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Kodak Easyshare DX3900 Zoom Digital Camera ------------------------------------------ I bought the Kodak DX3900 in January from Dixons. It cost about £300 (with the Easyshare camera dock), but it really did turn out to be worth it. I was too lazy to get films developed, but wanted good quality photographs, so on the recommendation of my Mother (who has a DX3600), I bought this one. This camera features 2x optical and 3x digital zoom (a total of 6x zoom) which is great for long distance, or high detail shots. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CAMERA DOES NOT ALWAYS COME WITH THE EASYSHARE DOCK! ? The dock on it?s own costs about £50 from all decent electronics / digi camera stores. Basic Technical Information (for those interested in more detailed technical specs please scroll down) Resolution (CCD) - 3.3 Megapixel Digital Zoom ? x3 Optical Zoom ? x2 LCD Screen Size ? 1.5 inch Supplied Memory ? 8Mb Compact Flash ? Type 1 Built in automatic flash with red-eye reduction and fill setting Batteries ? Choice of - Lithium (KCRV3), 2 AA Lithium batteries, 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries, NiMH rechargeable battery pack Dimensions ? 116x67x42 mm Weight - 225g without batteries What You Get (Camera Only) -------------------------- Camera Wrist Strap Kodak picture card USB cable Video cable Lithium battery Kodak Picture Software Performance ----------- Memory - With the 8 Mb CF card that comes with the camera the number of pictured that can be taken is strictly limited ? only 7 pictures in the highest resolution mode (2160 x 1440) or 23 pictures in the lowest quality mode (1080 x 720). I however bought a 128 Mb Flash card, allowing me to store over 100 good quality images before having to download to PC. Image - The pictures taken with this camera are of an excellent quality, both close up shots and ?view? shots have excellent detail and colou
r reproduction. Battery ? Since I bought the camera with the Easyshare dock, I use the NiMH battery pack. Charging is very simple, just put the camera in the dock. The only annoying thing is the initial, obligatory first charge which takes several hours (but apparently this ensures maximum battery life) so I couldn?t play with my new toy straight away. Once fully charged, batteries do last for several 10?s of photos, depending on whether the LCD screen is used as a viewfinder. I have never run out of battery power during a photo oportunity yet! Ease of Use ? This camera is very easy to use (even easier with the dock) and only has a few buttons to complicate matters. It is pretty much a point and click affair with a thumb toggle to zoom in and out. Optical zoom is used first as this preserves quality. A small wheel on the top of the camera switches between modes (review, take pictures etc.) and more complex set-up items (such as image resolution) can be set-up via the simple to browse menu on the LCD screen. Practicality ? The camera as a bit on the large side, too large to put in a trouser pocket say, but will fit easily into a jacket pocket. I bought a camera case for mine in Boots for a fiver and usually carry that around in a bag when I am out on trips. Easyshare Dock -------------- The Easyshare dock is essentially a cradle that the camera sits in when it is not being used. It performs two functions: 1) to charge the battery on the camera and 2) to provide an interface between camera and PC for downloading pictures and managing the camera. The dock connects to the PC via a USB connector, and to the camera via a socket on its base. There is just one button on the dock, and that allows you to ?One Touch? download images from the camera to the PC ? it is that easy. The dock also has an LED display to show the charge of the battery. It is not necessary to have the dock - there are cables supplied to
provide a direct connection to the PC, and you can recharge the batteries (if you choose to use rechargeables) in another charger ? but it is convenient. I would recommend it to someone who wants to use the camera with the minimum of fuss and can afford the luxury! Software and PC Spec -------------------- As mentioned earlier the camera connects to a PC so that pictures can be downloaded. It comes with Kodak camera management software and drivers. The minimum PC spec required is ? Windows: WINDOWS 98, 98SE, 2000, or ME Personal computer with 200 MHz processor or greater 48MB minimum RAM (WINDOWS 98, 98SE, ME), 64MB minimum RAM (WINDOWS 2000) 100MB hard drive disk space available CD-ROM drive Spare USB port Macintosh: PowerPC-based MACINTOSH Computer MACINTOSH OS 8.6/9.x/X 64MB RAM available 100MB hard drive disk space available CD-ROM drive Spare USB port These specs do not include XP (which I have at home), but I have had no problems using the camera with this (although some of the photo album software does not really work properly ? but I was not really interested in this anyway). It is also possible to upgrade the firmware on the camera as well via the dock using a download from the Kodak website. Miscellaneous ------------- It is possible to connect the camera to the TV (PAL or NTSC) using the supplied video cable. Unlike the DX3600, this camera cannot make movies with audio. More Detailed Techy Specs ------------------------- Lens Type ? Autofocus & Zoom 35mm equiv ? 35 ? 70mm Focus Range ? 0.5m to infinity Available resolutions ? 2160 x 1440, 1800x1200, 1536x1024, 1080x720 Compression Type ? JPEG LCD pixels ? 800x600 White Balance ? automatic, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent Shutter Speed ? 16s to 1/2000s Self Timer ? 10s Standard Tripod mount
There we have it ? this is a simple to use, high quality camera. I have used to take hundreds of great shots of a quality that I would not have got using a normal 35mm zoom camera. Ok the battery pack failed inside a year, but that was a small price to pay for the amount of use I have got out of the camera. Thanks for reading!
Kodak DX3900 Digital Camera Introduction After a couple of years using my company's Olympus C-920 Digital Camera for both business and personal use, I decided it was time I purchased my own camera. I wasn't ready to make a purchase just yet but when I saw a newspaper offer for the Kodak DX3900 at a local store, my curiosity was piqued. Normally, I don't particularly rate Kodak for digital imaging prodocuts - my experiences, reveiws I have read and opinions expressed by other camera users have led me to a conclusion: While Kodak produce reasonable products, they are often over priced and of inferior quality to the competition. I've read reviews of a number of Kodak digital cameras in the past, where the reviewer has commented that the camera is good but the Olympus, Fuji or other produce a similar specced product for £50 less and still gives the edge with regard to picture quality. So why did I opt for the DX3900? Well, the price was a good - While accepting that this model was probably near the end of its production life, I can recall seeing this particular camera being marketed at £350 just before Xmas 2001. So when I saw it on offer for £250 I was interested. A word of warning here though - this model of camera has been marketed in two formats - both with and without the Kodak EasyShare Docking Base. The price difference between the two is approximately £50 - the base costing £70 if purchased seperately. The Camera The camera isn't packed with features but has more than enough for the average home user. The Docking Base is a bit gimmicky and personally not enough to tempt me on its own, but it does provide a handy and quick method of downloading your shots, rather having to reach behing the PC, grabbing the lead and plugging directly into the camera. It has has 2x Optical Zoom and 3x Digital Zoom - giving a total zoom capacity of 6
x Zoom. Sadly this is where the Olympus C-920 has the edge, even though it is a 3 year old camera. The Olympus has 3x Optical Zoom and no Digital Zoom at all - now that seems like a disadvantage but the Digital Zoom is not a patch on Optical. With the Kodak, it is very noticable, even when viewing a potential image thought the LCD screen - When you zoom in on your chosen shot everything seems fine. Then the zoom hits a natuarl stop - pressing the zoom button again re-commences zooming in further but this time you are in the realms of digital and the degradation is very obvious. The camera has a slide lever to open and close the lens cover, built in flash and the ususal settings for close and distance shots, flash over ride, a ten second delay timer. It also has a setting where it is possible to take black and white or sepia toned photos, should you chose to. Images can be time and/or date stamped, video out options allow viewing on PAL or NTSC format equipment. The unit, in common with most Kodak cameras, utilises the CompactFlash type of memory card. This is the most versatile type available, as it can also be used in most PDA's as well. Included in the kit is a measily 8MB memory card, which in 3.1 Megapixel mode allows you to store a sum total of 7 pictures! Fortunately, higher capacity cards are not too expensive - a 64MB card can be purchased for around £35 - £40, providing you are not fussy about buying non-Kodak accessories, the most common alternative being Maxell. Something I've noticed is that the higher the resolution of the camera, the more precise you have to be to get a good quality shot. What I mean by this I can explain better with an example - The Olympus I keep reffering to is 1.3 Megapixel - good for its time, while the Kodak is a 3.1 Megapixel. One of my complaints with the Olympus was that taking a quality shot with it seemed quite sporadic - I have taken some amazing photographs with the Oly
mpus and some awful ones too - and I can never understand why! Why I can take a photo of my girlfriends baby daughter and I t come out beautifully and yet I can take one of my g/f sitting right next to her and it be awful. That said, the majority of hsots come out well and with little preparation. The Kodak needs a lot more setting up - and my personal feeling is that this is at least partly down to the high pixel resolution highlighting and amplifying slight setting differences that the lower resolution model doesn't pick up on. I found that some of the Kodak's automatic settings tended to over or under compensate and even misread situations - last night I took a photo acorss a field of corn near my home - it was at about 8pm and while the light was indeed fading, it was still quite light. On the autosetting, the image came out as black except for the corn in the immedaite vicinity - whereas when I took the shot again but with the apature setting to 1 second - the resulting picture looked as though it had been taken in daylight! Conclusion Overall this is a reasonably performing camera. Picture quality is good if not excellent, but a big factor is that it is one of the simplest cameras to use on the market. If you can find it still avaialble at the ofer price of £250 (with base) then don't think you will be disappointed. If you can't then spend a little more time researching the rest of the market, before you make a decision.