I am not a professional photographer but I do a good imitation of one. I love to take pictures and have been doing so for most of my life. I remember my very first camera quite clearly. It was a sad little thing my mom must have pulled out of some attic. The camera had a ‘cereal box prize’ quality about it and it used cube flashbulbs. Does anyone even remember those anymore?
In those days only about half of my pictures could be considered pictures. I’ve used just about every type of camera through the years and have gotten varying results. I learned a lot about framing and lighting through film school but I was still only able to capture really great images a fourth of the time. Then some kind friend tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s not you, it’s your camera.” All of the professional type cameras were out of my price range so I decided to try digital.
My first digital was a Concord that really didn’t do much better. I knew it wasn’t the best camera made but I was really disappointed. My concert pictures were nothing more than blurs. It was handy enough for everyday shots though. We took some pictures in the backyard on a sunny day and they came out great. Otherwise, it was a waste of money. I reverted back to film. Then in July of 2004 I was introduced to the Kodak Easyshare Z740. A friend I had met at a concert had one and she showed me her pictures from the show. I was blown away by the results. I had to have one and now that I do I could not be happier!
Ease of Use
If you are anything like me you don’t want a complicated camera. You want to just take your pictures and be done with it. Though it’s never quite that simple if you want great shots, this camera does everything it can to make taking great shots relatively simple.
Automatic focus is easy but can be a problem if something gets in the way of your target. I have many concert pictures that are crisp clear shots of the heads in front of me, but the subject on the stage is a blur. With this camera focusing on your subject is easy. After framing your picture you press the shutter button halfway down. When the brackets in the viewfinder turn green your shot is focused and you can press the button down all the way to snap the shot. Just make sure the green brackets are on your subject and not the heads in front of you!
You don’t have to worry about setting the camera up for different lighting situations. There are tons of different settings preprogrammed into this camera to capture almost anything thing in any setting. A few of the different settings available are beach, party, children, snow, backlight, close up, landscape, night, sport, portrait, text and fireworks. All you have to do is consider your subject and it’s environment and choose the proper setting. There is no menu to dig through for this feature; it’s all on a rotating wheel on the back of the camera. Easy! There is also a setting for the more experience photographer that allows you to set your own shutter speed, aperture and ISO speed.
Zoom can be a photographer’s best friend especially if you like taking concert photos. The trick to buying a good zoom digital is to get one with high optical zoom. Digital zoom simply crops the existing picture while optical zoom uses the lens to zoom in without compromising quality. This camera has an amazing 10X optical zoom with an addition 5X digital zoom if you wish to use it.
This camera comes with five settings for picture size and two settings for video. The camera default size is 5 megapixels. On this setting you will have the highest resolution (20 x 30 inches for printing) and is also the largest file size. The smallest file size is 1.8 megapixels. This setting is great for printing out 4 x 6 prints and sending images over the Internet.
The camera itself is made of quality material. It comes with a Kodak Retinar Aspheric all glass lens. The screen viewfinder is a pleasing size and the eyepiece viewfinder will light inside for better picture taking in extremely bright situations. On sunny days you may have trouble seeing the screen viewfinder and the eyepiece will become a better option for framing your shots.
This camera also features a “burst” function. This will take a series of photos in rapid succession for you. You can capture five pictures in half-second intervals by pressing the burst button on the top of the camera once and then pressing the shutter button. You can use this feature when you are anticipating an event and don’t want to take a photo at the wrong moment. An example of this might be a child kicking a goal in soccer or swinging a baseball bat. The burst function can also be used to take up to 30 shots. After you choose the burst function you hold the shutter button down halfway to focus and then press all the way down to start. Hold the shutter button down until the event has ended and the last five pictures are saved on your camera.
Another great feature of this camera is the video option. The video comes out crystal clear and has sound. It’s very easy to use and looks great. Video can be uploaded to your computer just as you would your photos.
My camera came with a lens cap and a sturdy neck strap. It also came with software for my computer and the USB cable needed to connect to they computer for download. I don’t have the Easyshare Dock but I find the USB upload is fast and efficient. It also comes with a detailed manual, a dock adaptor (in case you choose to buy one), and a 45.5mm to 55mm lens adaptor.
Overall I am extremely satisfied with this camera. I paid $300.00 for it and that did not include battery and memory card. It is well worth the investment if you want to take great photos without too much hassle. The pictures are crystal clear whether I am taking a landscape shot or an extreme close up. It feels great in your hand and learning to use it is a breeze.