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**** Introduction ****
With such a large range of digital camera's available from lots of different manufacturers choosing the right camera can be a daunting task. Buying the most expensive camera in the range is not always the best option, you may get an all singing and dancing model but if you don't utilize all of it's features you could find that you have wasted a lot of your hard earned dosh.The Kodak C310 is at the lower end of the Kodak range but that is what makes it an ideal first digital camera.
**** The company ****
Kodak is a northern American company and has been linked to photography for over a hundred years. They are a well known brand and have established a well trusted brand over the years. With the advent of the digital age Kodak have began to leave the traditional film market to concentrate on digital products both in the camera and printer area but also in digital processing by means of the thousands of Kodak photo kiosks they have situated in retail outlets throughout the UK.
**** The product ****
The C310 is an entry level camera which is similar in size to a traditional 35mm camera (great for people who have large hands and don't like the minute sized Japanese products that are available today.).It is powered by 2x AA batteries and you should find this product retailing for between 50- 70 pounds making this product and excellent choice for fist time buyers who want to see if digital photography is for them.
**** The Specifications ****
4 mega pixels- This will give great quality prints up to 10 x 7 in size (which should be enough for most people)
SD card slot- The camera comes installed with 16mb of internal memory which will allow you to take pictures straight from the box. You will however at some point need to buy extra memory to increase the capacity of the product. This camera takes the secure digital (SD) format which is one of the cheapest and most widely used formats available in sizes from 32mb- 1 gig capacities. Below is an example of the approximate no of images each sized card should be able to hold on a normal quality setting.
32mb- 25-30 images
64mb- 50-60 images
1 gig-800+ images
Viewfinder-The camera also has a standard viewfinder which is great if you need to conserve battery power because it will allow you to turn of the LCD display and use the viewfinder instead. This will also suit people who have only just switched from traditional 35mm photography and is also useful in very bright light conditions where using the LCD display would be difficult.
LCD display-This model has a 1.6 inch color display that is used for taking shots but also for navigating the various menu's and altering the different camera settings that are available. It is also used if you want to preview your images or delete any images if you need to create space on you media card.
Flash-the camera has a built in flash which has several settings, fill-in, auto, and red eye reduction. I personally leave it set to auto as I find this feature works best.
ISO-this model will allow you to set the ISO setting to values between 100-800,or you can use the auto setting(once again I find that leaving it set to auto allows for best use of the camera so you don't have to keep altering for different light conditions. For those of you who don't know the ISO settings control the light sensitivity of the camera. the higher the setting the more sensitive the sensor becomes, allowing you to take good looking shots in both low and high light conditions.
Zoom-Unfortunately there is no optical zoom on this model only 5x digital zoom .so remember the more digital zoom you use the poorer quality the overall image could be, how much zoom you use is dependant on the conditions that you are taking shots in from experience I find using a maximum of 3x zoom to be best without any loss of quality.
Power-the camera is powered by 2x AA batteries, to keep running cost's down I would advise to opt for a good quality set of rechargeable NiMh batteries rated at at least 1800ma for the best performance. The advantage of traditional batteries is that you can carry a spare set with you just incase the power runs out at a critical stage.
Movie mode-this model will allow you to capture moving images but the quality is not fantastic and is best viewed back on a small preview screen on you PC.However it is ideal for sending via e-mail because the files are quite small in size.
Extra's- The package comes with a USB cable for connecting the camera to your PC to allow you to transfer and edit your images, and Kodak also supply a drivers and utilities cd with some basic photo editing software included. Great if you haven't got any third party software but the options are only basic.
*** Ease of use ***
The Kodak range is probably one of the easiest ranges to use and this camera is no exception. I have found it best to leave all the settings on auto as this works best and will make the camera extremely easy and quick to use. The instructions are well written and extremely easy to follow and the menu's on the camera are well laid out and easy to understand.
*** The results ***
The images taken by the camera are of the high quality you would expect from a brand like Kodak. The camera performs well both inside and out and in both low light and very bright conditions and use of auto setting will give colorful vibrant looking images that are the equal of many more expensive brands of digital camera.
*** Summary ***
An excellent priced entry range camera, very suited to first timers in the digital market, the results are excellent for a basic camera and the product is extremely easy to use. The camera is a bit on the larger size and it does lack some of the more advanced features but for the price you get a lot for you money.Overal this is a high rated camera for newbie's to the digital market
Firstly, I have a confession. I admit to cheating somewhat here (what's new?), I didn't actually pay for this. Instead, my lovely daughter won it in a raffle during a recent fun day. Rather lucky really as I would never have paid the £129.99 it cost (they gave us the receipt with it) and would otherwise have missed out on a brilliant little camera package.
Having kissed daughter on head (she is easy to bribe and sold me it for £10 towards a toy in town - so really it only cost me a tenner - bless her), I opened the packaging to see what it was all about.
Lets get to the camera first. Now you can buy the camera on its own for about £80. For those in the know, it's 4 megapixels and has a 16mb internal memory plus a flash card slot. This means it holds a few pictures (literally - you really do need some form of external memory, I paid £20 for mine ages ago with an old camera so had one in the house) and the pictures it holds are of a good enough quality to expand to about 20"x30" prints. That's pretty damn big.
Indeed, as far as picture quality goes, I am really impressed. I had a 3 mega pixel camera before, and putting the pictures side by side when you upload them to the PC, you would be amazed at just how blurry the older ones look. On their own they didn't look too bad, but stand them next to excellence and they fall apart.
Now this could be down to the fact that we have become mini-experts in photography, that the sun decided that all our pictures with this new camera should be perfectly lit through the trees, or it could be the Kodak Colour Science that is proudly boasted about on the box. Whichever it is, I am impressed. For those who want a hint by the way, I only ever take pictures of the kids, and that is only when really pushed by relatives to show them how the youngest is growing.... and I do mean really pushed!
Now the camera itself is rather small, which isnt always a good thing. It fits neatly in the palm of my hand and comes with a little cord thing, barely enough to put over your wrist. Now small cameras are all the rage these days (a bit like phones), but to me it just makes it easier to carry but easier to lose. However, we haven't lost this one yet and it is generally guarded with my life.
The back contains the menu buttons (4 directions and select on one side and the 'menu' and 'review buttons on the right' and a screen that takes up about 50% of the cameras size. Now the screen may look small, but the high definition of picture means it more than satisfies my needs. I don't doubt that a professional photographer might want a little more from a camera than me, but I just want peoples heads in the frame, and that is easy with this little beauty.
Oh dear, I almost forgot that the flash button is also on the back (guess what this does anyone? turns the flash on and off.... clever boy at the back there!) and you also have the old style viewing window, like what you find on those disposable camera things (we should all go back to them, less hassle and far more fun, no worrying about your £130 getting broken on a day out!).
On the top of the camera you have the 'take picture' button (god knows what it is really called, I am sure the manual will tell me but that thing is so thick it makes Jade Goody look like a wafer!). More importantly though (like anything is more important on a camera than the take picture button), there is a small dial that selects the camera mode. This includes 'film' for taking moving pictures or mini films of your subject, 'auto' for taking pictures, off (now if this isnt self explanatory then you need to put those arms back into the straight jacket and lay on the bad for the good doctor) and a love heart symbol which I have only recently discovered is your favourites (stored images etc).
As with most cameras these days, when you play about with the thing you will find all sorts of extra hidden features. Taking pictures and films is easy, thats just point and click, but the camera offers a multitude of options once you have images stored.
Entering the menus allows you to select options from as basic as 'store images onto memory card or internal memory' right down to how long it should be inactive before it switches itself off (never cared for this, I am so protective of the damn thing that it never gets left on for long anyway). Fortunately, the options are all in plain English and don't have a hint of camera jargon about them, even I understood what they all meant. They are also in easy to navigate options with things being where you would expect them to be. Naturally, the clever people at Kodak have decided to put the most used options to the front (less delving in that way), so you can delete your unwanted images with 2 clicks of a button. And they say they rush these things?
You also get a CD with the camera (when you buy it with or without the dock), that allows you to edit your images once on the PC. I installed it and quickly found that it was relatively useless and annoyingly seemed to want me to go to the website of Kodaks choice to order my images. I eventually uninstalled this bit of kit and went back to using Photoshop to edit them. Don't ask why I have Photoshop - it was actually sent to me by the mother who was trying to get me to email pictures at the time! I just like what I like I guess and the Kodak software, although easy to use, was annoying to a fault with its 'come to our site and order prints' messages every time you click anything.
So the camera itself is quite nifty and looks good too. It produces some clear and crisp images that are of a high quality. It really does make all 4 megapixels count. In this view you could argue that the camera is among the best in value for the type of camera it is and it can be purchased as a stand alone from Tesco for £80. But this package is more than just a camera. Oh yes, this includes the docking station!.
For those who are not clear on what a docking station is (sounds like something from Star Trek doesn't it?), it's basically a little mini photo lab. Or to put it in english, it's a printer. Yep, that's essentially what it is. However, this printer does mean that even those without a PC, or the will to make a journey to a developer every time thier card is full, can simply put the camera on top of it, select the relevant buttons and print the images. Easy stuff.
And it really is quite simple. I have only used it to print a couple of images (I prefer to use an online photo printing company), but they come out clear and were good enough to send away to family. However, what this thing doesn't tell you is the high maintenance costs. You need to supply the replacement ink and paper for the printer. Now working this out, I found that averaging my costs I was looking at about 7p per image not including electric. Now I pay 5p per image for my online printers to do the work and send the images to me (granted I have to order 150+ at a time). With this in mind, and the infrequency of the times I take a picture anyway, I wouldn't personally pay for the docking station.
However, if you are always taking the odd photo, it might be worth your while as it does give good quality prints. One thing I would argue though, don't expect this thing to do 20-30 prints at a time. You do them one by one and you stay there while it does it..... hassle!
I hope I managed to sound like I half know what I am talking about here, as I really am a camera novice. However, I like what I like and when I compare the end products, this is probably the camera that produces the best images for the price you are paying. You may well be better of paying for just the camera at £79.99 (Tesco) though as the docking station, although cool to have and let friends see, isn't all that practical if you want to take a lot of pictures. For an extra £50, I don't think it was worth the money as it is more expensive to run than simply uploading your images and getting them sent to your door.
Professionals may want a better camera and be willing to spend a lot to get it, but for family use and general picture taking, this is an affordable little camera that won;t disappoint.
Its a great present for a teenager to use to start off..its really easy and fun to use does not cost too much and gives you good picture clarity.4 megapixels,lens is 35mm in 35mm equivalent. digital zoom.compatible to Windows 98, 98SE, 2000, ME, XP. Mac OS X 10.2.3 - 10.2.8, 10.3 or greater.
It only comes with 16Mb card, needs 128mb card which will store approximately 80 images on the highest image quality .So need to buy a card.