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Kodak EasyShare DX6340 Digital Camera

Camera QuickLook
Review Date
6/30/2003
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot / Some Manual Control
Picture Quality
Good, 3.1-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Good prints to 8x10
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
(At introduction)
$329

 


Introduction
Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Test Images
Specifications
Conclusion

The Eastman Kodak Company has a long history of bringing professional imaging processes to the everyday consumer. Kodak's EasyShare System is the company's digital equivalent to its turn-of-the-century Brownie box camera, which came with preloaded film and no manual controls (once users shot all their film, they simply sent the boxes back to Kodak for processing and printing). While the first Kodak EasyShare digicams, were much more sophisticated than a Brownie, they did feature the same "just press the button" simplicity, with fully automatic controls and an optional docking station that takes all of the guesswork out of digital image manipulation, management, and sharing. As Kodak has evolved the line, they've introduced more advanced cameras that do offer a few user options, but which still retain excellent ease-of-use. The subject of the current review is the EasyShare DX6340, a compact 3.1-megapixel design that provides good midrange functionality, combined with a very clear menu system and the benefit of partial manual exposure control.

Kodak's EasyShare Software is a big part of the EasyShare story, so much so that I asked IR newsletter editor Mike Pasini to devote a full article to it, back at the end of 2002. Read Mike's EasyShare Software Review for all the details of what's arguably the easiest-to-use photo software on the market. Especially in its latest implementation, it walks you through every step of uploading, enhancing, and emailing your photos, and has about the most graphically intuitive interface of any consumer imaging software I've seen. It automatically sizes the images for printing or emailing, stores copies, applies simple effects, and allows you to make image corrections, such as color, brightness, and contrast adjustments. Back at the end of 2002, Kodak "liberated" the EasyShare software package, allowing consumers to download it for free from the Kodak website. Even though you no longer have to buy an EasyShare camera to get the software, the software does work very well with Kodak's own cameras. Overall, the entire line of EasyShare cameras are among the easiest and most goof-proof digicams out there, and the DX6340 and Kodak's latest Picture Software carry on that tradition admirably.

 

Camera Overview

The latest addition to Kodak's exceptionally user-friendly line of digicams, the EasyShare DX6340 sports a similar design to the rest of the EasyShare line. Compact and similar in style to a traditional point-and-shoot 35mm film camera, the DX6340 measures only 4.3 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches (110.5 x 39.0 x 64.5 millimeters). The camera's all-plastic body makes it light weight as well, at 9.5 ounces (270 grams) with the battery and memory card, making it a comfortable fit for most hands. The DX6340 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 built-in, shutter-like lens cover that slides out of the way when the camera is powered on. The 3.1-megapixel CCD captures high resolution, print quality images, as well as smaller image sizes better suited for distributing via email.

The DX6340 features a 4x zoom lens, equivalent to a 36-144mm zoom on a 35mm lens. (That's a moderate wide angle to a good telephoto, a fairly typical range among point-and-shoot digicams, although the 6340 extends further toward the telephoto end of the scale than most.) The camera's autofocus mechanism uses a multi-zone system to "find" the primary subject closest to the lens. The AF area is highlighted in the LCD display with a set of brackets. (If you want, you can change the AF area to read only the center of the frame through the Record menu.) The DX6340 has a maximum aperture ranging from f/2.2 to f/4.8, depending on the zoom position. Focus ranges from 19.7 inches (50 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, with a Macro mode ranging from 3.9 to 23.6 inches (10 to 60 centimeters). A Landscape shooting mode fixes focus at infinity, for distant subjects and scenery. In addition to the 4x optical zoom, the DX6340 also offers as much as 3.5x Advanced digital zoom, which effectively increases the camera's zoom range to a total of 14x. Keep in mind though, that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality in direct proportion to the amount of magnification achieved, since it just "stretches" the center pixels of the CCD image. For composing images, the DX6340 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder as well as a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.

The DX6340 offers full automatic and partial manual exposure control, a first in the EasyShare line. The Mode dial on the rear panel offers options of Movie, Auto, Sports, Portrait, Night, Landscape, Macro, and "PAS" modes. While Auto mode is best for general photography, the remaining preset modes help with special shooting situations such as night shots in the city or the winning goal of a soccer game. In Sports mode, the camera uses faster shutter speeds to "freeze" action. Portrait mode captures a sharp subject in front of a slightly-blurred background, while Night mode optimizes the camera for darker portraits and other night scenes, automatically combining the flash with a slower shutter speed to let more light into the image from the surroundings. This brightens the background in flash shots, making for more natural-looking night photos. (You can cancel the flash in Night mode too, for those times when you want to shoot with just the available light.) Landscape mode fixes focus at infinity, for capturing subjects more than about 58 feet (17.5 meters) away from the camera. (If you want to access longer shutter times, Landscape mode offers a Long Time Exposure option through the Record menu, for shutter times as long as four seconds.) Finally, PAS mode offers Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority shooting modes. Program mode keeps the camera in charge of both aperture and shutter speed, while the other two modes let you control either lens opening (aperture) or shutter speed, while the camera chooses the best value for the other parameter. The partial manual control offered in PAS mode makes the DX6340 more flexible, while still maintaining pure "point & shoot" operation in fully automatic mode. All three modes offer expanded exposure options through the Record menu. Shutter speeds on the DX6340 range from 1/2,000 to four seconds, with the available range different in each shooting mode.

The DX6340 employs a Multi-Pattern metering system, which bases the exposure on several light readings taken throughout the frame. Also available are Center-Weighted and Center-Spot modes for situations when you need to base exposure on just the central portion of the frame. (This is handy with backlit subjects, or a light subject against a dark background.) You can increase or decrease the overall exposure through the Exposure Compensation setting under the Record menu, from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments. (Each full EV unit of adjustment represents a factor of two increase or decrease in the exposure.) White balance options include Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, and Fluorescent settings, which take advantage of Kodak's proprietary Color Science technology to achieve accurate color balance even under tricky lighting. ISO is adjustable in PAS mode only, with equivalent settings of 100, 200, and 400. (In Movie mode, however, the camera automatically raises the ISO to 800 if necessary.) The DX6340 also offers Sepia and Black and White shooting modes, for more creative effects. The built-in flash is rated as effective from 1.6 to 19.4 feet (0.5 to 5.9 meters) depending on the setting of the zoom lens (a range that agrees reasonably well with my own testing), 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 when the shutter actually opens, so you can get into your own shots.

In addition to its still photography modes, the DX6340 also offers a Movie recording mode for capturing moving images with sound. Recording stops and starts with a brief, full press of the Shutter button, but if you hold the button down for more than a second or two, the camera will automatically stop recording when you let it back up again. As you record, the duration of the movie appears in a running counter on the LCD monitor. Maximum movie lengths depend on the amount of memory space available. (The 16 megabytes of internal memory will let you record movies up to 81 seconds in length.) A Burst photography mode lets you capture as many as four still images in rapid succession (approximately three frames per second) while you hold down the Shutter button. The four-frame maximum sequence length applies regardless of resolution, but may be further limited if the memory card is nearly full.

The DX6340 is compatible with Kodak's EasyShare camera and printer docks, which offer hassle-free image downloading and printing. You simply put the camera into the dock (the DX6340 comes with a plastic insert that fits the camera bottom snugly into the 6000-series dock) and press the Connect button on the dock. The docking station also serves as an AC adapter and in-camera battery charger (with Kodak NiMH battery packs or individual AA-sized NiMH batteries). Built into the DX6340 is 16 megabytes of internal memory, but the camera also features an SD/MMC memory card slot so you can expand the camera's memory capacity. Given the camera's 2,032 x 1,524-pixel maximum resolution size, I highly recommend picking up at least a 32 or 64 megabyte card right away. For power, the DX6340 uses either two AA-type lithium or NiMH batteries, or a single CRV3 lithium battery pack. As always, I strongly recommend purchasing a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger, and keeping a spare set of batteries charged at all times. Click here to read my "battery shootout" page to see which batteries currently on the market are best, or here for my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my longtime favorite. The Kodak EasyShare dock is itself a battery charger, and comes with a single NiMH battery pack, but I highly recommend purchasing at least one extra set of high-capacity NiMH AA cells, so you'll have spares to pack along on long outings.

Basic Features

  • 3.1-megapixel CCD delivering images as large as 2,032 x 1,524 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.
  • 4x, 36-144mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
  • 3.5x Advanced digital zoom.
  • Automatic and partial manual exposure control.
  • White Balance with four settings.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.2 to f/4.8, depending on lens zoom position.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to four seconds, depending on exposure mode.
  • Built-in flash with four modes.
  • 16MB internal memory.
  • SD/MMC card storage (optional, card not included).
  • Power supplied by two AA-type batteries, one CRV3 lithium battery, Kodak NiMH pack, or optional AC adapter.
  • Compatible with optional Kodak EasyShare camera and printer docks (not included).
  • Kodak EasyShare software included for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Special Features

  • Movie mode (with sound).
  • Burst photography mode.
  • Portrait, Night, Sport, and Landscape photography modes.
  • Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority shooting modes.
  • Black and White, Sepia, and Color modes.
  • Adjustable ISO from 100 to 400 in PAS mode.
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Two AF area modes.
  • Long Shutter setting in Landscape mode for longer exposures (maximum four seconds).
  • Macro (close-up) lens setting.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).


Recommendation
The DX6340 is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a no-fuss digicam with great image quality, but yet with a few options for increased exposure control. Just about everything can be automatically controlled, with great results, though you can opt for manual shutter or aperture control if so desired, and a long-exposure option lets you capture bright shots even under very dim lighting. The camera continues with Kodak's very user-friendly interface, making it a good option for kids or novice users, and the varying levels of exposure and feature control enable novices to quickly learn more about photography. Like Kodak's other EasyShare cameras, when combined with the accessory camera dock and EasyShare software, the DX6340 is an exceptionally easy to use camera model that snaps great-looking pictures.

 

Design
Compact and reasonably small in size, the DX6340 measures 4.3 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches (109 x 38.0 x 64.5 millimeters), just small enough to fit into coat pockets and purses, and possibly larger shirt pockets. The DX6340 is light weight as well, at just 9.5 ounces (270 grams) with batteries and memory card. A wrist strap comes with the camera, but I'd recommend a soft carrying case for travel.

The telescoping lens takes up the right side of the camera's front panel, surrounded by a thick, plastic lip complete with filter threads for accessory lenses. The lens extends outward just shy of 3/4-inch when the camera is powered on. A shutterlike lens cover automatically slides out of the way as well, and eliminates the need for a removable lens cap. Also on the front panel are the optical viewfinder window, flash, autofocus sensor, self-timer lamp, light sensor, and tiny microphone. A gently-sculpted finger grip on the side of the camera features a soft, rubbery pad for fingers to cling to.

On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) is the SD memory card compartment, which also features the Video Out and USB connector jacks. A hinged plastic door protects the compartment, and opens from the back panel. 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, as well as the diopter adjustment dial for the optical viewfinder (on the very edge of the viewfinder eyepiece).

The Shutter, Flash, and Drive buttons are all on the camera's top panel, along with the playback speaker.

The rest of the camera controls are on the back panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. An indented thumb rest on the right side cups your thumb as you hold the camera, working together with the front handgrip to provide secure purchase for your fingers. Above the thumb rest is the zoom rocker button. In the lower right corner are the Menu and Review buttons, with the Delete and Share buttons on the opposite side of the LCD monitor. A large Mode dial takes up the left portion of the rear panel, with a joystick-like multi-controller button in its center. The multi-controller navigates through menu settings, and confirms selections when pressed. The optical viewfinder eyepiece is quite small, but has a fairly high eyepoint to accommodate eyeglass wearers (I could easily see the full frame when wearing my eyeglasses). It also has a diopter adjustment tucked on its side. 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 DX6340 are the tripod mount, dock jack, and battery compartment. The threaded metal tripod mount is just off-center and too close to the battery compartment for quick battery changes while working with a tripod, but I suspect that most owners won't be bothered by this. The battery compartment features a locking, hinged door, which slides forward to open. The dock connection jack connects the camera directly to the EasyShare dock for quick image downloading.

 

Camera Operation
As I've come to expect from Kodak's EasyShare digicam line, the DX6340 has a very user-friendly interface. The available automatic and partial manual exposure control options give users some flexibility, while the camera's automatic systems do an excellent job of capturing good-looking photos without user intervention. The LCD menu system is short and simple to navigate, and the plain-English descriptions of menu items are a welcome change from the too-common cryptic icons on so many other cameras. A Mode dial lets you change camera modes quickly, and once again, the plain-English descriptions flashed on the LCD screen make operation straightforward for even rank beginners. Given the simple interface and limited controls, you should be able to snap images right away, with hardly a glance at the manual. For more advanced functions, it shouldn't take more than a half an hour or so to get the gist of things, an hour if you're a relative newcomer.

Record-Mode Display
The DX6340 offers a single LCD display mode for each record mode. Depending on the exposure mode, the 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. In PAS mode, the LCD display also includes shooting mode, aperture, shutter, and exposure compensation settings.

Playback-Mode Display
In playback mode, you can use the DX6340's multi-controller to zoom in or out on an image, with a maximum enlargement of 4x. A thumbnail display of the images on the card is also available, through the camera's Playback menu. The same menu offers a more detailed information display, reporting the set exposure variables for the current image. The normal Playback display reports the image number, and any shared settings information.

 

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.


Flash / Info Button
: Diagonally behind and to the left of the Shutter button, this button cycles through the Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off flash modes. As the flash mode is the displayed, an Info section also reports various camera settings for quick reference.


Drive Button
: Directly to the left of the Flash / Info button, this button accesses the Self-Timer and Burst drive modes.


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


Menu Button
: Below the Zoom Toggle button in the lower right corner, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes.


Review Button
: Directly beneath the Menu button, this button activates Playback mode when pressed in any record mode. Once in Playback mode, either pressing this button a second time, or pressing the Shutter button returns you to the Record display.


Delete
: Next to the top left corner of the LCD monitor, 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.


Share Button
: Below the Delete button and next to the lower left 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, with options for DPOF, Email, or Favorite.


Mode Dial
: Taking up the left side of the rear panel, this notched dial accesses the following camera modes

  • Movie: Records moving images with sound, for as long as the memory card has available space.
  • Off: Turns the camera off, and retracts the lens.
  • Automatic Record: Best for most 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.
  • Portrait Mode: Sets up the camera for capturing portraits. Sharply-focused subjects are captured in front of slightly-blurred backgrounds.
  • Night Mode: Employs longer shutter speeds to allow more ambient light into the image. Combines the flash with the longer exposures for to expose both the foreground and background elements properly.
  • Landscape Mode: Fixes focus at infinity, for capturing distant scenery.
  • Macro Mode: Changes the focus range for close-up subjects.
  • PAS Mode: Offers Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority shooting modes, for expanded exposure options.

Multi-Controller: Located in the center of the Mode dial, this joystick-like controller navigates through menu options in any settings menu. When pressed, it confirms menu selections. If activated through the Setup menu, pressing this button outside of a menu screen disables the LCD monitor display.

In Playback mode, the controller scrolls through captured images, when moved left and right. When pressed, it enlarges the displayed image 2x or 4x, or returns to the normal display. Pressing the button down activates the index display mode.

 

Camera Modes and Menus

Movie Mode: The first mode on the Mode dial, Movie mode is indicated by a movie camera icon. In this mode, you can record 309 x 206-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.

Portrait Mode: Indicated by a symbol of a woman's head on the Mode dial, this mode uses a larger aperture setting to limit the depth of field. The result is a subject in sharp focus in front of a blurry background.

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.

PAS Mode: The final position on the Mode dial, this mode accesses the Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority exposure modes. Modes are adjusted on the LCD screen, and the available exposure setting is highlighted. Program mode keeps the camera in charge of aperture and shutter speed, but offers expanded exposure options through the Record menu. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes provide user control over one exposure variable.

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.

  • Image Storage: Determines where images are stored, either in the 16MB internal memory or SD card. If Auto is selected, the camera automatically stores images to a memory card if one is present.
  • Exposure Compensation: (All modes except PAS, where it is adjusted on the LCD screen.) Adjusts the exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-half-step increments.
  • Picture Quality: Sets the image resolution and quality. Choices are Best (2,032 x 1,524 pixels), Best 3:2 (2,032 x 1,354 pixels), Better (1,656 x 1,242 pixels), and Good (1,200 x 900 pixels).
  • Color Mode: Allows you to record images in Color, Black and White, or Sepia tones.
  • White Balance: (Landscape, Macro, and PAS modes.) Sets the color balance to Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, or Fluorescent settings.
  • Exposure Metering: (Landscape, Macro, and PAS modes.) Selects the camera's metering mode, with options of Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, or Center-Spot.
  • ISO Speed: (Landscape, Macro, and PAS modes.) Sets the camera's sensitivity to Auto, or to 100, 200, or 400 ISO equivalents.
  • Long Time Exposure: (Landscape mode only.) Accesses longer exposure times, for darker shooting conditions. Manually-selected shutter speeds range from 0.7 to 4.0 seconds.
  • Focus Zone: (Macro and PAS modes.) Controls where the camera's AF system determines focus from. Choices are Multi-Zone or Center-Zone.
  • Reset: (PAS mode only.) Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
  • Set Album (Still): The DX6340 lets you set up albums through Kodak's interface software on a computer. If albums have been set up and downloaded to the camera, you can associate images with an album as they are recorded.
  • 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 held vertically. Vertical-format images captured when the Orientation Sensor is enabled are rotated to their correct orientation on-screen when they're played back.)

  • 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 disable the LCD as a viewfinder by pressing the multi-controller. If off, the LCD remains active at all times.
    • Advanced Digital Zoom: Controls how digital zoom is accessed. The Continuous setting allows you to seamlessly zoom from the optical zoom range into the digital range. "Pause" tells the camera to pause between ranges. "None" disables digital zoom altogether.
    • Shutter Sound: Turns the shutter noise on or 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.
  • Share: Enables a sub-menu of file sharing options for use with the EasyShare dock:
    • Cancel Prints: Cancels all existing print orders.
    • Print All: Prints one copy of each image on the memory card or internal memory.
    • Print: Designates the number of copies of the current image to be printed.
    • E-Mail: E-mails a low-resolution copy of the image to a recipient, based on a saved address book.
    • Favorite: Marks the current image as a "favorite."
  • 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.
  • Album: Adds images to an image album, created on a computer with the camera's interface software.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Up: Enables a index display of images on the memory card or stored in the internal memory.
  • 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 DX6340 digital camera.
  • CRV3 lithium battery pack.
  • USB cable.
  • A/V cable.
  • Wrist strap.
  • EasyShare dock insert.
  • Software CD-ROM.
  • Operating manual and registration card.

Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SD memory card. (I'd recommend 32MB as a bare minimum, 64MB would be preferable.)
  • Additional set of rechargeable batteries or battery pack.
  • AC adapter.
  • Small camera case.
  • EasyShare camera 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, nobody's 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...

 

Test Images

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

Outdoor
Indoor Flash
Indoor
 

 

 

House
Musicians
Macro
 

 

 

Davebox
Resolution
Viewfinder Accuracy





"Gallery" Photos
For those readers interested in a set of less "standardized" photos from the DX6340, here are some thumbnails of more random shots snapped with it. Click on one any of the thumbnails below for a larger view. Click on the larger view again to see the original image from the camera. (Photos in this gallery were shot by Gibbs Frazeur or Stephanie Boozer. Thanks Gibbs and Stephanie!)

NOTE: that these are big files, so be aware that (a) they'll take a while to download, and (b) they'll chew up a pretty good chunk of bandwidth on us. (Read the "support this site" blurb at the top the carrier pages, and think about it while you're waiting for the images to download.

NOTE TOO: Some browsers have difficult with very wide images, and distort them a lot when they display them. (I don't know about others, but IE 5.0 on the Mac definitely does this. If the full-sized images appear to be stretched horizontally, you may need to just download them to your hard drive and view them in an imaging application, or possibly try another browser.)

Click to see Y101_0053.JPG
Y101_0053.JPG
1,346.8 KB
Shutter: 1/500
Aperture: F5.6
Exposure EV: 13.9
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0058.JPG
Y101_0058.JPG
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Shutter: 1/350
Aperture: F6.7
Exposure EV: 13.9
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0060.JPG
Y101_0060.JPG
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Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F4.8
Exposure EV: 12
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0062.JPG
Y101_0062.JPG
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Shutter: 1/250
Aperture: F4
Exposure EV: 11.9
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0064.JPG
Y101_0064.JPG
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Shutter: 1/250
Aperture: F4.8
Exposure EV: 12.4
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0066.JPG
Y101_0066.JPG
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Shutter: 1/750
Aperture: F4
Exposure EV: 13.5
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see Y101_0068.JPG
Y101_0068.JPG
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Shutter: 1/500
Aperture: F6.7
Exposure EV: 14.4
ISO Speed: 100
   


Specifications
See the specifications sheet here.

 

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

 

User Reviews

 

Test Results
Overall, the DX6340 delivers the bright, vibrant color that's characteristic of Kodak's EasyShare camera line. Resolution is a bit lower than average for a three megapixel camera, but image noise levels are quite good, and there's generally less geometric distortion in its images than I'm accustomed to seeing, no doubt thanks to the high-quality Schneider lens. See the DX6340's sample pictures page for the full results of my testing, but meanwhile, here's a summary of my findings:

 

  • Color: Kodak's cameras tend to produce very bright, highly saturated colors, and the DX6340 is no exception. Technically, its images are a bit oversaturated, as their colors are brighter than in real life, but this matches the preferences of most consumers who tend to avoid cameras with more technically accurate, but duller-looking color. Color accuracy was generally very good, although the camera did have trouble with the difficult blue of the flowers in the outdoor portrait test. Like other EasyShare cameras I've tested, the 6340's automatic white balance system can deliver very good results under an amazing range of lighting conditions, having little trouble with the challenging lighting of my Indoor Portrait test. (Many cameras have a hard time with the very yellow cast of household incandescent lighting commonly used in the US.)

  • Exposure: The DX6340's exposure system generally delivered accurate exposures, requiring a little less exposure compensation than average on the high-key Outdoor Portrait test, and about an average amount on the Indoor Portrait shot. The one exposure problem I encountered with it is that it needed an unusually large boost on the Indoor Portrait with Flash test, as its default exposure there was very dim. One negative consequence of the very bright color that Kodak strives for is that its cameras tend to show very high contrast. This resulted in the 6340 losing highlight detail in harshly-lit subjects like the Outdoor Portrait and Far Field test shots. It did just fine under more normal lighting, however. Image noise generally seemed to be pretty low, although night shots snapped in long-exposure mode were more noisy than average.

  • Resolution/Sharpness: Resolution seems to be the DX6340's weak point, as it showed noticeably less detail in its shots of the "laboratory" resolution test chart than most three megapixel models I've tested, only about 950 lines per picture height, compared to 1,100 or more for competing models. It will still produce good-looking 8x10 prints, but if you're a resolution fanatic, you'd do better with a competing model. In the resolution test, the 6340 began showing artifacts at resolution levels as low as 600 lines, I found "strong detail" to about 950 lines, and "extinction" of the target patterns occurred at between 1,100 and 1,200 lines.

  • Closeups: The DX6340 turned in about an average performance in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 3.47 x 2.61 inches (88 x 66 millimeters). Resolution was high, with strong detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. The corners were fairly soft in this shot though, extending down the entire left and right sides of the frame. (This is a fairly common shortcoming of digicam lenses in macro mode, but the 6340 seemed to suffer from it more than most.) The camera's flash throttled down almost too much for the macro area, lighting the frame a bit unevenly at closest approach. (Plan on using external lighting for the closest macro shots with this camera.).

  • Night Shots: The DX6340 offers a Shutter Priority exposure mode, with manually-selected exposure times as long as four seconds. However, the adjustable ISO feature is not available in this mode. In Program AE mode, which lets you adjust the ISO, the slowest exposure time available is 1/8 second. Thus, I found the best results in Shutter Priority mode, which automatically adjusts the ISO depending on the conditions. The DX6340 produced bright, usable images down to 1/8 foot-candles (1.3 lux), with good color in Shutter Priority mode. In Program AE, with each of the adjustable ISO settings, the images weren't bright, even at two foot-candles (22 lux), a full "stop" (factor of 2x) brighter than average city street lighting at night. Thus, you'll get the best results in Shutter Priority mode, or in the camera's Night Scene mode. Note too, that you'll most likely have to use the manual focus option for night shooting, as the autofocus system has trouble getting sharp focus in dim lighting. Noise in the shutter priority mode was also somewhat high, suggesting that the camera likely chose the 400 ISO setting for that series of shots.

  • Viewfinder Accuracy: The DX6340's optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing 88 percent of the frame at wide angle, and about 86 percent at telephoto. (This is actually a bit better than average among competing models.) The LCD monitor showed close to 100% of the final frame area, but the view was shifted slightly. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DX6340's LCD monitor has a little room for improvement.

  • Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the DX6340 is less than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 0.4 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared even better, as I measured only one pixel of barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about five or six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) I also noticed some corner softness, which could have exaggerated chromatic aberration.

  • Battery Life: The DX6340's battery life is a bit of a mixed bag: With the LCD on in record mode, battery life is pretty short, a bit over 80 minutes with true 1600 mAh capacity NiMH AA cells. On the other hand, battery life with the LCD display off is exceptional, nearly 14 hours. It does pretty well in playback mode too, with a projected life of about 3 hours. Still, I strongly recommend that you pick up a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and either a separate charger, or Kodak's EasyShare dock, which serves as a battery charger as well. (Click here to read my "battery shootout" page to see which batteries currently on the market are best, or here for my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my longtime favorite.)

 

Conclusion

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Kodak's EasyShare digital cameras have consistently proved to be among the easiest to use of any I've tested, and the DX6340 follows suit. Its fully automatic exposure control performs surprisingly well in a wide variety of conditions, and the partial manual exposure control is a welcome bonus for extending the camera's capabilities. A handful of preset scene modes help with special shooting conditions. While its resolution falls a bit short of the best competing 3.1-megapixel models, there's plenty of detail to make good-looking 8x10 prints. I wouldn't recommend it for "enthusiast" users, but its excellent color and exceptionally capable automatic white balance make it a true "point & shoot" digicam, requiring little or no intervention to take nice looking photos under a wide variety of conditions.

 

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