Review: Kodak DC3400
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Friday, September 8, 2000
Last Updated: Monday, September 11, 2000
DC3400 is an updated version of the DC280 that we reviewed
earlier this year. (Actually, I'm not clear on what's changed
between the two models -- they're very similar.) Featuring a 2.0
Mpixel CCD, 2X optical zoom, CompactFlash and USB support, this
$499 camera fits right in the middle of Kodak's lineup. Introduced
at the same time as the Olympus D-490Z (and priced the same),
the DC3400 enters a very crowded field. How does it stack up?
in the Box?
DC3400 has an average bundle included with the camera:
2.0 Mpixel Kodak DC3400 camera
AA alkaline batteries
cable with separate Mac adapter
featuring Kodak software
reference guide and full manual
the DC4800 we recently reviewed, the DC3400 includes support for
serial connections. This is good for people without USB (though
it's much, much slower).
doesn't include any rechargeable batteries, so be sure to pick
up a few NiMH batteries and a charger right away.
DC3400 includes a soft rubber (plastic?) lens cap that tends to
fall off it it's bumped. But it does include a strap, so you won't
lose it (unlike the DC4800).
with all recent Kodak cameras, the manual is concise and well
DC3400 is an average-sized camera, with an above average weight.
Its dimensions are 5.2 x 2.1 x 3.0 inches, and it weighs in at
12 ounces empty. That's a bit heavier than the DC4800.
camera fits in your hands nicely, with plenty of room for both
hands. Unfortunately, your nose will end up smudging the LCD display
while using the optical viewfinder.
camera has an f3.0 - f3.8 EKTANAR lens with a 2X optical zoom
that is equivalent to 38 - 76mm.
the back of the camera now. The 1.8" LCD display turns out
to be one of the disappointments on the DC3400. The images are
grainy, and movement is somewhat choppy. The LCD is off by default,
to save batteries.
buttons around the LCD are used for invoking and navigating through
the menu system.
that is the optical viewfinder, which lacks diopter correction
for folks with glasses.
mode dial to the right of the LCD is very simple (as this is a
point-and-shoot camera), with modes for capture, review, connect
(to PC), and setup.
now at the top of the camera, where it's business as usual. The
LCD info display shows quality and resolution, shots remaining,
and other settings like flash mode.
DC3400 uses a simple nomenclature for resolution and quality.
For resolution, you have Standard (896 x 592) and High (1760 x
1168). For quality, there's Good, Better, and Best. Each of these
is depicted on the LCD info display as a little icon.
small buttons surrounding the LCD info display are for self-timer,
macro/infinite focus, and flash. I do like having infinite focus
at your finger tips, since I take a lot of shots of landscapes.
the far right are the shutter release and zoom controls. The shutter
release gives decent tactile feedback when you press it. I'm not
as much of a fan of the placement of the zoom controls - they're
hard to get to since you've got your finger on the shutter release
zoom control is responsive and smooth (though the zoom mechanism
sounds like some kind of alien weapon from an old sci-fi movie).
the DC3400, all the plugs and slots are on one side. This includes
ports for power, video, and serial/USB, as well as a Type I CompactFlash
slot. Much like on the DC4800, the release (or should I say "launcher")
for the CF card is below the camera, a nice touch.
slots are below rubber and plastic doors, which stay closed and
won't break off. On the whole, the camera is very well built (hence
it's bulk, most likely) for a plastic camera.
finally, the bottom of the camera. Three cheers to Kodak for having
a LCD brightness dial on the bottom of the camera. Why this feature
didn't make it onto the higher end DC4800 is beyond me. I'd love
to see a dial like this on all cameras, instead of having to truck
through the menu system.
can also see the battery compartment (left), plastic tripod mount
(center), and CompactFlash card eject (right) in the above photo.
the Kodak DC3400
going to discuss record and playback mode in this section.
DC3400 takes about three seconds to "warm up" before
it can start taking pictures. At the highest quality time, there's
around a four second delay before you can take another shot. The
camera does take a long time to write to the card -- the "card
write" light stays on for over 15 seconds after the shot
is taken. Thankfully, there's enough buffer memory to let you
keep shooting. There is a small amount of lag while the camera
focuses and then takes the picture.
is the word on the LCD in record mode
mode is extra basic - there's very few manual controls, and the
LCD is devoid of any information when it's on. All the information
(photos remaining, flash settings, etc) are on the LCD info display
on the top of the camera. While taking my night shots, I realized
I couldn't see any of my settings. Kodak should put this information
on both LCD's.
menus are almost exactly the same as on the DC4800. One of the
big differences is that the camera doesn't tell you what you're
choosing in the menu -- you've got to learn what the little icons
mean. In the menu, you can change the following settings:
compensation (-2.0EV to +2.0EV in 0.5EV increments)
(see our DC280
review for more on these)
(black & white, sepia, document)
(both discussed in previous section)
(shows photo on LCD after it's taken -- you can delete it before
it's written to the CF card)
balance (auto, daylight, fluorescent, tungsten)
(multi-pattern, center-weighted) -- no spot metering here
lock -- good for panoramic shots
(sharp, standard, soft)
ISO (on, off)
too bad you can't select an ISO setting - it's pretty much stuck
at 100. Which makes low-light pictures tough, as you can see below.
also an additional setup menu, where you can set other settings
like power saving and date/time, as well as formatting the memory
above shot was taken without messing with any exposure compensation.
As you can see, it's pretty dark (and it's a shame too -- it was
a really clear night). There's no slow shutter mode, so this may
be as good as you get. If you look back at the same photo on the
can see they're pretty close.
there's no noticeable noise in the night shot, there's certainly
some in the macro test shot:
DC3400 did do an admirable job with white balance, though -- it's
in tungsten mode and it turned out about right. Which is more
than I can say for my Coolpix 950. In our gallery, you can find
a few more macro shots, where the camera fared better.
photo quality was very good (except in low light situations) --
with Kodak's trademark vibrant colors.
mode is almost exactly the same as on the DC4800, which means
it has the same flaws. Some basic functions, like deleting photos
and getting more information about them requires a trip to the
menu system. Once you're there, though, the features are fairly
in record mode, things are very basic in playback mode. It takes
around 8 seconds before the camera puts the high resolution photo
on the LCD, though it gives you a pixelated version right away.
you want to zoom into a photo, be prepared to wait almost ten
seconds for the privilege. Once you're zoomed in, scrolling is
a bit choppy, but adequate.
other usual features are here too: slideshows, DPOF print marking,
and image protection.
is picture information available (see photos above), but you've
got to enter the menus to see it. I'd like to see an overlay-style
presentation rather than using the menus.
Does it Compare?
conclusions about the DC3400 are very similar to those of the
DC280 that it replaces. It's a good camera, but not the best for
the money. I compared the DC3400 to the Olympus
D-490Z at the beginning of the review, and I'd say the D-490Z
wins the battle hands down. If the Olympus had USB, it would be
the perfect $500 camera. The Kodak is lacking many of the features
that the Olympus model has, like TIFF mode, multiple ISO settings,
a 3X zoom, and movie mode - plus it's much slower too.
- solid with smartly placed controls
friendly manual and menus
with low-light shots (night and macro)
display too grainy and choppy
mode could be simplified
a 2X optical zoom
imagine that the DC3400 will sell pretty well for Kodak -- it's
priced well, and has the features that most consumers want. I
don't think it's the best choice for the money, but you might
disagree if it does what you need it to do. Other cameras to consider
include the aforementioned Olympus
D-490Z, as well as the Canon
PowerShot S10, Nikon
Coolpix 800, and Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try
these cameras yourself before you make any purchases. Your tastes
may differ from mine, so try before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
out Steve's Digicams review
of the DC3400. A-Digital-Eye also has a DC3400
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.