Fact Sheets on the Best Digital Cameras
    Bookmark and Share  
Articles (RSS Feed)
Press Releases
Site Map
Best Digital Cameras
Buyer's Guide
Ultra Compact
Ultra Zoom
User Manuals
Digital Camera Reviews
Reviews Matrix
Photoxels Awards
History of Cameras
Featured Sites
About Us
Privacy Statement
Photo Store
Digital Cameras

You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak Easyshare DX6490

Kodak Digital Cameras


Kodak Easyshare DX6490 Review

Review Date: Feb 20, 2004

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Kodak Easyshare DX6490 Zoom

User's Experience

Thursday, Jan 22, 2004 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Easyshare DX6490 Zoom
  • No memory card; (16MB internal memory)
  • Neck Strap
  • Interface Cables: USB and Video
  • Lens Cap
  • Easyshare Camera Dock 6000 with power adapter
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • English Instruction Manual: User's Guide
  • Software CD: Easyshare Software 3.1, User's Guide on CD

The Kodak Easyshare DX6490 is well designed and well built. It looks quite handsome in its two tone black and silver body, and handles superbly.

[Editor's note: Instead of going through every single control on the DX6490, I'd rather refer you to the Kodak Easyshare DX6490 User's Guide available online on the Kodak web site. Here, I'll bring out those features that I find worth noting on the DX6490.]

The inclusion of the Camera Dock 6000 in Canadian and U.S. models adds to the ease of use of the DX6490 and its operations. The Camera Dock 6000 allows the DX6490 to be recharged by simply placing the camera on the dock; transferring images from camera to PC is then simply a matter of pressing a button on the Camera Dock 6000. This way, there is absolutely no need to ever remove the battery or the SecureDigital (SD) memory card from the camera, which is how I like it!

Battery life is very good, and with the Camera Dock 6000, it is easy to keep the battery power top up at all times. The DX6490 comes with a neck strap, but as I mentioned in a previous review, I wish they would provide a hand strap like those popular in video cameras.

Kudos to Kodak for labelling the DX6490 clearly as a 10x optical zoom digital camera -- and not confuse consumers with the total zoom (optical zoom x digital zoom) as some like to do.

The Easyshare software is easy to install but I find it's easy to use only if you accept the default settings. More on that later.

I received only the English documentation; so, if you prefer the French version, be sure to specify this on your order.

The User's Guide is well illustrated but the font used goes from small to tiny. Fortunately an electronic version is available on the CD to install on your PC and you can view this at enlarged fonts.

For Shooting Mode, I mostly leave it at Programmed Auto because it gives me more control over using Auto mode. In Auto mode, the camera will automatically choose the ISO, exposure metering, and focus zone.

I take the time to set the Kodak Easyshare DX6490 to the way I would like to use it (Menu choices are dependent on the exposure mode you choose. Here, I select Programmed Auto (PASM) on the Mode Dial before pressing the Menu button):


  • Image Storage = AUTO
  • Picture Quality = BEST *** [if you mostly intend to print 4x6 in. (i.e. 3:2 aspect ratio) prints, you may want to select BEST (3:2) *** instead and avoid having to crop your images to fit the print paper]
  • White Balance = AUTO (also available: Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent)
  • ISO Speed = 80 (also available: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800)
  • Color Mode = Neutral Color (also available: Saturated Color, B&W, Sepia)
  • Exposure Metering = CENTER-SPOT (also available: Multi-Pattern, Center-Weight)
  • Focus Zone = CENTER-ZONE (also available: Multi-Zone)
  • Sharpness = STANDARD (also available: Sharp, Soft)
  • Orientation Sensor = OFF


  • QuickView = ON
  • Advanced Digital Zoom = NONE (also available: Continuous, Pause)
  • Shutter Sound = ON [One of the most beautiful shutter sound on a consumer digital camera!]
  • Mode Description = OFF

Sunset over Pittsburg: 1/1.4 sec., F2.8 and ISO 100
Sunset over Pittsburg through window of USAirways 5316
38mm, Manual, Spot, 1/1.4 sec., F2.8 and ISO 100
Adjusted in Photoshop Elements

First impressions:

The Kodak Easyshare DX6490 boasts a number of features that set it apart from its competitors. I like the placement of its control buttons, the large 2.2. in. LCD, the clear very usable EVF, the Jog Dial that allows me to concentrate on the picture while changing exposure settings, and the handy Camera Dock 6000 (for Canadian and U.S. models). The Camera Dock 6000 serves not only as a very handy recharger (just place the camera on it), but also makes transfer to your PC a simple matter of pressing a button on the dock.

Another helpful feature you might not notice with first use is that the LCD/EVF is usable in low-light! Instead of displaying an unusable dark colour image, the LCD/EVF switches to displaying a clearer (though somewhat grainy) B&W image.

I bring the DX6490 to an indoor concert fully expecting the pictures to be way underexposed and useless. Here's my chance to test out the higher ISOs of 400 and 800, I reason. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find the images clear (though pixelated as one would expect at higher ISOs -- see the Image Quality page). I also tried out the Movie mode (320 x 240 pixels) and was able to record at full telephoto (you must set the optical zoom before starting to record) with clear images and sound. The video length is limited only by the size of the SD memory card you are using.

The Mode Dial at the back of the camera has an elevated notch at just the right place to be easily rotated using the thumb of the right hand. The different selections are also illuminated, making it easy to see your selection. These small design items are what give users a sense that the DX6490 is a well-designed camera. What would have been perfect is, of course, to have the On/Off switch moved from the Mode Dial to a separate button so you don't lose your preferred exposure mode everytime you turn off the camera. Though you'd have to bump the Mode Dial really hard to inadvertently change settings, I've got to admit that it did happened to me exactly once when I inadvertently turned on the camera as I was slipping it into a soft case (and that is why a seperate on/off recessed button is much preferable). That is part of getting to know your camera; afterwards, I was careful and it never happened again.

Operation is quite fast, and there is negligible shutter lag in well-lighted situations, and a very slight lag in low-light situations. Start time is about 3 sec. In low-light situations, the Auto Focus may hunt for about 1-4 sec. but manages to lock focus almost everytime. The zoom toggle feels quite soft but not unpleasantly so. You move it to the left (wide-angle) or right (telephoto) and hold it there to engage the zoom mechanism (there is a very slight delay). You release the zoom toggle when you have reached the desired focal length; or, you can toggle it to the right or left in short presses and wait for the zoom to engage to that focal length. It takes about 3 sec. to zoom from wide-angle to full telephoto.

The LCD is large at 2.2 in. and very clear at 153K pixels resolution. You do not have to squint to read the info displayed on the LCD. I find that I like the EVF on the DX6490 and almost exclusively use it for taking the image samples. There is diopter correction for those who, like me, wear glasses, but unfortunately I could not find much difference in image clarity when I rotated the diopter wheel either way. The EVF turns itself off after 15 sec. of inactivity. It also has a couple of sensors that turn it on automatically after it has turned off when you bring your eye to the viewfinder within 1 minute of it having turned off; after 1 minute, press any button to turn it back on.

Jog Dial

The Jog Dial at the front of the hand grip takes some getting used to. You use it with a combination of rotatling it and pressing it. Note that this is mostly used in PASM mode. When you select PASM on the Mode Dial, the exposure mode defaults to Programmed Auto (P).

The following settings are displayed on the LCD/EVF: exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation. Rotating the Jog Dial switches between one of the above settings. A down arrow indicates the setting you've targeted; pressing the Jog Dial selects the setting and enables you to change its values by rotating the Jog Dial.

For example, if the down arrow is pointing at the exposure mode setting, pressing it will allow you to then rotate the Jog Dial to select from Programmed Auto (P), Aperture-Priority (A), Shutter-Priority (S), and full Manual (M). Press the Jog Dial again to accept the selected exposure mode. The exposure mode will remain set even when you turn off the camera and turn it back on.

Once the exposure mode set, you can then rotate the Jog Dial to, say, the exposure compensation setting. Press the Jog Dial and rotate it to dial in a positive or negative exposure compensation. Press the Jog Dial to accept the selected exposure compensation.

It's not as complicated as it reads, and becomes quite intuitive with some practice. What I like about it is I don't have to take my eye off the viewfinder as I look for a button to press or control dial to turn. The Jog Dial is right there at fingertip control.


The Kodak Easyshare software installation is straightforward if you accept all the default settings (which many of you probably will). Here are a few things to keep in mind (especially if you want to customize some of the settings):

  • The drive location defaults to C:\Program Files\Kodak and you cannot simply type in a new drive location (e.g. replacing drive C with D). Instead you need to manually create the folder you want in Windows Explorer and then navigate to that folder in Easyshare.
  • Even though you install the software to drive D, the Transfer window will still default to drive C. To change the default to drive D, click on Preferences..., then Browse to change drive. There is no option to create a new folder, so you will need to once again switch to Windows Explorer to create your folder and switch back into Easyshare.
  • The default JPEG compression is not defaulted to the Highest Quality!?!? So, if you've been wondering why your 4 megapixel image is being transferred to your PC at less than full resolution, now you know! To change this setting, navigate to: Tools - Preferences - General - and slide all the way to the right "Large file / High quality" setting.
  • Remember that Easyshare, like many other "Album" software, organizes pictures into "Collections." A collection is just a logical pointer to pictures saved on your hard drive. The major advantage of collections is that your pictures can be anywhere on your hard drive and can be added and organized into more than one collection. One major drawback with collections is that if you ever physically move the pictures in a collection to another folder(s), then your collection suddenly points to pictures that are not there anymore! Personally, I prefer to physically organize my pictures into folders and it would be great if Easyshare could provide a feature to simply display what's in a folder without creating a "Collection" of the contents of the folder
  • To view the EXIF info, right-click and select Properties. Missing from the EXIF info is the type of metering used and any exposure compensation used. (The exposure compensation info is available while the image is stilll on the memory card and the Info (i) button is pressed.)
  • Clicking on a picture selects it. When you click on another picture, it adds it to your selection. Some people prefer it that way. I prefer to use the "standard" CTL-Click to add to the selection, and click to mean "deselect previous selection and select current picture." Personal bias.
  • If you decide to uninstall the software, it does a reboot of your system without asking you -- so save any work in progress before uninstalling.

The Easyshare software allows you to easily perform common editing functions such as removing red eyes, adjusting brightness and contrast, rotate, even give it a +/- exposure compensation after the fact, plus some fun effects such as converting your picture into a cartoon or pretend you used a fish-eye lens to take the picture. Lots of fun.

It also allows you to view a slide show, burn your selected pictures on a CD, email to friends and family members, and order prints online. In other words, the DX6490 and the Easyshare software (and a 256MB SD memory Card) may be everything you need to successfully switch to digital.

Besides full Auto mode, the Kodak DX6490 also has Programmed Auto, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, full Manual, plus a number of easy to use Scene modes. There is no Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), so you'll have to manually dial in your exposure bracketing. Fortunately the Jog Dial makes it easy to do so. A Burst mode allows you to capture up to 6 pictures in quick succession (at approx. 3 frames/sec.).

The dedicated Macro button makes it easy to switch back and forth into that mode. You can get as close as 12cm (4.7 in.). There's also a dedicated Delete button that allows you to delete the picture displayed or all pictures on your memory card. There is no Manual Focus. White Balance can be manually set via the Menu, though there is no custom White Balance. And, remember, the flash won't fire unless you first manually pop it up and press the Flash button to select either Auto Flash or Flash ON.

If you are just starting out in digital photography today, are looking for an easy to use digital camera that takes great pictures, and fancy a long zoom lens, then you should definitely include the Kodak Easyshare DX6490 on your shortlist. It's an impressive package at a good price.

<< Handling & Feel

QuickFact Sheet >>





  Home | Best Digital Cameras | Digital Camera Reviews | Tutorials | Special | About | Shop  

Product technical specifications are as represented by the manufacturer
and subject to manufacturer's change, so please do not rely on them without verification.
All trademarks, service marks, and Copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Privacy Notice. Copyright © 2002-2015 Photoxels. All rights reserved.