Overall Image Quality

Overall the CD200 did well, as well as we've seen of any 2 megapixel digital camera. It's what I'd expect of a "second generation" 2 megapixel, we're now some way down the line since the first 2 megapixel digital cameras hit the market and the development teams should now be able to squeeze that extra element of quality out of the CCD's.

Sharp images with good resolution (for a 2 megapixel), excellent colour reproduction is almost an exact match for the CD300, though I found the CD200 to be slightly MORE saturated, with definitely stronger greens.

As we saw in the S75 and CD300 Sony have taken a more "purist" stance to image quality, doing as much as possible to deliver an image with as much information as possible without over compensating or altering the image. This leaves some CD200 images looking a little flat without level correction, though this is preferable to loosing that dynamic range / shadow detail in a hard contrast algorithm. CD200 images also appear softer than we've seen before, again, using the same algorithm found in the S75 and CD300 this leads to less artifacts and leaves you with the decision to sharpen the image or not (this reminds me of the way Canon handled sharpening on the EOS-D30).

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

The CD200 did suffer from chromatic aberrations though certainly not as bad as we've seen from other digital cameras, overall a pretty good performance all things considered.

Note that there is also evidence of blooming, these appear as light "smudges" over a dark area adjacent to an overexposed area of the image. Blooming is caused by the overflow of charge from one photosite to the next.

Visible chromatic aberrations in an "every day shot"
Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The CD200 faired about the same as most digital camera 3x zoom lenses exhibiting 1.1% barrel distortion at the wide end and about 0.8% pincushion distortion at the tele end.

Barrel Distortion, 1.1% @ Wide Angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.8% @ Full Tele

White Balance

While things are better here with the addition of the one-push manual mode I'd still like to have seen more white balance options, the Indoor option doesn't work under any of our test artificial lighting, nor does the Outdoor option work on a cloudy day (you get a blue cast as seen below).

Outdoors, Auto Outdoors, Outdoor Outdoors, Manual
Incandescent, Auto Incandescent, Indoor Incandescent, Manual

All that said, Kudos at least for the one-touch manual preset option which does indeed seem to work quite well in various lighting situations.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range simply defines the range of light the camera is able to capture before it either loses detail in darkness (shadows for example) or blows out a highlight (edges of chromed metals are good examples of this). Most consumer digital cameras only have a 8-bit analog to digital converters, plus their CCD's are not built to have a particularly large dynamic range.

Using our new dynamic range measurement method we measured the CD200's dynamic range as (higher numbers are better except for noise):

Camera ISO Noise Range Bits Density dB

Sony MVC-CD200
Native JPEG

100* 0.16 464:1 8.9 2.7D 53
100 0.18 450:1 8.8 2.7D 53
200 0.27 308:1 8.3 2.5D 50
400 0.40 216:1 7.8 2.3D 47
* In-camera sharpening set to "-2"

An excellent performance, showing a dynamic range as good as (indeed slightly better than) its 3 megapixel sibling the CD300. These results are in line with what we've seen of CD200 sample images, lots of shadow detail, controlled highlights and low noise.