The Kodak DX7590 is the update of the DX6490 launched last year and the most obvious change from the model it replaces is the extra million pixels: the resolution has been bumped to 5MP.
The camera is slightly Jekyll and Hyde, in that it offers a dual personality with two levels of control. The Jekyll part is a user-friendly, point and shoot-ability that’s combined with the Hyde element that provides a host of manual controls for the more advanced snapper.
‘Hyde’ offers a fully auto mode, no less than 14 scene (or subject) modes offering fast presets for specific subjects such as, sunsets, landscape shots, portraits and even firework displays.
Then there are the more advanced controls providing aperture and shutter priority (you control either the shutter speed or the aperture in use and the camera does the rest for you) or fully manual control where you do the lot.
The control set-up for all this is surprisingly straightforward with a large mode dial on the camera’s back providing the entry point to the different levels and control systems. A control dial that is positioned to fall under the right index finger when using the camera can be pressed to select, say, aperture priority and turning the same dial adjusts the value to that required.
Given the 10x zoom lens you’d forgive the 7590 for being a bit of lump, but it is not being surprisingly compact and lightweight, although the all-plastic build may not be to everyone’s liking.
Either way that long Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens has a 38-380mm zoom range, the lens positively sprints from one end to the other, making it pleasing responsive in use. The camera has a large 2.2-inch colour screen backed up bay a crisp electronic viewfinder (EVF). However both the screen and EVF blank out while an exposure is made meaning it’s quite hard to follow moving subjects and get them properly framed.
On the plus side, the shutter lag is almost non-existent and the shots I’ve taken using the camera are very nicely exposed. Colour rendition is very nice and white balance control gives the usual array of presets such as Tungsten, Auto, Daylight and Shade settings.
However, the two compression - or quality - settings of Standard and Fine don’t give enough control. I’d go as far as to say the extra million pixels over its forbear make no difference in terms of detail captured and here’s why.
Even the top quality ‘Fine’ setting compresses images to heavily meaning details in shots such as landscapes become smoothed away. While this is not an issue (or even noticeable) on ‘standard’ 6x4-inch prints, on larger prints over A4 for example, the lack of detail becomes evident and a sort of blocky smudging.
There’s also a fair bit of image noise, particularly in the blue channel in low light shots and in shadow areas of a scene. So while the camera has a great lens and plenty-enough resolution, the very processes the camera applies to images as it saves them to either the 32MB of internal or SD/MMC removable storage means you loose the detail that’s required for those larger prints.
For anyone requiring a simple to use camera with room to advance requiring ‘normal' sized prints, the Kodak EasyShare DX 7590 may just be ideal. It is a cinch to use, the more advanced user will find it offers them plenty of extra photo tools and while I'm not a big fan of EVFs, its 2.2-inch colour screen is a cracker.
Image quality is actually really rather good too, so it was a shame to find the extra million pixels seem wasted by the poor compression. An extra level of quality, say Super Fine or TIF setting would be ideal here.