Steve's Digicams

Sony Mavica FD-91

User Review


Sony Mavica FD-91

This is the Sony Mavica FD-91, it has a 850,000-pixel progressive scan CCD that yields 1024x768 images. The first thing you notice is that huge 14X zoom lens. This is the longest focal length lens available on any digital camera.

The other feature that makes this camera unique is that it stores its images on 1.44MB floppy diskettes. You may not be able to get a lot of images on each diskette but you can't beat the ease of transferring them to your computer.   It also has both a 2.5" color LCD and a color viewfinder for framing or reviewing your pictures.

You can let the FD-91 run in automatic exposure mode or for creative control you can switch it into either shutter priority or aperture priority mode. Choose any shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/4000 of a second and freeze even the fastest-moving subjects easily.

The FD-91 is but one model in a long line of Mavica cameras that started with the original FD-5 and FD-7 models. They all share one thing in common, the floppy diskette drive. Some of the newer models like the FD-83 (1216x912) and FD-88 (1280x960) have finally broken the megapixel resolution barrier. The FD-91 has a 2X speed floppy drive, the FD-83 and FD-88 have 4X speed floppy drives.

In addition to capturing still JPEG images the MVC-FD91 also captures up to 60 seconds of MPEG video and audio. There's two settings: Presentation Mode, up to 15 sec. (320 x 240) and Video Mail Mode, up to 60 sec. (160 x 112).

Jump to the FD-91 specifications.

Sony Mavica FD-91

Most of the controls are located on the back of the camera and are clearly marked as to what their functions are. Image size and resolution is set from the onscreen menu system. I can't show them to you like I usually do in my reviews because the FD-91 does not have a Video Out option.

Sony Mavica FD-91

The only things on the bottom are a metal tripod socket and the battery access door. When mounted on a regular tripod the camera does not need to be removed to change the battery.

Sony Mavica FD-91

Looking at the camera from this side you'd probably figure that it's going to take a rocket scientist to operate.  It's really very easy and most of the time the only control you'll use here is the zoom lens lever.

Sony Mavica FD-91

This is what makes the Mavica cameras so popular, images are stored on regular 1.44MB floppy diskettes. Immediately after taking pictures all you do is pop it into your floppy drive and view the pictures. No fancy card reader or special software is required, the images are standard JPG format.

Sony Mavica FD-91

And this is what no Mavica owner wants to see -- the dreaded "Disk Error C:13:xx" message.  It means either a drive or diskette problem exists, in my case all I had to do was reformat the floppy disk.

Continue on to
Page Two

FD-91 Specifications

Sensor Resolution (Pixels) 786,432 pixels, 1/3 inch
Image Dimensions 1024 x 768, 640 x 480
Compression Levels Fine, Normal (uncompressed in 640x480 only)
Sensitivity - ASA/ISO equivalent rating 100
Lens Type Glass
Lens - Focal Length (35mm equivalents) 37-518 mm
Lens - Aperture Range f1.8-f/3.2 to f/11.0
Filter Threads 52mm
Shutter Speed Range 1/60 to 1/4,000
Exposure TTL, Automatic
Exposure Compensation +/- 1.5EV, 0.5EV steps
Self-Timer 10 seconds
Focus TTL Automatic, or manual with focus indicator
Focus Range 0.5 in (1cm) to infinity (wide angle) Tele to 3ft (1.0m) minimum distance
Macro Range No separate macro option, lens focuses to 1cm in wide-angle mode
Storage Removable Floppy Disk (1.44 MB)
Image Capacity 1-25
File Format(s) JPEG, BMP
Image Capture Cycle Time, secs (High/Low Res) 5.5/4.35
Image Download Time, secs @115K baud ("HQ" image mode) ~10 seconds for 160K image file, ~16KB/second
Flash Range 19 inches - 8.3 feet (0.5 - 2.5m)
Flash Modes Auto, On, Off
Viewfinder "Optical" (internal LCD), LCD
LCD Screen 2.5" (64mm), 84,260 pixels
Video Out none
Special Features MPEG video recording to 15 seconds, unusually long-ratio zoom lens
Power Sony InfoLITHIUM battery, included charger/AC adapter
Usable Battery Types InfoLITHIUM(tm) only
Size 5.6 x 4.1 x 6.5 inches (139.8 x 103 x 162 mm)
Weight 15 ounces (435g) w/o batteries
Software MGI PhotoSuite
Optional Accessories Add'l batteries

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