The CX7430 is basic 4-megapixel digital camera ideal for recreational users who don't require all the bells and whistles.
The Kodak CX7430 has a grey plastic look and feel, especially compared to the higher DX series of Kodak EasyShare cameras such as the DX6440. While it isn't as compact and stylish as the Pentax Optio S, for AU$499 the CX7430 is a decent 4 megapixel digital camera. It measures 102.5 x 65 x 38 mm and weighs a reasonably light 180 grams without the batteries. A wrist-strap is supplied in the box to aid portability.
The CX7430 features an orientation sensor that automatically detects which way the camera is held up and rotates pictures accordingly. This is handy as it saves the time taken to rotate pictures later through imaging software or via the camera's menu.
Photos can be taken in one of four image resolutions from the lowest setting of 1200 x 900 pixels up to the highest setting of 2304 x 1726 pixels. Coupled with a 3X optical zoom the CX7430 is quite a powerful digital camera at this price point.
The LCD on the back of the CX7430 is viewable in bright and dark conditions. Depending on the environment, the white balance can be set to daylight, tungsten or fluorescent but we found it easiest to stick with the default setting (auto) and this usually produced the most balanced shots.
The amount of available storage straight out of the box is disappointing. The CX7430 has a meagre 16MB of internal memory that will hold roughly twenty pictures before you need to download these via the supplied USB cable. A slot for an SD/MMC card is at the side of the unit but Kodak does not provide any removable cards in the package.
There is a jog dial on the top of the CX7430 which selects capture modes and also powers down the camera. The six still-capture modes are automatic, portrait, landscape, night, macro, and sport. Movie mode can capture up to six seconds of video with audio (the microphone is embedded at the top of the camera) and the files are saved using MPEG-4 compression at a resolution of either 640 x 480 (VGA) or 320 x 240 pixels.
The CX7430 performed consistently well in a range of lighting conditions--bright and sunny as well as night shots (with the flash). It takes about 3-4 seconds from switching the camera until it is ready to shoot and the waiting time between shots under the auto mode is about 3 seconds (using the internal memory for storage), which makes the CX7430 somewhat slow, but still acceptable for basic point and shoot photography.
Red-eye reduction mode can be enabled by pressing the flash button, which is above the viewfinder and to the left of the zoom control. Beside the flash control is a self-timer button which doubles as the continuous shot control. Up to six shots can be taken in burst mode but the flash can not be used in conjunction with this.
Two AA batteries power the camera and two non-rechargeable batteries are provided. Kodak estimates the battery life (in number of photos taken) to be between 150 and 250. We managed to capture about 90 photos before the power was fully drained. The heavy use of the flash, reviewing pictures on-screen, and using the LCD as the viewfinder must have taken their toll on the power. The CX7430 can also run on rechargeable Ni-MH packs, which should save on running costs and extend the battery life slightly.
The EasyShare branding of this camera denotes the software suite that Kodak bundles with the CX7430, and the share button that is found below the four-way rocker key on the back of the phone. Pressing the share button tags the photo shown on the LCD print, e-mail or add photos to a favourites "folder" once a connection the computer is established.
Menu navigation is via the four-way pad to the left of the LCD. It is easy to learn for the CX7430's amateur target market and by default most options are set to automatic. For those who to tweak their shots a little, the colour mode can be swapped to black-and-white or sepia tone and ISO speed can be varied between 80 and 400. Exposures up to 4 seconds are also possible.
The CX7430 is compatible with EasyShare 6000 series docking stations but one is not provided in the box. The camera operates on two AA batteries which are supplied. There is an AV output jack at the side of the camera. On the supplied CD is the Kodak EasyShare software and a PDF user manual. Windows and Macintosh systems are supported but earlier versions of Mac OS (8.6 and 9.x) do not support the Share button functions. Mac OS 10.2.x or above is recommended for full functionality.
Consumers looking at a camera at this price point might not be bothered by the chunkiness of the CX7430. One thing to factor into the RRP is the additional price of a suitably-sized SD/MMC memory card (about AU$100-120 for a 128MB card). Even factorting in the extra cost, it is still vaule for money as a formidable amatuer digital camera.