Stylish digital camera fits in your hand

Sporting a sleek metallic case, the camera fits conveniently in one hand. It also features a comfortable right-hand grip designed to enhance sure-fingered snapping.

The DC3800's technical specs are impressive as well. It has a 1.5-inch LCD for framing or viewing images, and its 2.1-megapixel CCD (charge-coupled device) can capture bright photographs at up to 1792 by 1184 resolution and can produce lustrous 5-by-7-inch prints and so-so 8-by-10-inch shots. The unit's simple menu system makes changing camera settings easy, too. The included 8MB CompactFlash card can store 15 pictures taken at the camera's Best photo-quality setting, 32 at Better, and 58 at Good.

For transferring your snapshots to a computer, Kodak provides a USB card reader that you can attach to a Windows 98- or 2000-compatible PC. The package also includes two standard AA alkaline batteries (rechargeable batteries are optional) and ArcSoft's Photo Impression software for editing your pictures.

There are, however, a couple of drawbacks. Although the DC3800 does give you a 2X digital zoom, it lacks the better optical zoom lens option. Most indoor and outdoor shots appeared bright and colourful in my tests using a preproduction camera, but some pictures looked a tad fuzzy. The camera worked less impressively when used to take photos under poor lighting conditions (at night or in cloudy weather). In low light, the DC3800 captured relatively dark photos, perhaps due to its small flash or because you can't adjust the shutter speed (an advanced setting, by the way, that most high-end digital cameras do offer).

If you need an optical zoom lens or a higher-magnification digital zoom, consider spending a couple of hundred dollars more for the Canon Digital Elph. But if your demands are relatively modest, the DC3800 is a reasonable buy at $784.

Kodak DC3800

Price: $784; Tel: 03 9350 1222; URL: www.kodak.com.au

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