Concord 6340z

No one’s going to mistake the 6-megapixel Concord 6340z for a fashion accessory, even though the Concord Web site describes it as, “Housed in a stylish metal body for the ultimate in design sophistication…”. In spite of its metal body, the 6340z looks cheap, feels cheap, and lacks many features you’d expect from a 6-megapixel camera. The cost per megapixel is low, but the picture quality really suffers.

The 1.5-inch LCD is small and looks grainy, and the information icons are tiny and difficult to see. LCD brightness adjustments are limited to “lighter” or “darker.” There are few buttons, so it isn’t too difficult to decipher your options, but the menus use a serif font that’s more difficult to read than the sans serif fonts used by most camera manufacturers.

The 6340z’s mode dial offers three options: Movie mode, Auto mode, and A/S/M (Advanced) mode, which lets you select Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual exposure mode via a menu. There are no scene modes for portraits, sports, or landscapes, as you will find on almost any other digital camera. The manual modes would be useful if the LCD would accurately reflect changes to shutter speed and aperture, but it doesn’t. And there’s no indicator to tell you if your exposure is correct, so using the manual controls is hit or miss.

The 3x optical zoom lens is a fast f2.8 at the wide end, but slows to f5.0 at the long end. In Macro mode, the lens can focus to a respectable 1.9 inches. Focusing and metering are center-weighted (meaning that the camera emphasizes the center of the picture) and there’s no manual focus or spot focus. White balance is automatic, or you can select daylight, cloudy, tungsten, or fluorescent (there’s no custom white-balance setting). ISO ranges from 50 to 200 and is either automatic or selected via a menu, as is the exposure compensation (the LCD does reflect changes to exposure compensation).

The 6340z’s performance is noticeably sluggish, with a startup time of about 5 seconds. A burst mode captures as many as five pictures in about as many seconds, but only at a lower resolution of 1408-by-1056 pixels.

The pictures I took with the 6340z were disappointing. Most colors looked just slightly off, and reds, oranges, and yellows looked pale. Images were somewhat soft and underexposed, and some images had pronounced blue and purple fringing. Noise was a problem above 50 ISO.

Movie mode lets you capture VGA movies (at 640-by-480 pixels), but only at 15 frames per second. The video is dark and muddy and you can’t zoom during movie recording.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Its low price per megapixel makes the 6340z seem like a bargain, but you’re probably better off with a 5-megapixel camera that takes better pictures. You’ll still have plenty of pixels for making nice 8-by-10-inch prints.

Jury Tests

Color Quality—Accuracy Flawed
Clarity—Detail Flawed
Clarity—Artifacts, Noise Flawed

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

Specifications

Resolution 5.0 megapixels
Zoom/Focal Length 3.0x Optical (37mm to 111mm)
Maximum Aperture f2.8-f5
Size (wxhxd) 3.9 inches x 1.3 inches x 2.2 inches
Weight 6.2 ounces

[ Robert Ellis is a freelance writer, Mac fan, and avid digital photographer. He publishes the blog Futurosity.]

Concord 6340z

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