Testing / Performance
Digital cameras are often criticized for their seemingly inaccurate color reproduction. There is nothing more disappointing than receiving your digital prints you took at your sister’s wedding, only to find that her skin is red and dress is yellow and all the colors are off. We test the accuracy of color reproduction in digital cameras by taking several pictures of the industry standard GretagMacbeth color chart. The images are uploaded into Imatest Imaging Software, where we compare the camera’s produced colors to the original colors on the chart. The chart below shows the difference. The outer squares show the colors produced by the Z740. The inner square depicts the color corrected version that users would see when the images are uploaded into a computer application. The smaller vertical rectangle is the ideal color from the original chart.For those whose computer monitors are biting the dust, the difference between the colors can be seen below in another chart. The circles represent the color produced by the Kodak Z740; the squares represent the GretagMacbeth ideal color.
According to our test, the Kodak EasyShare Z740 will produce accurate colors. Although the red tones appear to be slightly exaggerated, the camera still performed quite well overall, earning an impressive overall color score of 10.9. Kodak has always been known for strong color reproduction and the Z-series models add to that legacy, offering excellent color capabilities to all levels of consumers.
Still Life Scene
Below is a colorful still life scene photographed by the Kodak EasyShare Z740.
Click on the above image to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: The linked image is very large!)](../viewer.php?picture=Kodak-Z740-StillLifeLG.jpg)
Resolution / Sharpness ***(3.35)***
Kodak’s EasyShare Z740 is stocked with a 5.36-megapixel CCD; 5 of those megapixels were advertised to be effective in imaging. Our resolution test is designed to determine exactly how many pixels are being used to form the image. We do this by recording a series of exposures of a resolution chart, then analyzing the images in Imatest Imaging Software. If a camera uses 70 percent of its advertised pixels to take a picture, we give it a "good" score. Within 80 percent, we attach a "very good" designation; an "excellent" designation goes to cameras that score beyond 90 percent of the effective megapixel count. The Kodak EasyShare Z740 recorded 3.35 megapixels, which is 67 percent of its advertised count and obviously not very good. This is a bit disappointment considering the Z740’s noise and color performance. The sub-par resolution will not be apparent in all exposures recorded with the Z740, but will become prevalent when the image is cropped and blown-up. For engaged users who like to create large prints or enlarge segments of the frame, the 3.35 utilized megapixels will not suffice; for those who are content making 4 x 6 prints, the lack of resolution should not be an issue.
Click on the chart to view full resolution image](../viewer.php?picture=Kodak-Z740-ResLG.jpg)
Noise Auto ISO ***(3.88)***
Ironically, most compact (and point-and-shoot) digital cameras do not score too well in this section; however, the Kodak Z740 produced a moderately respectable score of 3.88. When we tested the camera’s automatic ISO capabilities, there was a significant drop in performance from the manual ISO noise test, though this should be expected. Most automatic ISO modes function on a truncated ISO range. On almost all compact digital cameras, the auto ISO setting is most effective in bright daylight and becomes compromised in diminishing light – this is when users should switch to the manual ISO mode if it’s available.
Noise Manual ISO ***(6.75)***
We tested the amount of noise at each available manual ISO rating, including 80, 100, 200, and 400. We compiled the results from each test into a regression analysis to determine the overall manual noise score. The Z740’s noise results are expressed in the chart below, with the camera’s ISO ratings plotted on the horizontal axis and the resultant noise on the vertical axis.
This EasyShare performed much better using manual ISO settings than its automatic counterpart, earning a 6.75 overall manual noise score. This is a strong score for a largely automatically-oriented compact imager. Engaged users are far better off opting for the manual settings than relying on the camera’s judgment, which is limited to ISO 80-160 in the automatic mode.
We tested the EasyShare Z740 to see how well the imager could record in minimal illumination. The camera was tested at 60, 30, 15, and 5 Lux to determine how well the camera would record in typical low light situations; 60 Lux appears to the eye (and camera) as a bedroom might appear at night, while 30 Lux roughly equates to a single 40 watt lightbulb and 15 and 5 Lux are used to indicate how the camera will perform in near darkness.
*Click on any of the above chart for additional analysis *
Many digital cameras boost the image to capture color and shapes in near darkness. The Z740 does not. As is evident in the chart above, as light levels dip below 60 Lux, the Z740 is rendered virtually unusable. This is not the case with all digital cameras but seems to indicate that low light shooters should look elsewhere. We capture these images without the use of a flash or accessory light source, using the highest available ISO setting to isolate the sensitivity of the imager to light and pinpoint when additional light will be necessary with this particular camera — for the Z740, a flash or additional light should be used in any situation below 60 Lux.
Startup to First Shot (6.34)
It took this Kodak EasyShare 3.66 seconds to start up and take its first shot. Be sure to have this camera out and powered up long before the action occurs.
Shot to Shot (8.41)
There are two burst modes that shoot at the same 2-frame-per-second rate. The "first burst" mode took 5 exposures at a rate of 0.5 seconds per frame, then took an 8-second break before shooting the next set of pictures. The "last burst" mode took photos ever 0.49 seconds consistently, but only saved the last four images.
Shutter to Shot (8.66)
The camera seems to focus quickly, but for no apparent reason it still takes this camera 0.17 seconds to take a picture. There are definitely slower EasyShares, but this isn’t incredibly impressive either.