Critical Evaluation of the Mavica FD71
This evaluation of the Mavica FD71 is based on my first serious
use of it during the course of a self assigned project: photographing
Japanese Garden in Fort Worth Texas.
For me, from the point of view of a professional photographer,
the camera has three serious flaws:
1) An extremely bad manual: While the camera has many modes,
few, if any are adequately explained. The index is almost useless.
The size, while handy to take along in the camera bag, limits
the amount of information it can contain. Case in point: the
difference between fine and standard
modes is never explained.
2) LCD screen is very difficult to view in bright, sunlit
While this is the case with most digital cameras, the designers
should have borrowed from all conventional cameras that use pop-up
hoods for ground glass view finders. These have been around for
more than 60 years (The Rolleiflex comes to mind.) It should
not be necessary to use jerry-rigged light shields on a camera
that costs around $700.00.
3) A sync outlet for external flash should have been included.
Overall, the camera could have benefited from the presence
of an experienced professional photographer on the design team.
Having said that, the 10X zoom is VERY nice and I have a
feeling that the AE modes will come in very handy.
The cameras resolution is adequate for my purposes,
which is display on web sites. In my surfing I have seen many
pictures that were displayed so big that is was necessary to
scroll them to see them in their entirety. In addition to being
somewhat fuzzy, few of them merited a large display space at
It would be nice if one could expect the same quality that
is delivered by conventional (film) cameras. The advantage of
digital cameras, and this one in particular (because it stores
on floppy disks,) is the ease of picture manipulation and alteration.
Most of the pictures on these Mavica pages were so treated. In
that way, the end product reflected what I intended it to be.
Photoshop replaced the black and white dark room of old and,
like it, provided an extension of the creative process.
The multiple exposure mode is a very nice feature, once one
knows what to do with it. Although the manual does not mention
it, it is clearly intended for the construction of animated GIFs;
however : where does one find the software to separate the nine
images from each other? The manual does not even go into this
mode, other than that it is there. Fortunately I wandered onto
the site of Paul Law
of Hong Kong who not only created a freeware program that
makes easy work of constructing an animated GIF but goes a step
further by also animating the unprocessed JPG image on the web
site, thereby avoiding having to download a very large GIF file.