We tested a Mavica MVC-CD1000 digital still camera, whose 2.1-mega-pixel CCD yields a maximum resolution of 1600x1200. The camera can capture stills, short videos of up to 15 seconds, and sound clips. You can save still images as compressed JPEGs or, for better quality, as uncompressed TIFF files.
Placing the 8cm diameter, 156MB CD-R into a door at the Mavica's back is as easy as inserting a floppy in earlier models. You must initialise each disc before use, then finalise it after shooting finishes so it can be read in computers. Also, you can't reuse the discs; when one fills up, you 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. Sony estimates that the discs will cost $8 each, but since they can be made by any company that produces recordable CDs, the price may well fall as competition swings into action.
Although large at 20cm long, the $2999 Mavica is surprisingly light and easy to handle, though its balance could be improved. It has a 10X optical zoom lens, plus Steady Shot, a built-in image stabiliser that eliminates most blurs resulting from unsteady operation. The buttons and controls are logically placed and well marked, and navigating the ordered menus is relatively simple.
The camera lived up to its promise, with a number of PC World staff proving able to take good photos without recourse to the instructions. The Mavica's bulky body houses some good components, delivering excellent picture quality in a variety of conditions.
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