Sony Mavica FD-7

Sony Mavica FD71, 81, 91 flash problem fix .

As promised, here is our report on how to take care of the flash problem with these Sony Mavica Digital cameras.

After seeing what great photos our friends were getting with the Sony Mavica FD7 digital camera, we decided to take the plunge! The only problem was, the FD7 was no longer available in our area. We figured, well, if the FD7 was that great, FD71 would be even better! In some respects we feel it is. What we didn't know was that Sony made some changes which change the flash output in the 71 and later models. We were having a lot of trouble getting decently lit night shots, even with the night program and the flash set on high. We contacted Sony and they informed us that they had put a better lens in (we get very defined orbs) and they felt they improved the flash by having 3 settings on it. The representative told us to take off the night time program and put the aperture to +1.5, and put the lens on manual focus. So, off we go again with these new settings and a bit of skepticism. Needless to say, we were no better off!

Relentless in a search correct this problem (short of selling it and buying another camera) Ross searched the Internet. He found a web page called "The Digital Camera Resource Page" ( This page is a resource for all digital cameras that are out there, not just the Sony. However it does break down into the different types of cameras with message boards. We went to the Sony message board and started reading. We came across an inexpensive (under $80) fix to this flash problem.

We purchased a lightweight video accessory mounting bracket (for a camcorder) which attaches to the tripod mount on the camera itself. A slave unit (also called a remote flash trigger). The slave unit triggers an external flash (we purchased the Vivitar 2600) within a millisecond of the built-in flash.

Any external flash will do, the slave unit can be difficult to locate. We purchased the slave unit, mounting bracket ($15 each) and the Vivitar 2600 external flash ($29.95) from Ritz Camera Center (located in most malls). Vivitar also makes a slave unit, but it costs about $30 and does the same job as the $15 unit.

Since we have added this equipment to our camera, we have been getting even better results with nighttime photography. It has increased the flash distance from 8'-10' to about 35'. It attaches very easily and quickly to the camera and does not make it awkward or too cumbersome. The only downside is, that the mounting bracket blocks the battery door, so you have to remove it to change your battery. (Still a lot cheaper than buying a whole new camera!!!).

Nancy & Ross Simpson, C.G.H.
IGHS Inner Circle Members

David Cohen's Letter to Sony Corp.

This Email message was sent by IGHS member David Cohen of

David said, "Several months ago I stumbled on your Web Site and every few days I check it. I think the photos submitted by individuals around the world are fascinating. In one on the photos the owner used a Sony digital camera. So, out of curiosity I wrote a letter to Sony to see if they had experienced any problems with their camera. Below you'll find my letter and their response. Keep up the good work!"

First David's letter to Sony:
"I've visited a Web site called, in which some individuals have claimed to use digital cameras to record energy fields they claim to be ghosts. In one photo the individuals claimed to use the camera mentioned above. Has your technical department discovered any problems with the above camera that may cause circular shapes on the image? If so, are they possibly white translucent globes?"

Sony's Response to David's Letter:
From: []
Sent: Thursday, October 01, 1998 8:01 AM
To: Colon, David
Subject: Re: WWW comment,Problems with the Sony Mavica FD-7
Dear David:
Thank you for your recent inquiry and visiting on-line. Sometimes when shooting into a very bright subject, vertical streaks appear, what we call the smear phenomenon.
The Sony Response Center, Internet Group

Dave's Notes:
Sony responded that if the FD-7 was pointed at a VERY BRIGHT subject, that vertical streaks would appear. Sony did not suggest that the translucent globes were related in any way with the smear phenomenon.

Sony also did not say the circular shapes captured with the FD-7 might be related to technical problems with the digital camera. Since almost all translucent and solid globes are photographed at night using a flash, without any 'VERY BRIGHT' subject that would cause vertical streaks.

This letter from Sony is again ample evidence that the digital camera is not somehow causing the orbs of light that are photographed, but these orbs of light do represent an unknown anomaly. The digital camera can be a valuable asset in field investigations.

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