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Conclusion - Pros

  • Good colour
  • Good automatic white balance under a variety of light
  • Easy to use design, simple control setup
  • Silent lens mechanism (no extension, focus or zoom noise)
  • Good manual control (for an entry-level) - WB, ISO, exp compen., sharpness, metering
  • Noise levels at all sensitivities are comparable to more expensive cameras
  • Manual shutter speed selection for long exposures
  • Fast auto focus
  • Good internal flash performance
  • Requires just two AA batteries, good battery life
  • Offers fairly good value for money


Conclusion - Cons

  • Nasty mechanical power switch, loud 'CLUNK' from lens cover
  • Visible purple fringing (chromatic aberrations?) on overexposed details
  • Poorly positioned CF eject lever
  • Long lag times for LCD live view
  • Poor CF write performance (>13 sec no matter what image type)
  • LCD monitor can be difficult to use in bright sunlight
  • All settings (flash mode, quality etc.) should be relayed on LCD monitor status line
  • No thumbnail view (the 3 image filmstrip is inadequate)
  • Noise reduction can lead to 'water-colour paint' look, noise artifacts


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Kodak DX4900: (4 megapixel ultra-compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 7
Image quality 7
Lens / CCD combination 6
Ease of use 8
Value for money 7

The DX4900 is cheap, and that's a good thing because at its price it does offer a good range of control and average image quality. Unfortunately it's not four megapixels of image quality, like many other low cost "four megapixel" digital cameras it doesn't deliver any more resolution than we would expect from a middle range three megapixel.

In some areas the DX4900 does very well, automatic white balance seemed to be better than average and auto focus speed was very nippy. Unfortunately other performance issues took the shine off this, CF write performance was quite bad taking at least 13 seconds to write away any image. And then there's the mechanical power switch which was noticed immediately by almost everyone who saw the camera, and not in a good way.

Overall however the camera does weigh in at just $400 (and lower no doubt at some budget retailers) and so if you are shooting primarily for monitor viewing, email or the web the DX4900 should be adequate. I'd really like to see Kodak try harder next time.

Average

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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