I can tell a personal story about
EasyShare DX7440. A few months ago I was looking
for a camera for my mom. Since she's somewhat of a
technophobe, I wanted something simple. And since your
close-up vision starts to go south with age, I wanted
something with a big LCD. I also wanted something that
about the same size as her old film camera. I brought
her to Best Buy and we looked at a bunch of cameras...
from Olympus, Canon, Sony, and Kodak. I ended up getting
her the DX7440, even before I'd reviewed it. Based
on other Kodak cameras I've tested, I was confident
that the 7440 would do the job. The EasyShare system
makes it easy to share photos, the LCD is bigger-than-average,
and the size was right. The DX7440 sells for under
$300 -- not bad for a camera with a 4 Megapixel CCD
and 4X optical zoom lens!
So the DX7440 is off to a good start
even before I started my review process. Did I make
the right choice for mom? Find out in our review!
What's in the Box?
The DX7440 has a good bundle. Inside
the box, you'll find:
- The 4.0 effective Megapixel Kodak
EasyShare DX7440 camera
- KLIC-5000 lithium-ion rechargeable
- Camera dock insert
- Wrist strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring Kodak EasyShare
- 61 page manual (printed)
As is the case on other recent Kodak
cameras, no memory card is included with the camera.
Instead, Kodak puts 32MB of memory right into the camera.
That doesn't hold too many 5 Megapixel images, so I
recommend buying a larger memory card right away. The
DX7440 can use Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMedia (MMC)
cards, though I recommend the former due to its superior
performance and capacity. I'd recommend a 128MB or
256MB SD card as a good starting point. I did not see
any major improvements in performance from using "high
speed" SD cards, so save your money.
The DX7440 includes the KLIC-5000
rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This battery has
3.9 Wh of energy, which isn't a whole lot. Kodak says
you can take about 185 photos per charge using this
battery. That's decent, but you can do better by purchasing
the KLIC-5001 battery, which has 6.3 Wh of energy.
This higher capacity battery gives you 300 shots per
charge, which is quite a bit better. The KLIC-5001
is a relative bargain at $30, with the KLIC-5000 costing
$10 less. Regardless of which battery you choose, I
recommend getting a spare.
The downside of proprietary batteries
like these are their price, and the fact that you can't
just grab some AA alkalines at the corner store to
get you through the rest of the day.
When it's time to charge the battery,
just pop it into the included charger. It takes about
three hours to fully charge the battery. This is one
of those "plug it right into the wall" chargers
that I like so much.
The 7440 has a built-in lens cover,
so there are no lens caps to worry about.
Now let's talk about camera accessories.
The most "famous", if you will, is the EasyShare
Camera Dock 6000 ($70). This is a cradle on which you
place your camera. You can then charge the battery
in the camera or transfer photos to your Mac or PC.
You do not need the camera dock to fully enjoy the
DX7440 -- you can do the same things without it.
A related item is the EasyShare Printer
Dock. Three models are compatible, ranging in price
from $150 to $200. Just put the camera onto the top
of the printer and 60-90 seconds later, a photo lab
quality 4 x 6 inch print is ready. It doesn't get much
easier than that.
The included dock insert helps the
camera fit properly on all the docks.
There are several lens accessories
available for the DX7440 as well. The 0.6X wide-angle
conversion lens (a bargain at $45) brings the wide
end of the lens down to a very nice 19.8 mm. If it's
more zoom power you desire, the 2X teleconversion lens
($55) brings the focal length up to 264 mm. A close-up
lens kit ($30) allows you to get closer to your subject
in macro mode. A lens hood ($20) comes in handy when
shooting outdoors. All of those lens options require
the DX7440 Lens Adapter ($20), which also lets you
use any 37 mm filter.
The only other accessories I could
find for the DX7440 include an AC adapter ($30) and
numerous camera bags ($10 and up).
While Kodak includes versions 3.4.1
and 3.3 (Windows and Mac OS X, respectively) of their
EasyShare software with the camera, I'm going to tell
you about version 4 instead, since it's a free
download from Kodak's website. Kodak may well have
the best bundled software in the digicam world at this
The main screen lets you import and
organize your photos. Kodak has added some new ways
to organize your photos in version 4.0. You can view
them by date taken, or you can create "smart albums" which
are totally customizable (just like a smart playlist
On this screen you can also view your
photos in a slideshow, edit or rotate them (see below),
get exposure data, rotate them, burn them to a CD or
DVD, or even upload them to Ofoto for printing.
If you want to edit your photo, there
are some basic tools included. They include rotation,
cropping, "instant enhancement", redeye reduction,
brightness and contrast, color, exposure, and instant
black & white or sepia conversion. For some edits,
you can split the screen (see above) so you can see
a "before and after" view of your proposed
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 choices
available, including the two 4 x 6 inch per page print
layout 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
Here you can customize the e-mail
addresses stored in the camera -- more on how this
works later in the review. This feature is also integrated
with the OS X address book. Similarly, you can also
set up albums on your camera by using EasyShare. You
can then tag photos on the camera, and they'll end
up in the proper album when you transfer your photos
to your computer. Cool!
Kodak does a nice job with their camera
manuals, with long descriptions and not a lot of fine
print. The manual does seem short (in length) and it
doesn't talk about accessories, but it's pretty good
for most purposes.
Look and Feel
The EasyShare DX7440 is an attractive,
midsized camera made of high grade plastic with some
metal thrown in for good measure. It's easy to hold,
with one hand or two, and the important controls are
all within reach. Though it's too large to fit in your
pocket, the 7440 is small enough to go in a purse or
backpack without causing any trouble.
The official dimensions of the camera
are 3.9 x 2.7 x 1.6 inches (W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
and it weighs 224 grams empty. The numbers for two
competitive cameras are 4.0 x 2.5 x 1.2 in. / 200 g
for the Canon PowerShot A85 and 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
/ 175 g for the Fuji FinePix E500.
With that out of the way, let's start
our tour of the DX7440 now!
Unlike most cameras in this class
which have a 3X zoom lens, the DX7440 has a 4X lens!
The one here has a maximum aperture range of F2.8 -
F4.8, and a focal range of 33 - 132 mm (in 35 mm terms).
Hopefully the disappearing text on the lens isn't a
bad omen! As I mentioned in the previous section, the
7440 supports a number of conversion lenses.
To the upper left of the lens is the
built-in flash. The flash has a working range of 0.6
- 4.0 m at wide-angle and 0.6 - 2.3 m at telephoto,
which is comparable to the competition. You cannot
attach an external flash to the DX7440.
To the upper-right of the lens is
the hybrid autofocus sensor. This helps the camera
focus quickly and accurate in both good and bad lighting.
It's not the same as an AF-assist lamp but it works
quite well nonetheless.
Those items directly to the left of
the lens are the self-timer lamp, light sensor, and
One of the main reasons for recommending
the DX7440 to my mom was the 2.2" LCD display.
This screen has 153,000 pixels which makes images on
the screen nice and sharp. Kodak advertises this as
an "indoor/outdoor" LCD, and it lives up
to its billing: you really can use in bright outdoor
light. Even better, the screen "gains up" wonderfully
in low light situations, making it easy to see your
subjects. Kodak does this better than almost anyone
Directly above the LCD is the 7440's
optical viewfinder. The viewfinder is average-sized
for a camera in this class. A diopter correction knob
can be used to focus what you're looking at.
The buttons to the right of the viewfinder
are for deleting a photo, entering the menu, or entering
The next button down is the Share
button, which separates Kodak cameras from the competition
(with perhaps the exception of HP). Pressing the Share
button enters playback mode and brings up the following
In share mode, you can do three things:
- Tag a picture for printing
- Tag a picture for e-mailing
- Save a picture as a "favorite"
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 EasyShare software will allow
you to e-mail the photos that you tagged.
A related feature that I mentioned
before is the album feature. Pick an album (either
before or after you take a picture), and the camera
will dump the photos into the proper album the next
time you transfer photos to your Mac or PC.
The favorites feature lets you save,
well, your favorite pictures right on the camera. Note
that this does take up a portion of the built-in memory
on the camera, and you can choose how much of it is
dedicated to favorites by using the EasyShare software.
Below the share button is the mode
dial, which has the following choices:
- Movie mode - more on this later
- Favorites - I just described this
- Auto record - point-and-shoot,
many menu options locked up
- Scene mode - you choose the
situation and the camera uses the proper settings;
- Night portrait
- Night landscape
- Manner - for being "polite" with
your camera; now if they only had the same
feature for people!
- Program mode - still point-and-shoot
but with full menu access
- Aperture priority mode - you choose
the aperture and the camera uses the proper shutter
speed; aperture range is F2.8 - F9.5
- Shutter priority mode - you choose
the shutter speed and the camera picks the correct
aperture; shutter speed range is 64 - 1/1000 sec
- Full manual mode - you choose both
the shutter speed and aperture; same ranges as above
- Custom - save your favorite camera
settings (including the shooting mode) to a spot
on the mode dial
Just to highlight one real nice feature
off this camera: the 7440 can keep the shutter open
for as long as 64 seconds in shutter priority and full
Below the mode dial is the Display/Info
button. This toggles the LCD display, as well as what's
shown on it, on and off while in record mode. When
it playback mode, this toggles the information about
your photo that is displayed on the screen.
On the top of the DX7440 you'll find
the speaker, several buttons, the shutter release button,
and the zoom controller.
The important buttons here are:
- Drive (Exposure bracketing, first
burst, last burst) - see below
- Focus (Macro, infinity) - more
on macro mode later
- Flash (Auto, flash off, fill flash,
auto w/red-eye reduction)
The exposure bracketing option takes
three shots in a row, each with a different exposure
value. You can set the EV interval (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV, ±1.0EV)
in the record menu. If you've got enough space on your
memory card, bracketing is a great way to ensure a
The "first burst" option
takes up to 5 pictures at 2 frames/second -- this is
your standard-issue burst mode. In "last burst" mode,
you hold the shutter release button down and the camera
takes up to 30 pictures at 2 frames/second, but only
the last 6 images taken before you let go of the button
are saved to memory. Unfortunately, the LCD goes black
during continuous shooting, which makes it impossible
to follow your subject if they're moving. Best advice
is to use the optical viewfinder in these situations.
The zoom controller, which is wrapped
around the shutter release button, moves the lens from
wide-angle to telephoto in about two seconds. I counted
eight steps throughout the zoom range, which doesn't
allow for too much precision with regard to focal length.
On this side of the DX7440, you'll
find the I/O ports, which are kept under a rubber cover.
They include DC-in (for optional AC adapter), USB,
and A/V out.
Nothing to see here.
Finally, here's the bottom of the
DX7440. Here you'll find the dock connector, metal
tripod mount (blocked by the door in this picture),
and battery / memory card compartment. The battery
compartment can hold the included KLIC-5000 battery,
or the more powerful KLIC-5001 model. The camera uses
Secure Digital or MultiMediaCard memory cards. The
door that covers all this is quite flimsy. The placement
of the tripod mount means that you cannot swap memory
cards while the camera is on a tripod.
The included KLIC-5000 battery is
shown at right.
Using the Kodak EasyShare
It takes about 2.8 seconds for the
7440 to extend its lens and "warm up" before
you can start taking pictures -- which is about average.
The DX7440 focuses incredibly quickly
for a low-priced camera, taking just 0.3 seconds to
lock focus at wide-angle, and maybe 0.5 second at telephoto.
Low light focusing was superb, as well. It's amazing
when a $300 camera outperforms some $700 cameras that
I've tested in this area.
Shutter lag was low, even at slower
shutter speeds where it sometimes becomes a problem.
Shot-to-shot speed is also excellent,
with a one second delay before you can take another
picture (assuming you've turned off the post-shot review
You can delete a photo immediately
after taking it by pressing the delete button.
I should add that the DX7440, like
all Kodak cameras of late, is always ready to shoot,
no matter what you're doing. Whether you're in the
menus or reviewing photos, just halfway-press the shutter
release button to return to shooting.
Now, here's a look at the image quality
choices on this camera:
||# images on 32MB on-board
||# images on 256MB SD
2304 x 1728
2304 x 1536
2048 x 1536
1656 x 1242
1200 x 900
There's no TIFF or RAW mode available
on the DX7440, nor would I expect there to be.
The camera names files as 100_####.JPG
(where # = 0001 - 9999), and remembers the numbering
even if you switch cards or delete photos.
The menu system on the 7440 is simple
and very easy-to-use. About the only thing missing
is a help option describing what each item does. Here
are all the menu options:
- Custom exposure mode (P, A, S,
M) - choose the shooting mode to use when the "C" item
on the mode dial is selected
- Self-timer (on/off)
- Picture size (see chart)
- Compression (see chart)
- White balance (Auto, daylight,
tungsten, fluorescent) - no custom white balance;
the open shade option is new
- Exposure bracketing interval (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV, ±1.0EV)
- I described the bracketing feature earlier
- Exposure metering (Multi-pattern,
- Focus zone (Multi-zone, center
zone, selectable zone) - see below
- AF control (Continuous AF, single
AF, accessory lens AF) - see below
- Color mode (High color, natural
color, low color, black & white, sepia)
- Sharpness (Low, normal, high)
- Reset to default
- Set Album - choose an album before
you start taking pictures
- Image storage (Auto, internal memory)
- the former always uses a memory card if one is
inserted; the latter always uses the internal memory
- Live view (on/off) - whether the
LCD is on by default
- Video size (320 x 240, 640 x 480)
- more on this later
- Video length (Continuous, 5, 15,
30 secs) - for movie mode
- Setup Menu - see below
A few notes on some of those items
before we continue. I would've liked to have seen a
custom white balance option on the camera. It's too
bad that they left this feature out, as it comes in
handy when shooting under unusual lighting conditions.
Manual focus wouldn't hurt either.
There are three "focus zones" on
the 7440. Multi-zone automatically chooses one of three
areas in the frame on which to focus. Center zone always
focuses on the center of the frame. Selectable zone
lets you choose one of the three focus areas manually.
There are also three "AF control" choices
available. Continuous AF is always focusing, even when
the shutter release is not held down. This reduces
the delay when you want to take a picture. In Single
AF mode, the camera only focuses when you halfway press
the shutter release. Accessory lens AF disables the
hybrid AF sensor (since the lens blocks it) and just
uses good old fashioned contrast detection for focusing.
In addition to the record menu, there's
also a setup menu, which has the following options:
- Quickview (on/off) - if picture
is shown for 5 secs on LCD after it's taken
- Advanced digital zoom (Continuous,
pause, none) - how the digital zoom is activated,
or just turn it off
- Print warning (Pause, none) - warns
you if you're overdoing it on the digital zoom
- Sound themes (Shutter only, default,
classical, jazz, sci-fi)
- Sound volume (Off, low, medium,
- Mode description (on/off) - whether
to show a description of the selected shooting mode
when you turn the mode dial
- Date & time (set)
- Video out (NTSC, PAL)
- Orientation sensor (on/off) - whether
camera automatically rotates images shot in the portrait
- Date Stamp (Off, YYYY MM DD, MM
DD YYYY, DD MM YYYY) - for printing the date on photos
- Video date display (None, YYYY
MM DD, MM DD YYYY, DD MM YYYY, YYYY MM DD HH:MM,
MM DD YYYY, HH:MM, DD MM YYYY HH:MM) - how the date/time
is shown while viewing photos on your TV
- Language (English, German, Spanish,
French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese)
- Format (Internal memory, card)
- About - shows the current firmware
version; mine was 1.0000
Okay, let's move on to our photo tests
Our macro test subject doesn't get
much "smoother" than this. There's no grain
at all, which is pretty rare. Something else worth
noticing is just how saturated the colors are -- maybe
a bit too much. Kodak loves to crank up the color on
You can get as close to your subject
as 10 cm at wide-angle and 25 cm at telephoto, which
is average at best. The optional close-up lens will
help reduce these distances, but I don't know by how
The 7440 did a pretty good job with
our night shot, though there is some noise and purple
fringing to be seen here. There's not much you can
do about the noise, but the purple fringing is reduced
if you use a smaller aperture (higher F-number). The
camera took in plenty of light, and with shutter speeds
as long as 64 seconds, shots like this are a piece
Using that same shot, here's a look
at how changing the ISO sensitivity effects the amount
of noise in your images:
As you can see, the image doesn't
get too much worse at ISO 100. Details start to fall
off at ISO 200 and things like pretty bad at ISO 400.
Kodak seems to have a good handle
on redeye on their recent cameras -- there's really
none to speak of here (just a little flash reflection).
The distortion test shows very mild
barrel distortion at the wide end of the lens, and
no signs of vignetting (dark corners) or blurring.
Overall I'd rate the DX7440's image
quality as good, but not great. Kodak processes their
photos a little too much, which eats away at details,
giving some things (like grass) a muddy appearance.
Colors are very saturated -- perhaps too much so. A
few times the camera made some strange exposures,
with an unnatural dark blue sky and an underexposed
subject (here's where you use exposure compensation!).
Noise levels were a little above average, and I'd say
purple fringing levels are comparable to other cameras
in this price range. Most of the issues I raised in
this paragraph become moot if you're printing at 8
x 10 or smaller, or downsizing images for the web.
For large prints or 100% viewing, you'll get better
photos from other cameras.
By all means, don't just take my word
for it. View our photo gallery,
and print the images just like you would if they were
your own. Then decide if the DX7440's photo quality
meets your expectations.
The DX7440 has a decent, but not best-in-class,
movie mode. Now you can record VGA video (with sound)
until the memory card fills up, but at a sluggish 13
frames/second frame rate. You can fit just under 3
minutes of video using the built-in memory, but you'll
do better with a larger SD card (a 256MB SD card can
hold about 24 minutes). If you want a better frame
rate, you'll have to drop down to the 320 x 240 resolution
-- here you can record at 24 frames/second. You can
fit over 27 minutes of video on the 256MB card at this
You cannot use the optical zoom during
filming. Turning off the continuous AF function is
advised, as the noise from the focusing will end up
in your videos.
Movies are saved in QuickTime format
using the MPEG4 codec. Because of this, file sizes
are smaller than those on cameras that don't use MPEG4.
Here's a very exciting sample movie,
taken at the VGA setting. You'll see plenty of those
annoying vertical lines that often show up when you
have a bright object in the frame.
to play movie (2.1 MB, 640 x 480, QuickTime format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
As you'd expect from Kodak, the DX7440's
playback mode is attractive and easy-to-use. The basic
features that we all know are here: slide shows, DPOF
print marking, image protection, thumbnail mode, and
zoom and scroll. The DX7440 is not PictBridge-enabled.
Zoom and scroll (called Magnify here)
lets you zoom into your photo by up to 8 times, and
then scroll around in the enlarged image. This feature
is well-implemented -- very smooth scrolling.
The DX7440 lets you copy images from
the internal memory to a memory card, and vice versa.
If you've got a memory card inserted, you must switch
to the internal memory using the menu if you want to
view the pictures stored there.
The sharing and album features were
covered earlier in the review, so scroll back up to
the tour section to learn about that.
By default, the DX7440 shows you no
exposure information about your photos. If you want
to see that, just press the Display/Info button and
you'll get the screen on the right, which is full of
useful information (minus a histogram).
The camera moves between photos instantly.
How Does it Compare?
There's a lot to like about the Kodak
EasyShare DX7440 -- heck, I even bought one for my
mom. It's easy-to-use, very responsive, full-featured,
and expandable to boot. The biggest weakness is on
the camera is the image quality -- photos were "muddier"
that I like to see, especially on things with fine
detail like grass or trees. Don't let this scare you
off, though. For people like mom who print at 4 x 6
inches or downsize for e-mailing, these are non-issues. "Pixel
inspectors" who view the images on-screen at 100%,
or those who print larger than 8 x 10 should probably
try another camera. The DX7440's photos have vibrant
color (perhaps too much so) and very little redeye,
and I can attest that they look great when printed.
As with all Kodak cameras, the DX7440
is very easy-to-use. Their EasyShare system makes printing
or e-mailing photos a piece of cake. You can use the
camera in automatic or one of the many scene modes
without any trouble. For those who want more control
over exposure, the 7440 offers manual shutter speed
and aperture settings. Shooting performance is excellent,
most notably in the focusing area -- this is one of
the fastest focusing cameras out there, even in low
light. Speaking of which, the larger-than-average-sized
LCD "gains up" in low light so you can see
what you're looking at. In bright outdoor light, the
LCD is remarkably viewable as well. The 7440 has as
good -- but not great -- movie mode which lets you
record 640 x 480 video until the memory card fills
up, albeit at a sluggish 13 frames/second. The camera
is expandable as well, with support for numerous conversion
lenses and filters.
Aside from the image quality issues
I mentioned, I have a few other complaints. Manual
white balance and focus would've been nice, though
I'm not sure if the "Kodak audience" would
actually use them. It also would've been nice if Kodak
included the higher capacity battery with the camera,
instead of the old KLIC-5000 that you'll find in the
box. The LCD goes black in burst mode, which certainly
doesn't help if you're following a moving subject.
Finally, you cannot access the memory card slot while
the camera is on a tripod.
Even with a few flaws, I do recommend
the DX7440, especially for those whose photos will
end up as 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 inch prints or web photos.
I do wish Kodak would work on the image over-processing
issue that I've seen on many of their cameras, as it
certainly looks yucky when viewed at full-size! Thankfully
most folks just take the memory card to Walgreens and
get their pictures printed!
What I liked:
- Good photo quality at smaller print
sizes or downsized on-screen
- 4X zoom lens instead of the usual
- Amazingly quick autofocus, even
in low light
- Large LCD is usable in bright outdoor
light or in low light indoors
- Many manual controls
- Supports conversion lenses
- EasyShare system makes it very
easy to share and print photos
- Plenty of scene modes
- Good redeye test performance
- Can save favorite settings to a
spot on mode dial
- Well built for a $300 camera (in
other words, it doesn't feel cheap)
What I didn't care for:
- Details in photos can look muddy,
over-processed; some trouble with exposure as well
- No manual white balance or manual
- VGA movie mode, while nice, has
a sluggish frame rate
- Can't get to memory card slot while
camera is on tripod
- LCD "blacks out" in burst
- Kodak should've put the high capacity
battery in the box
Some other cameras worth considering
include the Canon PowerShot A85 and A95, Fuji
FinePix E500, Nikon
Coolpix 4200, Olympus
C-5000Z, and the Sony
Cyber-shot DSC-W1. This is my "short list" --
to see more cameras, visit our Reviews & Info
As always, I recommend a trip down
to your local reseller to try out the DX7440 and it's
competitors before you buy!
Want to see how the photo quality
turned out? Check out our photo gallery!
Want a second opinion?
Read more reviews at Steve's
Digicams and Imaging
Feedback & Discussion
If you have a question about this
review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail
me asking for a personal recommendation.
To discuss this review with other
DCRP readers, please visit our forums.