Kodak DX3500

This entry-level Kodak follows a different path to that of the Canon PowerShot Pro90 also reviewed this issue. Aiming for simplicity, economy and ease of use, this camera has comparatively few controls and is much lighter in construction.

Almost a century ago, the Eastman Kodak company introduced the Brownie, the first inexpensive camera to reach a mass consumer market, and the driving force behind much of the company's early growth into a major multinational. Although it also produces upmarket cameras for professionals, there is little doubt that Kodak's ambition is to repeat its success by creating the Brownie of the digital age.

The DX3500 is a 2.2 megapixel camera with a maximum resolution of 1800x1200 and 8MB of onboard memory, which can be expanded by the addition of a CompactFlash card. It has a fixed-length, fixed-focus lens with 3x digital zoom, and a rangefinder-type view finder. It has a very simple menu system, only two resolution modes, and only three shooting modes (normal, flash and macro).

While this lack of complexity makes it extremely simple to use, it also restricts the range and quality of photography made possible, compared to more expensive models. This camera is about as close to point-and-shoot as digital gets, thus satisfying part of the Brownie equation - but for digital photography, the most annoying part of the process can be transferring the pictures to a computer for editing and printing. This is where the bundled camera dock comes in.

This is a docking station for the camera with a plastic insert shaped to fit the particular Kodak model being used, which incorporates a battery charger and USB connection to the computer. Using it, you can recharge the camera and transfer pictures at the same time. Picture transfer can be started by pressing a button on the dock, or by launching software on the PC. This system eliminates messing around with cables after the initial installation, and may please those who are a little nervous around computers.

The DX3500 is a very basic digital camera, designed for those who suffer from technofear. Advanced users will find it too restricted, but beginners and kids will probably love it.

Kodak DX3500

Price: $799; Phone: 1300 130 674; URL: http://www.kodak.com.au

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