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Design

Looking like a "stretched" version of the DSC-S75 (though notably not champagne coloured) there are lots of similarities, the mode dial and rear controls are identical, as is the lens and hand grip rubber, also making an appearance is the new jog-dial which looks as though it'll become a standard feature on Sony digital cameras from now onwards. Obviously far bigger than a typical compact digital camera it is smaller than some of the older floppy disc Mavica's and is about as small as you could expect a digital camera with a CD-R/RW transport.

The flash hot-shoe, without any connections is designed to take Sony's HVL-F1000 external flash which must be connected to the camera via a cable to the "ACC" connector on the side of the camera.

For my tastes my first gripe was with the hand grip, while sufficient on the smaller, lighter S75 the hand grip doesn't feel substantial enough on this larger, heavier camera (heavier by almost 200g; 7 oz). Otherwise the rest of the design is logical enough, without a viewfinder the top edge of the camera is now dotted with buttons and the large DISPLAY button which controls the sunlight LCD is perfectly located for your left thumb.

As with most Sony products the CD300 has a quality feel with no creaks or rattles, it solid and all the controls have a good responsive, satisfying feel.


Main LCD Display

The main LCD found on the CD300 is the same size (2.5") and pixel count (123,000 pixel) as the CD1000 however it now is of the Hybrid type, that is it has a clear window in the top which diffuses sunlight into the screen allowing you to turn off the backlight and thus save battery life.

Good news too is that the LCD live view provides 99% frame cover which means whatever you frame on the screen (edge to edge) will be what you get in the final image.

If you miss the viewfinder Sony now have a new adapter (product name DSAC-MVC) it's a clip-on eye-level finder/magnifier for the LCD. Has a real optical system with diopter adjustment. Expected retail price is $80.


Battery Compartment

The battery compartment on the CD300 is in the hand grip, the access door (another well built metal spring hinged component) is found in the base and contains one of Sony's truly impressive InfoLithium NP-FM50 batteries (the same as used in the S70/S75), this provides a huge 1200mAh at 7.2V (8.5Wh) which translates into nearly 2 hours of non-stop shooting (mixed use of the LCD). The battery charges in-camera, simply connect the provided charger/AC adapter to the camera's DC-IN connector and the small yellow charge light on the rear of the camera will glow while the battery is charging (it goes out once the battery is fully charged).


Connections

On the left side of the camera we find a solid plastic door with a rubber hinge (boo, hiss) and behind which lurk the mini-USB connector and AV output terminal, just above the door is the ACC connector for connection to a proprietary Sony accessory (such as the HV-FL1000 flash unit).

On the bottom right corner of the camera is the DC-IN connector for connection to the provided AC adapter / charger. Again Sony chose to use an all rubber door with a rubber hinge, not my favourite and not likely to last well.


CD compartment

The CD300's CD compartment is implemented in much the same way as on the CD1000 (the first CD-R digital camera), about three quarters of the back of the camera actually hinges open to reveal the CD mechanism, the sprung spindle grips the 8cm CD-R's. To change discs simply clip a in new one and close the door. Once more kudos to Sony for making this simple but implementing it in a high quality manner, the hinges themselves are strong and smooth and should provide years of trouble free use.

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