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Updated
January 2004

Dynamoo 2004

 

 

  

 

 

Kodak DC3200 Review

May 2001 
 

Dynamoo's two rules of digital cameras are: 

  • Good digital cameras are expensive .
  • Inexpensive digital cameras are poor quality.
     
We were WRONG ! We discovered the Kodak DC3200.. a camera which actually does the impossible of offering good quality pictures at a reasonable price, in a package so simple almost anyone could use it. Dynamoo found that this camera offered good value for money and is an ideal way into low-cost digital photography.

First the technical bits: the DC3200 is a 1 megapixel camera offering resolutions of up to 1152x864 pixels at a 24-bit (16.7 million) colour depth. It has an LCD and an optical viewfinder, CF card interface (and a 4Mb CF memory card) and an NTSC/PAL video out. All for less than $180/150 or so.

Picture quality: 1 megapixel (1152 x 864 pixels) at 16.7 million colours, which should give prints at up to 5" x 7". Focus is fixed, but can cope well with almost anything it is asked to to. Colour quality is good, but not always perfect. Pictures are stored as JPEG files at varying compression ratios. 

At the best picture quality, the image is clear and does not suffer much from compression artifacts. The lowest picture quality allows for a 2X digital zoom, but this is a little grainy. The camera has no optical zoom, but for this price who is complaining?

Sample photo To see a sample photo click here. (JPEG 231Kb) 
 

Camera controls: these are simple, allowing you to take photos, review them, access the menu, zoom and change the flash settings.

Flash is built-in, but is one of the camera's main weaknesses. For indoor use, the flash is often too bright and can  completely flood out the picture of objects that are too close. That having been said, the camera operated well in most light levels and features the kind of white balance controls found in video cameras (Daylight, Tungsten and Flourescent).
 

Camera hardware: The DC3200's look are nothing to write home about. The camera is a dull plastic grey. On the plus side, it's not immediately obvious that it's a digital camera at all, so it might be less of a target for theives. Other than a lead to connect it to the PC, a 4Mb CF memory card and a carrying strap, that's it. Not even a lense cap or a case. 

Standard AA batteries are included, but it would be a worthwhile investment to get some rechargeables and an external charger for this unit - this camera eats batteries, especially with the LCD display on.

Flash is built-in, but is one of the camera's main weaknesses. For indoor use, the flash is far too bright and tends to completely flood out the picture. That having been said, the camera operated well in most light levels and features the kind of white balance controls found in video cameras (Daylight, Tungsten and Flourescent).
 

Interface: The main interface with the PC is via a serial cable rather than USB. Although this is a lot slower than USB, it does mean that it is compatible with older versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. Compatibility for NT 4.0 is great news for businesses where it is still the de facto business Operating System.

This is a strictly Windows-only affair though, Mac and Linux users must look elsewhere. Copying pictures across can be very slow, however, but should this become a pain you can always invest in a CF reader for your PC for about $50 or so.
 

Software: Installing the software is a breeze, and with a clear manual and a fairly easy to use menu system it is easy to get up an running in a very short time. Only the Sony Digital Mavica FD range (with a built in floppy drive) are easier to set up, but this is a much more elegant solution. The software is reasonable basic, featuring a file transfer application and a basic slide show/modification program. For best results you should invest in something like JASC PaintShop Pro for about $70 which will allow much better image editing.
 

Conclusion: The Kodak DC3200 is a great camera for those who want to enter the world of digital photography and don't want to break the bank doing so. 
 

Purchasing: (Updated January 2004) The DC3200 has been out of production for some time, but is still a useful little camera. It can generally be picked up on eBay, links below:
 
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Pros Cons
Excellent Value for Money.
Good Picture Quality.
Easy to Use.
Compatible with non-USB PCs such as NT 4.0 and Windows 95.
Takes standard CF memory cards.
Batteries included! :)
Bare bones camera, accessories bring the price up.
Serial connection isn't as fast as USB.
Software package is simple but basic.
Battery recharger not included.
Battery life not great.
Flash sometimes too bright for indoor use.

 

 Subj: Shopping and Services

 

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