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DCRP Review: Kodak
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Saturday, October 26, 2002
Last Updated: Sunday, October 27, 2002
The Kodak EasyShare DX4330 ($350) is another camera in Kodak's line of easy to use digital cameras. The EasyShare system lets you, well, easily share and print your photos, using software on the camera as well as your PC.
The DX4330 (who comes up with these names?) is a 3.1 Megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom lens. I don't have to tell you that there are many other 3MP cameras out there, so let's see how the 4330 compares to the competition!
Since I just wrote a really lengthy review of the Kodak LS443, I'll be reusing a whole lot of text from that review.
What's in the Box?
The DX4330's bundle depends on if you get the optional EasyShare camera dock. Items that are included with the dock ($79) are in bold. Inside the box, you'll find:
In what is becoming a trend with camera manufacturers, the DX4330 has built-in memory, instead of bundling a memory card with the camera. The 16MB is good enough to start with, but you'll probably want a larger card soon after your purchase. The DX4330 can use Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMedia (MMC) cards.
What battery you get depends on if you get the dock or not. If you just buy the camera, you'll find a non-rechargeable lithium battery, which will last for a while, but will eventually find its way into your trash. The dock, however, comes with a rechargeable battery pack, that is charged while the camera is on the dock. Kodak estimates that you can take 410 pictures with the lithium battery, and 180 with the rechargeable.
Top-down view. Sorry about the glare.
When it's time to charge the battery or transfer photos to your computer, you just pop the camera into the included dock. My dock had a universal insert on it, but if you use the one included with the camera, the 4330 fits a lot better. Press the button and the camera will connect to your Mac or PC via a USB cable. The dock doesn't have a video out port -- only the camera. Charging the battery pack takes 2.5 hours.
Could you own a DX4330 and not buy the dock? Absolutely.
If you've installed the EasyShare software, it will prepare images you've marked for printing or e-mailing (more on that later). Here's a look at the (Mac OS X) version of the EasyShare software. I would imagine it would be similar on Windows.
EasyShare is not a substitute for something like iPhoto or Photoshop Elements. It's very basic, but well implemented. It is also seemed more stable than the programs bundled with other cameras. The screen shot above shows the main window in EasyShare. Your thumbnails are on the left, and the panel on the right varies, depending on what you're doing. The Viewer mode lets you rotate, delete, and view photos -- that's about it.
The Print at Home tab will help you print the images you select (either by marking them on the camera or in the software). There are many layouts available, including the two 4x6-inch per page prints you see above.
The e-mail tab works in the same way. You can compose messages to be sent along with pictures. You can send the full size picture, or have it reduced automatically to a smaller size. The e-mail system is nicely integrated with OS X's built-in address book system.
One last thing you can do here is customize the e-mail addresses stored in the camera -- again, more on this later in the review. This too can be integrated with the OS X address book.
All in all, the EasyShare system does make it easier to print and e-mail your photos. It's definitely not a substitute for a real photo retouching program though!
Okay, enough of the software talk. The camera also works with OS X's Image Capture and iPhoto.
The camera includes a lens cap and retaining strap.
It took me a while to find them, but the DX4330 does support wide-angle, telephoto, and close-up lens attachments. The first thing you'll need is the lens adapter ($20) which will let you use these 43mm accessories. Other accessories (besides the dock) include camera bags and an AC adapter.
Kodak's camera manuals have always been better than average, and that is the case here as well.
Look and Feel
The DX4330 is not as nice in terms of build quality as the other Kodak camera (LS443) I just reviewed. Then again, it's $350, not $500. Still, it is made of high grade plastic, and should be able to handle most situations without being damaged. The camera is light and easy to hold. It's a little too large to be called pocket-sized, but I think most people will be comfortable carrying it around.
The official dimensions of the LS443 are 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches (W x H x D), and it weighs 210 grams (7.4 ounces) with battery and memory card installed.
Let's tour the camera now.
The DX4330 has a 3X optical zoom lens, made by Kodak. This F2.8 lens has a focal range of 8-24 mm, which is equivalent to 38 - 114 mm. The lens is threaded, but you'll need the aforementioned converter if you want to actually use any lens accessories. A 3.3X digital zoom is also available, though using it will reduce the photo quality.
The little hole directly to the left of the lens is the microphone.
Straight up above that is the built-in flash. The flash has a working range of 0.6 - 3.4 m at wide-angle, and 0.6 - 2.0 m at telephoto. No external flash options here!
Unlike the LS443, the DX4330 does not have an AF-assist lamp.
The DX4330 shares the same 1.8-inch "indoor/outdoor" LCD as the LS443 -- and that's not a good thing. The first issue I have with the LCD is the low resolution -- only 72,000 pixels. You can definitely see the difference if you compare this LCD to others... it's not sharp. Issue number two is the indoor/outdoor feature. I couldn't see any difference between Kodak's LCD and other ones I've used.
My last complaint may seem kind of silly to some people, and requires a bit of explanation. Outdoors, I wear prescription sunglasses, which are polarized (as are most, I think). The LCD display is also polarized, which may be how they try to do the indoor/outdoor thing. Anyhow, with polarized sunglasses, you cannot see the LCD at all at the normal viewing position. Like all polarized lenses, if you turn the camera 90 degrees, the LCD becomes more visible.
At the top-left of the photo, you can see the average-sized optical viewfinder. It doesn't have any diopter correction feature.
To the left of the LCD is the four-way switch, framed by buttons for deleting photos and invoking the menu system.
The review button at the lower-right enters playback mode.
Above the LCD is the share button, which is part of the EasyShare system. When you press the button, the camera enters playback mode and brings up this menu:
In share mode, you can do three things:
Let's say you want to mark an image for e-mail. Here's what you'll see:
You can select a person or persons that you want to e-mail this picture to. Once you connect to your computer, the pictures will be ready to be e-mailed (I don't think it happens automatically).
The final item on the back of the camera is the zoom controller. While the zoom is a bit slower than on the LS443 (wide to tele in 2 seconds), it's more precise. It's also quite and smooth.
There are just a few items on the top of the camera. At the center of the picture you can see the speaker. Just below that is the flash button -- with the flash options being auto flash, flash off, fill flash, and auto with redeye reduction.
To the right of that is the mode wheel, with quite a few options, including:
I'll have more on most of these modes later in the review. The last item up here is the shutter release button.
On this side of the camera, you'll find the DC in port, under a rubber cover.
Over on the other side, behind a fairly sturdy plastic door, you can see the SD/MMC card slot as well as the USB port.
Just above that is the video out port.
Last but not least, here is the bottom of the camera. You can see the battery compartment, plastic tripod mount, and the connector for the dock. You can close that little plastic door to protect the connector from dirt and dust.
Using the Kodak EasyShare DX4330
The DX4330 takes a rather slow 5.5 seconds to extend the lens and warm up before you can start shooting. When you press the shutter release button halfway, the camera locks focus in about one second, which is average. The camera had some trouble in low light (not surprising since it lacks an AF-assist lamp) but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.
Pressing the shutter release fully results in a picture after a short, but still noticeable lag.
As I learned with the LS443, shot-to-shot speed varies depending on the status of the quickview setting (which shows the photo on the LCD after it is taken). If it's on, it will be nearly seven seconds before the camera is back in picture-taking mode. Turn it off and it's more like 2.5 seconds, which is pretty good.
Here's a look at the image size and quality choices available on the camera:
|Image Size||# photos on 16MB on-board memory||# photos on optional 64MB SD card|
2160 x 1440
1800 x 1200
1080 x 720
There's no TIFF or RAW mode available on this camera. The camera names files as 100_nnnn.JPG (where n = 0001 - 9999), and remembers the numbering even if you switch cards or delete photos.
Like the LS443, the DX4330 is a camera which is always ready to take a picture. Even if you're in playback mode, you can still operate the zoom, and can take a picture fairly quickly if need be.
The camera's menu system is attractive and easy to use. One thing I don't like is how it forgets settings when the camera is turned off. Here's a look at the available menu items:
That setup menu has some interesting items, including:
The usual beep, date/time, and card formatting tools are also in the setup menu.
The DX4330 has a lot fewer options than the LS443 did. One of the most notable omissions are any white balance controls, which is surprising considering this is a $350 camera. Of all the features to leave out, this doesn't seem like the best one, as people don't always take pictures where auto white balance does a good job. The 4330 also is missing any control over the ISO sensitivity -- it's always automatic, ranging from 120 - 200.
Well enough about that, let's do photo tests now.
The DX4330 did a decent job with our macro test. Like the LS443, the color here is very saturated... almost too much, but not as bad as the LS443 was. There is a bit of noise but it's not terrible. The image is pretty sharp as well. In macro mode, the focal range is 7 - 70 cm.
The night shot above does look quite nice in the thumbnail, but if you view the full-size version, you will see a noisy and very over-processed image. The camera certainly took in the right amount of light... it just processed it to death. The LS443 suffered from a similar problem.
The 4330 did a fair job with the redeye test. There's definitely some redeye, but I wouldn't call it major. It could be removed with software. Though this crop is enlarged a bit, you can see that the image is quite over-processed. More on that below.
Much like the LS443, the DX4330's photo quality is good, but still noticeably worse than the competition. Since I like using these comparison shots lately, here's the same shot, taken with the DX4330 and the (3 Megapixel) Canon PowerShot S230. The full versions are in their respective photo galleries.
Kodak EasyShare DX4330
Canon PowerShot S230 Digital ELPH
The DX4330 does a nice job with the color, but there's way more noise than with the Canon. All you have to do to see this is the red bar over on the left (part of a larger art piece). Also, have a look at the cars, and the trees in the background. It's the same over-processed look as on (guess what) the LS443.
For 4x6-inch prints or e-mailing photos, the noise issue probably won't matter. For larger prints or those who want very clear images at 100%, it probably will.
The 4330 also had a bit of a problem with chromatic aberrations (purple fringing), which you can see in the gallery shots. Speaking of which, have a look at the gallery so you can make your own decision about photo quality!
The DX4330 has the same, nice movie mode as the LS443. You can record movies, with sound, for as long as your memory card will allow. That's 70 seconds on the 16MB of built-in memory. Buy a 128MB SD/MMC card and you can record for over nine minutes!
Movies are saved in QuickTime format at the unusual resolution of 309 x 206.
Since sound is recorded, the optical zoom cannot be used during filming.
Here's a sample movie for you:
Click to play movie (2.8MB, QuickTime format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
The 4330 also uses the same playback mode that the LS443 has.
The basic features that we all know are here: slide shows, DPOF print marking, image protection, thumbnail mode, and zoom and scroll.
Zoom and scroll lets you zoom in 2X or 4X into your photo, and then scroll around in the enlarged image. The actual magnification process is quite slow.
Not surprisingly, the DX4330 lets you copy images from the internal memory to a memory card, and vice versa.
One not-so-exciting feature is the picture info menu item. What you see above is all the info you get... not even shutter speed or aperture? The low battery warning is blocking the view, as you can see.
The DX4330 moves through images quickly. A low resolution image is shown instantly, followed by the high res version about one second later.
How Does it Compare?
The Kodak EasyShare DX4330 is one of those cameras that's very good in all areas except the most important one, which is photo quality. Like the LS443 (a common theme in this review), the 4330's images are much noisier than the other 3 Megapixel cameras I've tested. Photos have an over-processed look that makes it seem like you ran them through an "impressionist" filter. The 4330 is also missing basic white balance controls and an AF illuminator, which the competition both have. For those who want the convenience of the EasyShare system, or who do small-sized prints, this camera may still work for you -- it's quite easy to use. For those want better quality pictures, larger prints, or more manual controls, you could do better elsewhere.
What I liked:
What I didn't care for:
Some other low cost 3 Megapixel cameras to consider include the Canon PowerShot S230 and S30, Casio QV-R3, Fuji FinePix 3800 and A303, Kyocera Finecam S3x and S3L, Minolta DiMAGE Xi, Nikon Coolpix 3500, Olympus D-550Z, Pentax Optio 330GS and 330RS, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P7 and DSC-P71, and the Toshiba PDR-3320. It's a lengthy list but it shows that you have a lot of choices -- and that you need to do your homework before you buy!
As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the EasyShare DX4330 and it's competitors before you buy!
See how the photo quality stacks up in our DX4330 photo gallery!
Want another opinion?
Read a review of the DX4330 at Steve's Digicams.
Jeff welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to my limited resources, please do not send me requests for personal camera recommendations.
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