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Toshiba PDR-M71
by Rick Smith (September 13, 2001)


 

The PDR-71 is Toshiba's latest digicam and features quality and value. Key features include:

  • 3.2 Megapixel digital sensor
  • MSRP of $499
  • Canon all-glass aspherical macro zoom lens
  • SmartMedia storage
  • 2.8 optical zoom
  • 2048 x 1536 maximum resolution
  • Multiple exposure control modes
  • Histogram display
  • 100/200/400 ISO
  • Built-in flash
  • USB cabled
  • Runs on 4 AA batteries
  • Lightweight (8.5 ounces)

    This latest Toshiba camera packs quite a few sophisticated features, not generally found on sub-$500 digicams. Some of these advanced features are a 5 mode flash system with red-eye reduction and its ability to accept third-part accessory lenses, such as wide angle, telephoto or fish-eye.

    The 2.8 times optical zoom of the PDR-71 has a 35-98 mm 35mm equivalent, which is useful for both still images and AVI movie recording.

    You can film up to three minutes of video at 160 x 120 at 15 frames per second or 60 seconds of AVI at 320 x 240, also at 15 fps. Sound is recorded using the camera's built-in microphone. White balance can also be adjusted. Videos are played back using a computer monitor, a television (NTSC/PAL) or the PDR-71's 1.5-inch color LCD.

    To make the camera easier to use, especially during fast, continuous shooting, Toshiba has used improved digital signal processing (DSP) technology along with adding a logical user interface. Toshiba's goal was to create a "product that you could hand to someone who has never used a digital camera and they likely would not need an instruction guide to operate it". Some of these key ease-of-use features are:

  • Automatic focus and setting adjustment in fully automatic mode

  • An easy to use control dial

  • Zoom that can be changed using either thumb or index finger

  • Each function of the camera is clearly marked on the control dial with an icon

  • Shooting modes and options are changed through the LCD menu

    For the advanced shooter, the PDR-71 has both shutter and aperture priority automatic exposure, along with a REAL manual mode where you can set both shutter and aperture independently. The histogram feature is usually found only in very high Kodak digital cameras that start at over $5,000. Viewing a histogram display immediately after a picture is taken really helps you to determine if your image is really good or going to surprise you when you view it with Photoshop.

    The Toshiba PDR-71 captures images in three different sizes (2048x1536, 1024x768, 640x480) with three different compression percentages (fine, normal, basic).

    Looks like this camera will definitely heat up the competition in this $500 price range.

    Copyright 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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