ution CMOS sensors are less
expensive than comparable CCDs, and they also require considerably less
power and support circuitry, which means dramatically increased battery
The SVmini-209's four-color sensor produces a native resolution of
1000 by 800 pixels (10 bits per color). A Texas Instruments TMS-320C209
digital signal processor extrapolates the image to 2000 by 1600, a truly
impressive 3.2-megapixel image. A noise-reduction algorithm in the
camera software removes graininess from images taken in poor light.
The camera holds 1 MB of DRAM and 1 MB of flash memory. System
software takes 1.5 MB, leaving about 500 KB for image storage. The
SVmini uses variable JPEG compression, which you adjust using either an
on-camera LCD or a serial connection, to balance image quality against
storage space: 80 percent compression (100 KB per image) give s optimal
quality; 40 percent (50 KB) produces some artifacts. The 500-KB internal
memory isn't much space for images, so the SVmini has a slot for flash
memory cards holding 2 to 16 MB. An adapter will be available for
SanDisk MiniPort cards, which use a DOS-compatible file format.
The SVmini-209 sports an f/4.0 fixed-focus glass lens, a built-in
flash, and a self-timer. There's a built-in microphone for recording
brief clips of WAV audio along with each image (although this eats into
image-storage space). Windows 95 software included with the camera lets
you download and view images through a serial port, set all the camera's
parameters, and clear images from memory. Macintosh software is also
available. An optional AC adapter extends the life of the six AA
The camera I tested, an early prototype, produced superb images in a
variety of lighting conditions. While its CMOS sensor technology is new,
the SVmini is obviously riding the wave of the future.
Where to Find
Sound Vision, Inc.