Sony Mavica FD-100 review
I use the FD-100 at work (supplied by my employer), so I can give a fair representation of how this camera reacts to diverse use in a work-a-day environment. Also, at one time, I had an FD-90 for my personal use. It developed the same problem with the floppy and is now useless. We use hundreds of the FD-100s. As a fleet, they react pretty well. I don't recall anyone ever having a problem with the lens zoom mechanism, or any of the control buttons. The case is solid, but the LED screen is exposed to danger with no protective device whatsoever. The FD-100 has a button to adjust various auto-focus modes; no manual focus. An optional clip-on optical device simulates TTL viewing, but why bother since there is no manual focus? Sony could have used this on the FD-90 which did have manual focus, but no way to use it. Very poor planning on Sony's part. Features? A button to control flash: force flash, no flash, red-eye and auto-flash. A focus button: macro, .5 meters, 1 m, 3, 7, infinity, auto. A program button: various program modes for low- or night-light, backlight, and center weighted auto exposure. All these (somewhat limited) features work very well. Focus is usually sharp, colors reasonably true (contrast is perhaps a little on the drab side). Other features such as solarize, sepia, b&w, negative, time/date are easy to set. The 3x lens (plus 2x digital) is nothing to write home about. Still, if this camera were selling for around $100, I would recommend it highly for beginners or fleet-use (using the memory stick, NOT the floppy).
Problems encountered? Major! The floppy drive is NOT stable in a rough-use environment. I have had three floppies give up the ghost, one in my FD-90 and two in the FD-100. In the FD-90, that was the end of the camera, since there is no way to use a memory stick except through the floppy adapter (another Sony oversight--or just lack of attention). Months after the floppy drive died on my current FD-100, I am happily using it with the memory stick. The memory stick is much faster than the floppy, both in shooting and reviewing pictures. However, whereas the floppy will record a jpeg picture in about 40kb for emailing, the 'fine' setting of the magic stick requires 160kb (jpeg in lowest-quality setting). In highest quality mode (1280x960), you can produce a picture with reasonable resolution that will print a good-looking 5x7. Is 1.2 megapixels enough? Not these days. And thus, my evaluation of price to value. Again, at $100, this would be a great camera. My opinion: AVOID ANYTHING THAT SHOOTS ON TO A FLOPPY.
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