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Kodak EasyShare DX7590
Can it appeal to novice and pro alike?
Review The Kodak DX7590 is an updated version of the DX6490 launched last year and the most obvious change from the model it replaces is the extra pixels: the resolution has been bumped to five megapixels, writes Doug Harman.
The camera is slightly Jekyll and Hyde, in that it offers a dual personality, with two levels of control. The Jekyll part is a user-friendly, point-and-shoot job that's combined with the Hyde element: a host of manual controls for the more advanced snapper. That includes no less than 14 scene/subject modes offering fast presets for specific subjects such as sunsets, landscape shots, portraits and even firework displays.
Then there are the more advanced controls providing aperture and shutter priority (you control either the shutter speed or the aperture in use and the camera does the rest for you), or fully manual control where you do the lot.
Setting all this up is surprisingly straightforward, with a large mode dial on the camera's back providing the entry point to the different levels and control systems. A control dial that is positioned to fall under the right index finger when using the camera can be pressed to select, say, aperture priority and turning the same dial adjusts the value to that required.
Given the 10x optical zoom lens you'd forgive the 7590 for being a bit of lump, but it isn't - it's surprisingly compact and lightweight, although the all-plastic build may not be to everyone's liking.
Either way that long Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens has a 38-380mm zoom range, the lens positively sprints from one end to the other, making it pleasing responsive in use. The camera has a large 2.2in colour screen backed up by a separate, crisp electronic viewfinder. However, both the screen and viewfinder blank out while an exposure is made meaning it's quite hard to follow moving subjects and get them properly framed.
On the plus side, the shutter lag is almost non-existent and the shots I've taken using the camera are very nicely exposed. Colour rendition is very nice and white balance control gives the usual array of presets such as Tungsten, Auto, Daylight and Shade settings.
The two compression - or quality - settings of Standard and Fine don't give enough control. I'd go as far as to say the extra million pixels over its forbear make no difference in terms of detail captured and here's why: even the top quality 'Fine' setting compresses images too heavily meaning details in shots such as landscapes become smoothed away. While this is not an issue - or even noticeable - on 'standard' 6 x 4 prints, on larger prints over A4 the lack of detail becomes evident and a sort of blocky smudging.
There's also a fair bit of image noise, particularly in the blue channel in low light shots and in shadow areas of a scene. So while the camera has a great lens and plenty-enough resolution, the very processes the camera applies to images as it saves them to either the 32MB of internal or SD/MMC removable storage means you lose the detail that's required for those larger prints.
For anyone requiring a simple to use camera with room to advance requiring 'normal' sized prints, the Kodak EasyShare DX 7590 may just be ideal. It is a cinch to use, the more advanced user will find it offers them plenty of extra photo tools and while I'm not a big fan of electronic viewfinders, its 2.2in colour screen is a cracker.
Picture quality is rather good too, so it was a shame to find the extra million pixels seem wasted by the overly-heavy image compression. An extra level of quality, say Super Fine or TIF setting, would be ideal here.
|Kodak EasyShare DX 7590|
|Pros||— Good metering and colour capture, the 38-380mm, 10x optical zoom Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens, it's easy to use with good specification.|
|Cons||— Noisy images in shadow areas or low light and image compression removes detail.|
|More info||The Kodak Easyshare site|