understand. Its control dial and zoom are set so that they can be manipulated with either a thumb or index finger. Each function of the camera is clearly indicated on the control dial with an icon. In fully automatic mode the PDR-M71 focuses and adjusts its settings for perfect pictures every time. For the advanced shooter seeking greater flexibility, the camera has manual controls including Program AE, Full Manual (shutter and aperture), Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, ISO sensitivity (100/200/400), flash (auto, red-eye, forced, slow sync, force off), white balance, and exposure compensation. Unique to "affordable" digital cameras, the PDR-M71 also has a histogram function that enables photographers to check the distribution of brightness levels on the LCD once a picture is taken.

Toshiba PDR-M71

In addition to the automatic and manual settings, photographers choose the resolution (2048x1536, 1024x768, 640x480) and the JPEG format compression (fine, normal, basic). In addition to taking outstanding still images, the camera has an AVI movie mode that lets users film up to three minutes of video at 160 x 120 resolution (15 fps), or 60 seconds at 320 x 240 (15 fps). Sound can be recorded during the filming by using the camera's built-in microphone. When the video is finished it can be viewed on a computer monitor, a television (NTSC/PAL), or on the camera's 1.5-inch polysilicon color LCD.

Accessories included are: an 8MB SmartMedia card, a USB cable for fast downloading of images, serial cable, wrist strap, protective lens cap, a soft carrying case, and a CD-ROM containing a USB driver and Sierra Imaging's popular ImageExpert® software for managing, editing and accessing images. The camera is Windows® (98/2000/NT) and Macintosh® (OS 9+) compatible. Four AA-sized batteries power it.

PDR-M71 Features at a Glance:

  • 3.2-megapixel CCD
  • Image sizes: 2048x1536, 1024x768 or 640x480
  • Three JPEG quality levels (fine, normal, basic)
  • 2.8X (35-98mm) optical Canon F2.9 zoom lens
  • 1.5" color LCD, polysilicon TFT (490x240 pixels)
  • Small, compact and lightweight
  • Builtin 5-mode flash (auto, red-eye, forced, slow sync, force off)
  • AVI movie 320x240, 15fps w/audio, up to 60 secs of recording
  • Automatic exposure, Aperture and Shutter speed priority, full Manual
  • Mechanical shutter 1/2 to 1/1000 sec (up to 15 secs in Manual)
  • Playback includes exposure data and histogram display
  • ISO sensitivity of 100, 200 or 400
  • White balance: Auto, Outdoor, Cloudy, Incandescent, Flourescent I and 2
  • Video output format user-selectable NTSC or PAL
  • SmartMedia storage, 8MB included, compatible up to 128MB
  • High-speed USB port for PC/Windows and Macintosh
  • Powered by standard AA type batteries

Physical Views

Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71

Toshiba PDR-M71 and the palm-sized Nikon Coolpix 885 for comparison.

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Toshiba PDR-M71 Specifications

CCD Sensor 1/1.8 inch 3.37 million pixels (total)
3.0 million pixels effective
Image Resolutions 2048 x 1536 (FULL)
1024 x 768 (HALF)
640 x 480 (SMALL)
Lens Canon® F2.9-F4.8, 7 elements in 5 groups, f=7.25 to 20.3mm (equivalent to 35-98mm on a 35mm camera), all glass lens Zoom 2.8X Optical, 2.2X Digital
Auto-Focus TTL contrast detection
Auto-Focus Range Normal mode: 31 in. to infinity
Macro mode: 4 in. to infinity (wide)
10 in. to infinity (tele).
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.1), DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compliant
Image Quality Fine, Normal or Basic
Burst Shot 1.25 Frame Per Second
Exposure Control Program AE, Full Manual (shutter & aperture), Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Exposure Comp ( +/-2.0 at 0.5 EV)
White Balance Auto, Outdoor, Cloudy, Incandescent, Flourescent I and 2
Sensitivity Equivalent to ISO 100/200/400
Shutter Mechanical shutter 1/2 to 1/1000 sec
Maximum of 15 seconds for extended exposures
Aperture F2.9 to F8 automatic or manual selection
Recording Modes Single, MULTI (16 continuous), Bulb Mode
Movie Mode AVI Video Recording with Audio
160 x 120, Max 3 minutes @ 15fps
320 x 240, Max of 60 secs. @ 15fps
Fine, Normal or Basic quality possible
Built-in Flash Adjusting range 2.6 ft to 9.8 ft Wideangle, ISO 2x
(Auto, Red-Eye, Forced, Slow Sync, OFF)
Video Interface Provides NTSC and PAL video output signal
Microphone Built in
LCD Monitor 1.5" color LCD monitor. Polysilicon TFT
117,600 pixels (490 x 240 resolution)
Storage Media Supports SmartMedia 3v 2MB to 128MB, ships with 8MB
Optical Viewfinder Real-image optical viewfinder
Status Display User selectable controls and LCD status display
Self Timer 10 or 2 seconds
Tripod Mount Built-In
Data Communication Interface USB
Power Includes four AA Alkaline batteries. Accepts four AA sized batteries (alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd and NiMH). Optional AC adapter, rechargeable batteries and charger.
Software on CD-ROM Sierra Imaging Image Expert, USB Storage Driver
Camera Dimensions and Weight Dimensions (W x H x D)
107mm x 71mm x 47mm
4.2" x 2.8" x 1.8"
Weight without batteries: 8.5 oz.
System Requirements Windows: 98/Me/2000. Macintosh: System 9 or higher

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