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A 6 megapixel camera for only $230

Concord's new 6340z offers high resolution at a low price. Review by MSNBC's Gary Krakow.
Looks can be very deceiving. This Concord 6MP camera is a lot lighter and smaller than it looks in the photo.
Looks can be very deceiving. This Concord 6MP camera is a lot lighter and smaller than it looks in the photo.Concord Camera

It was just a few years ago that a big-deal digital camera was a 1.3 megapixel model. Then 2MP, then 3 and 4. Now, 5, 6 even 8 and more are becoming the norm. That’s why I was interested to hear that Concord, masters of lower-priced models, was releasing a 6 megapixel model. I knew it would be affordable, but I wasn’t expecting something as inexpensive as $229.99.

Concord’s 6340z digital camera has a metal body, a 3x optical zoom plus a 4x digital zoom, a macro feature allowing you to take pictures as close as 2 inches, and is capable of photo resolutions of up to 2848 by 2136 pixels. There’s also a video mode which lets you record MPEG-4 movies and sound up to 15 frames per second.

The camera’s size is deceiving. It’s small but looks bulky and heavy. It’s not. Actual dimensions are 3.9 by 1.3 by 2.2 inches and it weighs 6.2 ounces. There’s 15 MB of memory built inside, but you really need to go out and get yourself a SD memory card (256 MB minimum) to store your high-resolution photos and videos.

The 1.5 inch LTPS (low temperature poly-silicon) screen is pretty bright and sharp, indoors and out. The 6340z comes with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, an AC adapter, a carrying case, wrist strap, TV cable and a USB 1.1 cable to attach to your computer. It also comes with two CDs full of software for Windows PCs including MGI Photosuite SE, USB mass storage drivers, Apple’s Quick Time Pro and the user’s guide.  But you don’t really need to install anything to enjoy the camera -- your modern-day Macintosh or PC should recognize the camera when it’s plugged in. All of my computers did.

Nice pictures, but slow
Using the 6340z is straightforward and easy. Charge the battery, slide the on-off switch and the zoom lens pops out and you’re ready to go. All the settings are menu driven and pretty easy to figure out. So are the buttons controlling the zoom lens, flash, photo playback and all the other features. You can control the exposure manually, but I chose to let the camera think for itself.

In use, the Concord is somewhat slow. When you press the shutter, it takes a second or so for the camera to focus on the subject and another second or so to figure out the proper exposure and take the picture. Trying to get my year-old puppy to sit still while the Concord was taking the photo was just about impossible. I had better luck with scenic shots. I found large buildings tend not to move at any time throughout the picture taking process.

Getting the photos into my computer was pretty easy, but only when I used the Concord cable. It has the smallest, mini-micro USB connector I’ve ever encountered. My usual cable which terminates in a mini-USB jack was way too large to fit in the Concord. Once connected, transferring the photos was a breeze.

I made some 8 by 10 inch enlargements of some of the photos I took and I must admit they look pretty good when it comes to sharpness and color saturation. Yes, I’ve seen better from more expensive cameras, but overall, I found that the 6340z is capable of taking nice pictures that make nice enlargements.

Concord’s 6340z is a good 6MP digital camera -– and it’s especially good for the price. Spending more will get you more features, faster picture taking and even better quality, but if you’re interested in an affordable high-resolution camera, the 6340z should be on your short list.