Review: Toshiba PDR-3320
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: February 19, 2003
February 19, 2003
some of the best values in digital photography have come from
Toshiba. They have packed a lot of features into some very inexpensive
cameras. That continues today with their PDR-3320 ($299). The
3320 doesn't have as many features as earlier Toshiba models,
but it's not bare bones either.
all the details, check out our full review, which starts now!
in the Box?
Toshiba PDR-3320 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.2 effective Mpixel Toshiba PDR-3320 camera
alkaline AA batteries (non-rechargeable)
featuring ACDSee software and drivers
page camera manual plus software manual (both printed)
order to keep the cost of the camera down (I assume), Toshiba was
very stingy in the memory card and battery departments.
SmartMedia being phased out, it was surprising to see that this
newer model still
uses the format. Toshiba includes an 8MB card, which is enough
to get your feet wet with, but you'll definitely want a larger
card right away.
also find four, non-rechargeable AA batteries in the box. Once
die, you'll be out of luck, so I recommend buying a set or two
of NiMH rechargeable batteries. They last longer, cost less,
end up in the trash after 30 pictures (okay, Toshiba says 100 photos,
but you get my point).
3320 includes a big plastic lens cap that fits securely over
the whole lens barrel. Toshiba includes a strap so you don't
drop it off a cliff, as I once did a few years ago.
nice bundled item is a soft camera case, which is usually sold
separately. Good work, Toshiba!
far as optional
accessories go, there are many choices. An AC adapter is
available, so you can save your batteries while transferring
photos. Toshiba would also be happy to sell you the NiMH rechargeables
that I mentioned earlier.
3320 can also use conversion lenses and filters, but not in the
way. You first need a lens adapter (part M21640, $25), which
attaches to the camera
via the tripod mount. You then attach the the lens or filter
to the adapter. You can choose from wide-angle, telephoto, or
super macro lenses. Any 43mm filter will work as well.
PDR-3320 includes the popular (and capable) ACDSee software.
This software, as
well as the camera are compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP.
camera manual is one huge book with four languages (English, French,
German, Spanish). The quality of the manual is about average.
PDR-3320 isn't a terribly small camera. It's more midsized
than small, and doesn't really fit in your pocket very well.
The body is made of plastic, though it feels decently put together.
can be held with one hand, though I found that I usually used
official dimensions of the 3320 are 4.1 x 2.7 x 2.2 inches (W
x H x D), and it weighs 230 grams empty.
begin our tour of the PDR-3320 now!
PDR-3320 features an F2.9 - F6.9, 3X optical zoom. Some other Toshiba
cameras' lenses were made by Canon, though I don't think that's
the case here. The focal length of the lens is 6.2 - 18.6 mm,
which is equivalent to 38 - 114 mm. The lens is not threaded,
but I did mention how you can use conversion lenses earlier in
only other thing to see here is the built-in flash, which has
a working range of approximately 0.4 - 2.5 m.
thing not seen here is an autofocus-assist lamp, which helps the
camera focus in lower light conditions.
now is the back of the PDR-3320.
1.5" LCD is pretty mediocre. Not only is it small (1.5"),
but it also is low resolution (61.6k pixels). At the default brightness
setting, the LCD was way too dark, and turning up the brightness
just washes things out. And outdoors, it was quite hard to see
as well, though that's fairly typical.
the LCD is the optical viewfinder. There is no diopter correction
knob, to put things into focus for people with poor vision. One
thing to note: you'll get a nice view of the lens when you use
it, though it's not nearly as bad as the PowerShot G3.
to the left of the optical viewfinder is the power switch. Below
the viewfinder is the button used for deleting photos in playback
mode. Press it once to delete one photo, or hold it down to erase
all, or format the card.
the right of the viewfinder is the four-way switch. It's used
for menu navigation, and if you press it down, you can activate
the menus. I found the switch to be poorly designed -- it was
too easy to press the wrong way and select the wrong option.
the top-right of the above photo, you can see the zoom controls,
which are well-placed, but a little small for my fingers. It
takes about three seconds to zoom the lens from wide-angle to
the top of the camera now. Up here, you'll find the LCD info display,
a few buttons, and the mode wheel.
nice to see that Toshiba hasn't abandoned the LCD info display.
I believe that every camera which has room for one should
include one of these. It's not backlit, but you can't have everything
on a $299 camera. Items shown on the info display include battery
life, image quality setting, shots remaining, and the current
the info display are three buttons. They are for:
mode + self-timer
setting (Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, forced flash, suppressed
flash, slow sync)
quality - see chart later in review
the right of those buttons is the mode wheel -- there's not a
lot to see there. The items on the wheel include:
manual mode really isn't that manual after all -- it just unlocks
the white balance and exposure compensation controls.
the mode wheel, you'll find the shutter release button.
Note how the lens barely extends out of the
this side of the camera, under a rubber cover, you'll find the
3320's I/O ports. Let's take a closer look.
I/O ports in question are for USB (called digital here),
video out, and DC-in (for the optional AC adapter).
on this side, you'll find the SmartMedia slot. The plastic door
that covers this slot feels a little flimsy. SmartMedia cards
don't come any larger than 128MB, so keep that in mind.
here is the bottom of the 3320. You can see the battery compartment,
which holds four AA-sized batteries, as well as a metal (I think)
the Toshiba PDR-3320
takes just over 4 seconds for the PDR-3320 to slowly extend
the lens and "warm up" before you can start shooting.
the shutter release button halfway, and it can take 1-2 seconds,
or more, for the 3320 to lock the focus. In low light, expect
a difficult time locking focus. Shutter lag, which is the time
between the moment you fully press the shutter release button
and when the photo is actually taken, varies. In good lighting,
it's not a problem. In lower light, the lag becomes more noticeable.
speed is average -- about 4.5 seconds between shots at the highest
3320 uses Toshiba's "star system" of photo quality.
Image size is either full (2048 x 1536) or half (1024 x 768),
quality ranges from one to three stars, with three being the
photos on 8MB card
photos on 64MB card
2048 x 1536
1024 x 768
on the PDR-3320 use the following naming convention: PDR_####.JPG,
where #### is 0001 - 9999. File numbering is maintained even
as you erase or exchange memory cards.
3320 has two menus: one overlay-style and one traditional. The
overlay-style menu (shown above) is only available in manual
mode, and it allows you to change white balance (auto, sunlight,
fluorescent x 2, incandescent) and exposure compensation (-1.5EV
to +1.5EV, 1/3EV increments).
"traditional" menu is used for adjusting the following:
mode (1 shot, multi, bulb)
(100, 200, 400, black & white) - why the latter option
is here, I do not know
(1, 2 sec)
(2, 10 sec)
- Display (Off, on, all) - toggles LCD on/off, and the info shown
- LCD brightness (-5 to +5)
multi feature isn't a true burst mode. Rather, the camera takes
16 shots in a row (at a 0.25 sec interval) and puts them into
one image (it's like a collage). The bulb mode will let you take
exposures at 1 or 2 seconds (tripod required).
The menus and features on the 3320 are considerably less impressive
than on the last Toshiba camera I tested, the PDR-3300.
is also a setup menu, with basic things like language, date/time,
beep, auto power
enough about menus, let's talk photos now!
3320 did a nice job with the macro test. The colors are nice
and saturated (the red a little too much, perhaps) and the image
is sharp. The minimum focus distance in macro mode is 8 cm at
wide-angle, and 40 cm at telephoto.
the 3320's bulb mode feature, I was about to take a pretty good
2 second exposure from Twin Peaks. I think another second or
two would've been better, but this is a good shot for a low cost
point-and-shoot camera. Also note the lack of noise in the shot.
a bit of redeye in our usual test shot... not horrible, but noticeable.
The shot above (enlarged a bit here) was taken with the redeye
reduction feature turned on. Note that most software packages
can fix redeye fairly easily.
distortion test is a new one here at the DCRP. It is designed to
show both lens distortion and vignetting. The lens distortion
(barrel distortion in this case) is pretty obvious, and you can
see a bit of vignetting in the lower-left corner. But I have
better examples of that.
brings me to the biggest problem with the PDR-3320: the photo
quality. It suffers in three major areas, based on my usage:
exposure problems are easy to see if you take a look at the gallery.
At default settings, the camera consistently under-exposes.
example about shows just how dark images came out without using
exposure compensation. Even bumping it up +0.6EV didn't totally
fix it. This problem was also noted over at Steve's
or dark corners, is very noticeable on the PDR-3320. It appeared
in almost all of my test photos.
there is the brownish cast. Most of the images I took, on both
sunny and cloudy days, indoors and outdoors, had a brownish look
to them. Using "auto levels" in Photoshop made the colors much
+0.6 EV, auto leveled
case you didn't notice, I found the photo quality on the 3320
to be disappointing. Its' a shame too, because of they were properly
be pretty good. Have a look at the photo
gallery if you haven't
done so already.
it or not, the PDR-3320 does not have a movie mode of any kind!!
cameras have always had one of my favorite playback modes --
that's still the case here. The camera has the basic features
down: slide shows, zoom and scroll, thumbnail mode, and image
protection are here.
One thing missing though is DPOF print marking, though I wonder
how many people actually use this.
advanced features include image resizing and
"quality reduction". The resize function will convert
your full-sized image to a half-sized one. Quality reduction allows
you to increase the compression (by lowering the number of stars)
for a given image. In both cases, the original image is overwritten.
and scroll lets you magnify into your image by a factor of 3 (and
nowhere in between), and then scroll around in the zoomed-in
area. The scrolling is very fast.
expect to get any real info about your photos on the PDR-3320.
What you see above is all you get.
3320 moves through images on the LCD with about a 2.5 second
which is fairly slow.
Does it Compare?
a string of cameras from Toshiba offering good features, photo
quality, and value, the PDR-3320 left me wondering where things
went wrong. While the 3320 does offer fairly good easy of use
and is a good value for the money, it's mediocre -- or worse
-- in almost every other area. The most important feature of
digicam is photo quality, and the 3320 was very disappointing
in that respect. Photos were consistently underexposed, often
with a brownish cast and dark corners. The camera's LCD isn't
great, nor is the four-way switch. It also lacks a movie mode
of any kind. If the photo quality was competitive, I could forgive
these other faults, but I'm afraid that's not the case. You're
better off checking out the competition instead.
value - 3X zoom, 3 Megapixel for under $300
- Camera case included
mode for long exposures (1-2 seconds)
I didn't care for:
image quality, in terms of exposure, color casts, and vignetting
switch not well-designed
resolution LCD is hard to see
could be better (no rechargeable batteries, small memory card
other (lower cost) 3 Megapixel / 3X zoom cameras to consider
include the Canon
PowerShot S30, Fuji
FinePix A303, Kodak
Nikon Coolpix 3100 and 3500, Olympus
D-550Z, and the Sony
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the PDR-3320 and its competitors before you buy!
a look at our photo gallery to see
how the 3320's pictures turned out.
a second opinion?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the PDR-3320.
welcomes your comments or questions about this review. Send them
to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due
to my limited resources, please do not write asking for personal
recommendations, missing software/manuals, or technical support.