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The sharper image

The ups and downs of Kodak’s top of the line consumer camera.

The DX-7630 is Kodak’s top-of-the-line consumer camera. It offers 6.1 megapixels (more than six millions pixels) a high-quality 3X Schneider-Kreuznach lens, fast auto-focus system, 2.2″ LCD display, support for USB 2.0, and Kodak’s EasyShare software bundle, all of which makes for a very powerful camera that’s also easy to use.

Getting the camera up and running is easy. As soon as you charge the included lithium-ion battery, just plug it in and you’re ready to go. You can bypass the EasyShare software and download your pictures to any Twain device, but I wouldn’t, simply because the software is so highly functional that you’ll miss out on some great features. Using the utility, you can import and organize your photos, create a slideshow, and even burn your memories onto CD or DVD.

Basic editing tools include rotate, crop, redeye elimination, brightness and contrast control, and the ability to instantly convert to black and white or sepia tone. If you want to get serious about editing you’ll probably prefer Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, but if all you’re concerned about are nice, clear images, this more than fills the bill.

The only place this camera really falls flat is memory. Because the camera comes with 32MB of internal memory, Kodak didn’t bother including a memory card. But when you’re dealing with high-resolution images, 32MB just won’t cut it. The camera uses Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMedia (MMC) cards, and I’d recommend buying at least a 256MB card to use with your camera.

You might also consider the optional printer dock, which not only lets you print incredible 4-by-6 photos but recharges your camera while it’s doing it. And if you’re a veteran photographer, you can purchase additional lenses such as the Schneider-Kreuznach AR 0.7X wide-angle lens, Retinar 37 MM telephoto lens to further enhance your photography. The camera retails for $500, the dock costs $150, and prices on the lens vary.

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