Kodak DX7590 Review
The DX7590 is Kodak's 2004 upgrade to the EasyShare DX6490 we tested last year. Retaining the same SLR-style body and 10x optical zoom lens, Kodak increased resolution to 5-megapixels, added a 640x480 movie mode, improved autofocus performance, and added 14 pre-programmed scene modes. The DX7590 retains the broad appeal of its predecessor, satisfying beginners with its point-n-shoot automatic mode, intermediate users with its wealth of scene modes, and experts with its wide range of exposure controls in Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program modes. This is truly a camera that everyone in your family can enjoy using.
The most noticeable feature of the EasyShare DX7590 is its Schneider Kreuznach Variogon 10X optical zoom lens. Ranging in focal length from 38 to 380mm in 35mm equivalence, it offers the photographer enormous versatility in image composition; the 38mm wide-angle covers most interior shots, while its 380mm telephoto magnification will please the nature and sports photographer. Its variable zoom control allows you to precisely adjust focal length; sliding it slowly moves the zoom in small increments, while sliding it fast will quickly go from wide-angle to telephoto. The lens produces sharp images throughout its zoom range, but with a bit of barrel distortion and pin cushioning present at the wide-angle and telephoto extremes respectively. There is also a moderate amount of chromatic aberration (purple fringing in high contrast areas) present throughout the zoom range. The lens is quite fast, with a wide-open variable aperture range of F2.8 (wide) to F3.7 (tele); it will allow the use of high shutter speeds, minimizing camera shake when shooting at the telephoto end of the zoom range. But camera shake is always an issue at long focal lengths; an inexpensive monopod would be a worthwhile addition to your DX7590 camera kit.
The DX7590s shooting performance was very good. From power-on till the first image was captured measured about 5 seconds. Shutter lag, the delay between depressing the shutter and capturing the image, measured 2/10 second when pre-focused, 6/10 second with single autofocus, and an impressive 3/10 second with continuous autofocus enabled. The DX7590's autofocus performance is a significant improvement over the DX6490's ~1 second delay. The shutter lag times include the approx. 1/10 second delay present in the live viewfinder image of both the LCD and EVF.
Rapid shooting in single-shot mode yielded 5 images at 1.7 second intervals, with subsequent shots coming every 7 seconds as the camera's buffer emptied. The DX7590 didn't slow down when shooting with flash; it's shot-to-shot interval remained at the same 1.7 seconds! The DX7590 has two burst modes: First Burst captured 5 images at 1/2 second intervals, and Last Burst captured up to 30 images at the same 2 per second rate, saving only the last 4 shots. When shooting at ISO 800, the burst depth is reduced by 1 (4 images in First and 3 images in Last mode). The viewfinder (either EVF or LCD) briefly displays the last captured image in either Burst mode, allowing you to follow a moving subject. The DX7590 flushes its buffer at a relatively leisurely rate, taking over 40 seconds to empty a 5 image burst. The camera's shooting performance might cause you to miss a few spontaneous moments, but it is quite suitable for most family events and sports/action photography. Measurements were made shooting 5MP Fine images with a fast Transcend 1GB SD memory card installed.
We were happy with the results shooting indoors. The moderate wide-angle lens affords reasonable field of view, and its built-in pop-up flash has a generous (by consumer digicam standards) range of up to 16 feet and an effective red eye reduction mode. You won't be illuminating a banquet hall at your niece's wedding, but your living room shots and small group portraits will please. In low ambient light, both the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and large LCD "gain up" and were easy to view. Despite the absence of a focus-assist lamp, the DX7590's autofocus system was fairly effective in average tungsten interior lighting; never the less, the DX7590 could be improved with a focus-assist lamp. The camera was also able to squelch its flash at close range, making it a good choice for shooting close-up images of small objects for inclusion in online auction listings. If you need more power than the DX7590's internal flash can provide, external flash equipment having a PC connector can be attached.
We were pleased with our outdoor test shots. The DX7590's 10x zoom lens adds a fun factor that you will enjoy; shots that you wouldn't attempt with a 3x zoom become frame-filling memories with this versatile glass. Images were sharp, well- exposed and richly saturated. Auto white balance produced true to life colors in a variety of lighting conditions. Kodak seems to have corrected an issue I had with the DX6490's aggressive JPEG compression algorithm; the DX7590's 5-megapixel Fine quality images are less heavily compressed, averaging just over 2 megabytes in size. We found the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and LCD quite usable in bright sunlight, but the EVF could be improved with a rubber eyecup to block ambient light.
The DX7590 uses a proprietary battery which recharges while the camera rests on the included dock. The battery life was impressive during our tests, capturing more than 250 images despite heavy use of the LCD. But we recommend that you keep a fully-charged spare on hand. And speaking of docks, the optional Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock 6000 charges the battery and 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 it's 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 an MSRP of under $500, very good image quality and a great deal of versatility, the EasyShare DX7590 represents a good value. Usable by every member of your family, it will produce high-quality images of everything from family events, objects for sale at online auctions, and nature to sporting events. If you value a large bright 2.2-inch LCD display, responsive shooting performance, and the ability to attach external flash devices, the 5-megapixel 10X zoom DX7590 would be a good choice for an all-around family digicam.
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