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This page of examples of the output of the Sony Mavica FD91 camera may help people wanting to compare digital camera models.

Like all Mavica models, the FD91 saves the photographs to a 3.5" floppy disc. The largest size of image it can produce is 1024x768. Click on the picture below to see the full size image, fine setting. Whenever you view the full size image from one of these links, use the back button to return to this page.

dawn thumbnail

This picture size/quality can be printed to A4 size provided that the original is not too dark, when the darker areas become rather grainy. It enlarges easily to 7x5". You get an average of 7 or 8 of the finest quality prints of this size on a floppy disc - I have had as few as 6 and as many as 11 on one floppy, depending on the subject. There is a 640x480 size which gives an excellent quality picture, also capable of enlargement to A4 size if the original is well exposed, and provides excellent images for the web. With these you will get 10 or 12 on one floppy. The pictures on this page are a mixture of 640x480 originals, and 1024x768. They are all thumbnails which lead to the full size picture if you click on them. The camera can also produce smaller ones for email attachment and a a standard instead of the fine quality, and there is also a special mode in which the photograph is saved to the disc without compression as a 640x480 bitmap, alongside a 1024x768 jpeg copy. Only the one photograph can be saved to a disc in this mode.

The picture accessed from the thumbnail below illustrates this mode. I have reduced the 1024x768 jpeg to 640x480 and superimposed half of it onto the bitmap copy. If you click on the picture to view the full size image, I think you can see that the bitmap is marginally better quality than the compressed jpeg, even though the jpeg was originally larger. Compare especially the whiskers, where the difference in sharpness is quite marked.

comparison

The camera has a 14x optical zoom, and there is a steady shot feature to reduce camera shake and enable you to hand hold the longest zoom shots. The pictures below show the camera at full wide angle on the left. The nest you can see high in the centre of this picture is the picture on the right at full zoom. Both shots were hand held, with no tripod and no bracing against a tree or other solid object. Click on these pictures to access the full size ones.

full wide angle     full zoom

Here are two more photographs which show even more dramatically the power of the FD91 zoom. The small rectangle in the first one is the area shown in the second one. Again, click on the thumbnails to see the full size photographs.

pond.jpg - 14kb     church.jpg - 20kb

The FD91 has both viewfinder and LCD screen, with a switch to select the one you wish to use. The LCD screen can be angled to help in taking shots at awkward angles, and it can even be moved to the vertical position for self portraiture. There is also a delay timer which can be used with a tripod for including oneself in the shot. There is a facility for adjusting the white balance manually, using the special white lens cap, to take account of different light source types.

It can be used in fully automatic mode, when the camera selects the focus, shutter speed and aperture, and all the photographer has to do is point and shoot. Even in fully automatic mode, there is a choice of full image exposure metering and spot metering. But it can also be used in manual mode. There is a switch to select manual focussing. In manual exposure control there is a choice of aperture priority, shutter priority, and twilight mode. Aperture priority allows a choice of 12 values between f1.8 and f11. Shutter priority offers 13 speeds between 1/60 and 1/4000 - the latter allowing you to freeze movement in action shots. Twilight mode is used for fireworks, illuminations and other night time situations where it helps to suppress blurring in the light areas and maintain the night atmosphere.

The photo below, which links to the full size one, was taken in manual mode, with manual focussing and aperture priority set at f1.8 to throw the rain spattered window and the view through it out of focus.

manual

This photograph also illustrates the camera's macro capabilities. There is no special macro mode. You simply use full wide angle and move close into the subject - as close as 1" from lens to subject. The daffodil is a miniature one. Its trumpet is about 1/2" long, and across the widest part of the petals is 1".

The flash gun is closed and therefore not operating until you switch it on, when the flashgun pops up above the lens. There are three flash levels - high, normal or low. The photograph accessed from the thumbnail below was taken on normal flash, from about 6ft from the subject, with some zoom. I did have to remove the green eye (cat equivalent of red eye in human subject flash pictures) in an art package.

flash

The FD91 mpg facility is the same as the FD88 one, and there are two mpgs on the FD88 page which are exactly the same as the output of the FD91.

To sum up, I am very pleased with the FD91 camera and find it very versatile and pleasant to use. It is much bigger than the FD88 and almost twice as heavy. The FD88 with its higher resolution is best for shots where a lot of detail is required, or where big enlargements will be needed. It is also much better than the FD91 where light is poor. Indoor shots at weddings or parties where flash would spoil the picture are better with the FD88.

The FD91 comes into its own where long zoom or manual control are needed. It is far better than the FD88 for nature or sports or action photography, and the control over aperture also gives it the edge where differential focus is desirable. I tend to use whichever camera is most appropriate to the type of work I want to do. For church interiors, parties or weddings, anywhere where I wanted a lot of detail and big enlargements, I would use the FD88. For nature photography, moving objects, distant objects where I needed a lot of zoom, I would use the FD91.

This final thumbnail accesses photographs taken with the FD91 during a walk in the woods. Apart from the leaf, full zoom was used on the other shots. The squirrel and pigeon were high in the trees, and although the robin was much nearer he was very small. These are small sections cropped from the centre of the original photos.

nature photos

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