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The Sony Mavica MVC-FD83 Digital Camera
Last updated: 9/10/99

OPERATION.  The operation of this camera is very similar to my brother's MVC-FD7 which I had used for months.  Looking from the back, floppies are inserted on the right side.  Buttons for key functions (zoom, on-off, floppy eject, Play/Still/Movie, brightness, etc.) are logically arranged and clearly labeled on the back.  They have a nice tactile feel.  The remaining functions are set with a menu which is displayed on the LCD and controlled by the large round Control button below the right side of the LCD.  Pushing the top of the button turns on the  menu and moves vertically through menu selections which are highlighted and very well organized.  Pushing the button on the sides and at the bottom moves the highlight logically left, right, and down.  The menu can be exited by continuing to push Control button down though the menu tree to the bottom and off the screen, taking the menu with it.  Menu choices are executed by pushing the center of the button.  The only problem I had with the Control button was when I pushed on the sides of the button. It didn't always take and I attribute that to my large fingers.  Once you have learned how to use the camera, everything works logically--as one would expect--and without thinking hard about it.  Sony has done an excellent  job of ergonomic engineering.

The only real problem I had with the camera was getting the brightness level set right.  The picture would look ok when played-back on the LCD, but a good percentage of them would be dark and whites would be yellow on my computer.  With practice, this problem was mostly solved by the third day.  I may have been doing something wrong here, but I could not discover what it was in the time I had the camera.

Pictures are saved to floppies with an HTML index file.  Just open the HTML file in your browser and select a picture for viewing from the list.  The only problem with this is that pictures shot in "Standard" and "Fine" resolutions are so large that only a portion of the picture can be seen in the browser one time and one has to scroll around the picture to see all of it.  But this method is quite good for looking at pictures at remote locations and for identifying and sorting them.  The ArcSoft software, which comes with the camera, is useful for viewing pictures in their entirety and manipulating them.

Or, you can display you pictures on a TV set using the cable supplied with the camera.  You must have video/audio in jacks on the TV for this function to work.  What you see on the TV is what you would see on the LCD.  Owing to the bandwidth and resolution limitations of most TV sets, the pictures are not nearly as sharp as they appear on a PC, but this capability is useful for displaying pictures at a party, etc.

When playing back to a TV set, the LCD goes blank and the camera can actually be used by viewing the TV set as you would the LCD.  The menu, etc. is displayed on the TV set.

If the camera is set to the Still mode, live, moving pictures are displayed on the TV.  With a tripod and a PC with a video capture card, one could use the MVC-FD83 as a videoconference camera.  A separate microphone would be required for video-conferencing because the camera's internal mike is muted when it is used this way. 

NTCSC or PAL standards for TV-output can be selected in the FD83 menu.

I found I could shoot a box of 10 floppies or so with one battery charge.

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