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DC-210

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Manufacturer: Kodak
Product Model: DC-210
Official Website: http://www.kodak.com/daiHome/genInfo/dc210.shtml
Resolutions: 1152x864
Zoom Capability: 2X
Auto Focus? Yes
Macro Capability? Yes
Flash? Yes
Storage Method: CompactFlash
Storage Capacity: 16-60
LCD Screen: Yes/1.8"
ISO Equivalent: 140
Video Out?: Yes
Software Included: PhotoDeluxe, PageMill, PictureEasy, W95 Mounter
Computers Supported: Mac/PC
Miscellaneous Notes:
MSRP: $699
Lowest Price*: Visit Shopper.Com to find out now!

DCRP Reader Reviews

Jeff Henderson (5/4/98):
I purchased a DC-210 in December 97 on behalf of my company for use in an R&D engineering environment. The camera's official intended use is to document hardware during engineering development. Needless to say, once we saw good the pictures were, we found many non work related uses. The camera probably gets as much use on the weekend as it does doing it's official job during the week.

I found the DC-210 very easy to use. The control panel is very intuitive. I've installed the TWAIN driver in both the 95 and NT environments. Had no trouble with the 95 installation, had very minor configuration issue with the NT installation, but resolved it in about 1/2 hour. Kodak's included photo cataloging software is very cartoonish. I dumped it and utilize two shareware programs, Thumbs Plus, and Paint Shop Pro to view, catalog, and edit my photos.

The picture quality is outstanding, in both the 640 x 480 and 1152 x 864 modes. I generally opt to take pictures in the highest quality (least compression) mode to achieve the sharpest results. At work we use the close up setting to take pictures of PC boards and small mechanical assemblies. At home. I've taken some very nice close ups of flowers. I also like the zoom feature. The 29-50 range is great for taking wide angle pictures of buildings or room interiors. If your a Realtor or insurance agent, this camera would be a good choice.

The only complaint I have is that the camera eats batteries. With the LCD on, I generally get about one 4MB card full of flash pictures + download from one set of alkalines. If you operate with the LCD off as much as possible and minimize flash usage, you can get about double the battery life. I might note that the Kodak batteries that came with the camera lasted quite a bit longer than the Duracell or Eveready╠s I have tried. My solution, was to purchase two sets of rechargeable alkaline batteries. These have worked very well for the past 3 months. When I'm done using the camera, I swap sets, and recharge. The other minor complaint is that Kodak did not provide a power cord. For ~$800, you'd think they would include it.

Overall, I'd give the DC-210 very high marks. I'm debating on whether to buy one for personal use now, or wait for the next generation that is on the horizon.

Mike Gould (2/21/98):
I got my DC210 yesterday, hooked it up to my Mac, and was downloading in seconds. I have a switch box hooked to my modem port that routes between my modem, color printer, Connectix QuickCam, and now the DC210; works like a charm. The software went in easy, and the pictures download FAST; I set it to the fastest it would go and it did it. A 1M shot comes in at around 7 seconds; I don't think I'm gonna need a card reader. I bought a 20M flash RAM which can hold 70 high-res shots - $179 at B&H. I am delighted.

Yet another reason to get a Mac.

Some observations:

The buttons in software "feel" weird; they don't always activate, so you have to hunt around for the sensitive spot to fire them. I've never seen this before.

I bought a set of NiCad rechargables and charger; when I use these, the camera doesn't work (dead battery icon). I note that they are only 1.2V; not enough mojo for this guy? What flavor rechargables should I be using? (Everything works fine with the batteries that came with it.)

It would be cool if the camera could broadcast live to the computer, a la QuickCam; something that could be implemented in 2.0? I will be doing a lot of tabletop photography directly to the Mac, and this would be convenient. It would be even cooler if the DC210 could stream video live to the Mac for animations.

Because of the reputation for battery consumption, it would be cool if Kodak would market an adapter so that you could use camcorder batteries for long shoots; or maybe a bandolier of D cells? I'm tempted to kludge something like this together...

Overall, I am very impressed and look forward to much fun with this. I am a web developer, and will be using it a lot to shoot clients' products for web presentation. I have been using the QuickCam, but this is miles above it.

John Cowley (2/21/98):
The following was copied & pasted from my personal web site at http://www.lonestardigital.com
My observations on the DC-210:

Clear, accurate color reproduction. The colors are the most accurate I've seen in any digital camera. Outstanding dimensional depth to the pictures. Overall about a 10-15% improvement compared to the DC-120 on side by side photo comparisons.

Works very effectively in low and average lighting conditions. Fits nicely into my pocket or briefcase. Trouble taking good outdoor pictures in bright sunlight.

One of the things I have grown to love about the DC-210 is it's fast cycling between pictures.

I recently took a lunch hour to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum here in Dallas to take some pictures with the DC-210. ( The flight museum is nearly across the street from my office). I didn't have much time, but needed some photos to post in the "Photo Samples" to get the web site started with some content other than pictures of my desk or things like that. I have a 15 MB compact flash disk in the camera for "film", enabling a capacity of approximately 50 highest quality, highest resolution JPEG pictures. In less than a half hour, I took 49 photo's of various aircraft in the hangers, alternating between standard exposure, +1.0, and +2.0 settings on each subject. This "quickness" is the greatest single feature I have found with this camera.

And the high capacity compact flash card lets me take pictures like film was free and unlimited. I just snap, snap, snap, snap. Using the PCMCIA card reader on my computer, I downloaded the 49 pictures onto my "ThumbsPlus" program in seconds. I then thumbnail, reviewed, and selected 9 photos I wanted to keep in just a few minutes. Deleted the other 40 with a couple of clicks of the mouse - the PCMCIA card and ThumbsPlus software combination lets me fly through the process.

Pictures in low light and indoor situations are excellent. I have found that except for close ups less than 4 feet (where no compensation is usually necessary because of the effectiveness of the flash), I step the exposure value up anywhere from +1.0 to +2.0 (the maximum) depending on how bright it is inside the area I am shooting in, and this camera works. Once again, less than about 4 feet, I don't need to compensate unless it's really dim, and beyond 4 feet I step up the exposure values accordingly. For example, the hockey picture in the "photo library" was taken at +2.0, with the flash disabled. Incidentally, the exposure or flash adjustments are super easy to do - just takes a couple of seconds to make a change. Point and shoot, quick review on the LCD, push the delete button if you don't like it, move on to the next opportunity. Resetting the exposure or flash values on the fly is a snap, and has become a valuable tool.

Note: I have found that on any digital camera, regardless of brand, the LCD review will tell you a lot, but will not be necessarily accurate regarding the actual brightness results when you "develop" the pictures on your computer. The pictures you thought looked great on the camera's LCD screen often turn out way too dark when you bring them up on the computer. Then, if you have to lighten them up too much with your imaging software, the pictures are lifeless and grainy. Experience counts here on when to compensate!

I have had trouble, however, getting high quality images with most outdoor photos in bright, direct sunlight. Seems like everything gets "fuzzed out" just a little. "Jaggies" often appear on all the sharp lines and edges. Take the same subject in a little shade, or in the early morning or late afternoon, and everything is fine. "Neutral density" or "polarizing" filters I've tried by holding them in front of the camera lens only darken the pictures, without helping image quality. Local camera experts tell me that it's the intensity of contrast experienced with bright sunlight that causes the effect. Early morning, late afternoon, shade, or other similar diffused or indirect lighting conditions yield excellent outdoor pictures. Bright outdoor lighting is o.k., but again, I've found the sunlight must be diffused to yield high quality, super sharp pictures.

The well publicized complaint comes from me, also, regarding the camera lens - no provided way to attach lens accessories or filters. And the protruding clear lens "cover" over the actual lens seems like it fingerprints or smudges if you just "look" at it. The LCD screen is the same way - fingerprints in a heartbeat, and difficult to clean because of its mat finish.

Using the default JPEG picture format option on the camera, you can use anybody's imaging software, take your choice. I personally use the image editing and processing software from ThumbsPlus on the DC-210.

I don't use the Kodak supplied software on this camera at all. Very, very limited for my personal tastes. But, I suppose it must be easy and useful for the newcomer, which is great.

The more people that can easily use and can enjoy this technology on an everyday basis, the better and cheaper it will get.

Arnie Rind (2/20/98):
I love the design and the look of the camera. I also liked that I was able to buy a 15meg card that could store 52 pictures in flashpix mode. I found that the software that came with the camera was too slow to download the pictures. It took me approx. 40 minutes to download 50 pictures. I ended up buying a pcmcia reader and was able to restore 50 pictures within minutes, it's a must for this type of processing.You just use explorer and drag your pictures from your pcmcia card to your hard drive.

Overall, I was not thrilled with all the pictures taken. Some were better than others, but the quality was not consistant.

Brian Dowtin (2/20/98):
About the reviewers:
Programmer & Physical Therapist - enjoy photography but not especially adept or trained in taking pictures. She's also tired of him wasting film.

About the purchase:
10 Days ago we purchased the Kodak DC-210, from our local camera shop, Wolf Camera. They let us take some photos with it, and then they plugged it in to a PC so we could see how they turned out. (CompUSA refused to do this). We picked the Kodak for two reasons, (1) Megapixel images - we plan to use it for work and for regular photography, and the work images (medial documentation) need to be fairly clear and detailed. (2) Ergonomics, it was easy to figure out and use, seemed relatively sturdy, and was small enough to easily carry around.

About the camera:
Great little camera. It looks like a camera, feels like a camera, acts like a camera. All the buttons are where I would put them. I like the dial on the back to switch modes. I worry a bit about the finish over the long run (metalic plastic?). It seems the metallic finish has the possiblity of wearing off, but thats just conjecture. The zoom is great, could be a bit more powerful, but all in all its great. Strap - the camera is just a bit on the bulky side, and in holding it for a while, it would be nice to have a camcorder-style hand strap, but its not a problem.

Using the camera:
Great. Just great. The quick preview after taking a picture is marvelous - It gives you about 10 seconds to look at the picture you've just taken. And if you don't like the photo, you can zap it right there.

The image quality is excellent. The photos' we've taken and printed on our Cannon BJC-4300 using HighRes paper and photo cartridge, have been beautiful. The DC210 gives you 3 levels of compression and 2 image sizes. The small size, still produces great photos - although we intend to use the small size for web/computer images and the large size for printing.

Batteries:
Yikes. This thing eats batteries like candy. Our third night, in a rush we purchased no name alkalines, they lasted for what seemed like mere seconds. I read up on solutions, and purchased 8 AA Ni-MH cells, and a 1 hour recharger. (~$70 from Radio Shack) These have performed much, much better, and so far have never left us without power. And with 8, that means we can always have one set charged and ready to go.

AC Adapter:
Charging an extra $50 ($75 at Wolf) for an AC adapter for an $800 camera is a shame. It works flawlessly. Cord length is fine, although another 6 feet would be perfect.

Connecting to the PC:
>From what I've read, this has been a big issue with this camera. And even at the store, it took minutes for the pictures we took to download. When I first tried, a 129k picture took longer than I was willing to wait (minutes..) With some tweaking of the communication settings I was able to get it working right, and a 120k picture now takes about 12 seconds which, comes out to about 80kbps, which seems about right for a 115kbps connection to the camera (some is lost in protocol overhead)

The problem was fixed by changing 2 advanced communications settings in the Mounter software: Setting the time delay to the minium, and the retry time to minium, fixed all the slowdowns.

Software:
Pretty, but a bit slow -for the Kodak Picture Easy software (on my P-II 266). PhotoDeluxe 2 - was zippier and the TWAIN interface is more than adequate. The Mounter software is neat - it makes your DC-210 appear as a disk drive to Win95. So you can open it in explorer, or in most any program. You can also drag and drop pictures -from- the camera to a folder. You can't drag pictures to the camera.

Summary:
We like the camera a lot. Its met all our expectations, the only 'I wish' has been for the option of a time/date stamp actually on the photo's. (its stored with the photo just not on the photo). We returned the camera last night - and will buy another one just like it this week - it seems the new Kodak Rebate is only good for cameras purchased in February & March, and we've decided to purchase Mail-order/Online where it sells for $100 less than at our local store. So all in all it should end up less than $700 - not bad for a great camera.

Malcolm Parsons (2/20/98):
I recently bought the Kodak DC210 to replace my old Casio 10 that just did not have enough resolution at 320 by 240 pixels, and no flash, to give decent pictures.

What a difference!

The DC210 takes great pictures and is easy to operate. You can work in .jpg or .fpx modes in recording with a variety of choices on resolution (i.e number of pixels) and compression. My initial reaction is that standard resolution and good quality works fine for storing lots of pictures on the 4 mb card, and then printing the image on 4 by 6 inch index cards with an ink jet printer.

One of my specs was to have a camera that fits into your pants pocket, so that when wandering round an exotic new place as a tourist, you did require a case and strap around your neck. DC 210 was the only digital camera with high resolution that fit this spec. (Maybe the high res Agfa would also work .. I could not find one to test, but the review on DCRP that it was a very slow camera turned me off).

I tested the DC210 in all modes or resolution and compression by taking shots of my son's house on a cloudy Sunday morning, with the camera hand held. Winner by a little was flashpix format, highest resolution; angled straight lines of roofs in the distance came out sharper. However all modes really were acceptable, and comparison with the old Casio was night and day. No surprise there, I guess. The flash works fine. No apparent problem with pictures being overexposed when shot fairly close up.

The software is a bit of a head scratch, since you have at least 3 options to work with. Kodak Easy Photo, Windows 95 Mounter, and Twain. The Kodak option only works in flash pix mode, while the other two will handle .jpg and keep it as .jpg. I have not figured out which one I want to make my standard system, still need more tinkering time.

I also bought an extra card with 10 mb, and PCMIA adaptor, which I have not tested yet. This should make downloading to the laptop lightning fast, and you can manipulate in whatever software fits your need.

Ok, what complaints have I got, or what would I rather have on the camera? First, it is not instant in picture capture. I guess this is normal for all digital cameras. Let me explain. If you want to take a picture of a friend hitting a golf ball, there is about a 1 second delay from pushing the shutter button and the actual capture of the picture. So to get the golfer with the club head near the ball at the moment of impact after the downswing, is very difficult.

Second, there is a zoom capability of 2 times. This is 29 mm to 58 mm, which is like going from wide angle to normal. Example, my old Casio shot around 55 mm. To equal that on the DC210 I have to shoot close to maximum zoom. I should have realized this at time of purchase, but did not. I'd like to have a true zoom capability, but alas.. Now if you want to zoom, shoot at highest resolution, then crop the picture later. If you want a higher zoom capability, go with the Sony or Olympus 500 or 600, but note, these will not fit into your pant pocket. Third, the camera is a battery eater, but they all are. The DC 210 is probably less than most, since you do not have to shoot through an LCD viewfinder.

Lastly, the LCD and/or optical viewfinder do not swivel, so you can't shoot over your head or from your waist (as you can from the Casio). Hey, you can't have everything! I've got a very good camera which does what I had wanted:
- take picture easily
- fit in the pants pocket
- take excellent pictures with some zoom capability.

I will post some photo's in due course, but really do not have enough pictures yet to offer something worth posting. The camera cost $788 through Calico software which I found through the Internet. Service was fine, price good .. no complaints.

Paul Frye (2/7/98):
The camera works wonderfully. The ability to change preferences with the LCD works very well. The dial on the back has four positions, for review of just snapped pictures, to review stored pictures, to connect to your PC or MAC (Optional cable method for the MAC) or to set your preferences such as time, LCD brightness, quality of exposures, etc.

The flash settings or closeup are accomplished by using a settings LCD which is located on the top left of the camera. All controls are easily reachable, easily understandable, and easy to adjust.

The Color 1.8 inch LCD on the back of the camera remains on just after you take a picture, to allow you to see it quickly. This method of just being on for a few seconds, obviously allows you to save batteries. You can also review and delete at leisure either from the LCD or from an attached VCR connection - cable is supplied.

The lens is somewhat limiting in telephoto...just a 2x. The wide angle is truly wide. Watch your angles. The zoom mechanism works nicely...When turned on, the camera automatically adjusts to wide and must be zoomed if desired. The closeup works extremely well.

The pictures...The lens appears to be very sharp, especially in closeups and normal distances. Its fixed focus at infinity is ever so slightly less than sharp , however, maybe a drawback to having a fixed lens. This can hurt if you are trying to be Ansel Adams, with only Mountainous Landscapes....but for anything closer than half a mile...the focus is very sharp.

The fixed lens has an advantage, however, allowing the user to "Quickly" point and shoot without having to worry about setting up the autofocus features.

Finally, the pictures -- I have attached several examples from closeup to landscape. Colors are excellent, expecially in the outdoor shots. The flash also provides a very good balance, with only a slight tendency to overexpose for light closer items. When shooting into the sun in the daylight, expect some underexposure. The light meter appears to have a wide area of measurement and appears to be weighted to the brightest spots.

Batteries....I have been using some Lithium Ion batteries for my first 50 shots and they are still going strong. But I also took someones advice and got a NIMH set from Radio shack with a charger and 3 sets of 4 batteries. I believe that this will more than provide for heavy camera usage.

Use of the memory card can keep battery use down. The card is seamless to my PowerBook as a Flash RAM. I simply transfer the files to my hard drive, trash the originals and I'm ready to go again. Using this technique, the 4mb of flash ram will satisfy many users. The transfer is very quick. With the new zip drives for portables it is also very easy to take the next transfer to your desktop. Each picture at the highest resolution averages around 300kb...so you can fit almost 300 pictures onto a zip disk. The originals are also numbered and dated sequentially so it is certainly easy to keep track of your originals. The sequence is contained in the camera, so it is not affected by ram card changes or erasing.

Engineering wise, I would say this is a fine camera. I even discovered a new use for it after a recent meeting. I used it to photograph a white-board so that we didn't have to copy down our work. That use alone is almost worth the price...but of course this is a first class digital and new uses will certainly be found for it in many venues.

Bryan Costin (2/7/98):
The DC210 is overall a very good camera. The most common complaint is a lack of sharpness at infinity, as in landscape photos, which appears to be an unavoidable result of the fixed-focus lens. I find this somewhat annoying, but nothing more. The camera's color LCD interface is a snap compared to the primitive button-pushing found on earlier Kodak models.

Output is great, with well balanced colors, good light sensitivity, and fine resolution.

I have never had a problem with the software on the three machines I've used it with. Both the TWAIN acquire and the "mounter", which makes the attached camera look like a hard drive, have worked without a hitch for me.

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