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Sony MVC-CD300 Review

February 2001 | By Phil Askey

Review based on a pre-production MVC-CD300

Welcome to Sony's latest, a three megapixel, three times zoom digital camera which writes images directly to 8 cm CD-R (or CD-RW). Building on the strength of the Mavica name this is the first Mavica with resolution greater than two megapixels it's also just one of two new CD Mavica's, the other named the CD200 is virtually identical apart from only have 2.1 megapixels of resolution.

The CD300 writes its images directly to 156 MB (8 cm) CD-R or (and this is new) 156 MB (8 cm) CD-RW. The ability to use CD-RW gives you the option to erase the contents of (format) the CD and start again, obviously CD-RW discs are more expensive than CD-R but now at least you have the option to choose. The other dilemma with CD-RW is that only CD-R/CD-RW drives can read them, finalised CD-R's from this camera can be read in any computer CD-ROM drive.

So what's the downside? Well, the camera is big, considerably larger than similar Cybershot (DSC series) digital cameras and the weigh a little more, battery life is less for the same size battery but other than that you're simply writing directly to CD rather than Memory Stick.

The CD Mavica Family

For some time now Sony have maintained and updated the Mavica range, indeed they just recently announced four new Mavica's at PMA 2001. The introduction of these two new "CD Mavica" expands this new range of digital camera which write directly to 8 cm CD-R (and now CD-RW). In the conclusion of my CD1000 review I rather candidly remarked "It'll be interesting to see how many more products Sony release using mini CD-R."... Well, they have and it's obvious now that Sony see 8cm CD-R/RW as a future storage option for digital cameras.

Left to right: MVC-CD300, MVC-CD200 and MVC-CD1000

Isn't the CD300 just a DSC-S75 with a CD-R/RW drive?

Essentially, yes, the CD300 has the same "Carl Zeiss" 3x zoom lens and the same 3.34 megapixel sensor, diving into the menus they look almost identical to the S75 (there are even some new features) and the control layout, even the mode dial is exactly the same.

What's different about the CD300: (vs. the S75)

  • No viewfinder
  • Pop-up flash instead of fixed flash
  • 2.5" Hybrid LCD (sunlight / backlit) vs. S75's 1.8" LCD
  • No status LCD display
  • Auto Bracketing feature
  • Burst mode can take 3 frames vs. S75's 2 frames
  • CD-R/RW storage vs. MemoryStick
  • No MPEG EX

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Canon EOS-D30, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 960 x 720 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Adobe Gamma at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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