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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

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Tuesday, Apr 16, 2005 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • EasyShare Z740 Zoom
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Lens Cap and retainer string
  • Lens Hood/Adapter
  • Ni-MH rechargeable battery pack
  • 24V AC Adapter
  • Custom Camera Insert
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3
  • Kodak color cartridge and photo paper sample pack (10 sheets)
  • Welcome Kit
  • Instruction Manuals: Basic Manual; Quick Start Guide
  • Software CDs: EasyShare software with printer driver

Wow! Digital camera and printer in one package. And not just any starter camera. The Kodak EasyShare Z740 Zoom features 5 megapixel resolution, 10x optical zoom, and full exposure flexibility. Beginner amateur photographers will find the Kodak Z740's Auto mode and 17 Scene Modes attractive and easy-to-use, and serious amateur phorographers on a budget will find the Kodak Z740 a rather flexible and complete system with Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and full Manual modes.

I received the camera plus printer bundle for this review. One word describes the Kodak EasyShare Z740 and Printer Dock Series 3 combo: SIMPLE (as in easy to use). If you are looking for a complete camera and printer system for One-Touch printing and One-Touch transfer, believe the ad, for it is really that simple to use and operate.

Everything is Plug & Play: plug in the power cord to the printer, place the camera insert on top of the printer, dock the camera, and a single press of the Print button prints your photos directly from the camera to the printer. No need to even turn on your computer.

To transfer images from your camera to your PC, connect the printer to the PC using the Printer-to-PC USB cable (note: there is no Camera-to-PC USB cable included, so you need to use the Printer Dock; they are different USB cables and the printer one will not fit the camera connector), press the Transfer button, and your images are automatically transferred and indexed to your PC.

Kodak could have equipped the Z740 with Auto mode only. But surprise, surprise from the maker of easy-to-use digital cameras: The Kodak Z740 is choke-full of features serious amateur photographers look for. More, Kodak has succeeded in implementing them so that the most common functions are available without going to the menu. Kudos to Kodak.

I specially like the way that Exposure Mode, Exposure Compensation, and ISO are quickly and ingeniously selected using the mini joystick. Dedicated buttons: self-timer and drive; macro or infinity; flash.

The Kodak Z740 uses the SecureDigital (SD) memory card and comes with 32MB of internal memory. In the EasyShare Software 4, and with the camera docked, you can specify the amount of internal memory to reserve for Favorites, a sort of digital picture wallet. This memory is substracted from the 32MB internal memory and the rest can be used for recording pictures.

32MB internal memory should hold about 19 5MP images; a 256MB SD card saves up to 157 5MP images. A memory card is a one-time buy, so buy as large a size as you can afford. There is really no sense in jiggling a number of these tiny cards around -- easy to damage and lose -- better just leave one 256MB or 512Mb in the camera.

A lens shade protects from glare, provides a handy place for the left hand to hold, and allows the use of optional polarizer, neutral density filter and wide-angle conversion lens (0.7x, equivalent to 26.6mm). [Note: information correct as of writing; please verify with Kodak as to current availability.]

Burst modes: first burst 2fps up to 4 pictures (I got 5) -- use this to capture candid shots or to increase your chance of getting a sharp image at slow shutter speed; last burst 2fps up to 4 pictures (last 4 out of 30) -- use this when you are following an action and want to capture the sequence leading up to the last shot. Just be sure to keep your finger well pressed on the shutter release button; I find that it's easy to let go too quickly before you've captured the shots you wanted. Thankfully, there is no black out of image during sequence shooting so you can follow the action.

Here is how I set the Kodak Z740:

Function Selected Available Options
RECORD MENU    
Picture Size 5.0 MP 5.0 MP
4.4 MP (3:2)
4.0 MP
3.1 MP
1.8 MP
White Balance Auto
Auto
Daylight
Tungsten
Fluorescent
Open Shade
Exposure Metering Multi-Pattern Multi-Pattern
Center-Weight
Center-Spot
Focus Zone Center-Zone Center-Zone
Multi-Zone
AF Control Single AF Single AF
Continuous AF
Color Mode Natural Color Natural Color
High Color
Low Color
Black & White
Sepia
Sharpness Normal Normal
High
Low
SETUP MENU    
Quickview ON ON
OFF
Advanced Digital Zoom None None
Continuous
Pause
Sound Volume OFF OFF
LOW
MEDIUM
HIGH
Mode Description OFF OFF
ON
Auto Power Off 3 min 3 min
10 min
5 min
1 min
Orientation Sensor OFF OFF
ON
Date Stamp OFF OFF
ON

Note that if you are new to photography, you may want to set Mode Description (SETUP MENU) to ON. This displays a short and useful description as you select a mode.

I usually set Orientation Sensor (SETUP MENU) to OFF because I don't like the camera switching the orientation on me as I turn the camera to portrait or landscape mode. If you like this feature, especially in reviewing images, set it to ON.

There is a "Start Here" poster that gets you going fast; a Z740 User Guide and a Printer Dock 3 User Manual. The User Manuals are printed on cheap newspaper paper but very clear and legible. The print size is also refreshingly large enough to read at arm's length.


Globe hanging in air (held in place by magnet at top)
117mm, Manual, Multi-Pattern, 1 sec., F5.6, and ISO 80, Flash
The "ghost" image of the stand is a reflection on the frosted glass behind the globe

EasyShare Software 4

The EasyShare Software 4 is easy to install and use. You might have to download the latest version from the Kodak website. Be aware that it does take a while to install; after you reboot, it will run for a while more to set up your Favorites folder. Just wait, let it run and do its job. It's a wonderful program and highly recommended.

Make sure you install the EasyShare Software before you do any transfer. Why? Because the defaults may not be what you want. For example, where do you want your images to be saved? The default is Windows XP "My Pictures" directory on the C: drive in Documents and Settings. I much prefer to create a new directory in D: drive under a name of my own choosing so I can easily find the pictures when I need to. You set this directory in Tools - Preferences... - Transfer - Browse.

If you use the EasyShare Software to edit your photos, be aware that the default image compression is set to less than the highest quality possible. So the pictures you edit and save will be of less quality than the original one. (Always save using a different name.) This is all right if that's what you want. But if you want the highest quality, go to Tools - Preferences... - General tab - select Large File/High Quality JPEG compression.

The one improvement suggestion I would have liked to see is more detailed EXIF info.

Printing On The Printer Dock Series 3

The label reads "One touch to real Kodak photos" and so I place the camera on the printer, select the picture I want to print (use the left arrow and right arrow on the printer, not the mini joystick on the camera), and press the Print Button. A beautiful borderless 4x6 in. colour photo is printed in 4 passes: one each for yellow, red, blue, then a clear coat of KODAK XTRALIFE™ lamination to make the print waterproof and durable, all in about 1 min 45 sec. Snap out the two edges and voila -- a borderless 4x6 in. colour print in less than 2 min.

There no easier way to print your own 4x6 in. prints at home. It is more expensive than having your prints at a Wal-Mart, but nothig beats the convenience of printing at home -- especially when it is that easy. The Printer Dock Series 3 is itself plug & play: plug in the printer, put the camera insert on top, place the camera on the insert -- and you're ready to print at the touch on a button.

It takes me some fiddling at first to figure out how to put paper into the removable paper tray: grab the clear plastic cover at the rounded edges and gently but firmly slide the cover out. Then lift to insert paper, close cover and slide the tray (do not slide cover back) into the printer. To insert the colour cartridge, open the cover on the right side of the printer and insert the cartridge label side up smoothly in. If necessary, tighten the roll of film slightly first before inserting the cartridge. It's really very simple.

Make sure you have enough clearance (about 5 in. / 13 cm) on the other side of the printer since that is where the paper will slide out temporarily before being run through the printer again. In all, you'd need roughly about 1ft 6in. by 9in. (or, 46 x 23 cm) desk space for the printer.

Note that when the paper is brought into the printer during the first pass, it sits there for about 30 secs before the actual printing starts.

For one touch transfer to your PC, just plug in the USB cable into th printer and PC. The cable is about 56in. (142 cm) long. The USB connector at the printer end has a specific shape so ensure you match the shape and do not damage any of the pins. It should always go in smoothly, without force.

When you place the camera onto the printer dock, the camera turns on automatically and displays the last image taken. You must then use the left and right arrow keys on the printer to select the image you desire to print; you cannot use the joystick on the camera. After some time of inactivity, the camera's LCD turns off automatically. To print again, just press the any of the arrow keys.

The Printer Dock also doubles as a battery charger and will recharge your camera's NiMH rechargeable batteries when the camera is docked. Three green diodes give an indication of how much the battery is recharged. It can take from 2hrs to 8hrs to recharge the batteries, so overnight recharging is recommended.

Summary

The Kodak EasyShare Z740 Zoom bundled with the Printer Dock Series 3 is one of the easiest to use camera and printer combo available. The Kodak Z740 is a true P&S digital camera that gives well exposed, vivid and sharpened images straight out of the camera. The Printer Dock Series 3 printer is really One-Touch easy to operate, and will allow you to print beautiful 4x6 in. prints in the convenience of your home.

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