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Digital Heaven Updated
Mar 13, 2001 04:28 AM 3075 Views

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Because I own the Kodak DC240 this review has to be about that model but it is identical to the DC280 except for one feature. The DC280 has an ISO setting to enable the user to take pictures in relatively dark places without using flash whereas the DC240 does not. Being automatic cameras it is the shutter speed that varies depending on the light conditions of the subject to maintain the correct exposure. However at slower speeds any slight camera shake or subject movement will produce a blurred picture so the ISO setting enables the user to increase the speed whilst at the same time maintaining the correct exposure settings. Presumably the aperture size increases to compensate but the trade of is that the depth of field is reduced. The rest of this review applies to both models and in fact the manual is for both models.

The Kodak DC240/DC280 is a 1.3 megapixel camera that does away with the need for film and developing but it has a need for a computer to download the pictures onto. The camera comes complete with a 4MB memory card and all leads necessary to hook it up to a computer via the USB or serial port. A CD with software to enable the computer and camera to ''talk'' to each other is supplied as well as a CD on which is Adobe Photoshop v3, both for the PC. But Windows ME has its own built in Wizard that automatically springs to life when the camera is plugged into the computer. A similar pair of CD's is supplied for the Apple Mac platform. Other platforms are not catered for. There is third party software available for the Amiga platform although a serial adaptor is required.

Connecting to the computer is as simple as connecting one end of the appropriate lead to the USP or Serial port and the other end to the camera and turning the Mode dial to ‘Connect’ and switching it on.

The manual is very good and writes in English and not computerese that makes configuring the camera a simple task. If you are English, Japanese, French or German you can set up the camera to display in your own language. Take care if when playing around you set the camera up in one of the foreign languages, especially Japanese, as if you close down the menu, it is tricky to find the right part to revert things back to your own language. Took me a while.

Although battery powered, which use up pretty quickly, a mains adaptor can be purchased to operate the camera if the mains is available. The ''low battery'' indicator gives a good indication of what is left in the batteries. Kodak thoughtfully supplies a battery charging unit and 4 re-chargeable batteries as well as four normal ones.

With a 4MB memory card (larger sizes are available) a minimum of 20 print quality pictures can be taken and stored. There are 6 levels of picture quality that affects the maximum number of pictures that can be taken.

In High Resolution at 1280 x 960 pixels - Best Quality - Max 20 pictures

In High Resolution at 1280 x 960 pixels - Better Quality - Max 28 pictures

In High Resolution at 1280 x 960 pixels - Good Quality - Max 48 pictures

In Standard Resolution at 640 x 480 pixels - Best Quality - Max 50 pictures

In Standard Resolution at 640 x 480 pixels - Better Quality - Max 67 pictures

In Standard Resolution at 640 x 480 pixels - Good Quality- Max 100 pictures

Pictures on the memory card can be deleted if they are not suitable and they can be protected to prevent accidental deletion.

The camera is fully automatic apart from the Zoom facility. You have to control that yourself and set it to infinity or close up at about 2ft.

Ten seconds is a long time when you sit there waiting for the photo to be taken with the self-timer and how many times have we thought that something has gone wrong and started to get up and the camera flashes? Kodak have very thoughtfully provided for such an occasion by showing the self-timer light as a steady glow and for the last two seconds it flashes. Equally thoughtfully Kodak have arranged so that to eliminate that ‘red eye’ the flash operates twice with the picture only being taken on the second flash. The flash can be set to fire when the light conditions require it to do so. The camera, if programmed to do so, will use the flash or not depending on the light.

As well as the traditional viewfinder the Kodak DC240 has a mini screen for viewing as you take or what you have taken. Underneath is a tiny control to brighten or darken the screen and right in the middle of the base is the threaded socket for attaching the camera to a tripod.

The Kodak DC240 can be used to show you set of pictures as a slide show on a monitor or TV either NTSC or PAL.

A multitude of other features make the dark grey and silver bodied Kodak DC240 an excellent alternative to the film camera and simple to use.

The camera has a comfortable weighty feel to it but not so heavy that only male gorillas can hold it. The lens cap is automatically ejected when the camera is switched on but it doesn’t fall to the floor, because a short cord, which leaves it dangling harmlessly out of the way when taking pictures, secures the cap. A looped carrying strap is fitted to enable the user to loop it around their wrist as a means of preventing the camera falling to the ground.

At £279 in September 2000 this camera has proved to be versatile and reliable and the quality of the pictures is as good as a comparable film camera.

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Kodak DC 240