The most striking feature of the lightweight 218gm DX7630 is the impressive 2.2in high resolution colour LCD panel on the back. While the camera also features a viewfinder, the LCD panel is hard to beat, providing a clear image of the framed subject even in reasonably bright sunlight.
The DX7630 digital camera captures high-quality images at up to 6.1 megapixels. Photos can be captured up to a maximum resolution of 2856 x 2142 pixels - delivering high-quality prints up to 30 x 40in. However, at this resolution, not many photos can be stored on the 32MB of internal memory. The camera includes an SD memory card slot located next to the battery compartment. The purchase of a 128MB or greater SD memory card when you buy the camera is recommended to get the most out of this model.
Picture quality is excellent, taking sharp photographs and reproducing colour very well. The lag was minimal, taking immediate shots with just a follow-up two-second processing delay. It has auto orientation, which means if you take a portrait photograph the camera will automatically reorient the image for you on the display. This saves you having to tediously manipulate the image in a photo editor.
Video was also of good quality for a consumer digital camera and extremely easy to use. The DX7630 is also very good at recording sound, with the microphone and speaker well placed on the top of the camera.
The lens is 39 x 117mm F2.8-4.8 (equivalent to a 35mm lens) with 3x optical zoom and 4x advanced digital zoom. The lens isn't quite wide enough - an equivalent to a 28mm lens would be better - which just means that you can't focus on subjects that are too close to the camera, say, a distance of 50cm.
The camera is fully automatic, but it also comes with apeture priority, shutter priority, and manual settings. The ISO settings range from 100-800. The camera also has exposure compensation and three shot exposure bracketing - features you would expect to find on a good film SLR.
The camera includes a range of features that make common tasks simply executed. Features, such as delete, review, and menu, have been given dedicated buttons to the right of the viewfinder, which is great for usability. The camera also has multiple in-built scenes, but if that is not enough, you can also create your own preferred settings and save them in the favourites folder.
Battery life is excellent. Instead of using 2xAA batteries like many other consumer cameras, the DX7630 uses a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. In fact, using the camera for over a week and taking many photos as well as video, the battery didn't even come close to running out.
The camera connects to a PC via a USB cable, and downloading the images and video is a breeze. Also, the menus in the camera are very straightforward, and there is little taxonomy making it much easier to navigate.
There are however some drawbacks to the DX7630, mainly in the area of physical design. The on/off switch is badly placed, being incorporated as part of the menu dial on the back of the camera. However, the dial can't be rotated a complete 360 degrees and the off switch is in the middle of the dial, between the auto function for taking photographs and the video camera function. This means that if you want to switch from photographs to video, you have to turn the dial past the off button, and as such turn the camera off, and then turn it back on again. There is a trick to dialing past the Off switch without actually turning it off, but it is very difficult to master. This camera has great usability features, but this is a major feature that has strangely been overlooked. Also in the 'strangely overlooked' category, you'll have to do without a printed manual, unless you want to print one yourself from the supplied PDF. For a consumer camera, that's a pretty big omission.
The lens cap is optional. Unlike other compact cameras, instead of having a built-in lens cap this one is attached via drawstring. If you accidentally turn the camera on while the lens cap is attached, it just pushes the lens cap off. Compared to other digital cameras on the market, the Kodak DX7630 is also fairly bulkyÃ¢â‚¬"it won't fit easily it a shirt or jeans pocket. It also doesn't seem very rugged -- we'd hate to see what would happen if it was dropped.
Drawbacks aside, the Kodak DX7630 is an excellent camera and an ideal beginner's digital, with easy to use menus and excellent picture quality. The camera comes with a one-year warranty and is priced at AU$899. If you're pondering a camera purchase in the near future, you may also want to consider the DX7740 - the next step up from the 7630 -- which Kodak will be releasing in June this year. The DX7740 will have 4 megapixels and 4x optical zoom.
Kodak EasyShare DX7630
Company: Kodak Australia
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: 03 9353 2222