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Christopher Wright Reviews: Sony Mavica MVC-FD71 

The Mavica suffers from the curse of most of the digital cameras designed by non-camera companies complete and utter reliance on an LCD panel as the viewfinder.

     Not one that I've ever used, has been very convenient and the odd contortions one has to make to ensure accurate framing are tedious. More serious is that fact that most, and that includes the one on the Mavica, are so difficult to see in bright light. I didn't like it at all. 
     The photograph of the airship was a case in point. I could see the bright yellow thing hovering but the glare of the sun on the LCD panel made it impossible to see and even moving into a patch of shade didn't help all that much. Just lining up on the thing was a trial - I had to point the thing in the general direction of the blimp with the lens at its widest setting; find it then zoom in tight while shifting the camera to keep it centre frame. So much more complicated than a direct vision viewfinder. 

 

The framing for this shot took some seconds to line up properly using the LCD panel in the shade, yet would have been almost instantaneous and instinctive with a conventional viewfinder. In bright sun it was almost impossible to see the airship.

    Sony is aware of the problems with viewing and have taken steps to address some of the drawbacks to the LCD. The LCD has a panel above it which is intended to make the viewing panel brighter in some lighting conditions. It works, too. 
    Under more controlled conditions, such as indoors, some of my objections to the use of the LCD disappear but it remains a cumbersome way to do things. Ever since the introduction of the first Sony Viewcam the company has been addicted to the external LCD but I notice that it has not fitted to either of the DV camcorders. 


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