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