Big CD-R Storage, Improved Digital Pictures

SAN FRANCISCO (07/26/2000) - Kiss floppies good-bye with Sony Corp.'s new Mavica, the first digital camera that saves images to CD-Recordable discs. This allows users to permanently record far more photos and video clips, and the larger file sizes significantly improved image quality.

I tested a preshipping unit of the Mavica MVC-CD1000 digital still camera, whose 2.1-megapixel CCD yields a maximum resolution of 1600 by 1200. The camera can capture stills, videos, and sound clips. You can save still images as compressed JPEG or, for better quality, as uncompressed TIFF files.

Placing the 3-inch, 156-megabyte CD-R into a door at the Mavica's back is as easy as inserting a floppy in earlier models. You must initialize each disc before use, then finalize it after shooting finishes so it can be read. Also, you can't reuse the discs; when one fills up, you must start another one. But this is a convenient way to store permanent image files. Image quality is very good, and most CD-ROM and DVD drives can easily read the discs.

Although larger than many digital cameras, the US$1300 Mavica is surprisingly light and easy to handle. It has a 10X optical zoom lens, plus Steady Shot--a built-in image stabilizer that eliminates most blurs from unsteady operation.

The buttons and controls are logically placed and well marked, and navigating the ordered menus is relatively simple. While I found the Mavica innovative, it is large and relatively costly--more suitable for businesses than for personal use.

--Daniel Grotta

Mavica MVC-CD1000

PRO: Saves to CD-R discs, good image quality, relatively easy to use.

CON: Expensive, large, long recycling times when saving TIFF files.

VALUE: Many business applications; too pricey for family use.

Street price: $1300



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