Like Concord’s 6-megapixel 6340z, the 5-megapixel 5340z offers plenty of pixels per dollar, but poor performance keeps both cameras from being a good value.
The 5340z feels a tad more solid than the 6340z and offers a larger, 2-inch LCD that’s much easier to read and navigate, but there’s no way to adjust LCD brightness, which is a problem when shooting in bright sunlight.
The 5340z has a mode switch offering three options: Shooting mode, Review mode, and Movie mode. This is purely a point-and-shoot camera; there’s no manual mode. There are five scene modes: Auto, Sport, Landscape, Portrait, and Night. White balance is automatic, or selectable via a menu, but you can’t create a custom white-balance setting. You can fine-tune exposure by adjusting exposure compensation.
The 3x optical zoom lens is a fast f2.65 at the wide end, but slows to f5.0 at the long end. In Macro mode, the lens can focus to 3.9 inches.
The 5340z’s performance is a bit sluggish. Startup time is about 4 seconds. A burst mode captures an image every couple of seconds up to 3 pictures, but only at a lower resolution of 1600-by-1200 or 640-by-480 pixels.
The pictures I took with the 5340z were disappointing. Most colors looked just slightly off, and images were a bit soft, especially around the edges. Even with ISO fixed at 70, noise was very noticeable.
The 5340z’s movie mode captures Windows Media Format (ASF) movies. I couldn’t get the files to play in Windows Media Player for Mac OS X, but when I played them in VLC (a freeware media player), the clips were rife with muddy video and whining audio.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
If you’re on a shoestring budget, the 5-megapixel 5340z looks like a bargain. But if you want a low-priced digital camera, I’d instead recommend the HP Photosmart M417 ( July 2005 ), which offers help features for beginners, a faster burst mode, and modestly better pictures.;
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
|Zoom/Focal Length||3.0x Optical (35mm to 103mm)|
|Size (wxhxd)||3.6 inches x 1.2 inches x 2.4 inches|
[ Robert Ellis is a photography enthusiast with a growing collection of digital cameras. He is a frequent contributor to Macworld.]Concord 5340z