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Kodak EasyShare DX7630 Digital Camera

Camera QuickLook
Review Date
10/1/2004
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot / Some Manual Control
Picture Quality
High, 6.1-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Good prints to 8x10 and 11x14
Availability
April, 2004
Suggested Retail Price
(At introduction)
$499

 


Introduction

Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Test Images
Specifications
Conclusion
The Kodak EasyShare DX7630 is one of the latest in Kodak's hugely popular line of consumer digicams. Like others in the "DX" series, the Kodak DX7630 offers both fully automatic operation and a range of exposure options that let more experienced users exercise greater creative control. True to their name, the EasyShare line of cameras are indeed very easy to use, a fact that's no doubt contributed to their great popularity with consumers. The EasyShare DX7630 is a compact design that packs a wallop with a 6.1-megapixel imager. The Kodak 7630 provides full manual exposure control, an easy-to-understand interface, and a wide selection of user options while at the same time retaining the ease of use that gave the EasyShare line its name.

 

Camera Overview

Boasting a 6.1-megapixel CCD (2,856 x 2,142), a full range of exposure control, and a compact body style, the Kodak EasyShare DX7630 updates the EasyShare line that's proven so popular among consumers. Compact and similar in style to a traditional point-and-shoot 35mm film camera, the DX7630 measures only 3.9 x 2.7 x 1.6 inches (100 x 69 x 40 millimeters), without the lens extended. The camera's all-plastic body makes it light weight as well, at 9.3 ounces (264 grams) with the battery and memory card loaded. The DX7630 squeezes into larger shirt and coat pockets, and comes with a wrist strap for carrying. Its compact design includes a retractable lens, protected by a clip-on lens cover that tethers to the camera body with a short nylon lanyard. The 6.1-megapixel CCD captures high resolution, print quality images (up to 8x10 or 11x14 with good detail, even allowing for some cropping), as well as smaller image sizes better suited for distributing via email.

Built into the DX7630 is a 3x zoom lens, equivalent to a 39-117mm zoom on a 35mm camera, with accessory threads on the body ring for attaching an adapter for accessory conversion lenses and filters. 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. You can change the AF area to read only the center of the frame through the Record menu, or choose Selectable AF, which lets you set the AF area at center, or to the left or right of center. Additionally, you can choose between Continuous and Single AF modes. The DX7630 has a maximum aperture ranging from f/2.8 to f/4.8, depending on the zoom position. Focus ranges from 24 inches (60 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, with a Wide Macro mode ranging from 2.75 to 27.5 inches (7 to 70 centimeters). Telephoto Macro mode focuses from 11 to 27.5 inches (28 to 70cm). A Landscape focus mode fixes focus at infinity, for distant subjects and scenery. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the DX7630 also offers as much as 4x Advanced digital zoom, which effectively increases the camera's zoom range to a total of 12x. Keep in mind though, that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it just stretches the center pixels of the CCD image. For composing images, the DX7630 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder as well as a generous, 2.2-inch color LCD monitor.

The DX7630 offers full manual exposure control, as well as a range of partial manual and automatic exposure modes. The Mode dial on the rear panel offers options of Movie, Auto, Scene, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Custom exposure modes (as well as a Favorites setting for viewing images saved as "Favorites"). While Auto mode is best for general photography, leaving all of the exposure decisions up to the camera for true "point and shoot" photography, the Program mode lets you control options such as white balance and exposure compensation while the camera handles the basic aperture and shutter speed settings. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes let you control either aperture or shutter speed, while the camera selects the appropriate corresponding variable. As you'd expect, Manual mode provides complete user control over the exposure, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/1,000 to 64(!) seconds. The camera is capable of up to 1/1,500 second in auto modes, but only when the aperture is set between 5.6 and 8.0. Finally, the Custom mode lets you save a group of exposure settings that can be instantly recalled. For example, if you frequently shoot indoors under a specific lighting setup, you can save the exposure settings for that exposure situation. The Scene exposure mode offers no less than 16 preset shooting modes, including Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Close-up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Manner/Museum (for indoor settings without flash or sounds), Self-Portrait (for pointing the camera back at you), Party, Children, and Backlight. The available scenes appear at the bottom of the LCD display upon entering the mode, and the Multi-Controller selects the scene.

The DX7630 employs a Multi-Pattern metering system, which bases the exposure on several light readings taken throughout the frame, taking into consideration both brightness and subject contrast to arrive at the optimum exposure. Also available are Center-Weighted and Center-Spot modes. You can increase or decrease the overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments. An Exposure Bracketing mode takes a series of three images, at different exposure settings, letting you decide which exposure is best. (You can designate whether the exposure varies by +/- 0.3, 0.7, or 1.0 EV increments through the Record menu.) White balance options include Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, and Fluorescent settings, which take advantage of Kodak's proprietary Color Science technology to achieve an accurate color balance under most lighting. An ISO setting option offers equivalent settings of 100, 200, 400, and 800 (with the 800 setting only available at the 1.7-megapixel resolution). An Auto ISO setting is also available. The DX7630 also offers a range of color settings (High, Natural, and Low color), as well as Black and White and Sepia modes. You can also adjust the in-camera sharpening. The built-in flash is effective from 2.0 to 13.8 feet (0.6 to 4.2 meters) depending on the setting of the zoom lens (at telephoto focal lengths, I found it to have a range of 10-11 feet, but you'll get greater range with the lens set to its wide angle position), and features Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off operating modes. You can also adjust the flash intensity, from -1.0 to +1.0 EV in one-third-step increments. 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 DX7630 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. The recording duration can also be set via a menu option to fixed intervals of 5, 15, or 30 seconds. 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 32 megabytes of internal memory will let you record movies up to three minutes and seven seconds in length.) Movies can be recorded at 320 x 240 pixels at 24 frames/second.

A Burst photography mode lets you capture as many as four frames in rapid succession while you hold down the Shutter button, with First and Last settings. First saves the first four images taken, while Last saves only the last four in the series. The four-frame maximum number applies regardless of resolution, but actual burst length may be further limited by the available space on the memory card or internal memory, if either is nearly full.

In addition to its normal camera-related functions, the DX7630 offers a relatively unique "Favorites" feature that Kodak pioneered relatively recently. Observing consumer behavior, Kodak realized that many people use their digicams for "portable slide shows," keeping some of their favorite photos on them, and passing them around to friends and family to share their pictures. Recognizing this as a popular usage pattern, Kodak developed the "Favorites" function, which lets you store reduced-resolution copies of your favorite images on the camera's internal memory. The reduced image resolution (roughly one megapixel in size) lets you carry around many more images than you'd otherwise be able to, yet still provides enough image data to make good-looking 4x6 prints from, should a friend want prints of one or more of your Favorites.

In practice, the Favorites function works in conjunction with Kodak's EasyShare software, installed on your computer. To save an image as a Favorite, you mark it as such by pressing the Share button on the camera's back in Playback mode, selecting the "Favorite" option that appears on the Share menu. The next time you connect the camera to your computer running the EasyShare software, any images marked as Favorites will be download, resized to the Favorites resolution, and then re-uploaded to the camera, to a set-aside portion of its memory. (The EasyShare software also lets you select how much of the camera's internal memory should be devoted to storing Favorites.) All in all, a very slick feature that directly addresses a very common digicam usage.

The DX7630 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 DX7630 comes with a plastic insert that fits the camera bottom snugly into the dock) and press the Connect button on the dock. The dock station also serves as an AC adapter and in-camera battery charger. Built into the DX7630 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-megabyte card (preferably a 128 MB one) right away, given the camera's 2,856 x 2,142-pixel maximum resolution size. For power, the DX7630 uses a Kodak EasyShare Li-Ion battery pack, or the optional AC adapter. Since the camera does not accommodate AA-type batteries, I highly recommend picking up a spare battery pack and keeping it on-hand and freshly charged. That said though, the DX7630's battery life is excellent, with a worst-case runtime of over two hours in record mode with the LCD on, and over 13 hours with the LCD off. The camera comes with a battery charger in case you don't have the accessory dock. Also packaged with the DX7630 are USB and AV cables, as well as a software CD loaded with the EasyShare software for downloading and managing images.

Basic Features

  • 6.1-megapixel CCD delivering images as large as 2,856 x 2,142 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 2.2-inch color LCD monitor.
  • 3x, 39-117mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
  • 4x digital zoom.
  • Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus 16 preset Scene modes.
  • White Balance with four settings.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/4.8, depending on lens zoom position.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,500 to 64 seconds, depending on exposure mode.
  • Built-in flash with four modes and an adjustable intensity setting.
  • 32MB internal memory.
  • SD/MMC card storage (optional, card not included).
  • Power supplied by one Kodak EasyShare Li-Ion 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.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing mode.
  • Custom exposure mode for saving frequently-used settings.
  • Black and White, Sepia, and three color modes.
  • Adjustable ISO from 100 to 800, with an Auto setting (ISO 800 only available at 1.7MP res).
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Image sharpness adjustment.
  • Three AF area modes, plus Single and Continuous AF modes.
  • Macro (close-up) lens setting.
  • Accessory lens thread.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).


Recommendation
Like the rest of Kodak's EasyShare line, the DX7630 boasts a simple-to-understand user interface that keeps the fun in point-and-shoot digital photography. The DX7630's range of exposure modes is perfect for all experience levels though, combining optional advanced exposure modes with the ease of use that's made the EasyShare line so popular with consumers. The DX7630's versatile setup is a good option for kids or novice users who want to quickly learn more about photography, while more experienced users will enjoy the compact size and flexible controls. The combination of fully automatic controls with more advanced options makes the DX7630 a good camera for users looking for a camera that's easy to use, yet has advanced features that they can grow into as their skills develop. Combined with one of Kodak's EasyShare "Printer Docks", the DX7630 offers an all-in-one solution to digital photography, letting you go from the camera directly to great-looking prints without the use of a computer.

 

Design

Compact and reasonably small in size, the DX7630 measures 3.9 x 2.7 x 1.6 inches (100 x 69 x 40 millimeters), just small enough to fit into coat pockets and purses, and possibly larger shirt pockets. The DX7630 is light weight as well, at just 9.3 ounces (264 grams) with the battery and memory card loaded. 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 a set of threads that accept an optional lens adaptor for use in mounting filters and accessory lenses. The lens extends outward exactly one inch when the camera is powered on. A plastic lens cap pops neatly off when the camera is powered on, and an included tether keeps it from escaping. 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 your fingers to cling to. I prefer grips with a steeper inside angle for long-term holding, but this works fairly well.

On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) is a polished silver eyelet for attaching the wrist strap.

The opposite side of the camera features the DC In, AV Out, and USB jacks, beneath a flexible, rubbery flap that remains attached to the camera. Though it is present and visible from the right side on the very similar EasyShare DX7440, the DX7630 has no diopter adjustment on its viewfinder eyepiece.

The Shutter, Flash, Macro/Landscape, and Drive buttons are all on the camera's top panel, along with the speaker grille and Zoom lever.

The rest of the camera controls are on the rear panel, along with the optical viewfinder and 2.2-inch LCD monitor. A slight bulge on the right side gives your thumb something to rest against as you hold the camera, reinforcing the front handgrip. Above the thumb rest is a small jog dial, for adjusting a variety of camera settings. Lining up to the right of the optical viewfinder are the Delete, Menu, and Review buttons. Left of the viewfinder is the Display / Info button, and the Share button is just adjacent to the upper right corner of LCD panel. A large Mode dial takes up the lower right portion of the rear panel, with a joystick-like multi-controller button in its center and a small button between two finger ridges that releases the dial for turning. The multi-controller navigates through menu settings, and confirms selections when pressed. The optical viewfinder eyepiece is quite small, but has a moderately high eyepoint to accommodate eyeglass wearers. (I could see the full frame while wearing my glasses, but found that I often ended up with the viewfinder eyepiece lightly touching my lenses.) As noted above though, for some reason the DX7630 dropped the dioptric adjustment on the viewfinder eyepiece that the DX7440 had. 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 DX7630 are the metal tripod mount (kudos for the use of metal here), dock jack, and battery / memory card compartment. The threaded tripod mount is just off-center and too close to the battery / memory card compartment for quick battery changes while working with a tripod. The battery / memory card compartment features a locking, hinged door, which slides to the side to open under spring pressure. Inside, the battery pack and SD card slots line up side-by-side, and a small ejection lever locks the battery in place or releases it. (The SD card is ejected by first pressing it down, which pops it out slightly.) 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 DX7630 has a very user-friendly interface. The full range of available exposure control options give users a lot of flexibility when they want it, while the camera's automatic systems do an excellent job of capturing good-looking photos under a wide range of conditions. The Jog dial on the camera's rear panel lets you quickly change exposure settings, such as exposure compensation, shutter speed, ISO, etc., without delving into the LCD menu system - quite a handy feature. 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, plain-English descriptions displayed on the LCD screen make operation straightforward even for rank beginners. Given the simple interface and limited controls, you should be able to start snapping images right away, with hardly a glance at the manual. For more advanced functions, it shouldn't take more than a half an hour to an hour (depending on your level of expertise) to get the gist of things.

Record-Mode Display
Depending on the exposure mode, the DX7630's LCD 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 Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Custom modes, the LCD display also includes shooting mode, aperture, shutter, ISO, flash exposure compensation, and exposure compensation settings. Pressing the Display button once in a record mode cancels the information display, while a second press cancels the display entirely. A third press brings back the image and information displays.

Playback-Mode Display
In Playback mode, you can use the DX7630's Zoom lever to zoom in or out on an image, with a maximum enlargement of 8x. A thumbnail display of the images on the card is also available, through the camera's Playback menu. The Display button offers a more detailed information display, reporting the exposure settings used to capture 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.

Zoom Lever: Encircling the Shutter button on the camera's top panel, this lever controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, the lever controls the amount of digital enlargement applied to captured images, to a maximum of 8x.


Flash Button
: Diagonally behind the Shutter button to the left, this button cycles through the Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off flash modes.


Focus Button
: To the left of the Flash button, this button controls the camera's focus mode, cycling between Normal AF, Macro, and Landscape focus settings.


Drive Button
: Next to the Focus button, this button cycles through the First Burst, Last Burst, and Exposure Bracketing drive settings.


Delete
: Next to the optical viewfinder on the camera's rear panel, 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.


Menu Button
: To the right of the Delete button, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes.


Review Button
: Directly to the right of the Menu button, this button activates Playback mode when pressed in any record mode. Once in Playback mode, pressing the button again, or the Shutter button, returns to the Record display.


Jog Dial
: Tucked in the top right corner of the rear panel, this ridged dial controls a handful of camera settings when rotated. In Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, or Custom exposure modes, turning the dial moves a triangular yellow cursor between different exposure variables on the LCD monitor, while a full press of the dial selects the current exposure option for adjustment. Once selected, you can change the setting by changing the dial. Pressing the dial again de-selects the current option, so you can choose a different parameter to adjust. Available exposure settings (depending on the particular exposure mode you're in) are exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.


Share Button
: Located in 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 automatically enables Playback mode, and displays the Share menu with the following options:

  • Cancel Prints: Cancels a print order.
  • 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."


Mode Dial
: Taking up the lower right corner of the rear panel, this large dial features a small locking button that releases it for turning. The following camera modes are available:

  • Movie: Records moving images with sound, for as long as the memory card has available space.
  • Favorites: Displays any images that have been saved as favorites.
  • Off: Turns the camera off, and signals the lens to retract.
  • 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.
  • Scene Mode: Offers 16 preset shooting modes, including Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Close-up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Manner, Self-Portrait, Party, Children, and Backlight.
  • Program Mode: Offers a range of exposure options for the user, though the camera remains in control of aperture and shutter speed.
  • Aperture Priority Mode: Lets the user adjust the lens aperture setting, while the camera controls the shutter speed. All other exposure options are available.
  • Shutter Priority Mode: Opposite of Aperture Priority mode, this mode puts the user in control of the shutter speed and the camera in charge of aperture.
  • Manual Mode: This mode offers full user control over the exposure.
  • Custom Mode: Lets the user save a selection of exposure settings for quick recall.

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.

In Playback mode, the controller scrolls through captured images, when moved left and right. Pressing the button down activates the index display mode.


Display/Info Button
: Positioned left of the optical viewfinder and above the LCD monitor, this button changes the display during Record mode, first showing setting info and live image, then the live image only, then cancels the display. In Playback mode, it toggles between full information, control information, and no information overlaying the images.

 

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 320 x 240-pixel resolution movies with sound, at 24 frames per second.


Favorites Mode
: An album icon with a heart on its cover indicates this mode on the Mode dial. In this mode, any images that have been designated as "favorites" are displayed. (Note that it only displays Favorites that have been processed through the EasyShare software on a computer, so newly-capture images marked as Favorites will not appear until the camera is synchronized with a computer.)


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.


Scene Mode
: The letters "SCN" indicate this mode on the Mode dial, which offers 16 preset shooting modes. Available "scenes" are Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Close-up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Manner, Self-Portrait, Party, Children, and Backlight.


Program Mode
: A single letter "P" notes this mode, which provides basic user control over Record menu options, but leaves the camera in charge of shutter speed and aperture settings.


Aperture Priority Mode
: The initial "A" stands for Aperture Priority mode, where the user has control over the lens aperture setting. The camera maintains control over the shutter speed.


Shutter Priority Mode
: Like Aperture Priority mode, this mode places the user in charge of one exposure variable. Here, the user can set the shutter speed, while the camera selects the best lens aperture. An "S" marks this mode on the Mode dial.


Manual Mode
: Indicated with an "M" on the Mode dial, this mode provides complete user control over both shutter speed and lens aperture simultaneously.


Custom Mode
: The final position on the Mode dial, this mode lets you save a selection of exposure settings for recall later.

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.

  • Custom Mode: Selects which exposure mode (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual) is activated in Custom mode (this menu item is only active when the Mode dial is set to Custom Mode, and is not shown in the screen shots at right).
  • Self-Timer: Activates the 10-second Self-Timer, or disables it.
  • Picture Size: Sets the resolution for still images. Choices are 6.1MP (2,856 x 2,142), 5.4MP (3:2 aspect ratio), 4.0 MP (2,304 x 1,728 pixels), 3.5 MP 3:2 ratio (2,304 x 1,536 pixels), 3.1 MP (2,048 x 1,536 pixels), or 1.7 MP (1,200 x 900 pixels).
  • Compression: Sets the JPEG compression to Standard or Fine.
  • White Balance: Sets the color balance to Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, or Fluorescent settings.
  • Exposure Bracketing Interval: Designates the exposure equivalent (EV) step size that images vary by when the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature is used. Choices are +/- 0.3, 0.7, or 1.0 EV.
  • Exposure Metering: Sets the camera's metering mode to Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, or Center-Spot.
  • Focus Zone: Controls what portion of the frame the camera's AF system determines focus from. Choices are Multi-Zone, Center-Zone, or Selectable-Zone (either center, left, or right).
  • AF Control: Sets the autofocus to Continuous or Single modes, or to Accessory Lens.
  • Color Mode: Allows you to record images in High, Natural, or Low Color, or in Black and White or Sepia tones.
  • Sharpness: Controls the in-camera sharpening, with options of High, Normal, or Low.
  • Reset to Default: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
  • Set Album (Still): The DX7630 lets you set up albums through its 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.
  • Image Storage: Dictates where images are stored, either in the 32MB internal memory or SD card. If Auto is selected, the camera automatically stores images to a memory card if one is present.
  • Liveview (Auto mode): Disables the LCD's "live" view in Auto mode, meaning you can turn off the LCD as a viewfinder by pressing the multi-controller. If this setting is off, the LCD remains active at all times.
  • Video Length (Video mode): Sets the default video length to Continuous, or to 5, 15, or 30 seconds.


  • Setup Menu: Displays the following Setup options:
    • Return: Returns to the previous menu display.
    • Quickview: Turns Quickview on or off. Quickview automatically displays the most recently captured image, with options to delete or Share.
    • 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.
    • Print Warning: If activated, this feature turns the zoom indicator on the LCD screen red if the digital zoom is set too high to render an acceptable 4x6-inch print.
    • Sound Themes: Selects the camera's operating sounds. Choices are Shutter Only, Default, Classical, Jazz, and Sci-Fi. (All sounds are disabled in the camera's Manner scene mode.)
    • Sound Volume: Sets the volume to Low, Medium, or High, or turns sound off.
    • Mode Description: If enabled, displays a description of each camera mode on the LCD monitor when first accessed.
    • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
    • Video Out: Specifies PAL or NTSC as the Video Out signal.
    • 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.)
    • 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.
    • Video Date Display: Like the Date Stamp option above, imprints the date and time on video files, with a choice of display formats.
    • Language: Sets the menu language to one of nine languages.
    • Format: Formats the SD memory card or internal memory.
    • About: Displays the camera's firmware information.

Playback Menu:

  • Album: Adds images to an image album, created on a computer with the camera's interface software.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Up: Enables a index display of images on the memory card or stored in the internal memory.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu.

 

In the Box

In the box are the following items:

  • Kodak EasyShare DX7630 digital camera.
  • Kodak EasyShare Li-Ion battery pack with charger.
  • 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 64MB as a bare minimum.)
  • Additional battery pack.
  • AC adapter.
  • Small camera case.
  • EasyShare camera dock.


Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!
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...

 

Specifications

See the specifications sheet here.

 

Picky Details

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

 

Sample Pictures

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

Photo Gallery: For a set of more pictorial sample photos from the Kodak EasyShare DX7630, visit our Kodak EasyShare DX7630 photo gallery.

"Sunlit"
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 EasyShare DX7630'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 DX7630's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the DX7630 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!

  • Color: Good color accuracy, somewhat high saturation. Like many consumer digicams, the DX7630's color is quite bright and punchy. - But that's because most consumers like bright, snappy-looking photos. The DX7630 did tend toward a slightly reddish color balance in a lot of my shots, regardless of white balance setting, but the color cast probably isn't enough to bother most consumers. The reddish tinge did tend to make skin tones a little more pink than in real life, but wasn't too visible otherwise, particularly when viewing the 7440's images in isolation. (That is, it's much more evident when comparing the camera's images to those from a camera with a cooler or more neutral cast, but by themselves, the 7440's photos generally look OK. On the Indoor Portrait (without flash), the 7440 did a pretty good job of handling the very warm-hued household incandescent lighting, something many cameras have a lot of trouble with.

  • Exposure: A slight tendency to overexpose, and rather high contrast. Exposure was typically a little bright with the DX7630, with fairly high contrast as well. The camera came closer than most do to the correct exposure on the high-key outdoor portrait shot, requiring only a small amount of positive exposure compensation. That said though, midtones remained slightly dark and some detail was lost in the strongest highlights. Indoors, the camera required a lower than average amount of positive exposure compensation, and the flash exposure was reasonably bright as well. The DX7630 had no trouble distinguishing the subtle pastel tones on the Q60 target of the Davebox, despite high contrast and exposure, though shadow detail was limited. Overall, not bad, but I'd have been happier with a little better accuracy and lower contrast.

  • Resolution/Sharpness: High resolution, 1,150 lines of "strong detail." The DX7630 performed 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 least 1,100, arguably 1,200, lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,400 lines.

  • Image Noise: Low image noise at low ISOs. Also low at higher ISO settings, but a heavy price is paid in terms of image detail. Image noise is present in the DX7630's images but quite low at the 80 and 100 ISO equivalent settings. As the ISO increases, the noise levels remain fairly low, but that's because the camera makes a heavy tradeoff with subtle subject detail to suppress the noise in the final images. The net effect isn't too bad at ISO 200, but the ISO 400 shot looks almost like a watercolor painting in places. - Don't shoot with the DX7630 at ISO settings over 200 if you care about subtle detail in your photos.

  • Closeups: An average size macro area, with some softness in the corners but overall good detail. The DX7630 turned in about an average performance in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 2.99 x 2.24 inches (76 x 57 millimeters). Resolution was high, with clear, sharp details in the brooch, coins, and dollar bill. As with the macro modes of most digicams I test, there was some softness in each of the four corners, but it didn't extend very far into the frame. Color balance was pinkish with the Auto white balance setting, but exposure was good. Undoubtedly tricked by the reflections from the coins and the brooch, the DX7630's flash throttled down a little too much for the macro area, producing a dim exposure. (With less reflective subjects though, the DX7630's flash should work well for macro shooting.)

  • Night Shots: Excellent low-light performance, with good color and exposure in almost total darkness. Very good low-light focusing as well. With a maximum exposure time of 64 seconds and full manual exposure control, the DX7630 is well-suited for low-light shooting. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at all four ISO settings. Noise was very low at the 80 and 100 ISO settings, and only increased to a moderate level at ISO 200. Even at ISO 400, image noise is lower than I'd expect, but as we saw earlier, the way the DX7630 achieves its low noise levels at high ISO settings is by trading away a lot of subtle subject detail.

  • Viewfinder Accuracy: A somewhat tight optical viewfinder, but accurate LCD monitor. The DX7630's optical viewfinder was somewhat tight at the telephoto setting, showing about 85 percent of the final frame area. (While a lot tighter than I like to see, this is actually about average among consumer digicams.) However, at the wide angle lens position, frame accuracy was better, showing about 90 percent of the final frame. The LCD monitor fared much better, showing 99+ percent frame regardless of lens settings. (Though the measurement lines were just out of frame at wide angle.) Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DX7630's LCD monitor performed very well here, but I'd like to see the optical viewfinder a little more accurate.

  • Optical Distortion: Very low distortion, good sharpness to the corners of the frame. Optical distortion on the DX7630 was very low at the wide-angle end, where I measured only 0.2 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared about the same, also with an 0.2 percent barrel distortion. Both numbers are quite a bit lower than average. Chromatic aberration is also very low, showing at most about four pixels of very faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (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.) Finally, the DX7630's lens seems to hold sharpness very well out into the corners, with less of the softness there that I'm accustomed to seeing in digicam images. All in all, a very high-quality lens.

  • Shutter Lag and Cycle Time: Very good timing performance. I found the DX7630 to be quite a bit better than average, both in terms of shutter response and shot to shot cycle times. Its full-autofocus shutter lag ranged from 0.38 to 0.54 seconds, quite a bit better than average. Its lag when prefocused was 0.13 seconds, also quite good. Shot to shot cycle times are likewise a good bit better than average, at 1.18 seconds for up to six frames.

  • Battery Life: So-so battery life with LCD on, excellent battery life using only the optical viewfinder. With worst-case runtime of 96 minutes in capture mode with the rear panel LCD illuminated, the DX7630 has only average battery life. BUT, with the LCD turned off, record-mode run time stretches to well over five hours, a very good performance indeed. Playback-mode battery life is also pretty good, at a little under 3 hours.

 

Conclusion

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Kodak's EasyShare digital cameras are consistently among the easiest to use of any I test, and the DX7630 is no exception. Its fully automatic exposure control performs surprisingly well under a variety of conditions, and the range of manual exposure controls extend the camera's capabilities nicely. A wide range of preset scene modes help with special shooting conditions, while the Custom mode is handy for saving a set of frequently-used exposure settings. The 6.1-megapixel CCD captures high resolution images, with plenty of detail to make sharp 11x14 inch prints, even with some cropping. The DX7630 is a perfect choice for novices who want to learn a little as they go, and more experienced users will appreciate the more advanced features it has to offer. I'd have been happier with the DX7630 if its images were a little less contrasty. Balancing this though, it should be noted that the camera exposed high-key subjects fairly well (subjects that are very bright overall, which most cameras tend to underexpose pretty significantly) and, like most other Kodak cameras I've tested, its white balance system handles a very wide range of lighting conditions automatically, producing images that look like the original scene. Overall, a very near miss for a "Dave's Pick," but still a fine digicam, particularly for families with a range of photographic skills among their members.

 

Related Links

More Information on this camera from Megapixel.net:
Kodak EasyShare DX7630, Kodak Digital Cameras, Digital Cameras


 

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