Kodak has today announced the 10x optical zoom, 4 megapixel DX6490. This camera is Kodak's first foray into the big zoom SLR-like prosumer category, priced at $499 it's certainly competitive. The 'Schneider-Kreuznach' lens provides an equivelant focal length range of 38 to 380 mm with a maximum aperture of F2.8 to F3.7, interestingly it also has a dual speed zoom mechanism which should be useful for quickly zooming and then applying subtle adjustment.

Thanks to Mark Peters from letsgodigital.nl for the picture.

Press Release:

Kodak EasyShare DX6490 Digital Camera Establishes a New Price-to-Performance Benchmark for ‘Advanced Amateur’ Photographers

High Performance EasyShare Camera Delivers Professional-Level Features and Image Quality for Under $500

ROCHESTER, N.Y., August 21 — Eastman Kodak Company today unveiled its most advanced EasyShare digital camera to date, the Kodak EasyShare DX6490 zoom digital camera. With its unique combination of sophisticated features, exceptional performance, and US$499 suggested retail price, it establishes a new price-to-performance benchmark for ‘advanced amateur’ photography, giving more people the opportunity to shoot like a professional.

The DX6490 camera is the first to unite a professional quality Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 10X optical zoom lens (38-380 mm equivalent) with a f/2.8 – f/3.7 maximum aperture; a new Kodak Color Science image processing chip for the richest, most accurate colors; low-light precision auto focusing; and multiple shooting modes for optimal creative control ? all with effortless operation that people have come to expect from Kodak. It will be available worldwide beginning this September.

“So many digital photographers want expert results, but without the cost or hassle. This camera proves our ability to deliver powerful performance with the very best color and image quality — quality that lives up to Kodak’s renowned photography heritage,” said Yusuke Kojima, general manager of Kodak’s consumer digital camera business and a vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. “The DX6490 camera opens the door to a new world of digital photography, placing more power, control and quality in the owner’s hands. It’s an unequaled combination of price and performance.”

The 4-megapixel camera has been designed with some of the world’s highest quality components working in concert to afford outstanding quality, even in challenging photographic situations. Imagine being able to capture the beauty and character of a friendly face while the sun sets in the background. With Kodak’s integration of the Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 10X optical zoom lens, the Kodak Color Science image processing chip, and intelligent matrix metering, photographers faced with this scenario will achieve portraits with edge-to-edge sharpness and brightness, rich color, and highly accurate exposure. Because of the tight incorporation of these and other sophisticated features, DX6490 camera owners are consistently presented with remarkable dynamic range, fine detail and delicate highlights — results that advanced amateurs have typically associated with high-end digital SLRs.

The focal length (38-380 mm equivalent) of the professional quality Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 10X zoom lens gives photographers superb framing flexibility. It enables users to get close to the action and fill the frame, or achieve more natural poses from subjects by shooting them from a distance. The long lens also provides the “flattened” perspective and narrow depth of field that portrait photographers crave, all in a compact, SLR-like body. With a f/2.8 maximum aperture at wide angle and a f/3.7 at 10X — and the ability to step down to f/8 — the camera is well-suited to perform in both low and bright light.

Using the dual-speed zoom control, DX6490 camera owners can drive the lens from 1X to 10X in just two seconds, and then extend the total magnification up to 30X using Kodak’s exclusive Advanced Digital Zoom technology, which creates sharper, better quality images across the entire digital zoom range. For ease of handling, the lens barrel only extends one inch after powering up the camera, with all lens movements occurring within the protective housing.

The camera is the first to include the new Kodak Color Science image processing chip. This combines the power of a high-performance digital signal processor with professionally-derived image process engineering (including Kodak’s legendary white balance algorithms), based on more than 75 years of Kodak research into the science and emotion of color. With each press of the shutter, the camera quickly and precisely analyzes lighting conditions and color balance to consistently deliver exacting sharpness, high color accuracy, and proper exposure.

The DX6490 camera offers fully manual controls, permitting independent aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO equivalent and other settings that can transform an ordinary picture into a work of art. The camera also features aperture and shutter priority modes, as well as sport, portrait, night, landscape, macro and automatic program modes. Saturated, neutral, black-and-white and sepia color modes lend additional in-camera creative options. Its new hybrid, low-light precision auto-focus system combines rapid phase detection with highly accurate through the lens (TTL) contrast detection to precisely fine tune and sharply define a subject, even in almost complete darkness. In addition, the camera is equipped with an external flash synch — capable of synching at any shutter speed — for illumination of subjects beyond the 16-foot pop-up flash range.

Using the high-resolution TTL electronic viewfinder (EVF) with diopter, as well as a large, 2.2-inch high-resolution indoor/outdoor LCD screen, photographers can preview shots or review pictures stored in 16 MB internal memory or on optional SD/MMC cards. Not only does the EVF show control settings superimposed over the scene, but it also eliminates parallax while presenting a nearly 100 percent field of view. The indoor/outdoor LCD assists photographers in clearly seeing the fine detail of their compositions before and after shooting, even in direct sunlight. Both LCDs exhibit high refresh rates, and automatically brighten or dim to reflect changes in exposure compensation.

A push of the DX6490 camera’s red-jeweled “Share” button allows photographers to immediately tag pictures for e-mailing (with up to 32 on-camera e-mail addresses), printing, or marking as favorites. A new album feature, used in conjunction with Kodak EasyShare software version 3, enables organization of pictures right on the camera. Additional features include joystick and jog-dial controls for rapid control access, easy-to-read menu options and the ability to record and play back continuous digital video with audio.

Included with the DX6490 is the Kodak EasyShare camera dock 6000, which provides one-touch picture transfer to a connected PC while keeping the DX6490 camera’s lithium-ion battery charged and ready to go, with a full charge taking less than three hours. DX6490 camera owners can also receive all the benefits of a dock, plus the ability to print real, borderless Kodak 4 x 6-inch photos in as little as 90 seconds, when using the Kodak EasyShare printer dock 6000 (US$199.95 MSRP). These prints are instantly dry, durable, and even waterproof. Both docks are now available.

The DX6490 camera includes Kodak EasyShare software version 3 for Windows and Macintosh systems, providing effortless digital picture transfer, organization, editing, CD-burning, e-mailing, sharing and printing. The exclusive One Touch to Better Pictures feature takes advantage of proprietary color technologies developed by Kodak to help Windows OS users get vibrant, true-to-life prints from inkjet printers when using Kodak Ultima and Premium Picture Papers.

The award-winning Kodak EasyShare digital photography system — consisting of cameras, software, docks and printer docks, inkjet papers and accessories — makes taking, organizing, sharing, and printing high quality digital pictures effortless. More information on Kodak EasyShare products is available at www.kodak.com/go/EasyShare.