Conclusion - Pros

  • Good colour accuracy and saturation, good resolution for a 2.1 megapixel
  • Low media costs (8cm CD-R offer excellent $/MB ratio)
  • Relatively quick now with better buffering, decent shot-to-shot times
  • Ability to share images immediately with any computer fitted with a CD-ROM drive
  • Excellent colour reproduction (although a little cooler than its CD200 sibling)
  • Great 2.5" LCD (shame the sunlight hybrid bit of it doesn't work too well)
  • Good low light / night / twilight performance
  • Good high ISO performance
  • Very little chromatic aberrations
  • Three image burst mode
  • Good build quality
  • Good manual features, good range of "photographic" options, ISO selection
  • Addition of jog-dial
  • One-push manual white balance
  • AF assist lamp
  • Excellent battery & supplied AC adapter / charger
  • Relatively good macro ability
  • Better start up times (no extending lens)
  • USB connectivity
  • EPSON Print Image Matching compliant
  • More attractive price (than CD300)

Conclusion - Cons

  • Bulky, large in size and weight
  • Time taken to finalize / unfinalize / format can be a bit tedious (note if you're using CD-RW you don't need to Format each time, you can just "delete all" images)
  • Battery life can be deceiving, a lot of disc access (initialize / finalize / unfinalize) will take a much larger toll
  • Slow image display / thumbnail display (which is down to disc spin up and seek times)
  • Zoom controller is too sensitive
  • Terribly positioned tripod mount
  • MPEG movies only 8 frames per second (except MPEG HQ)
  • Occasional "wandering white balance"
  • Barrel distortion at wide angle
  • Lack of preset white balance modes

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Sony MVC-CD200: (2 megapixel compact prosumer)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8.5
Features 8.5
Image quality 8.5
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 8
Value for money 9

Reviewing the CD300 before the CD200 gave me a good insight into how I expected it to perform, and indeed it gets identical ratings to the CD300, the CD200 performed well in all our tests, everything we would expect from a 2 megapixel prosumer digital camera before considering the CD-R/RW storage ability. It offers an excellent solution to those who don't have a need for three megapixels, it comes in $200 cheaper, fits more images onto a single CD-R/RW and does so slightly quicker.

CD-R/RW storage offers several advantages: (a) shoot-to-archive, the instant digital negative stored immediately on archive media, (b) images on a finalized CD-R are readily accessible on most modern CD-ROM drives, no need for USB cables, special readers or adapters (b) very, very cheap $/MB shooting costs. Disadvantages? Larger, heavier form factor for the camera.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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