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Design

Big, isn't it? Well, you've got to put that 8cm CD-R drive somewhere... Having said that it's not considerably bigger than the FD-91 or FD-95. But the overall package (LCD viewfinder, 10 x optical zoom lens, big battery, CD-R unit) makes the camera seem bulky. Build quality would have to fit into the average category, finished two-tone silver and dark blue plastic its got a definite video camera feel to it (origins of the 10 x lens become apparent). Having said that it feels solid enough and should be able to take more than the average knocking about (although not too much when it's busy writing out to the CD-R).

I'll be honest up front, this is a camera whose design does nothing for me (very much like the Olympus C-2100UZ) it looks like something from the 60's which hasn't had its 90's refit yet..

In your hand it feels stable, the whole of the hand grip fills your palm, a recessed thumb grip on the back helps stabilise everything. The normal right hand grip, left hand lens support feels very natural and that combined with the stablised lens system will ensure the majority of your shots will remain blur free.


LCD Display

The LCD on the rear panel (remember the whole of this panel is also the compartment door to the CD-R drive) is a big 2.5" 123,000 pixel type with great reproduction (especially colour - often images look more vivid on this display than back on your computer monitor) and a decent anti-reflective coating which makes using the screen even outside in direct sunlight a breeze. There's also a range of 32 brightness level adjustments through the setup menu.

My biggest complaint about the LCD Display (and the LCD viewfinder) was its poor frame coverage. Showing only 86% of the frame both horizontally and vertically it's difficult to compose a tight shot without capturing some detail at the edge of the picture you didn't want.

Full details of information displayed on the LCD (in record mode) are shown below:


Viewfinder

The viewfinder on the CD1000 is no ordinary beast, it uses a tiny 0.55" LCD (180,000 pixel) which displays the same image as the main rear LCD, interestingly Sony have some kind of proximity detector, the LCD does not power up until you bring your eye up to the viewfinder, and it's not that the rubber is touch sensitive as the LCD comes on even without touching the rubber.

Viewfinder from the bottom showing the small dioptric adjustment lever.

The view through the viewfinder, obviously it looks a little better than this, though I'm still not convinced by LCD viewfinders they're certainly a quantum leap from the tiny things found on other digital cameras.

Again, because the viewfinder uses the same live video feed as the LCD display it also suffers from a display of just 86% of the frame.


Battery Compartment

The battery compartment is located in the based of the hand grip, as we've come to expect from Sony they've used their standard metal hinge mechanism to ensure durability (how many digital cameras have we reviewed with badly designed compartment doors?).

Not that you'll need to take the battery out very often as it charges in-camera.

 

 


Battery & Charger

The CD1000 takes Sony's own NP-F550 InfoLithium (Lithium-Ion) rechargeable battery. Rated at 7.2V 10.8Wh (or 1500mAh if that makes more sense to you).

The battery is rated to last around 2 hours of normal shooting (with the either LCD on).

The supplied charger plugs into the hand grip (right) side of the camera and charges the battery directly, power light indicates charging and goes off when the battery is fully charged (full charge can take up to 3.5 hours).


CD-R Compartment

As I mentioned earlier the whole of the back panel swings open to reveal the CD-R compartment, the 8cm CD-R's mount directly onto a sprung "gripping spindle".

Sony's choice of using 8cm CD-R's was an interesting one, given the existing size of the FD-95 adding a CD-R mechanism has only added about 1 inch to the total length of the camera. It remains to be seen how well the idea of CD-R in a digital camera is accepted.

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