The EasyShare moniker is by no means a misnomer. Just five minutes after unpacking this all-in-one digital camera and printer bundle we had a trio of slick-looking 4x6 digital prints in our greedy little mitts—and that’s without even glancing at the prodigious manual Kodak tosses in.
The Z740 is a mid-size camera that’s made mostly of plastic, so it looks and feels a bit cheap, but the 5-megapixel image sensor delivers solid pictures with natural colors and skin tones. They’re not as vibrant or sharp as those you’ll get with higher-end cameras, but image quality is comparable to other similarly priced digicams.
The optical 10x zoom is impressive, and the camera comes with a plethora of preprogrammed scene modes that cover just about any shooting situation we could think of. If you want to dabble, aperture priority, shutter priority, and other manual control options are provided as well. Unfortunately, the Z740’s movie-capture capability is not good—not only is the picture quality sub par, but the frame rate is also poor.
The Series 3 Printer Dock lets you print photos directly from the Z740—without a PC. (You can also use the dock to transfer photos to your PC, view photos on your TV, and charge the Z740’s battery.) The printer uses a four-pass thermal dye-transfer process—three passes to apply color and one to apply a protective coating. Printing a photo is as simple as placing the camera on the dock, selecting the photo you want and the number of copies, and punching the Print button. In less than two minutes you’ll have a nice, glossy 4x6 print that looks like its straight from the local photo lab. The printer’s compact size means you can easily toss it in a suitcase and take it on vacation, too.
While the pics look nice, it’s important to remember that the EasyShare system is touted as being not only convenient, but affordable as well. However, a 40-count of ink and paper for the printer will run you $25, which translates to $0.63 a print. The same print will cost you less than $0.20 down at Costco.
Keeping the price tradeoff in mind, the EasyShare Z740 is an excellent choice for budding digital photographers that want fast, good-looking results with as gentle a learning curve as possible.
— Steve Klett
SCOOBY DOO: Lots of features, good picture and print quality, and very easy to use.
SCRAPPY DOO: High cost per print, cheap construction, and below-average movie capture.