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|Kodak Easyshare CX7330 - Digital Camera Review|
The camera offers very good value for money for a 3 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens.
Kodak have this to say about the camera:
"Simply want great-looking pictures? Then you need the KODAK EASYSHARE CX7330 Zoom Digital Camera.Amazing prints up to 11"x14" (28x36 cm) with 3.1 MP, 3X optical zoom lens, Point-and-shoot simplicity, Easy-to-access scene and color modes, Continuous video with audio capture, Sharing is one-touch simple, Ready to go -- right out of the box."
You can find out more about the Kodak Easyshare CX7330 on Kodak's site.
The Camera: It's
compact and made out of shiny plastic.
Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic, this camera is a bit smaller
than the Pentax.
Specifications / Features:
Full Specifications can be found on Kodak's site.
Average box contents - It's nice to see a printed manual, but rechargable batteries and a charger, case, and a larger memory card would have been nice.
Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the dial on the top of the camera, this switches between video, off, and the various photo modes.
The photo / scene modes are: Auto, Action, Portrait, Landscape and Macro.
Photo mode: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:
The options are: "Auto" this lets you select where you want your photos to be stored, internally or on an SD card - this seems like a strange first option for an "Easy to use" digital camera. Next: Exposure compensation, Picture Quality, Colour (Colour, Black and White or Sepia), Set Album, Date Stamp (on/off), Orientation Sensor (on/off), Setup Menu. There is no custom white balance.
The Setup menu options are: Default print quantity, Quickview, Liveview (the default is off, which is a bit strange for a digital camera), Digital Zoom, Date and Time, Video out, Language, Format and About.
Video mode: The video mode has three menu items: "Auto" / Internal memory settings, Album, and Setup.
Playback (Review) mode: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:
In playback mode the options are: Magnify - you press OK to magnify 2x, and OK again to magnify 4x - if you use the zoom control, this moves the lens in and out!, Share, Protect, Image Storage, Album, Slide show, Copy, Video date display, Multi-up (view), Picture info, Setup menu (the setup menu is as described above).
Share menu / mode:
The options here are: Print, E-mail, Favourite, Print all, and Cancel
Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures / and the following number of images will fit on the built in 16mb memory card: (an extra memory card is recommended)
You can't fit very many images on the provided 16mb memory card - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower quality settings. There is an okay choice of image sizes, but these aren't explained in the camera, it simply lists Best, Best (3:2), Better and Good - and there is no choice regarding image compression.
A larger memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at least a 128mb or 256mb memory, or larger especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Kodak Easyshare CX7330:
128mb SD memory card
Speed, ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, quick to switch on and quick to take photos, the controls on the back of the camera are easy to use. The screen updates are quick and smooth. The camera speed in use, seems quick when taking a photo, especially if pre-focused, and shot to shot time is good. The camera is fairly compact, and fairly easily fits into pockets. The menus are easy to pick up and use - although not as easy as I expected considering Kodak's numerous claims regading how easy their cameras are to use. However the modes are easy to access (due to the top dial), and the menus seem quick.
Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons, although in playback mode, the zoom isn't controlled by the wide/telephoto zoom buttons, but rather the 'OK' button. The buttons feel okay, they are also labelled fairly well, although some could be a bit small for some people. The "Review" button, I feel, would have been better as a large "Play" button - as per the play button on the Casio QV-R40.
The buttons on the back of the camera quickly give you access to: Delete, OK, Share, Self-Timer, Flash, Wide/Telephoto zoom, Menu and Review.
Battery usage: Battery life seems good - although high power rechargable batteries are highly recommended, as these will last much longer than Alkaline batteries, and are much better for you financially, as well as much better for the environment. They are also relatively cheap - for example, you can buy a set of 4 NiMh AA 2000mAh rechargable batteries and charger for only £12.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
LCD Display (Photo mode / Playback mode):
LCD display in photo mode: The screen is a decent resolution, and updates smoothly - the colours appear accurate. The screen shows how many remaining photos you can take with the available memory, as well as current mode etc, although unfortunately the camera does not show aperture / shutter speed and there is no live histogram - this isn't a huge issue however.
Playback mode: The camera displays the information as shown above. Scrolling through the photos is quick. The zoom is fairly quick, but a bit awkward to use, as you use the 'OK' button. Playback menu options are discussed above.
Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Full size (and medium size) versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!
Inside: The camera has quite a powerful flash, and copes fairly well with group photos. Red eye was noticable on some photos of people - Good colours and details. Some of the images are slightly soft, and some edges have an "Impressionist" / "Pastel" look to them - see other image quality issues for more information. The camera did okay focusing in low light. Skin colour and colour is very good however.
Noise: Noise generally is a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and as far as I can tell, the images don't store the ISO information - so unfortunately I haven't been able to produce pictures to demonstrate noise levels. However saying that, the images that I have seen, have not caused any concern about noise.
Outside the camera had very good colour, they are accurate, well saturated colours with fairly low noise, I didn't notice jpeg artifacts in the images. Images are a tiny bit soft, and edges are slightly undefined and noisy. (See other image quality issues for more)
Zoom: This camera has a 3x Optical zoom and a built in 3.3x Digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below simply to show what these features do.
The digital zoom shows you on screen how much magnification you are using numerically. It is quite quick. When using the optical zoom, it's quite quiet, and fairly quick, it has about 5/6 steps between wide and telephoto. The amount of optical zoom isn't displayed on screen numerically, the amount is only displayed when you start using the digital zoom. The digital zoom can be switched on and off.
Other Image Quality issues: Chromatic Aberrations / Purple Fringing was noticable in some photos, but not often.
Image edges: The edges of images often seemed as though they were overly processed, this was especially noticable in darker conditions or using the camera indoors. An example is shown below, from the group indoor photo - this isn't a huge problem, although it is fairly common, it will only be noticable on large prints.
Macro: When this camera is in macro mode, the lens is set to wide angle, and you can zoom in, you can also use the digital zoom - and you can use the flash. This camera can focus down to roughly 10cm in macro mode.
The macro mode is okay - you can't get very close, and detail is a bit soft, and suffers from the same "impressionist" look as discussed earlier. The camera does a good job of toning down the flash. Colour is good.
Movie: 320x240 / 15fps with sound (although there is no built in speaker for playback on the camera) - you can't use the digital zoom whilst recording a video or before, but you can zoom in using the optical zoom before you start recording. The movie is recorded as an .MOV file. Length is limited only by the size of the memory card.
The quality of the movie(s) is okay, in that colour and focus are okay - 320 x 240/15fps with sound is okay.
Summary: The Kodak Easyshare CX7330 is a compact 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digital camera with a good 1.6" colour screen. The camera generates good pictures, with rich saturated colour, and especially good skin tones. The camera can also record unlimited videos with sound. For £89 (UK) / $143 (US) this camera offers very good value for money, as an easy to use digital camera, with some clever features such as the orientation sensor. If you want a very easy to use digital camera that produces decent 3 megapixel images on a budget, printable up to 8 x 6 inches, then this is definitely worth considering, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
If you like the look of this camera, then take a look at the 3 megapixel Kodak Easyshare DX6340 with a 4x Optical zoom, £135, or if you would like something cheaper, have a look at the 3 megapixel Kodak Easyshare CX7300 with no optical zoom.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Further Reading: DigitalCameraInfo.com Review.
Remember to have a look at the full size (and medium size) versions of these photos in the new gallery.