The EasyShare range from Kodak professes to be simple to use as well as taking great pictures. The DX6340 comes with a 4x optical and 3.5x digital zoom offering prints of up to 11” x 14” at 3.1 million pixels. But how does it fair against the plethora of 3 mega pixel cameras flooding the market at the moment?
On the surface the camera is quite large, obviously not trying to be a style icon and bigger than average. For most cameras you could see this being a problem, but then with something aimed so clearly at the beginner entry-level market, the camera feels somewhat sturdy in your hand. Covered in a brushed aluminium metal and plastic casing the camera has plenty of dips and raised sections to make holding it more comfortable.
Stuck in around these dips on the back are the controls and LCD display. The back presents a large 1.8” LCD display (larger that most digital cameras at the moment), menu, delete and review buttons, as well as the picture format wheel. Users familiar with the Kodak EasyShare range will notice the bright red share button and this allows you to set instructions to print, email or set images as favourites when the device is connected to the PC or docked. The camera also offers an optical viewfinder with diopter adjustment for those not wanting to use up the batteries.
Power is provided via two AA batteries and Kodak have been kind enough to include a CRV lithium battery to get you started. Battery power is good and if you invest in either a docking station or the DockStation 6000 both devices double up as a recharging unit.
Inside, the camera offers an f/stop range of 2.2 to 13 through its Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon Zoom lens. The lens offers an equivalent of 36 - 144mm in a 35mm camera and DX6340 utilizes two sensors - a rapid passive contrast sensor and a TTL sensor. With three quality settings (3mp, 2mp and 1mp) the DX6340 doesn’t give loads of choice when it comes to saving images, but is enough to expand the images from 17 in large format to 50 in small format.
Images are saved onto the camera’s 16Mb of internal memory and those wishing to upgrade further can do so via the SD Card memory slot. While internal memory is never favoured, at least this is better than Pentax's Optio S' 11Mb and again for beginners saves them losing it. Viewing images via the back LCD display does seem very slow and images have to refresh twice before quality it good enough to view them even on the internal memory. Images are automatically rotated so you can see the images and they can be magnified 2x and 4x and the standard index option is easily displayed.
The DX6340 has a very clean menu system that lets users know exactly what pre-programmed setting they have chosen. Choosing from auto, portrait, landscape, night, sport, macro and movie gives the user plenty of options when it comes to taking pictures. For those more adventurous the camera offers the chance to set the aperture and the shutter speed.
Transferring images to the PC is simple- cue the USB with the bundled software detecting images when you connect the camera, the DX6340 gives you a range of options from where you want images saved to whether you want them deleted from the camera automatically afterwards. This is a nice option for the newbie and one that is welcomed.
Picture quality overall is good, but not excellent. Images hold a high amount of detail and colour and work better close up rather than far away. The DX6340 copes well with greens (see lane picture right) but whites did cause a problem (see goose picture right). Sky and skin tones are also well accounted for with enough detail provided to show blemishes and the like.
Overall this is a good entry-level camera slightly larger than the Olympus C-350 (also £250) or perhaps the Nikon CoolPix 2100. Image quality is not great, but good enough for family snaps or day's out.
If you've never had a digital camera and are very unsure of the way forward, then this Kodak EasyShare DX6340 will certain show you the way and help you discover a whole new world. If however, you are looking to upgrade from a 2mp or even 1mp that you've had for sometime it would probably be best to look for something aimed at people with a little more maturity.
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