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Kodak DC4800 Zoom

Kodak's first true 3 megapixel consumer camera has excellent color and *amazing* low-light capability!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 7/31/2000

Design
Kodak's new DC4800 Zoom looks nothing like the other digital cameras in the Kodak line. With the DC4800, Kodak has moved beyond the smooth contours and elliptical appearance of some of their other DC models, and opted for a sleeker, more angular design. It's also smaller and more compact. Although the telescoping lens does protrude a little from the front of the camera even when retracted, the DC4800 should fit into most coat pockets and purses. Without batteries, the camera weighs 11.45 ounces (325 g) and it measures 4.72 x 2.56 x 2.72 inches (120 x 65 x 69 mm). Though the camera is rather light weight, it does come with a neck strap for easier toting.



The front of the camera features a very clean, stylish design with the telescoping lens in the center. You can also see the front of the optical viewfinder as well as a small LED and sensor. The lens already protrudes about an inch or so from the camera front and extends about another half an inch when the camera is turned on. A lens cap protects the lens and (surprisingly) remains securely fastened to the lens as it extends out from the camera body. This is a great feature, as many lens caps will pop off when the lens is extended. We should also mention that the lens cap features a small eyelet for attaching a strap, keeping your mind off of accidentally misplacing it.



The back panel of the DC4800 holds the majority of the camera controls, the optical viewfinder and the LCD monitor. Because many of the camera functions are changed through the LCD menu system, there aren't very many buttons to figure out here. Across the top section are the Flash, Macro and Self-Timer / Burst buttons. There's also the optical zoom control lever, Menu and Display buttons, and the rocker toggle control that navigates through the menu options. On the left side of the optical viewfinder is a small dioptric adjustment dial, which adjusts the optical viewfinder to accommodate eyeglass wearers.



On the right side of the camera (when looking from the back panel), is the CompactFlash slot, protected by a hinged plastic door that snaps shut. One minor gripe we had here is that while you can open the plastic door to access the card, you also have to push the Eject lever on the bottom of the camera to actually pop the card out. This is a nuisance if you're working on a tripod, because it forces you to dismount the camera to access the card.



The opposite side of the camera houses the USB, DC power and Video Out jacks, also beneath a hinged plastic door. We found this door a little difficult to open. There's also a sync terminal here for connecting an external flash.



On the top panel of the camera are the popup flash, small status display panel, an exposure compensation adjustment lever, shutter button, power button and mode dial. A helpful feature on the mode dial is that in addition to being shown on the top portion of the dial, each of the settings are also displayed on the side of the dial so that they are visible when operating the camera from a lower angle. The popup flash is released by sliding a small switch just beside it. The power switch inside the mode dial turns the camera on, which then triggers the lens to extend outwards from the camera body (if the mode dial is set to a capture mode). We liked the idea of a small dial to control the exposure compensation, as this makes it easier (and faster) to make the adjustment without stopping to sift through the record menu.



Finally, the DC4800 has a nice flat bottom, which holds a plastic tripod socket, the CompactFlash card Eject switch and the battery compartment. Our only complaint here is the close proximity of all three, which makes it impossible to change batteries or CompactFlash cards while shooting on a tripod. We would much rather have the Eject switch on the side of the camera, next to the actual card slot. Likewise, just a little more space between the tripod mount and the battery compartment would have made life a little easier, given the extent to which we use a tripod in our testing. On a more positive note, the battery compartment operates very smoothly, with an uncomplicated door that simply slides in and out of place.


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