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|Kodak Easyshare DX7440 - Digital Camera Review|
The camera offers very good value for money for a compact 4 megapixel digital camera with a 4x optical zoom lens, and a large 2.2" screen.
Kodak have this to say about the camera:
"Want unbelievable picture quality you can be proud of? Make your dreams a reality with the DX7440."
You can find out more about the Kodak Easyshare DX7440 on Kodak's site.
The Camera: It's
compact and made out of dark grey plastic.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic, this camera is slightly larger than the Pentax.
Specifications / Features:
Full Specifications can be found on Kodak's site.
Average box contents - due to the proprietary nature of the lithium-ion battery - it would be wise to invest in a second battery for the camera. There is a higher power battery available, a 1700 mAh battery, it's a shame that this isn't the standard battery as this would offer better battery life.
Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the dial on the back - the dial has the following modes: video, favourites, off, auto, scene, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, and custom.
Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:
The options are: Self-timer, image size, compression, bracketing setting, autofocus, colour mode (high, natural, low, black and white, sepia), set album, image storage location (internal or card), liveview, setup menu. In P/A/S/M/C modes there are the following additional options: White Balance (surprisingly there is no custom white balance), exposure metering, focus zone, and sharpness (high, medium, low).
Scene mode gives you access to the following scenes: Portrait, sports, Landscape, Closeup, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Museum, Flower, Self Portrait, Party, Children or Backlight.
Setup menu options are: Quickview, Advanced digital zoom, Print warning, Sound themes, Sound Volume, Mode description, Date and Time, Video out, Orientation sensor, Date stamp, Video date display, Language, Format, and About.
Video mode menu items: Self-timer, size, album, video length (5,15,30 seconds or continuous, image storage.
Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:
In playback mode the options are: Album, protect, image storage, slideshow, copy (this allows you to ccopy from internal memory to a memory card and vice versa), multi-up.
Kodak Share menu:
The options here are: Cancel prints, print all, print, e-mail, favourite.
Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the built in 32mb of memory:
You can fit an average number of images on the provided 32mb memory - although a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes. There is a good choice of image sizes, and there is an okay choice regarding image compression. The 3:2 setting is especially useful for those of you who want to print 6x4 photos.
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 always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Kodak Easyshare DX7440:
128mb SD memory card
Speed, ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, quick to switch on and very quick to take photos, the controls on the back of the camera are easy to use. The screen updates are fairly quick and smooth. The camera speed in use, seems very quick when taking a photo, and shot to shot time is good - even when using the flash. The camera is fairly compact, and fairly easily fits into pockets. The menus are easy to pick up and use. The modes are easy to access (due to the large dial), and the menus seem quick. Playback mode is quite quick, although there is a pause when you first press the zoom button. The camera also has a number of very quick continuous shooting modes at 2fps - bracketing / continuous (6) / continous (last 6). The joystick allows you to scroll diagonally when you have zoomed into the photo in playback mode.
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. The buttons feel good, and are labelled well. I would have preferred the 'review' button to have been larger, and called a 'Play' button instead, as this would have made it stand out more from the other buttons. I like the rotary zoom control - I prefer this kind over the button zoom controls.
Battery usage: Battery life seems good (the standard battery is a 1050mAh battery) - a backup battery is recommended as the camera does not take AA batteries - there is a larger 1700 mAh battery available (The 1700mAh battery is available from Amazon.co.uk for £15, and is compatible with the DX6490, DX7630, DX7590 & DX7440).
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 picture size, etc it seems to only show the battery life when you are running low. The camera shows aperture / shutter speed when the shutter is half pressed - unless you are in P/A/S/M/C mode where the camera shows you the settings at all times so that you can change them using the scrolling control on the back of the camera. There is no live histogram.
Playback mode: The camera displays very little information, unless you press the display/i button, and then the camera will display the information shown above. Scrolling through the photos is very quick - although there is a very slight delay whilst the camera zooms in the first time. However, the zoom is quick from 2x - 8x, easy to use and the joystick allows you to scroll diagonally as well as the traditional up/down and left/right. 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. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!
Inside: The camera has a good flash, and copes well with group photos - you can also adjust the strength of the flash. Red eye was noticable on some photos of people - although the red-eye reduction flash managed to do a good job at reducing red-eye. The camera did very well focusing in low light. Skin colour was good.
Noise: Noise is generally 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. Noise is most noticable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (with a range between 80 and 200), as well as manual ISO settings: 80, 100, 200, 400 and 800 which is only available when the picture size is set to 1mp. To demonstrate the effect of the different ISO levels on this camera I have taken these pictures, and cropped an area of the image to show you at 100% what the noise lookes like.
Noise levels at ISO80/100 are quite low - which means you get quite smooth images. ISO200 still displays fairly acceptable noise levels. It is probably best avoiding ISO400 where possible, due to the noise - although results may depend on the amount of light available.
Outside, the camera had very good colour, with good contrast and saturation. I didn't notice jpeg artifacts in the images. The Unisys building photo was taken at the same time as the Unisys building photo in the HP Photosmart R507 review. The snowy Sheffield street photo was taken at the same time with the Konica Minolta Dimage E40.
camera has a 4x Optical zoom and a built in 4x 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 - however after a certain point the camera crops the image.
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.
Lens noise and zoom: When using the optical zoom, it's fairly quiet, and is fairly quick, it has about 7 steps between wide and telephoto. The amount of optical or digital zoom isn't displayed on screen numerically, but is simply displayed with a bar - when you get past the normal digital zoom, the bar turns red to let you know that you are using the digital zoom that crops the image. The 'advanced' digital zoom can be switched off.
Other Image Quality issues: Chromatic Aberrations / Purple Fringing was noticable in quite a lot of photos. When using the flash if there was a reflection of the flash in the photo, either in someone's eyes, or in someone's glasses, then purple fringing would be visible around the reflection.
Macro: When this camera is in macro mode, the lens is set to wide angle, and you can zoom in but you must move further away from the object, you can also use the digital zoom - and you can use the flash. This camera can focus down to roughly 10cm in normal macro mode.
The macro mode is fairly average - you can't get very close - however for the occassional macro photo it should suffice. I used the DX7440 to take photos of the Konica Minolta Dimage E40 and they all looked quite good.
Movie: 640x480 / 13fps or 320x240 / 24fps with sound - 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 - using MPEG-4 compression, which should mean smaller file sizes and longer videos. Length is limited only by the size of the memory card.
The quality of the movie(s) is quite good, colour and focus are quite good, 640x480/13fps and 320 x 240/24fps with sound is slightly better than average - I like how the movies are compressed as MPEG-4 meaning the files are smaller and you get longer movies on your memory card.
Summary: The Kodak Easyshare DX7440 is a compact 4 megapixel, 4x optical zoom lens digital camera with a large 2.2" colour screen. The camera records unlimited length videos with sound. The camera is easy to use and produces very good images with good colour, sharpness and saturation. The camera has a large number of different settings, such as aperture priority, shutter priority etc, that enable you to grow with the camera and be more creative if you so wish. For £129 (UK) / $272 (US) from Amazon this camera offers excellent value for money. If you want a very easy to use, fast, capable 4 megapixel digital camera with a large 2.2" screen, and a 4x optical zoom lens, that produces good images, and records unlimited videos with sound, all for a bargain price, then the Kodak Easyshare DX7440 is Recommended!
If you like the look of the Kodak Easyshare DX7440 but you would like more megapixels, then have a look at the 6 megapixel Kodak Easyshare DX7630 - available for £199 from Amazon.co.uk. Or if you're looking for a slightly cheaper Kodak digital camera, why not have a look at the 3 megapixel Kodak Easyshare CX7330 which I reviewed here - available for £89 from Amazon.co.uk.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.