Kodak DX6440 Review
With a four megapixel imager, a super-sharp Schneider Kreuznach Variogon 4X optical zoom lens, and lots of manual control, Kodak have positioned the EasyShare DX6440 at the high- end of their consumer digital camera product line. In addition to the advanced features desired by experienced amateur photographers, it includes automatic and scene modes which allow novices to achieve the same excellent results.
The 4X zoom has a 35mm-equivalent range of 33-134mm and gives you superb coverage from wide angle to telephoto focal lengths. At the 33mm end of the zoom range you'll appreciate the wide field of view for interior shots and at 134mm distant subjects will better fill the frame. The lens produces sharp images throughout its zoom range, with only slight barrel distortion at wide angle, and no noticeable pin cushioning at telephoto. It zooms almost silently, and makes no noticeable noise during autofocus; this is an excellent lens for candid shots.
You'll be happy with the indoor shots produced by the DX6440. As we mentioned, the 33mm wide end of the zoom range gives you more field of view in small rooms. The flash complements the lens well, with no noticeable fall-off in illumination at the corners of the image. The flash range of up to 16.7 feet covers most indoor shooting conditions well, and is more powerful than many competitive cameras. Flash portraits are well exposed, and skin tones are pleasing. The flash also works extremely well for macro photography and "throttles down" to prevent over-exposure at even the closest range. Outdoors, the DX6440 produces well-exposed and richly saturated images. The autofocus system and the Schneider zoom lens yields consistently sharp images. Although the LCD has no brightness adjustment, we found it very usable in 95% of our shooting situations.
The shooting performance of the DX6440 was average. Shutter delay from pre-focus to image capture averaged .3 second, or .6 second including focus time. Shot to shot, it was able to capture 7 images about 13 seconds, and in continuous capture mode 6 images in 2 seconds. The LCD turned-off for about 2 seconds after each image was captured, and in continuous mode it turned off during the entire image capture sequence; you'll have better success using the optical viewfinder when taking a rapid sequence of shots.
In addition to the Program AE, Aperture and Shutter priority modes, which allow the advanced photographer to override settings which would otherwise be automatic, the DX6440 has several scene modes which optimize camera settings for specific shooting conditions. The scene modes include:
The KODAK EasyShare System includes numerous cameras as well as a highly portable photo printer/docking station, the KODAK EasyShare Printer Dock 6000. The printer produces high- quality 4x6-inch prints using a 4-pass, dye sublimation process in just two minutes. These prints are the equal of any that you can get from your local photo finisher. Be sure to use the Best (3:2) quality setting - this mode creates images with a 3:2 aspect ratio which yields perfect 4x6" size photos with no cropping. When the camera is placed in the printer dock, the camera is turned on and printing can be initiated by simply depressing one button. The camera's LCD is used to preview and select images for printing. With a KODAK EasyShare camera and the printer dock, you'll have the modern equivalent to the old Polaroid system but with much better image quality. Click here to view our EasyShare 6000 Printer Dock mini-review.
With a street price of about $400 at the time of this review (August, 2003), the KODAK EasyShare DX6440 is an excellent value. You'll enjoy having a 4X optical zoom lens to better compose your shots, and the four megapixel imager to make larger prints or to crop out unwanted details. Combine it with a KODAK EasyShare 6000Printer Dock, and you'll have a quality digicam system that can capture your family and travel snapshots, and print them on-site too.
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