It's a bit of a swanky beast, the Kodak DC4800.
Its three megapixel CCD and 3X optical zoom put it towards the front of the class in terms of image quality and the range of features is pretty impressive too: there's a handy two-speed zoom switch and a mode dial with preset apertures.
However, although the controls are generally well positioned the case's build quality is a bit mixed, but you should be able to take some stonking snaps with it
It's not as small as the Fujifilm FinePix 40I, but the DC4800 is still more compact than most of its rivals and at 370g it's fairly portable. The case is a sober shade of grey -- mostly metal alloy but with plastic doors for the CompactFlash card and battery slots.
In fact, almost the first thing we noticed about our 4800 was that the door to the CompactFlash slot would often pop open if you rested your hand on it (and as it's just below the shutter button, that was a fairly common occurrence). OK, there's no danger of the CF card falling out, but it was a bit surprising given that this should be a fairly high-end model.
The mode dial can be set to automatic (where the camera will determine tricky things like how long to open the shutter for, and what depth of field to go for), or one of three aperture priority values (which double to six when used in conjunction with the optical zoom).
A separate dial lets you fine-tune the exposure and you can adopt a completely manual mode.
One cool feature is the two-speed zoom switch. It's sited just where your right thumb sits when you're lining up a shot, making it a cinch to move between wide-angle and telephoto settings -- either quickly or more smoothly. It also controls the digital zoom.
The camera also has the usual focus modes you'd expect -- normal, landscape and macro (for close-up shots). There's also autoflash, forced flash and red-eye reduction.
So, does the magic three megapixel number actually mean that much? Well, it's still just as easy to take a badly-exposed, out of focus or plain poor picture as with a two megapixel model.
But yes, even on the automatic mode you can take some very nice pictures, and we managed some pleasingly arty shots on the black and white mode. A clear, crisp image taken at the maximum resolution (2160x1440) ought to look fine as a ten inch by eight inch print -- while a picture taken by a two megapixel camera would look blocky at that size.
There's a 16MB CompactFlash card as standard which goes to show that some, if only a few, have gotten into the Christmas spirit and shipped a product with a decent amount of memory.
Hurrah for that then!
- Kodak DC4800
- 3.1 megapixel digital camera
- £617 (inc VAT)
- 370g (inc battery and CF card), 120x69x65mm
- Resolutions -- 2160x1440, 1800x1200, 1536x1024, 1080x750
- File compressions -- 3.1 (uncompressed), 3.1, 3.1 (compressed), 2.2, 1.6, 0.8 megapixels
- 3X optical zoom, 2X digital zoom
- 1.8in LCD screen, optical viewfinder
- Macro (up to 20cm), normal, landscape focus modes
- Six aperture priority settings -- allowing semi-automatic or manual operation
- Auto and fixed flash, red-eye reducer
- 16MB CompactFlash card, rechargable battery, shoulder strap, USB cable
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