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CD-R/RW Disc use

Because the CD200 uses CD-R/RW discs instead of flash memory a couple of extra steps are required to prepare the discs both for use in the camera and so that they can be read on a standard computer CD-ROM (CD-R/RW drive required to read CD-RW discs). Optionally you can connect using the USB cable and supplied drivers, which, in combination with Adaptec Direct CD (supplied) allow you to read discs without finalizing them (or even write to CD-RW discs).

Each of these steps require you to have the camera placed on a level surface without any vibration. Timings for each step are detailed below the description.

CD-R/RW: Before you can use a CD-R/RW disc it must be "Initialized", this writes basic header information onto the CD-R so that the camera can recognise it and begin to write a file table when images are saved.

CD-R/RW: Before you can read a CD-R/RW disc in a CD-ROM (or CD-R/RW drive for CD-RW discs) you must finalize it, this completes the file table so that your computer understands it. Finalising a CD-R uses up some of its storage so it's only recommended to finalize once the disc is full.

CD-RW only: In order to write to a CD-RW after it's been finalized the camera will automatically prompt you to unfinalize it, this restores the space used by the finalize process.

CD-RW only: Because CD-RW discs are "Read/Write" they can be completely erased, selecting the FORMAT option (from the SETUP menu) completely erases the contents of the CD-RW so it can be used again afresh. (Quicker: you can just "Delete ALL" images from the thumbnail view menu in playback mode)

Disc Action Timings

  8 cm 156 MB CD-R 8 cm 156 MB CD-RW
Initialize 14 secs 35 secs
Finalize 1 min 11 secs 1 min 30 secs
Unfinalize n/a 1 min 20 secs
Format n/a 5 min 35 secs


Top of camera controls

Top of the camera is pretty straightforward, same exposure dial which we first saw on the DSC-S75, same well designed power switch. Directly in front of this is the shutter release button I found to be a little "on/off" with less feel than some cameras. All of the exposure dial settings are described in more detail below:

Exposure / Camera Mode Dial

Movie Mode

Bad news, good news. Because of the slower speed of the CD-R/RW mechanism the CD200 doesn't feature the new MPEG EX recording mode (where you can record an clip only limited by storage space). This means that MPEG clips are limited to the size of the cameras internal buffer space. However, because the CD200 does use the new lower bitrate "normal MPEG" modes it can fit longer clips into its buffer before it needs to write them away. Maximum record times (with audio):

    • 320 x 240 HQ - 15 seconds
    • 320 x 240 Normal - 1 minute
    • 160 x 112 Normal - 4 minutes

Playback

Enters playback mode, this displays the last image/movie recorded. Cursor arrows or jog-wheel can be used to scroll through images (other functions described later).
Program Auto Exposure

Automatic exposure mode, camera meters the scene and selects best combination of aperture and shutter speed (and ISO if set to Auto) to properly expose the image. Additionally you can compensate the exposure by either +/-2.0EV in 0.3 EV steps.
S

Shutter Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will attempt to select the best aperture for a proper exposure. Shutter speed is displayed on the LCD, click once then roll the jog-dial to select different shutter speeds. As you change the shutter speed the cameras exposure system recalculates and displays the appropriate aperture, there is no warning if the exposure is outside the camera's exposure range. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. Available shutter speeds (40 total):

1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 secs

A

Aperture Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will attempt to select the best shutter speed for a proper exposure. Aperture is displayed on the LCD, click once then roll the jog-dial to select different apertures. As you change the aperture the cameras exposure system recalculates and displays the appropriate shutter speed, there is no warning if the exposure is outside the camera's exposure range. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. Available apertures:

Wide: F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
Tele: F2.9, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0

M Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Use the jog-dial to switch between shutter speed or aperture, click then roll it again to change the value. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. The exposure compensation readout now displays the difference between the selected exposure and the metered exposure up to a maximum of +/-2.0 EV.
SCN

Special Scene Exposure

"Scene Exposure mode" is set through the SETUP menu, you can choose from three exposure modes which preset certain camera settings to ensure the best possible exposure in those scene modes:

    • Twilight (low light shots, long exposures)
    • Landscape (focus locked to infinity, small apertures, flash cancel)
    • Portrait (large apertures)

SET
UP
Setup

Enters camera setup mode (described in more detail later). Having a distinct setup mode is a new thing to Sony digital cameras, a welcome change, it gets away from overloaded exposure menus.

Good to see the CD200 is just as "photographer friendly" as the CD300/S75, a good selection of exposure options means that the photographer has complete control over manual exposures.

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