Toshiba PDR-M81 Review

Steve's Digicams

Toshiba PDR-M81

Review posted 6/20/01

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the PDR-M81

The compact and lightweight Toshiba PDR-M81 is equipped with a 4.2 million-pixel CCD sensor that captures still images in JPEG format up to 2400 x 1600 pixels in size. It features a newly redesigned Canon 2.8x optical F2.9 zoom lens with a 2.2X digital zoom. The lens has a macro mode for photographing subjects as close as two inches away.

The PDR-M81's automatic settings take the guesswork out of digital photography and allow new users to experience the fun and satisfaction of being a digital photographer just minutes after taking the camera out of the box. In addition to the convenience of automatic operation, the PDR-M81 comes equipped with manual features too. Selectable white balance setting, full manual exposure control of shutter speed and aperture. There is also aperture priority and shutter speed priority AE modes, burst shot mode and selectable ISO settings. The built-in flash system has five modes to choose from including slow-sync for artistic photography involving moving or low light subjects.

The PDR-M81 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 video 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.

The PDR-M81 features automatic playback of images on its LCD so users can view and select which pictures they want to keep or erase, a process that is made easier by a digital 2X zoom that lets users zero in on areas within a specific picture. Other playback options include a multi-frame playback for viewing up to 9 images at once, an automatic slideshow, exposure data and a histogram display.

The PDR-M81 was recently lowered (1/11/02) to an incredible $499 !

PDR-M81 Features at a Glance:

  • 4.2-megapixel CCD for up to 2400 x 1600 images
  • 2.8X (35-100mm) optical Canon F2.9 zoom lens
  • 1.5" TFT color LCD
  • Small, compact and lightweight
  • Built in 5-mode flash
  • AVI movie 320x240, 15fps w/audio, up to 3 minutes of recording
  • Automatic exposure, Aperture and Shutter speed priority, full Manual
  • Playback includes exposure data and histogram display
  • ISO sensitivity of 100, 200 or 400
  • 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-M81

Toshiba PDR-M81

Toshiba PDR-M81

Toshiba PDR-M81Toshiba PDR-M81

Toshiba PDR-M81

Toshiba PDR-M81 and the Epson PhotoPC 3100Z for size comparison.

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Toshiba PDR-M81 Specifications

CCD Sensor 1/1.8 inch 4.2 million pixels
Image Resolutions 2400 x 1600, 1200 x 800, 720 x 480
Lens Canon® F2.9-F4.8, 7 elements in 5 groups, f=7.25 to 20.3mm (equivalent to 35-100mm on a 35mm camera), all glass lens Zoom 2.8X Optical, 2.2X Digital
Auto-Focus Range Normal mode: 8ft to infinity, Macro mode: 0.33ft (wide), 0.83ft (tele) to infinity.
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
Recording Modes Single, MULTI (16 continuous), Bulb Mode
Movie Mode AVI Video Recording with Audio, Max 3 minutes @ 15fps
Built-in Flash Adjusting range 2.67 ft to 10 ft (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 (490 x 240 pixels)
Storage Media Supports SmartMedia 3v 2MB to 128MB, ships with 8MB
Storage (per 32MB) 20 images @ 2400 x 1600, 31 images @ 1200 x 800, 62 images @ 720 x 480
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, Weight without batteries: 8.5 oz.
System Requirements Windows: 98/Me/2000. Macintosh: System 9 or higher

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