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== Introduction ==
The Kodak EasyShare CX7430 digital compact camera, as I'm sure nobody on Earth actually calls it, is a four-megapixel model dating back to 2004, a time when the digital photography revolution was really gathering pace and it was no longer only the geekiest of the geeky who acquired one. Strangely for the company that pioneered amateur snapshot photography, Kodak really struggled for some time in this particular marketplace, and a startling number of their compacts were no more than adequate. This model is one such: it's a nicely thought out digicam in some ways, but terribly frustrating in others.
== Looks and handling ==
The CX7430 is certainly no beauty contest winner. Mostly that's because of the extremely offset lens, so far over to the left (as you hold the unit) that its surround actually protrudes very slightly from the main casing. Instead it's the flash that's top-centrally placed, while on the other side is a largish, ridged grip of translucent plastic - a nice idea, but I find it badly positioned for one-handed shooting, being just that little bit too near the edge. The rear plate isn't beautiful either, with the screen in the middle and a rather fussy design of buttons and switches all around it. "Designed by committee" is how I'd describe its looks.
You would not mistake this for a professional digital camera in a month of Sundays. The word that screams out at you as you handle it is "plastic", and it really does feel plasticky all over. Not toy-like, admittedly - there's reassuringly little body flex and creaking, and the casing itself seems to be reasonably strong - but if you compare it to a more upmarket contemporary such as the Canon PowerShot A75, also plastic-bodied but considerably posher, you're left in absolutely no doubt that the Kodak is not for those consumers for whom part of the joy of owning an electronic appliance is in its beautiful feel in the hand.
== Optics and screen ==
More expensive Kodaks of the day boasted Schneider-Kreuznach lenses, but the mainstream line of which this model was part had to make do with Kodak's own Retinar glass. This is a pretty standard 3x optical zoom unit, with an equivalent focal length of 34 to 102 mm, as close to average as makes no practical difference, and an autofocus system that works reasonably reliably (in decent light) but not all that quickly. The lens is rather small, and when extended with a slightly irritating whining, the barrel seems a little bit flimsy - being so close to the edge makes it rather vulnerable to knocks.
Around the back, the LCD screen takes pride of place. It's a 1.6-inch unit, marginally larger than the 1.5-inchers that were still current in 2004 but not so that you'd notice. If anything it seems quite small surrounded as it is by all those buttons, not to mention an annoying and slightly reflective screen surround that gave Kodak the opportunity to plaster their brand over yet another surface. The screen itself is underwhelming in quality terms: while you should be able to get a rough idea of what you're aiming at, in anything less than excellent daylight it quickly becomes unpleasantly grainy.
== Features and settings ==
The Kodak has a fair selection of things to play with, but they're not always made terribly easy to get at. The simplest options to change concern scene modes, which can be set directly via the mode dial on top of the camera. You only get half a dozen of these, covering the absolute basics such as portrait and macro, but it's certainly quicker than rummaging about in the camera's menus. Up here is also where you can select movie mode, which is a slightly unusual one: you can record in full VGA (640 x 480) which is nice, but the frame rate is a bizarre 13 fps, which is less so.
Kodak were clearly determined to make this camera easy to use, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and the menu system on the CX7430 can get very frustrating. Its simple, bright, almost Fisher-Price appearance means an unnecessary amount of button-bashing to get to the option you want. If you can put up with that, there's a good selection of settings, some of which you wouldn't expect on a camera this old, such as ISO 800. Admittedly you can only use this in the worst quality setting (helpfully called "Good"!) and admittedly it gives truly dire results, but it _is_ there.
Exposure compensation and white balance settings are of course present and correct, though the former is disappointingly only offered in half-stop steps rather than the usual third-stop. You can choose from three metering options, two styles of focusing, date stamping and even a rather nice "long exposure" mode which - with the obligatory tripod - will allow you to capture scenes at up to 16 seconds' exposure. This being an EasyShare, there's also the usual red "share" button should you wish to mark photos for printing or email - not that I've ever done this, since I much prefer to transfer pictures with a card reader and then use the extra power and flexibility of the PC to process them.
== Photo quality ==
A lot of Kodak compacts, especially the older ones, stand out from the crowd of budget digicams by _not_ following the herd into giving colours a super-saturated look. It may be that Kodak's long experience of producing film has a bearing on this, but then Fujifilm has the same experience and _does_ saturate everything. Whatever the reason, the output from the CX7430 is noticeably closer to what you'd see in a traditional print than you get from most similar digicams. Whether you like that or not is a matter of personal taste, and I think it works better for some subjects (eg wildlife) than for others (eg portraits).
Obviously the limited resolution of this cameras holds it back somewhat when it comes to image sharpness, but for a 4 mp unit I don't think it does too badly. You wouldn't want to blow up its photos to poster size, but for postcard-sized printouts you ought to be reasonably satisfied, at least for holiday snapshots and the like. Perhaps surprisingly given the Kodak's small lens, it's not too bad in low light, and is by no means the laggard in its class. That goes for performance too, by the way: it's _much_ faster to start up than many of its contemporaries, and that makes it feel rather more modern than some 2004 digicams.
== Consumables ==
The Kodak has a 16 MB internal memory, but that's for emergencies only. It takes ordinary SD memory cards in capacities up to 2 GB, though it can't support the more modern SDHC and SDXC types. It can also accept the ancient MMC format in the somewhat unlikely event that you still have any of those cards lying around. As with a lot of older cameras, the card compartment is separate from the battery one, being accessed from the right-hand side as you hold the unit. I like this separation, as it means you can change cards quickly and easily without running the risk of the batteries falling out, but unfortunately it's very rare nowadays; this was a _welcome_ aspect of the CX7430's age!
Talking of batteries, this digicam uses two ordinary AA batteries; as usual, the use of NiMH rechargeables is highly recommended. With reasonably high-capacity cells you can get a fair bit of life out of the little Kodak - one set should see you through a reasonably relaxed day out, but you'll probably want two if you're really going for the burn, so to speak. Watch the battery compartment cover - it slides out lengthways, but then actually _opens_ sideways, which can be a bit of a shock the first time it happens! It also has quite a strong spring, so needs a little more force than you might expect to close it.
== Buying and verdict ==
The pace of change in the digital camera market is vividly illustrated by the fact that when the CX7430 first appeared seven years ago, it cost more than £200. Mine cost me £9.95, and that was a couple of years ago now, though it was a "sold as seen" auction. Prices haven't changed a great deal since then, and the Kodak name ensures that there's still a steady stream of them appearing - and selling - on eBay. The Kodak CX7430 is no longer a camera I could recommend as your one and only digicam, but as a backup, perhaps to keep in the car glovebox, you could do worse. Better than some Kodak compacts of its day, and worthy of a solid three stars.
I really like this camera, for lots of reasons. Firstly it has lots of different modes, including portrait, sport, night, scenery, close up and video. It also has the usual auto setting for beginners. It turns on instantly and has served me well in all sorts of conditions from 42 degrees in corfu to minus 16 skiing.
The menu and review buttons are very useful and there are some other shortcut buttons, but I'm not quite sure what they do as I only use a camera for taking pictures . In this field it has done excellently. The easy share function is helpful although perhaps slightly unneeded.
On the screen the photos look like they are of very bad quality but once on the computer they are excellent. The zoom buttons are easy to use and work quickly and efficiently. Overall this is a good multi-purpose camera and I reccomend it to anyone who wants an affordable camera that is simple to use and takes good quality pictures.
I found this camera on special offer at Dixons for £150 and decided it had all the features I was looking for (which were mainly 4mega pixels and 3x optical zoom) as well as a whole host of other nifty features. I have found it really easy to take good quality pictures with this camera. The focus is spot on thanks to the range of setting which allow you to take pictures in a variety of conditions and situations, these are:
* Auto, for general shots
* Portrait, for people pictures.
* Sport, this is a great setting which has a faster shutter speed meaning that you can take great pictures of things moving (or of things stationary while you move!)
* Night, for low light or night time unlike Sport mode this setting has a slower shutter speed.
* Landscape, this takes pictures of things in the distance
* Close-up, this takes pictures of near items (28 inches), though you need to use the screen on the back as focussing through the view finder produces blurry pictures.
* Video - This camera will also take video with sound. The length of the video you can take is around 5min with the internal memory.
While on holiday I developed a terrible habit of wanting to take pictures of everything! Even being in the car couldnt stop me (not driving! :D), but surprisingly the sport setting meant that even pictures taken from a car moving at, at least 40mph came out clear and un-blurred! I was really amazed by this as I didnt really expect them to come out but as the views were so nice I figured it was worth a try : )Any pics that arent quite right can be deleted straight away so no one but you has to see the blurry picture of the back of some random persons head!
This camera has 4 mega pixels (the number of pixels affects the quality of the photos, the higher the number the better the quality) which is perfectly respectable though you can get cameras with many more! It takes 2 AA batteries which generally have quite a long life in standard use but if you use the viewing screen on the back a lot their life drops severely, so if your planning on using the close up mode or taking video footage (you can take up to 5 minutes) you will need more than one set of batteries.
There is a useful 3x optical zoom on the camera which means the lens actually moves to zoom in/out rather than digital zoom which just involves manipulating the picture, optical zoom gives a clearer picture than digital zoom and is a definite advantage in this camera.
It has 16mb of internal memory which isnt very much but Secure Digital (the type of card) can be bought cheaply from the internet (I paid around £13 for my 256mb card) so this isnt really a big issue.
The camera comes in a silver finish and is a nice size and weight. It has a slot for the memory card which is under a little flap which also houses the connector to link the camera to the computer. This allows you to save pictures to the computer and then edit them before printing. The camera also comes with some Kodak editing software, which lets you manipulate photos to resize, reduce red eye as well as other fun and useful things.
There is an LCD screen on the back which allows you to see your pictures and also helps you take better pictures in close up mode, the only problem is that the LCD screen could be a little bigger as it doesn't show the pictures to their best. Around the LCD screen are several more buttons, the delet button, menue, flash on/off/auto, navigator button, timer and zoom in/out buttons.
This is a really easy to use and useful camera. You can take great pictures straight out of the box without worring about needing to spend hours setting it up first. All in all this is an excellent camera which makes it easy to take great pictures
I brought this camera last year and couldnt believe the price and it wasnt even on offer! I kept asking the guy if it had the wrong price on it. Especially when it comes with a memory card, software, adapter etc you dont expect good value for money.
Anyway so i get it home and start snapping away. The camera was easy to use and easy to adapt to. After taking some pictures i decided to attempt to put them on the PC. Praying and hoping it was going to be pretty straight forward i put in the CD and it went through the installation process easily. I put the USB cable in hook it up to the camera and it detected it straight away giving me the options to transfer the pics on the PC....WOW even a 5yr old could do it!!! easy peasy WELL DONE KODAK!
Now l am not about to write a technical review, l am not about to go into details that will only get me tongue tied and cause people to find fault, what l am going to do is give an honest opinion about the Kodak CX7340 Easy Share Camera.
I use this camera for work, but l liked it so much l bought Paul one for Christmas. The camera was at a bargain price of £199, but this included a free Kodak printer dock for printing out your photos. I got this at Curry's online - but if you check in all reputable dealers you should be able to pick up this camera.
So what are the main technical specifications (and this is as technical as it gets folks!):
· 4 mega pixels - this is to do with the resolution and quality of the photos you take, download and print.
· 3x optical zoom - this is the lens that zooms in and out and how close up/far away you can get from the picture you are focusing on.
· 16mb of internal memory - digital cameras require memory cards to take photos too and store before you download or print, this Kodak CX7340 also has an inbuilt memory of 16 mega bytes - this takes around 4 to 5 pictures - you got to buy a memory card folks!
On to the camera itself - now it's not tiny - unlike some digital cameras the old Kodak here is chunky - but l like this, something to hold on to. It's a silver model and pretty nifty. There is a slot for your memory card to insert and pop into - which is very easy to do, as it will only go in one way therefore not confusing matters. There's battery slot - the camera takes 2 double AA batteries, and you do get quite a bit of use out of the batteries before they die - l tend to use rechargeable batteries. If you turn the camera bottom side up you will notice 2 more slots - one is for insertion into the printer dock and the other for a screw in tripod to give more stability to your photo taking. The snapping button is where you would expect to find it on all cameras. Next to this is the function button - you can choose which sort of picture you want to take dependent on the external circumstances and weather. On the back you will see a centrepiece of the LCD display screen - now its not large but it is adequate. There are buttons to review your taken photographs, a menu button, self timer, flash type, delete, the scroll arrows, the easy share button and the zoom buttons. There is also the standard traditional viewfinder to take pictures in the traditional way.
Once you turn the function button from off to the first slot available you will here a musical jingle and the display screen flashes the Kodak logo.
· The first function is that of auto (shown by a picture of a camera). The camera tells you that auto is use for general picture taking - so this is your standard picture taking type.
· Function 2 is portrait - this is for taking full frame pictures of individuals - perhaps you would use this function at an event such as a wedding for example
· Function 3 is sport - for a moving subject - i.e. an athlete or perhaps a moving animal
· Function 4 is night - to capture both the actual subject you are focusing on and the immediate background - when light is dark or poor.
· Function 5 is landscape - for when the subject is in the distance
· Function 6 is close up - for when the subject may be closer than 28 inches to the camera (this is 70cm)
Finally, this little gem of a camera also has a video camera mode - where for up to 5 minutes you can capture sound and motion. Now have played around with this and l cannot believe the quality of both picture and sound. Obviously you are very limited in what you can capture but it is a great additional feature.
There is a favourites feature on the camera also - where you may store a few of your favour pictures onto the camera itself - to be honest this is pretty needless when you can download and save the memory of the camera.
MENU & REVIEW
The camera with the memory card (lm using a 128mb card) will save and store your photos until you choose to manually delete - one by one or the entire card. Until you do this you may review your snaps - hit the review button at the back of the camera and simply using the scroll arrows view your photos on the LCD display.
The menu function is multi facetted and lm not going to go into too much delete - to be honest although l have had the camera since September there are probably things that l do not realise it does! Under the menu you can choose screen resolutions, flash types, save pictures into albums, have a slide show of your pictures, magnify the picture or even change the colour to black and white or sepia. This is the tip of the iceberg to be honest.
I have never used the easy share function - but once Paul gets his off the ground it will be interesting. You can through your PC, choose which photos you want to print, save as favourites to your on line albums or email to friends or family.
People owning digital cameras tend not to print photos out in the tradition way anymore, so the manufacturers grasping hold of this seized the niche market and have been strongly advertising printing stations for digital photos - the Kodak tag line being "Digitals great, but l want photo's".
I agree, therefore the printing docking stations have emerged. The Kodak printer dock is camera make specific, you simply slot on your camera to the printing docking station, choose the frames you want as photographs and print. They will print to high resolutions, but you need specific photographic paper and you run through ink cartridges pretty quickly. In PC world on Saturday l noticed 75 sheets of Kodak photographic paper (panoramic APS size) for £9.99. In Argos, to get 20 sheets of photographic paper and an ink cartridge you were looking at a cost of £19.99. So it's not cheap.
With this camera you need to buy your memory card separately - you are looking at a cost of around £20 for 128mb (this was in Jessops) this will snap you approximately 140 photos and l would strongly suggest picking up a protective carry case for the camera also - again in Jessops for a decent carrier which will fit extra batteries and the like the basic cost was £13.99.
I love the camera, its nifty, stylish and sleek. I think l probably have scratched the surface in what it can do for me, and l look forward to many hours of fun snapping and playing with my new photographic toy! So, if you are looking for a good all round digital camera, from a reputable manufacturer, you really can't go wrong with the Kodak CX7340.
Okay, just to set the scene, I'm no camera expert. So here is the complete novices opinion on this camera.
I do love this camera. I took it on a day out with the children and apart from a few pictures of backs of heads, they have turned out really well.
There are a number of functions on this camera.
Auto - this is or general photo taking.
Portrait - this takes full frame portraits of people.
Sport - this has a faster shutter speed for taking pictures of things in motion. (Great for sports day)
Night - this is as it says for night scenes or low light. It has a slower shutter speed so if you are taking pictures of people they need to keep still for longer, but I have used this function and it does work really well.
Landscape - for taking piccies of distant subjects.
Close-up - errrr for taking close ups.
Video - This camera will also take video with sound. The length of the video you can take is dependant on the space on the internal memory or card.
The camera has a favourites function where you can store pictures in a sort of "in camera" album.
This is handy for showing off pictures to friends and families.
There is a user guide with the camera. It explains everything such as how to change the picture quality, the shutter speeds, exposure compensation, ISO speed all sorts of things in plain English.
The screen on the camera is quite small but you can zoom in to see the detail better. Also the quality of the picture on the screen doesn't do justice to the final picture.
The software provided with the camera is quite simple and very easy to use. You can crop, rotate, make the picture black and white or sepia, do some fun effects, remove red eye and enhance the photos before printing or emailing.
Anyone wanting to do anything more sofisticated would probably have software like photoshop and fireworks anyway.
This camera is part of the Kodak "Easy share" range and I have a docking station. I have the one that is a charger and connects to the pc to share the pics. I've found this really easy to use and really useful. One click and all the piccies from the camera appear on the pc ready to send or print and edit and because I keep my camera on the docking station it is always charged when I want to use it.
I would suggest that as this is a 4 megapixal camera you should buy a card to increase the memory as the memory in the camera isn't huge.
As a complete beginner the only thing that I'm finding a bit of a strain is that it takes a few moments to take the picture after you have clicked the shutter button. Like I said further up the review, lots of backs of heads. However, as it is a digital camera you can see straight away what you've taken and you just delete the picture.
I've never been good at taking pictures and when I go away I take about three rolls of film and get about 20 pictures that are worth saving. This camera hasn't made me any better at taking pictures but now when I take a rubbish picture I can just delete it.
I think as a beginner digital camera this is a good choice. As a family camera it gives good quality pictures without the need to spend all day learning how to use it but it has enough functions and options that if you were interested in learning more you could.