Compared to previous "prosumer" Kodak's the DC4800 is certainly a styling departure. Smooth curvy lines, stylish seams, well positioned controls and an overall professional, clean feel. The gentle slope of the handgrip is deceiving, it's actually quite chunky and comfortable in your hand. Dominating the front of the camera is the (sturdy) lens barrel out of which extends the remaining lens barrel (just 11 mm more). Hidden behind a neatly angled clip door is the onboard flash which can be popped up by pulling a little lever back. The front and top portion of the camera are a metal alloy, the rear and compact flash door are plastic. Overall a very satisfying and sturdy construction, build quality is good, no creaks or wobbles my only addition would have been a hand strap (the neck strap isn't enough).
In your hand it's comfortable, well balanced and sturdy, everything is well placed, the two-stage (slow, fast) zoom control sits right under your thumb with the 45 degree bevel below the perfect place for resting your thumb for increased grip. At the front the small protrusion on the hand grip does nothing to improve grip (it's a styling hint), it would have been nice to have a small rubber strpi here for fingertip grip, but I guess that would have spoilt the stylised front of the camera.
Beside the Nikon Coolpix 990 and Canon G1 the DC4800 is obviously shorter than both and about the same width as the G1. The only other main difference between the design of the DC4800 and G1 is that most of the DC4800's lens barrel is fixed which does leave a fair protrusion sticking out of the camera (prone to knocks?).
Rear LCD Display
The LCD on the DC4800 is a fairly standard 1.8" TFT behind a protective screen (an anti-reflective coating would have been good). One note of interest, there's no direct brightness control but if you change the power save option in the Setup menu, this affects both the LCD brightness and refresh rate:
Power Save On - 15 fps, Low Brightness
The DC4800's LCD isn't as good as that found on other comparible digital cameras, image quality is "fuzzy" (and sometimes noisy) with visible scan lines which roll down the live preview.
Top Information LCD
The top LCD on the DC4800 displays a variety of information. Most of the indicator labels (WB, ISO, WB) only tell you if you have manually selected a setting (ie. Not Auto). When the shutter-release button is half-pressed the remaining frame readout (128 here) changes to display shutter speed.
Full details of information displayed is shown below.
The viewfinder on the DC4800 is the same disappointing tiny viewing area, positioned right on the corner of the camera it's hard to get comfortable using it. Why aren't more manufacturers paying attention to the viewfinder? The viewfinders only saving graces are that there are clearly defined parallax correction lines and a dioptre adjustment for those wearing glasses.
The two lights on the viewfinder indicate the following:
|Green Flashing||Auto Focus Lock failure|
|Green Steady||Auto Focus Lock (good focus)|
|Orange Flashing||Shot may suffer from shake blur (long exp.)|
|Orange Steady||Flash charged and will fire with next shot|
In the base of the hand grip you'll find a simple (yet functional) battery door concealing the same small battery seen in our last review (of the Fujifilm 4900Z), Kodak have chosen the same small Lithium-Ion rechargeable KLIC-3000 (known as the NP-80 on Fujifilm cameras) rated at 3.7V 1100mAh (4.1Wh). Battery charges in-camera when connected to the provided AC adapter / charger. This far simplifies charging and also provides an AC adapter as a standard item.