Concord Eye-Q 3340Z Review
Concord have positioned their Eye-Q 3340z at the low-end of the 3-megapixel, 3X optical zoom digicam marketplace. It's an easy to use point-n-shoot with scene modes that promises to improve your results when shooting in one of several pre-programmed shooting conditions. White Balance and EV compensation (+/-1.8EV) are the only manual controls you'll find to influence its automatic exposure system
The 3X, 38-114mm in 35mm equivalence, zoom lens range is typical for a camera in this class, offering a wide angle field of view good for interior and landscape shots, and enough telephoto magnification to compose images of distant subjects. The lens produced images of average sharpness throughout its zoom range, with very noticeable barrel distortion at full wide angle. We also noticed that the autofocus system was inconsistent, sometimes indicating that focus was locked but producing badly out of focus images. Because the lens is located at the top left corner of the camera body, we sometimes found an unwanted and out of focus finger tip in our test shots.
The Concord 3340z's shooting performance is slower than average for a camera in this class. From power-on to the capture of your first image takes under 11 seconds. We also observed this long startup time as the 3340z woke up from it's power-saving Auto Off mode. Both of these timings were obtained using a 256MB SD memory card. Shutter delay, the elapsed time between releasing the shutter and capturing the image, measured a respectable 3/10 second when pre-focused, and 8/10 second including autofocus time. Shot-to-shot delay averaged 3 seconds, and continuous shooting mode captured 7 images in 2 seconds. These times are based on 2048 X 1536 images without the flash on. The LCD viewfinder blanks during continuous image capture, so you'll be happy that the 3340z is equipped with a zoom-coupled optical viewfinder so you can follow the action. The 3340z is responsive enough for you to capture images of your children's sports activities or other moving subjects, but its long startup and wakeup delays will frustrate your ability to capture unposed special moments.
Outdoors, the Concord 3340z produced unacceptable results; exposures were inconsistent, frequently overexposed, and poorly balanced with a green cast even when white balance was manually set to Sunny. Although the LCD viewfinder has no anti-reflective coating, its brightness can be adjusted and we found it to be usable in most outdoor shooting situations. The 3340z is also equipped with an optical viewfinder that you will find preferable to use on the brightest of days.
Because of the limited flash range you'll realize the best indoor results when shooting portraits of individuals and small groups. You'll be able to include yourself in group portraits because the Concord 3340z is equipped with both a tripod socket and self-timer. You'll have some difficulty obtaining good results in low ambient light; the 3340z is not equipped with a focus-assist lamp and autofocus will sometimes fail. In addition, the 3340z had a tendency to use low shutter speeds even when using the flash, as if it set the exposure based on ambient light; we noticed blur caused by camera shake on many of our test shots using flash. Macro shots were well focused and the 3340z squelched its flash output well at close range, so it may be an acceptable camera for online auction product shots if there is sufficient ambient light for a shutter speed faster than 1/30 second. We found the LCD viewfinder difficult to use in low ambient light, so you'll again be happy that the 4060 AF is equipped with an optical viewfinder.
The 3340zs battery life was acceptable during our tests. Using a pair of AA NiMH 2200 mAh rechargeable batteries, we were able to capture over 100 images with the LCD on before a low battery warning occurred. We always recommend using NiMH batteries when possible, and you should have several charged pairs on hand.
While an MSRP of under $250 might seem attractive for a digicam with the spec's of the Concord Eye-Q 3340z, it is not a very good value. Its inconsistent focus, poor color balance, and tendency to over expose, you'll not frequently be pleased with the results you'll obtain from this camera. Consider instead the Canon A60, which offers better image quality using a 2-megapixel imager at lower cost, or the Kodak EasyShare CX6330 at a slightly higher price with a 3-megapixel imager.
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