Sony Mavica FD-91 review
Overall I've been super impressed with the results from this camera. It makes use of an HTML index of all photos or video recorded on a floppy diskette. The floppy disk as storage is one of the primary attractions in terms of getting digital images to the computer. It is also its greatest weakness. In the RAW image format (TIFF), the Mavica can store (1) image on a diskette. With a "fine" setting you will likely get storage of 20-22 JPEG compressed images on a single 1.4 MB diskette. Being a MAC and PC user I was very concerned about the PC format required for the floppy diskettes. But, I know most modern Power MAC's can format or read a diskette from a PC. The format of the photos (JPEG) is universal across most all platforms. The digital video output is limited to 60 seconds at the most modest resolution setting (approx 180 X 240 pixels.) Video output can be edited or viewed by Quicktime Pro for MAC or any MPEG-2-able video editor on the PC. The other setting for still photos will give the photographer a wide range of resolution choices for uses like e-mail or still photos with short accompanying sound tracks (also in MPEG-2.) As a professional photographer, I've been very happy with the photo-quality output from a variety of color printers (Apple and Epson). There are distinct limitations due to the .8 megapixel resolution, which really doesn't allow for much of an enlargement over 8" X 10". On top of that, your original image needs to be exposed correctly and should not require a lot of digital filtration or cleanup once it reaches the computer. The best original yields the best results. On the whole, I've found the results to be a little below my desire for better output and higher resolution. This camera has maintained an excellent price resale level as a used camera, and the optical 14X zoom is one of the best around with top notch optical quality. The next model up with a Zeiss lens sells for several hundred dollars more and may be justified with Zeiss-quality optics and the option for Sony memory for storage in addition to the diskette. This camera does require a little setup to use, it is not a point and shoot camera. There's a white color balance option based on evaluating the hue of the incoming light through the white translucent lens cap- don't lose the lens cap! Overall this is one of the best digital cameras I've used in terms of color rendering. Perhaps one of its' strongest features is the camera's ability to achieve very life-like color and it does so without much muss and fuss. The Mavica FD-91 handles close-ups extremely well, even with the built-in flash. I found it lacking only in it's inability to trip an external flash unit with a hot shoe or synch plug. You have to rely on the built-in flash as the main light source and this becomes a real drain on the battery. By the way, purchase a couple of optional Lithium batteries; the NP-F550 is Sony's longest charged battery for this model to date. I also recommend getting a camera case for this model as a plastic, Kevlar reinforced body is no substitute for a bomb-proof metal body at half the weight. Without breaking the bank, this would have been considered as one of the nicer buy-ins of digital image creation technology. But, according to current standards (2004) it is considered expensive and lacking in the higher resolution that current cameras 1/5th of the price now incorporate. Currently, I could only recommend it for purchase as a used camera, provided you could get it for about a third of the orginal price when sold new.
No hotshoe or flash sync plug.
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