Kodak LS743 Review
By Movable Type Admin
Building on the success of the LS443 , The Kodak EasyShare LS743 combines the same 4.0 megapixel imager found on its predecessor, but adds new features like a high-quality Schneider Kreuznach Variogon 2.8x optical zoom lens, and the new Kodak Color Science image processing chip, all wrapped up in an all-metal compact design. It offers users a wide range of versatility with four images sizes to choose from (including a 3:2 aspect ratio mode that's perfect for making 4x6-inch prints) and point-n-shoot simplicity with its automatic exposure modes. Anyone can use the LS743 in Auto mode or explore their creative side by using any of the pre- programmed scene modes. The LS743 offers the usual single exposure mode as well as a 6-frame "burst" sequential mode.
One of the most noticeable changes is the usual mode dial has been replaced with what Kodak calls the "Camera modes" display. Instead of having the camera modes labeled on the mode dial, they are displayed along the right side of the LCD screen. When you want to change the desired mode, you simply rotate the jog dial located on the top in front of the shutter release button, and press it inwards to set the selected mode. Overall, the controls are well placed and functional.
The shooting performance in 4.0MP BEST mode was good. From power up to first image captured measured just under 4 seconds. The all important shutter lag averaged approx. 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and 4/10 of a second including autofocus. When shooting in single exposure mode, the shot to shot time averaged approx. 1.8 seconds between frames with the flash off and 2 seconds with the flash on. Shooting in Burst mode, I was able to capture 6 frames in about 1.5 seconds. The flash can not be used during Burst mode. Our tests were done using a Lexar 256MB SD card, 4.0MP BEST quality, flash off (unless otherwise noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
Kodak equipped the LS743 with a 1.8-inch "Indoor/Outdoor" color LCD monitor. I found it was quite usable outdoors in bright sunlight, but I still wouldn't call it a daylight LCD as there are still many angles where the afternoon sunlight reflected off the surface and made it difficult to use. However, when using the camera indoors in low ambient light, the LCD "gains up" well, which is crucial when framing a shot in these conditions. If you want to save battery power you can simply turn the LCD off by pressing the 4-way selector inwards and then use the optical viewfinder. As with most cameras these days, the optical viewfinder only views about 80-85% of the captured image and it can not "see" what the lens sees when shooting closer than about three feet because it is mounted above the lens and off to one side.
The overall image quality in 4.0MP BEST mode is excellent. Our outdoors shots were sharp, well exposed and nicely saturated. In fact all the pictures that I took had good saturation and white balance. Outdoor pictures show lots of sky detail even when the foreground takes up the majority of the frame and there was very little noise in high/low contrast areas. It seems as if Kodak is emulating their Kodachrome slide film with this camera and they've done quite well. When shooting indoors, you will have to work within the limited range of the flash (about 10 ft.), this is sufficient for portraits of individuals and small groups, but lacks the power to illuminate large open rooms. The flash does a good job of "throttling down" when shooting macro pictures taken in "Close-Up" mode, even when shooting as close as five inches or so from the lens.
Bottom line - The EasyShare LS743 makes a great choice for anyone who wants a compact, yet durable camera that captures high-resolution images. Its 4.0 megapixels provide plenty of resolution to create photo-quality prints up to 11 x 14-inches. With its wide variety of pre-programmed scene modes, you'll always be ready to capture that special moment, no matter what the shooting conditions are. With a street price of around $299, durable all-metal body, great image quality, and compact size, the LS743 offers a great all-round value. Need more resolution? No problem, check out our review of the 5.0 megapixel LS753, which can be had for about $50 more.
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