Advanced features and high-megapixel CCDs tend to drive up digital camera prices. But Concord Camera Corp. makes an exception to that rule with a new camera that combines a 6-megapixel CCD with great features at a breakthrough price of $230.
Not long ago, 6-megapixel cameras were mostly expensive, prosumer digital SLRs with big lenses, large camera bodies, and high-end features. Not so the Concord 6340z. It has most of the extra features you might expect from higher priced cameras, like multiple scene modes that let you quickly adjust for dark scenes, backlight, and other common lighting conditions; choice of auto or manual exposure and focus; and multiple resolution settings.
I found the 3x optical zoom easy to control, and it produced crisp images. I normally disparage digital zoom because it simply crops the image and increases the size of the pixels, something better done on a computer. But with the 6340z's 6-megapixel resolution, the 4x digital zoom still makes decent pictures even when shot at the maximum 12x magnification.
When the camera's lens is retracted into the body, it's protected by an automatic lens cover. And when you want to take a picture quickly, the 6340z is ready to go in about six seconds, though when I needed to use flash, I had to wait for another three seconds. Even so, those are relatively short boot times.
The most common complaint among digital camera users is the delay between the time the shutter button is pushed and when the picture is taken. The long delays common in many digital cameras make taking action shots difficult, if not impossible. The 6340z hasn't completely overcome this problem, but its delay is similar to the wait imposed by any auto-focus film camera. This makes it much easier to capture the shot you really want.
The Concord 6340z comes with a removable, rechargeable battery and accepts SD media. It has 16MB internal memory which will hold just eight shots at highest resolution. You can select one of four levels of resolution.
Like many of the newer digital cameras, the Concord doubles as a video camera, taking MPEG-4 movies at 15 frames per second. The length of the video is limited only by the capacity of the SD memory card.
I found the quality of the videos to be acceptable, but no substitute for a real video camera. One problem with the 6340z's video is that the camera sets its focus and zoom at the start of a video shot and won't let you change it while recording.
The low price comes with a few minor trade-offs. For example, I would prefer that the 1.5-inch LCD was bigger. And it would be nice if the optical view showed if the digital zoom was in effect.
If you're looking for a digital camera that takes very high-quality photos at a low price, the Concord 6340z is a good choice.
This image is already cropped to about 1/4 the total image and remains clear and sharp.
This extreme crop shows the clear detail this low priced camera can product.