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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak Z740

Kodak Digital Cameras

   


Kodak Z740 Zoom Review

Review Date: April 26, 2005

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2005 Award 

IMAGE QUALITY

The Kodak EasyShare Z740 Zoom is a digital camera targeted to beginner and serious amateur photographers. It has 5.0 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.5 in. CCD image sensor, and a Kodak Retinar 38-380mm (35 mm equivalent) 10x optical zoom lens, with a maximum aperture of F2.8(W)-F3.7(T). This ultra zoom digital camera is rich in features and one of the easiest and most enjoyable we've used.

The Kodak Z740 is primarily a Point & Shoot digital camera, and its default settings produce images that are sharp and rich in colours straight out of the camera. If you do not want to post-process any images in an image editing software, then you will like the images that come out already sharpened and saturated in colours.

We find the overall image quality of the Kodak Z740 to be very good for this category of digital cameras.

10x Optical Ultra Zoom
Wide-angle 38mm
(35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 380mm
(35mm equivalent)

Bring far away subjects up close with the 10x optical zoom.

Macro
38mm, Program, Multi-Pattern, 1/30 sec., F2.8, ISO 140
Macro, Tripod used

The Kodak Z740 can focus as close as 12 cm (4.7 in.) which is not very close as far as macro goes, but the 5MP gives you plenty of cropping room. You can zoom in macro mode, and the closest distance at full telephoto is 1.2m (3.9 ft).

White Balance Indoors
AWB WB = Tungsten

As the above two pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial light gives a slight pinkish hue; dialing in Tungsten WB corrects the colours to real white. AWB works very well in natural light.

White Balance Indoors (Low Color)
AWB (Natural Color) AWB (Low Color)

As I specified above, the Kodak Z740 comes set by default for vivid colours (which it terms as "Natural Color" in the Menu under Color Mode). We select "Low Color" and take the AWB indoors picture again. The pink hue is now practically removed.

Similarly, if you find that you'd rather sharpen the images yourself, go into the Menu and set Sharpness to "Low" instead of the default "Normal".

It's great that the Kodak Z740 does not lock you into one all auto mode, but gives you the flexibility to take control if you so wish.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200 ISO 400

The Kodak Z740 has 4 ISO settings going from ISO 80 to ISO 400. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds of 80, 100, 200 and 400. At ISO 80, noise is under control (though you might be able to see some of it when viewing the image at full size); you will not see any noise when printing at 4x6 in. on the Printer Dock Series 3 printer or when viewing the image at standard monitor size of 800x600 pixels or even 1024x768 pixels. At ISO 100, noise becomes visible, but the images are still very usable. At ISO 200 and 400, noise is quite visible as blotches of colour.

Chromatic Aberrations

CA is present in everyday high contrast shots. It's not a problem if you only print 4x6 in., but at larger sizes or displayed full size on screen, you might want to clean it up first in post-processing. An example is above where the corner delimited by the red square at top left, and reproduced at 100% crop at top right, shows purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
128mm, Manual, Multi-Pattern, 8 sec., F7.1, ISO 80
AWB, Macro, Self-timer, Tripod Used

The Kodak Z740 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 8 sec. in Manual mode, therefore allowing night photography. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.

I place Bamm-Bamm under my table in the shadows. I experiment a bit in Manual mode to obtain the optimum exposure, eventually settling on 8 sec. at F7.1. I use the 10 sec. self-timer to negate camera shake. At first I had a hard time obtaining focus lock; then, I noticed that the AF Illuminator light was only shining on the right side of Bamm-Bamm's face, away from the AF frame on the LCD. Puzzled, I removed the lens hood -- and the AF Illuminator now bathed the whole face. Focus lock was then achieved instantly.

So, if you opt to use the lens hood, be conscious of the fact that it will partially block the AF Assist Illuminator.

In fact, AF works fast with no practical lag, except at full telephoto when, depending on the subject matter, it can sometimes take up to 1 sec. to lock -- you would need to anticipate the action at max. telephoto.

AF is precise even in complete darkness: the AF Illuminator works well, and the LCD even gains up a bit (in colour, though very gainy) permitting you to more or less see what you are photographing. Pictures I took in complete darkness (with flash) came out sharp.

The Kodak Z740 allows you to dial in an exposure compensation from -2 EV to +2 EV, in 0.5 EV increments. Now, the industry standard is usually 0.3 EV increments, and I find that 0.5 EV is too big a jump in either direction. Where I just wanted to give a little more exposure, I sometimes get overexposure. Overexposure is something you want to avoid with this camera because highlights tend to get blown.

The Kodak Z740 is a great outdoors camera, and very good indoors camera with the onboard flash; just do be careful not to shine the AF Illuminator light into people's eyes (especially children and babies).

Other features that help you get that picture:

  • First Burst, 2fps, up to 4 pictures (though I was able to get 5): allows you to take 5 images in sequence. This is perfect when you are trying to catch a candid moment or just the right expression.
  • Last Burst, 2fps, up to 4 pictures: allows you to take up to 30 shots but keeps only the last 4. This is specially useful for action shots and it allows you to follow the action (keep the shutter button pressed down) until the peak moment when you release the shutter release button and the last 4 shots are kept. Chances are one of these 4 shots caught the peak moment.

Overall, the Kodak Z740 is capable of producing very good image quality for its category and the images are sharp enough right out of the camera, with rich and appealing colours. Beginner amateur photographers will find that they are getting much more than they've bargained for, with lots of room to learn and grow.

The pictures in the Kodak EasyShare Z740 Zoom Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 5MP 2576 x 1932 pixels original size. Click on the image for the original version.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name (though the original sized image is, of course, not adjusted). The navigation images at the top are usually adjusted (levels and sharpening).

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

     

 

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