Sony MVC-CD300 Review
CD-R/RW Disc use
Because the CD300 uses CD-R/RW discs instead of flash memory a couple of extra steps are required to prepare the discs both for use in the camera and so that they can be read on a standard computer CD-ROM (CD-R/RW drive required to read CD-RW discs). Optionally you can connect using the USB cable and supplied drivers, which, in combination with Adaptec Direct CD (supplied) allow you to read discs without finalizing them (or even write to CD-RW discs).
Each of these steps require you to have the camera placed on a level surface without any vibration. Timings for each step are detailed below the description.
CD-R/RW: Before you can use a CD-R/RW disc it must be "Initialized", this writes basic header information onto the CD-R so that the camera can recognise it and begin to write a file table when images are saved.
|CD-R/RW: Before you can read a CD-R/RW disc in a CD-ROM (or CD-R/RW drive for CD-RW discs) you must finalize it, this completes the file table so that your computer understands it. Finalising a CD-R uses up some of its storage so it's only recommended to finalize once the disc is full.|
CD-RW only: In order to write to a CD-RW after it's been finalized the camera will automatically prompt you to unfinalize it, this restores the space used by the finalize process.
|CD-RW only: Because CD-RW discs are "Read/Write" they can be completely erased, selecting the FORMAT option (from the SETUP menu) completely erases the contents of the CD-RW so it can be used again afresh.|
Disc Action Timings
|8 cm 156 MB CD-R||8 cm 156 MB CD-RW|
|Initialize||14 secs||35 secs|
|Finalize||1 min 11 secs||1 min 30 secs|
|Unfinalize||n/a||1 min 20 secs|
|Format||n/a||5 min 35 secs|
Top of camera controls
Top of the camera is pretty straightforward, same exposure dial which we first saw on the DSC-S75, same excellent power switch. Directly in front of this is the shutter release button which has a different feel to that found on the S75, it's a little more "on/off", I preferred the S75's soft half-press but it's just a matter of taste. All of the exposure dial settings are described in more detail below:
Exposure / Camera Mode Dial
320 x 240
HQ - 15 seconds
Enters playback mode, this displays the last image/movie recorded. Cursor arrows or jog-wheel can be used to scroll through images (other functions described later).
|Program Auto Exposure
Automatic exposure mode, camera meters the scene and selects best combination of aperture and shutter speed (and ISO if set to Auto) to properly expose the image. Additionally you can compensate the exposure by either +/-2.0EV in 0.3 EV steps.
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure
1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 secs
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure
Wide: F2.0, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0,
F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
|M||Full Manual Exposure
In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Use the jog-dial to switch between shutter speed or aperture, click then roll it again to change the value. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. The exposure compensation readout now displays the difference between the selected exposure and the metered exposure up to a maximum of +/-2.0 EV.
Special Scene Exposure
(low light shots, long exposures)
Enters camera setup mode (described in more detail later). Having a distinct setup mode is a new thing to Sony digital cameras, a welcome change, it gets away from overloaded exposure menus.
Good to see the CD300 is just as "photographer friendly" as the S75, a good selection of exposure options means that the photographer has complete control over manual exposures.
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