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Kodak EasyShare DX4530 Digital Camera

 
Camera QuickLook
Review Date
10/16/03
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot
Picture Quality
Very High, 5.0-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
8x10 and larger
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
(At introduction)
$399


Introduction
Kodak EasyShare DX4530
Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Sample Pictures
Specifications
Conclusion

Eastman Kodak's "EasyShare" line of digital cameras have consistently impressed me as living up to their name, being one of the most unfailingly easy to use line of digicams out there. One of the latest additions to the line is the EasyShare DX4530, a 5-megapixel, 3x-zoom digicam bringing really large image sizes to the point and shoot market. Very similar to the earlier DX4330, the new 4530 offers the same basic features, but with a larger 5.0-megapixel CCD for higher resolution.

The Kodak EasyShare DX4530 is very much a pure "point and shoot" camera, as it offers the user very little in the way of exposure adjustments or flexibility, but manages to capture surprisingly good images under a variety of conditions. Besides being easy to use to take photos with, the Kodak 4530 also mates with their optional 4000-series "dock," for easy downloading of images to your computer, and built-in charging of NiMH batteries.


Camera Overview

Similar Cameras
If you're looking at the Kodak DX4530, here are some similar models to consider:

Sony P93
Olympus D-540
Nikon 5200

Confused? Check our list of the
Best Digital Cameras!

Kodak's EasyShare line of digicams has consistently proven one of the most user-friendly series on the market, with simplified operation and the convenient compatibility of the EasyShare camera docks for easy image downloading. Debuting with a 5.0-megapixel CCD at a surprisingly low price (just under $400 at the time of its introduction in mid-summer, 2003), the EasyShare DX4530 looks a lot like the rest of the EasyShare line of digicams. Compact, curvy, and similar in style to a traditional point-and-shoot 35mm film camera, the DX4530 measures only 4.3 x 1.5 x 2.6 inches (110.5 x 39.0 x 66.0 millimeters). The camera's all-plastic body makes it light weight as well, at 9.2 ounces (261 grams) with the battery and memory card. There'll thus be little excuse for leaving it behind. The DX4530 squeezes into larger shirt and coat pockets, and comes with a wrist strap for carrying. The camera's compact design includes a retractable lens, protected by a removable plastic lens cap (a tiny strap tethers it to the camera body so you won't lose it). Though exposure features and overall setup are similar to previous EasyShare models (most notably the DX4330 model), the DX4530 boasts a larger, 5.0-megapixel CCD for capturing high resolution, print quality images, as well as smaller image sizes better suited for distributing via email.

The DX4530 is equipped with a 3x optical zoom lens, equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm lens. - This is a range from a moderate wide-angle to a moderate telephoto. A set of filter threads around the inside lip of the lens barrel accommodates a set of Kodak-manufactured accessory lenses, enhancing the camera's wide angle and telephoto capabilities. The camera's autofocus mechanism uses a multi-zone system that "finds" the primary subject in the middle of the frame that's closest to the lens, highlighting the active AF area in red brackets on the LCD display. Though automatically controlled, the DX4530 has a maximum aperture ranging from f/2.8 to f/4.8, depending on the zoom position. Normal focus ranges from two feet (0.6 meters) to infinity, with a Macro setting for more close-up shooting. In Macro mode, focus ranges from 2.8 to 28 inches (7 to 70 centimeters), depending on the zoom position. A Landscape shooting mode fixes focus at infinity, for distant subjects and scenery. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the DX4530 also offers 3.3x Advanced Digital Zoom, which effectively increases the camera's zoom capabilities to 10x. Keep in mind though, that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it only enlarges the center pixels of the CCD image. For composing images, the DX4530 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder, and a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.

Exposure remains under automatic control on the DX4530 at all times, although the camera does offer a Long Time Exposure mode for longer exposures up to four seconds. The Mode dial on top of the camera controls the operating mode, offering Movie, Auto, Sports, Night, Landscape, and Macro modes. While Auto mode is best for general photography conditions, the remaining preset modes are tailored to specific shooting situations such as night portraits in front of bright cityscapes or capturing the action of a little league game. In Sports mode, the camera uses faster shutter speeds (from 1/1,700 to 1/30-second) to "freeze" action. Night mode optimizes the camera for darker portraits and scenes, automatically combining the flash with a slower shutter speed to let more ambient light in to balance the image (you can also cancel the flash, for available-light night scenes.) Shutter speeds in Night mode range from 1/30 to 1/2-second, so you'll need to switch over to Long Time Exposure mode for longer shutter times, out to a maximum of four seconds. Landscape mode fixes focus at infinity, for capturing subjects more than 57.4 feet (17.5 meters) away from the camera. Finally, Macro mode adjusts the focus range for close-up shooting.

The DX4530 employs a Multi-Pattern, matrix metering system, which bases the exposure on several light readings taken throughout the frame, taking into consideration subject contrast as well as overall brightness. Although you can't adjust the aperture, shutter speed, or metering mode (apart from the Long Time Exposure mode), you can increase or decrease the overall exposure through the Exposure Compensation setting under the Record menu. Exposure Compensation adjusts the image from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments. White balance also remains under automatic control at all times, but the DX4530 uses Kodak's proprietary Color Science technology, which produces an accurate color balance under a surprising range of light sources. (I continue to wonder why other manufacturers can't manage to do as good a job with their auto white balance settings as Kodak does.) ISO remains under automatic control as well, but varies from 130 to 200 equivalent settings, depending on the light level. The built-in flash is effective from 2.0 to 11.2 feet (0.6 to 3.4 meters) depending on the zoom position, and features Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off operating modes. A 10-second Self-Timer mode provides a delay between the time the Shutter button is pressed and the shutter actually opens, so that you can get into your own shots.

In addition to the range of still photography modes, the DX4530 also offers a Movie recording mode for capturing moving images and sound, at an image size of 320 x 240 pixels. Recording stops and starts with a full press of the Shutter button (you can also hold it down), and the full length of recording time appears in the LCD monitor. Movie lengths depend on the amount of memory space available. In an interesting and useful departure from the norm, the 4530's self-timer function works in Movie mode as well as for still pictures. Through a menu option, you can program the 4530 to record fixed-length movies of 5, 15, or 30 seconds when triggered by the self-timer, or to simply begin recording when the timer runs out and run until either the memory card is full, or you stop the recording by pressing the shutter button again. (Note that the LCD display is turned off when the camera is running from the self-timer in Movie mode.)

The DX4530 is compatible with Kodak's EasyShare camera docks, which offers hassle-free image downloading. You simply put the camera into the dock (a plastic dock insert provided with the camera fits the DX4530 bottom to the dock) and press the Connect button on the dock. (Some camera kits include the EasyShare Camera Dock II as part of the bundle.) The dock station also serves as an AC adapter and in-camera battery charger (with Kodak NiMH battery packs). The DX4530 is also compatible with the recently-released Printer Dock 4000, which lets you print 4x6 snapshots directly from the camera. Built into the DX4530 are 32 megabytes of internal memory, but the camera also features an SD/MMC memory card slot so you can expand the camera's memory capacity. I highly recommend picking up at least a 64 or 128-megabyte card right away, given the camera's 2,580 x 1,932-pixel maximum image size. For power, the DX4530 uses either two AA-type lithium or NiMH batteries, or a single CRV3 lithium battery pack. For the best performance, I recommend keeping a spare set of batteries freshly charged at all times. See my Battery Shootout page to see which batteries currently on the market are best, my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my long-time favorite.

Basic Features

  • 5.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,580 x 1,932 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.
  • 3x, 38-114mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
  • 3.3x Advanced digital zoom.
  • Automatic exposure control.
  • Automatic white balance control.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/4.8, depending on lens zoom position.
  • Built-in flash with four modes.
  • 32MB internal memory.
  • SD/MMC card storage (card not included).
  • Power supplied by two AA-type batteries, one CRV3 lithium battery, or optional AC adapter.
  • Compatible with Kodak EasyShare camera dock (some kits include the Camera Dock II) and Printer Dock 4000.
  • Kodak EasyShare software included for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Special Features

  • Movie mode (with sound).
  • Night, Sport, Landscape, and Macro photography modes.
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Long Time Exposure mode for longer exposures up to four seconds.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).


Recommendation
Like the rest of the EasyShare series of digicams, the DX4530 is a great choice for anyone looking for hassle-free shooting but good color, white balance, and exposure. Just about everything is automatically controlled, with great results, although the DX4530 does offer a few creative options for enhancing its performance. The camera features Kodak's very straightforward user interface, complete with clear, helpful feature descriptions, making it a good option for kids or novice users. With its no-fuss design, camera dock compatibility, and generous 5.0-megapixel CCD, the DX4530 does credit to the EasyShare name, providing good image quality and unbeatable ease-of-use at a low price.

 

Design
Compact and reasonably small in size, the DX4530 measures 4.3 x 1.5 x 2.6 inches (110.5 x 39.0 x 66.0 millimeters), just small enough to fit into coat pockets and purses, and possibly larger shirt pockets. The DX4530 is light weight as well, thanks to its all-plastic body, at just 7.4 ounces (210 grams) with batteries and SD card loaded. A wrist strap comes with the camera, but a soft carrying case would be a good idea for protecting the camera when traveling.

The DX4530's front panel features the telescoping lens, which takes up almost the entire right side, surrounded by a thick, plastic lip complete with filter threads for accessory lenses. The lens extends outward about another 3/4-inch when the camera is powered on. Also on the front panel are the optical viewfinder window, flash, self-timer lamp, light sensor, and tiny microphone. A gently-sculpted hand grip on the side of the camera features just enough of a ridge for your fingers to cling to as they wrap around the camera.

On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the back) is the SD/MMC memory card and USB compartment, as well as the Video Out jack. A hinged, plastic door protects the compartment, and opens from the back panel. Below the card slot is the USB jack, for connecting the camera directly to a computer. A shiny, silver eyelet is also on this side of the camera, for attaching the wrist strap.

The opposite side of the camera features the DC In jack, covered by a flexible flap. A small eyelet just below the jack compartment attaches the lens cap strap.

The Shutter button, Mode dial, Flash button, and speaker are all on the DX4530's top panel.

The rest of the camera controls are on the rear panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. An indented thumbrest on the right side cups your thumb as you hold the camera, reinforcing the front handgrip. Above the thumbrest is the zoom rocker button. The Share, Delete, Menu, and Review buttons are laid out near the four corners of the LCD monitor. The Four-Way Arrow pad on the left side of the LCD monitor has a rubbery nub in the center that makes it easy to grip, and which also acts as the OK button. The optical viewfinder eyepiece is quite small, but has a fairly high eyepoint to accommodate eyeglass wearers (I could see the full view at a good distance from the camera). Next to the viewfinder is a small LED lamp, which lights or flashes to indicate camera status (such as when focus is set, flash is charging, etc.).

On the bottom panel of the DX4530 are the tripod mount, dock jack, and battery compartment. The plastic, threaded tripod mount is off-center and too close to the battery compartment for quick battery changes while working with a tripod. (I doubt that this will be of much concern to most users though, as the DX4530 is clearly designed for on-the-go shooting.) I generally prefer to see metal tripod sockets, but the small size and low weight of the DX4530 mean the plastic socket should hold up fine under normal usage. The battery compartment features a locking, hinged door, which slides forward to open. The dock connection jack is protected by a sliding plastic door, and connects the camera directly to the EasyShare docks for quick image downloading or printing.

 

 

Camera Operation
As I've come to expect from Kodak's EasyShare digicam line, the DX4530 has a clear, easy-to-understand interface. The fully automatic exposure control and limited exposure options keep user exposure decisions to a minimum, although you can adjust a few variables such as flash mode and exposure compensation. The LCD menu system is short and simple to navigate, with the familiar Kodak design standard, and the Mode dial lets you change camera modes quickly. Given the simple interface and limited controls, you should be able to snap images right away, without much more than a glance at the manual.

Record-Mode Display
The DX4530's display shows the center autofocus area along with currently-selected options for image size/quality, macro and flash mode, the number of images of the current size and quality that can be stored in the remaining space on the memory card. A battery icon also appears, reporting the approximate level of charge left. A half-press of the Shutter button highlights the AF area selection in red. (Pressing the OK button simply turns the LCD monitor on or off.)

Playback-Mode Display
In Playback mode, you can press the DX4530's multi-controller to zoom in or back out of an image, with a maximum enlargement of 4x. Through the settings menu, a more detailed information display is available, reporting date and time of capture and the image quality setting. (Sorry, I missed grabbing the zoomed-playback view for the screen shots above.)

 

External Controls


Shutter Button
: Located on the camera's top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed. In Playback mode, pressing this button returns the camera to the selected Record mode.


Mode Dial
: Just behind the Shutter button, this dial controls the camera's operating modes, with the following options available:

  • Movie: Records moving images with sound, for as long as the memory card has available space.
  • Off: Turns the camera off, and signals the lens to retract.
  • Automatic Record: Best for average shooting conditions, this mode places the camera under automatic exposure control, with limited user options available through the Record menu.
  • Sports Mode: Optimizes the camera for moving subjects, freezing action.
  • Night Mode: Employs longer shutter speeds to allow more ambient light into the image. Combines the flash with the longer exposures for brighter night shots, although you can disable the flash if desired.
  • Landscape Mode: Fixes focus at infinity, for capturing distant scenery.
  • Macro Mode: Changes the focus range for close-up subjects.


Flash Button
: To the left of the Mode dial, this button cycles through the Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off flash modes.


Zoom Toggle Button
: In the top right corner of the back panel, this button controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode.


Share Button
: Above the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button lets you tag images for printing, emailing, or as a favorite image. (A heart icon appears on "favorite" images.) Pressing this button in Review mode displays the Share menu:

  • Cancel Prints: Cancels all print marks.
  • Print All: Marks all images on the card or in the internal memory for printing.
  • Print: Marks the current image for printing, letting you set the number of copies.
  • E-Mail: Tags the current image for email transmission. Once tagged, and the image is downloaded to a computer, the Kodak EasyShare software pulls up an email screen for sending the image.
  • Favorite: Designates the current image as "favorite," indicated by the heart icon in the LCD display.


Delete
: Just above the Four-Way Arrow pad, this button calls up the Delete menu in Review mode. You can delete individual images or all images on the card. There's also an option to cancel.


Four-Way Arrow Pad
: Dominating the left side of the camera's back panel, this rocker button features four arrows. In any settings menu, the arrow keys navigate through options. Pressing the center of the button acts as the "OK" signal to confirm selections. In Record mode, the center button also controls the LCD display, turning it on or off. In Playback mode, the right and left arrows scroll through captured images and movies, while the center button acts as a shortcut to the 2x and 4x image enlargement screens.


Menu Button
: Immediately below the Four-Way Arrow pad, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes.


Review Button
: The final control on the back panel, this button is located in the lower right corner. Pressing this button in any Record mode activates Playback mode. Once in Playback mode, pressing the Shutter button returns to the Record display.

 

Camera Modes and Menus

Movie Mode: The first option on the Mode dial, Movie mode is indicated by a movie camera icon. In this mode, you can record 320 x 240-pixel resolution movies with sound, at 15 frames per second.

Auto Mode: Marked with a camera icon and the word "Auto," this mode is best for most average shooting conditions. Exposure is automatically controlled, but a small selection of user options is available through the Record menu.

Sports Mode: A small, black icon of a person in motion marks this mode on the Mode dial, which uses faster shutter speeds to capture fast-moving subjects.

Night Mode: This mode is indicated by a person with a star on the Mode dial, and uses longer exposure times to capture bright images in low light.

Landscape Mode: A mountain icon indicates this mode on the Mode dial. Here, the camera fixes focus at infinity for distant subjects and scenery.

Macro Mode: The traditional flower macro symbol marks this mode on the Mode dial. The focus range changes for close-up subjects in this mode, and limited exposure options are available.

Playback Mode: Accessed by pressing the Review button, this mode lets you review captured images and movies, as well as manage files.

Record Menu: The following menu items appear whenever the Menu button is pressed in any Record mode. However, not all menu options are available in all modes.

  • Self-Timer: Turns the 10-second self-timer on or off.
  • Image Storage: Dictates where images are stored, either in the 32MB internal memory or on the SD/MMC card.
  • Exposure Compensation: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments.
  • Long Time Exposure: Accesses longer exposure times, for darker shooting conditions. Manually-set shutter speeds range from 0.7 to 4.0 seconds.
  • Picture Quality: Sets the image resolution to Best (2,580 x 1,932 pixels), Best 3:2 (2,580 x 1,720 pixels), Better (2,032 x 1,524 pixels), or Good (1,288 x 966 pixels).
  • Date Stamp: Turns the date stamp function on or off, which records the date over the image. You can choose from a selection of date formats as well.
  • Orientation Sensor: Controls the camera's orientation sensor, which detects when the camera is tilted sideways, and reflects that in the LCD monitor.


  • Setup Menu: Accesses the following main camera settings:
    • Return: Returns to the previous menu display.
    • Default Print Quantity: Sets the default number of prints specified when "tagging" images.
    • Quickview: Turns Quickview on or off. Quickview automatically displays the most recently captured image, with options to delete or Share.
    • Liveview: Disables the LCD's "live" view, meaning you can turn off the LCD as a viewfinder by pressing the center of the Four Way Arrow pad. If off, the LCD remains active at all times.
    • Shutter Sound: Enables the shutter noise or turns it off.
    • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
    • Video Out: Specifies PAL or NTSC as the Video Out signal.
    • Language: Sets the menu language to English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, or Japanese.
    • Format: Formats the SD memory card or internal memory.
    • About: Displays the camera's firmware information.
Playback Menu:
  • Magnify: Enlarges the displayed image, so that you can check on fine detail and framing.
  • Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing it from being accidentally erased or manipulated (except via memory or card formatting). Also removes protection.
  • Image Storage: Selects between the internal memory or the SD card for image storage.
  • Slide Show: Enables a slide show of captured images, with user-adjustable intervals between images.
  • Copy: Copies files from the internal memory to the SD card, or the reverse.
  • Video Date Display: Turns on the date display over movie files, with a choice of formats.
  • Picture Info: Displays the filename, directory, date, time, and quality information for the current image.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu.

 

In the Box
In the box are the following items:

  • Kodak EasyShare DX4530 digital camera.
  • CRV3 lithium battery pack.
  • USB cable.
  • A/V cable.
  • Wrist strap.
  • Lens cap with strap.
  • EasyShare dock insert.
  • Software CD-ROM.
  • Operating manual and registration card.
  • Some models are also bundled with the Camera Dock II.

Recommended Accessories

  • (I'd recommend 64MB as a bare minimum.)
  • Additional set of rechargeable batteries (or battery pack) and charger.
  • AC adapter.
  • Small camera case.
  • EasyShare camera dock or printer dock.

Recommended Software: Rescue your images!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. I get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobodies immune. A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digicam reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

About Batteries
(Well, not quite "back to our regularly scheduled review..) - I've gotten so many emails about power issues for digicams, that I'm now inserting a standard notice in my reviews of all AA-powered cameras: Don't even *think* about using alkaline AA batteries in a digicam! Despite their being packed in the box with many cameras, they simply don't have the juice to handle typical digicam demands. Spend the $35-40 or so it takes to get a set (or two) of high-capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good charger! The few dollars up front will save you literally hundreds of dollars in the long run, not to mention the hassle of wimpy batteries running out in the middle of the action. Buy two sets of batteries too, so one can always be in the charger, ready to go, and so have two sets available for longer excursions. Check out my Battery Shootout page for the latest in actual, measured performance of various AA batteries. Read. - Read my review of the Maha C-204F charger, to learn why it's my longtime favorite.

 

Specifications
See the specifications sheet here.

 

Picky Details
Information on shooting speed, battery life, etc. can be found here.

 

User Reviews

 

Sample Pictures
See our sample pictures and detailed analysis here. The thumbnails below show a subset of our test images. Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size photo.

Outdoor
Indoor Flash
Indoor
 

 

 

House
Musicians
Macro
 

 

 

Davebox
Resolution
Viewfinder Accuracy

 

Test Results

In keeping with my standard test policy, the comments given here summarize only my key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the DX4530's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource product tests, I encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the camera performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how the DX4530's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.

  • Color: Although the DX4530 offers only fully automatic white balance, Kodak's Color Science technology does a superb job of producing accurate color under almost any light source. I generally found very slight color casts in the DX4530's images, but they were slight indeed, and it did an exceptionally good job with the tough incandescent lighting of the Indoor Portrait (with and without flash), as well as under my studio lighting. The very slight pink cast produced attractive skin tones, and the camera did a nearly perfect job in overall color rendition, handling even the notorious blue flowers of the Outdoor Portrait test very well. Colors were bright and vibrant, hue-accurate and appropriately saturated.

  • Exposure: The DX4530 had a tendency to overexpose slightly outdoors and under the studio lighting. The outdoor shots showed this the most, particularly the outdoor house shot. Indoors, however, the camera did very well, requiring a less than average amount of positive exposure compensation at +0.3 EV. The camera's native contrast is somewhat high, as it had a tendency to lose detail in highlights and plug the shadows when dealing with harsh lighting, but this is frequently a tradeoff that's made to achieve bright, appealing color.

  • Resolution/Sharpness: The DX4530 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at 1,300 lines, a very good performance. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,550 lines.

  • Closeups: The DX4530 captured a small macro area, measuring 2.52 x 1.89 inches (64 x 48 millimeters). Resolution was very high, with strong detail in the dollar bill. However, the corners were very soft, blurring the details of the coins and brooch significantly, more than seemed to be accounted for by the shallow depth of field when shooting so close. The camera's flash had a little trouble throttling down for the macro area, although it couldn't really be blamed for the bright specular reflection on the brooch. At the closest shooting distances, the camera's lens shadows the subject area slightly in the lower left corner of the frame. (Overall, plan on using external lighting for your closest shots with this camera.)

  • Night Shots: The DX4530 normally operates under automatic exposure control at all times, with a maximum shutter time of 1/2 second. This would limit its low light capabilities quite a bit, but fortunately there's a long-exposure mode, in which exposure times can be set manually, out to a maximum of 4 seconds. If you don't mind fiddling a bit to find the right exposure, the DX4530 can therefore deliver nice bright images down to a limit of about 1/4 foot-candle (about 2.7 lux). This is roughly a quarter of the brightness of a typical city night scene under average street lighting, making the 4530 quite usable for photography after dark. (You'll probably need to use it in its "landscape" mode though, to set the focus at infinity, as the autofocus system won't be able to work under such dark conditions. - That's why my low light test photos were poorly focused.) In my testing, I found the color and noise levels surprisingly good, even under very dim lighting conditions.

  • Viewfinder Accuracy: The DX4530's optical viewfinder was somewhat tight, showing about 85 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and approximately 84 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor actually proved a little loose, showing very slightly less of the framed area in the final image. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DX4530's LCD monitor is close to perfect.

  • Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the DX4530 was less than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.5 percent barrel distortion. (The average among cameras I've tested is on the order of 0.8%.) The telephoto end fared even better, as I measured only one pixel of barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration was fairly high though: There was a good eight or nine pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines in the upper right-hand corner, although the color wasn't too intense. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) There's some softness visible in the corners as well, although it doesn't extend too far into the picture area.

  • Shutter lag and cycle time: With a full-autofocus shutter lag ranging from 0.78 to 1.17 seconds, the DX4530 is squarely in the middle of the range of the consumer digicams I've tested. (Which, by the way, is way too slow IMHO, but that just seems to be where the bulk of the market is right now.) Its prefocus shutter lag is 0.22 seconds, also about average. Shot to shot cycle times are 3.13 seconds for its highest-quality images, and 2.99 seconds for its lowest-quality ones, with a 6-frame buffer memory.

  • Battery Life: The DX4530 does pretty well for a camera powered by only two AA cells. Using my standard reference of 1600 mAh rechargeable NiMH cells (true capacity, vs rated), the 4530's worst-case run time (capture mode with the LCD turned on) is about 80 minutes, on the short side of average, but not terrible. With the LCD off, its power drain drops to a very low value, and run time stretches to an exceptional 14 hours. As always, I strongly recommend purchasing at least a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger. Kodak's optional EasyShare Dock 4000 comes with an NiMH battery pack and a built-in charger. (See my Battery Shootout for the latest ratings of high-power NiMH AA cells, or read my review of the Maha C-204F charger to see why it's my longtime favorite.)

 

Conclusion

Free Photo Lessons

Check out the Free Photo School program for lessons and tips on improving your photographs!
Simple pro lighting and use tips let you snap stunning photos. Check out our free Photo School area!

Kodak's EasyShare digital cameras excel in user-friendliness, and offer good image quality in addition to their convenient setup and compact size. The DX4530 updates the line with a larger, 5.0-megapixel CCD that captures high-quality images with good detail. Although exposure control is fully automatic, the DX4530 performs surprisingly well in a variety of situations, and offers a few preset scene modes for shooting in low lighting or capturing action shots. A range of manually-selectable longer exposure times extends the camera's capabilities as well, without getting too complicated. If you're looking for a lot of pixels combined with ease of use, all at an attractive price, the DX4530 would be a good choice.

 

Reader Comments!
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Kodak EasyShare DX4530, or add comments of your own!


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