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Orignally posted on Ciao.
Several months ago, your friendly neighbourhood Coolster (TM) was outside my local Curry's Digital with my daughter. She pointed to a poster advertising the 12 megapixel Kodak Easyshare C143 camera for the incredible price of £35. i was tempted, but my nice Pentax Optio S7 had served me well for a couple of years, and it had a rechargeable battery, and it had a few nice features like in camera red eye removal, the ability to crop and resize pictures, in camera red eye processing to remove red eye after you've taken your photograph, and several more interesting but unneccessary features. And it was metal bodied. I decide to leave it, but the next day, went back and bought three, with the intention of putting them on E-bay for £55.00, Something I'd never done before. As you all know, to sell new items on Ebay you need a lot of good feedback, and they didn't sell, despite two attempts. July 2011 was the family holiday to france. I'd been looking for my Pentax for several weeks without success, and decided to pack a C143. Wifey came up trumps the day we were due to leave (it was in the glove box of the car, and I'd searched there two days previously - honest!), but since the Kodak was packed, I took both. I was pleasantly surprised by the camera, so much in fact that I prefer it to my Pentax. The camera's widely available in several colours, including silver, red, green, blue, orange and pink. Read on for my detailed review.
What's in the box?
The camera box is quite small, approximately 4 inches square and 2 inches deep. Inside you'll find a cardboard tray with a cardboard cover over the camera itself, which is in a small polythene bag. In the side compartment, the strap, camera lead and two AA alkaline batteries are all individually wrapped. Two quick start guides (different languages), a share button guide and the warranty are in a neat document parcel, wrapped neatly in a polythene bag. There's no camera case or memory card or battery charger, as the camera takes standard AA batteries.
12.2 Megapixel Sensor,
3x Optical & 5x Digital zoom (15x total),
32 MB internal memory (19MB for images) equivalent 32 - 96 mm,
2.7 inch LCD 230,000 pixels,
Built in help system,
Focus Systems: Through the lens Autofocus, Multi Zone, Centre zone, Face Priority, 0.1m to infinity,
AF: Continuous & Single,
Face Detection & recognition,
Shutter speed 8-1/400 second,
5 mode White Balance,
Metering: Through the lens Auto Exposure, Face priority, Multi Zone, Centre Zone,
Timer: 10 second, 2 second, 2 picture,
Burst Mode: 3 Pictures,
Image sizes, 12, 9, 6, 3, 2 & 1 Megapixels,
Colour Modes: Vivid, Full, Basic, Sepia, B/W,
Sharpness: High, Normal, Low,
Video: Pal, NTSC Up to 4GB @ 640x480 ,
Scenes: 22 Scene Modes,
Panorama: 2 - 3 Images stitched together automatically in camera
Red Eye Removal, Pre Flash or in camera automatic post shot processing,
Power: 2xAA Alkaline, NiCad, Ni-MH or Lithium
Phew, there's the list over with, now onto the review proper.
The camera is lightweight at only 172g with card and batteries. It's not slim at 94 x 62 x 31mm, and the body tapers inwards from the grip end to the lens end. the grip is the on the right hand side, and the shutter button as with most cameras is at the top left of the picture. This is surrounded by the zoom button. It's really easy to grip the camera, and zooming is really easy, as you use your index finger to zoom before taking the shot. Theres two Autofocus modes, single & continuous, and if you use the latter, the camera focuses all the time, eliminating the need for a half press of the shutter that annoys many photographers. This is reccomended for things for moving subjects like sports, peets or children who are rarely still. At the camera's heart is the smart capture mode, where it decides the scene modes an d other appropriate settings for you. Picture taking can be a simple as point and shoot. The autofocus is reasonably fast, with a respectable shutter lag tone of 0.49 seconds, better than the entry level models from Fuji, Casio & Nikon.
The camera's small enough to fit in a pocket, but not one of those ultra slim models. With a width of 3cm at it's widest point, tapering to one and a half cm, it's not too bulky. There's 4 buttons on the top, and 5 on the rear. From left to right, looking from at the top view from back to front are power, mode and flash buttons. Mode and flash buttons are raised a millimetre or so higher than the Power so as not to accidentally turn the camera off.
There are four modes on the Easyshare C143: Smart Capture, Video, Scene & Programme.
Every time you switch the Easyshare C143 on, it defaults to Smart Capture Mode. In Smart Capture, the camera does all the work for the photographer, selecting the 'appropriate' scene setting, which in most cases is the one you'd normally choose. Sometimes it won't set a scene, but will default to S (Smart Capture) mode. An Icon in the top left of the screen quickly flashes up the scene the camera has chosen. It even detects macro mode as well. The smart mode generally works well for most situations, taking an excellent photo for a camera at this price point. The autofocus & auto exposure give a well-balanced and exposed photo that's reasonably sharp. If all you need from a camera is to point, zoom & Shoot, then you don't even have to take the camera out of Smart capture. Only 3 options are available on the Capture menu, image size, timer and the option to assign a pre-set keyword tag to your photos such as holiday, wedding and this has the option of a custom tag There's a further 12 options in the Setup menu, but as this is virtually the same in all four modes it will have it's own section of this rewiew. You can scroll through the timer options using the up and down on the D pad. It appears that in this mode that sharpness and saturation are set to the middle 'normal' setting. If you like really vivid colour and sharp photos, then Programme mode may be better for you.
Long gone are the days of taking video at a measly 320 x 240 QVGA resolution. Most entry level cameras can record HD 720p video. The Easyshare C143 falls a smidgeon short at SVGA 640 x 480 TV resolution with stills cameras 640 x 480 is classed as VGA, but for monitors it's SVGA). Video is smooth and reasonably well saturated. VGA is classed as TV quality 4:3 ratio, and is not widescreen. The 3 x optical zoom works on video mode, but not the 5 x digital ,and mono sound is recorded albeit not as clearly as you might like (common to entry level models) , but it won't play the sound back on the camera, which is unusual as microphones double up as speakers on most cameras. Video is output as a .AVI file, and you can choose between PAL & NTSC formats.
In this mode, the photographer gets access to 11 options. 3 of which ( EV, timer & focus mode) can be selected using the D-pad left and right to select option, and up & down to change the mode or value. These are: Picture size, exposure compensation, iso speed, self-timer/burst mode, colour mode (saturation),white balance, focus mode, focus/exposure zones, autofocus control, pre-set keyword tag, and sharpness. The most important of these will be dealt with here.
There are a generous 7 shooting sizes available, 12, 11, 9, 6, 3, 2, and 1 megapixels. Most sizes are at 4:3 ratio, though 2 and 9 MP are in widescreen 16:9, and 11MP is 3:2.
This is fairly standard, ranging from -2 up to +2 EV, and there's nothing to shout about here.
This ranges from Iso 80 up to Iso 1600. As any experienced snapper would expect, Iso 1600 is very noisy. 800 is just about useable, and below that you're cooking on gas. In smart capture, it states it uses Iso 80 - 400, but in the exif data for many images, many odd figures such as iso 640, 160,105, and lots of others were recorded. Iso cannot be viewed on playback of images. Remember, if you're shooting in overcast daylight, a higher iso will give a brighter picture. In bright conditions, a lower iso will give a noiseless picture.
Again, it's standard pub grub served here, with 10 second, 2 second and 2 shot timer, to allow yourself to be in the picture. Two second timer seems more like 3 or 4 seconds, 10 second timer seemed to be roughly that. If you need time to compose yourself properly for shots, then 10 seconds is the best setting for all ladies who look like Audrey Roberts on steroids and need to preen themselves before a shot, allowing for a quick look in the mirror, or time to hide your Lambrini bottle, whilst the 2 second mode is all men need to slip into the shot and look good.
Five options are present, Basic, Full, Vivid, Sepia & B/W. Basic colour is supposed to be an accurate representation of natural colour, Full colour captures rich balanced colour, whilst Vivid colour boosts colour for more exaggerated colours. However, this is not always the case, as if it's not bright sunlight, you can get pale colours. Sepia & B/W modes are exactly what the names suggest. In these modes the LCD changes to the mode set to allow you to get an idea of what your image will look like.
Like any cheap camera, with the Easyshare c143 white balance on indoor shots can be a little on the warm side, producing magnolia tinted shots, unless it's set correctly. It has an auto setting which although works fine for outdoor shots, can leave some shots (under halogen for example) too warm. It's vital to set the correct balance for indoor shots.
This is simply a choice between Macro (under 8 cms) infinity (anything over 8 cms) and of course Auto
AF Control (Still)
As with all but the cheapest cameras, there's autofocus, and here there's two versions. Single autofocus is where the camera has to be pre focused by a half press of the shutter to set it, then a full press to take the picture. Some people (like my wife) have problems with this method, and the second method is Continuous Autofocus, where the camera is focusing all the time, and thus the half press is dispensed with. This method has advantages and disadvantages. The big advantage is that if your following sports events or trying to capture children or pets running around, then as it's constantly focusing, a clear shot the moment you're ready to press the shutter is much easier. However it's downside is that if it's constantly re-focusing, you could catch it mid focus. My advice is, use single if it's a still shot, and continuous for moving subjects.
There are three options here for setting exposure and focus, and focus and exposure are linked together. Face priority focuses on faces to ensure faces come out well focused and exposed. In this mode, faces detected will have a frame around them. Multi zone uses five zones and evaluates an evenly balanced picture. This is a good all round mode. Centre weighting evaluates the small area in the centre of the lens, and is ideal for focusing on a precise area.
The usual suspects are present in this mode, soft, normal and sharp, with normal being the default setting. To avoid having to sharpen images with software, set the camera to sharp.
In this mode, the user has a whopping 22 modes available, too many to cover them all in detail. I'll list them here:
Portrait:: Full-frame portraits of people.
Sport Action pictures.
Landscape: Distant scenes.
High ISO: People indoors, in low-light scenes.
Close-up: Close range. Use available light instead of flash, if possible.
Flower: Close-ups of flowers or other small subjects in bright light.
Sunset Subjects at dusk.
Backlight: Subjects that are in shadow or "backlit."
Candle Light: Subjects illuminated by candle light.
Children Action: Pictures of children in bright light.
Manner/Museum: Quiet occasions. Flash is off. For best results, place the camera on steay surfaces.
Text Documents: For best results, place the camera on a steady surface or tripod.
Beach: Bright beach scenes.
Snow: Bright snow scenes.
Fireworks: For best results, place the camera on a steady surface or tripod.
Self-Portrait: Close-ups of yourself. Assures proper focus and minimizes red eye
Night Portrait: Reduces red eye of people in night scenes or low-light conditions.
Night Landscape: Distant scenery at night. Flash does not fire.
Blur Reduction: Reducing blur caused by camera shake or subject motion.
Panorama R-L, L-R "Stitching" 2 or 3 pictures into 1 panoramic scene.
Panning Shot Emphasizing horizontal motion, with a sharp subject and blurred.
I'll go into a little detail on a few of the scene modes. The camera adjusts the settings to optimize images.
Portrait is self explanatory. It's optimized for lovely skin tones. Anti blur helps reduce camera shake at full zoom. Sportsis for moving action like a football match or a car race. Landscape is set to focus to infinity and works well. Macro is for close ups fromas close as 8cms away. I've obtained some stunning macros of flowers from Monet's garden in France. Snow is supposed to be used for bright snowy scenes, but there's another use, it's great for taking early evening dusk shots with clarity. Museum mode is interesting. Previous cameras in Auto mode struggle to cope without a flash, and photographing objects behind glass will give the photographer a reflection of a flash and a wahed out subject. Museum mode is very good. Tests on my fish tank in good indoor lighting came out better than any camera I've had. The best mode just have to be the two panorama modes (L-R & R-L). Now panoramas are easy. Just take the first shot, then the last centimetre of the shot appears on the left or right side of the screen. Just line the images closely (it doesn't have to be exact) and then either press ok to stich or do the same again. Up to 3 images can be stitched and the results are impressive. Right handers like me will probably find L-R best, and Southpaws will want to go the other way. Flash is off in this mode, and I don't recommend it for action shots. I use it a lot.
The play icon represents the playback button. There's three menu's, playback, edit & Setup. There's several options under each menu. Playback lets you view, the images, check the file properties such as capture mode, iso setting and image size, and, in keeping with peoples love of social networking sites such as Facebook, tag people in your photos in much the same way you'd enter your name on a PlayStation game. It can even remember faces and automatically tag people, though this is patchy. Also the camera needs to have detected a face for the tag function to work.
The edit menu lets you resize, crop, rotate, and even enhance your photo's. Resizing is simply selecting a new image size, whilst cropping uses the zoom ring to select an area to crop, and the D-pad to position the area to crop. As Ricky Tomlinson would say, Easy Peasy. Perfect Touch automatically enhances your images, rather like a software programme like Windows Live Photo Gallery works. IT denhances really well, but can wash out highlights with over saturated images. R\otation is easy as well, simply choose the direction to rotae your image and it's done.
The Setup menu is comprehensive, and is almost identical to the setup menu in the capture mode. This is mainly camera hardware related, as opposed to theimage based settings on the capture menu. The settings are as follows.
Date & Time;
This is self-explanatory, and you can choose the date format as in DD-MM-YYYY or the other way around if you're American, or even MM-DD-YY.
Share Button Settings:
This sets the share options should you wish to upload an image to a social network like Facebook. There's several options, including, Kodak Gallery, Facebook, Flickr You Tube, Orkut (?) and the option to add personal e-mail addresses.
There's three settings on offer: Power save (to extend battery life), High Power for the best visibility in bright conditions, and Auto where if the camera detects bright sunshine it 'Gains Up' in brightness. In bright sunlight, it's almost impossible to view in power save mode.
Red Eye reduction:
You can choose to have the camera preflash or remove red eye whilst it's processing the image. The latter works best, as the preflash mode sill left noticeable red eye. In camera removal does a good job, but processing the image takes longer. You can't do it after the image has been processed like some cameras can.
Camera Sounds. You can choose between, all sounds on or off, or shutter only.
Video Out: There's the standard 2 options here, Pal (Europe & Australia) or NTSC (Americas & Japan).
Image Storage: Choose between Auto, Memory Card & Internal memory (19 Mb). There's no option to copy images to a Card or vice versa though.
Language: 21 languages are supported, covering most of Europe and the rest of the world, including several far eastern languages.
Computer Connection: This allows the user to select between using a Windows based programme, or having Kodak software start upon connecting to the pc. It's easier to take the memory card out of the camera and use a built in card reader, as the software didn't work properly. It imported the images from the camera to the pc, but I didn't realise they went to the Kodak Software and not windows.
The camera has a 3X optical zoom lens, which is equivalent to 32 - 96mm on a standard fixed 35mm lens. Most cameras today, are as wide as 28mm at the wide angle end. There's no barrel or pincushion distortion at all. The 5X digital zoom is very good, unless you're at full digital zoom, where camera shake sets in. Images are crisp & clear. You can tell when digital zoom is used as the images appear a little hazy.
LCD: The camera has a 2.7 inch TFT screen, has 237,000 pixels. It displays a sharp, clear image. More importantly, it doesn't give a low resolution blurry preview and then sharpen up like some cameras do; it's an instantly sharp image that looks impressive all the time.
Pictures on the whole are very good for a £60 camera. 12 megapixels means images will look good printed out at A4 and bigger. You'll need to set sharpness to sharp to get the best image quality. Bright, sunny conditions produce the best images. Smart capture gives good all round quality images. Noise levels are good right up to iso 400, and even iso 800 can produce acceptable images in the right conditions. Low light performance, whilst not being outstanding, is good for an entry level camera. Overcast conditions can produce slightly hazy looking images, but this is common to most digicams. Panoramic images look stunning, the wider photos really do the camera justice. Scene modes are generally spot on when it comes to capturing well balanced images, and the multi point focus an d exposure zones usually give a well-balanced image. Sometimes you might need to tweak the ev compensation up or down a little to get the contrast right, or you can use Windows Live Gallery to tweak this automatically.
The basic windows mass storage driver is all you need to transfer images on from the card to the computer. The Kodak Gallery and share button software, along with Arcsoft Connect and Arcsoft print creations, can be downloaded from the Kodak web site, but you need to connect the camera to be able to do this. Print Creations is an easy to use image printing programmes. It connects you to the website to download print templates. These can be used for a variety of items, including creating photobooks. It's easy to use. Kodak's own imaging software is a basic image editor, but can do a few interesting things, such as turning images into drawings. Again, this easy to use software is perfect for the novice wanting to experiment a little.
Kodak's much trumpeted share feature for me was a bit of a let-down. Despite several attempts, I only managed to upload one photo to Facebook. All you're supposed to do is select an image, press share, select the destination and connect the camera to the pc. I've no idea why it's not working.
The Easyshare C143 is a great little camera. It's got several useful options, and at a price of around £60.00 is good value. It's easy to use, and the results are pleasing to the eye. It won't please keen photographers, but for the casual snapper, there's a lot of bang for your buck. Currently, only Fuji's 14mp AV220 (Argos £60.00) offers better value for a branded camera. Refurbished models can be bought on EBay for around £40.00 with a memory card, but if you're after a new model...... Then the cheapest is ahem...... me!
When it comes to taking photo's I'm a bit of a bugger for it, and my friends will tell you that. I'm forever taking snaps on nights out of everyone from start to finish - it's always good to see the progression of drunkenness from the start to the end of the night on Facebook the next day. Photos of shame. I also love taking photos when I'm out and about during the day, especially in the summer when there's so many places to go and things to do. Now I'm due to have my first child I know that my photo taking is going to get even worse as I take pictures of my little ones firsts, and pretty much anything else she does so I can keep it and share with her when she grows up.
The Geeky Bit:
3 x optical zoom
5 x digital zoom
2.7in LCD Screen
Other Cool Stuff:
Red eye reduction
SD/SDHC Memory card compatibility
20 Scene Modes
I've had the C143 for a few months now, after replacing my old Kodak after it died a terrible death when I dropped it down the stairs and the lens broke. To be honest it had been through quite a rough time as I'd dropped it many times before, it had been caked in sand on my trips to the beach and it had been covered in sticky booze on nights out, I thought it would have died a long time before that. I was in my local Argos flicking through the laminated book of dreams when I found this cute little Kodak which came in a rather lush Red colour. You can also buy it in silver but to me it looks a little dull like that. I looked at the geeky bit, and had a quick nosy at all the picture taking features it had built in and it seemed like the one for me. The price was £59.99 which for me was the perfect price as that's pretty much what I had paid for my previous Kodak.
I've had absolutely no trouble with the C143, it's smooth sleek and easy to handle, and taking pictures is so simple. There are lots of cool little features built into the camera which make taking pictures easier than before, and the quality of the pictures themselves 9/10 times are brilliant. I especially love the face detection feature, this captures up to 5 faces in one photo, this means that when I've got a group of my friends together in a photo the camera isn't going to just focus on the one person, making the rest seem blurry and out of focus. All faces (up to 5) will be in the same sharp focused detail as the others. There is also built in red eye reduction, which OK doesn't completely get rid of all red eye in photos but it does reduce it drastically. I personally love a bit of red eye in photos, there's nothing better than looking like the Terminator! ha-ha!
When it comes to taking photos there are also cool features like the built in scene modes, which you can choose from yourself or let the camera choose for you. Scene modes are different styles of photo, this just means that certain settings are reduced or increased to have a different effect on the photo you've taken. Some of the scene modes include; Portrait mode, self portrait, sports mode, fireworks and loads more. Fireworks mode for example will help increase the brightness of your photo in the dark, and increase the colour saturations and such. It's good to have a little play around with the scenes yourself to see what they really do. You can change settings yourself like the brightness or contrast in the cameras menu's or let it do it's magic and change this for you.
Another brilliant feature of the C143 is that it has built in movie capture with sound. This means that I can record my adventures, or my friends drunken antics and soon to be my child first words, steps and little adventures of her own, and upload them straight to my Facebook or email them to my friends and family.
The LCD screen is 2.7inches and takes up pretty much the entire back of the camera, this doesn't bother me at all as it means less room for fiddly little buttons and more room for me to look at the photos I've taken. The quality of the screen is clear, sharp and the perfect size to see your photos in detail.
The camera is lightweight weighing in at just over 170g, it fits nicely in your hand and isn't bulky in the slightest. It requires 2 x AA batteries which are included with the Camera itself but I prefer to use Duracell Ultra which seem to last a lot longer for me than other batteries. When it comes to digital cameras I really wouldn't recommend using cheap own brand batteries as they simply don't last long enough. Yes they are cheap, but that is for a reason and it certainly isn't for picture taking.
Finally, when it comes to transferring your photos and videos to your laptop or desktop computer it couldn't be simpler. There is a direct print option if you want to hook it up to your photo printer, but I always just put my photos onto my laptop. There is a USB cable included with the camera which you simply plug into the camera and into your laptop or computer. From there software and anything your computer needs to let the camera do it's thing will install and the set up is complete. You can simply drag and drop your photos across and edit them, or put them straight onto Facebook, Myspace, Flickr or into your e-mails. If you have a card reader on your laptop or computer you can simply remove it from the camera and insert it into your computer and drag - drop the photos this way.
The Kodak Easyshare is currently on offer in Argos at £49.99 instead of £59.99, you may think is that it? But £10 off makes it even more of a bargain than when I bought it. Argos also have lots of offers to go with the camera when purchasing memory cards and other accessories so it's really worth checking out what they have on offer.
There really is nothing bad I could say about this camera, it's a great price, looks good and has fantastic features. It's not the camera for a professional picture taker or someone serious about photography but for someone like myself, or a young teenager or just for a general family camera it really is brilliant. It's easy to handle and even easier to use, anyone will be able to pick it up and start snapping.
==== First Impressions ====
Forget features like multiple exposure, shutter speed and imaging sensors. The thing that most attracted me to this camera was the fact it came in red. Let me explain: I have spent years with standard silver cameras. In group situations when everyone wants a photo taken on their camera, it can be vaguely confusing working out whose camera is whose afterwards, when they're all on the table together. But if I had a red camera, I thought, that would be a thing of the past. Of course I also looked at the description of the camera, but really once I'd seen the colour, I was already 90% sold. There are many cameras in the Kodak Easyshare range, and mine is the C143 model.
I bought this camera in January 2011 from Amazon, using Dooyoo vouchers. It cost about £50 - more than I tend to spend on cameras but then I tend to buy cheap ones that don't last. I decided this would be an investment so I could afford a little more (and I know it's still super cheap compared to some models). Like laptops, I was impressed by how much the quality had increased and the cost had reduced since I last bought a camera.
The camera is ready to use straight from the box which was a bonus - I hate buying things and waiting eagerly for them to be delivered, only to find I have to spend ages formatting them or going through set up etc. The camera takes 2 AA batteries, and these are supplied. Also in the box is a wrist strap, a USB cable (very important - see later) and an instruction guide - two, in fact, a detailed one and a quick start. The camera is standard sized meaning it will go in any average camera case. They don't supply one (not even one of those thin little fabric covers) but I got a great one, also from Amazon, for under a fiver (search 'Lupo camera bag' on here to see it).
Having used many cameras before, both my own and other people's, I had no difficulties figuring this one out, at least for the basic features. The buttons are labelled with the standard symbols (weird squiggly lightning bolt for Flash etc) although the fact that some are on the top and some are on the back was new for me. Something I appreciated from the get go was the fact that the on/off button was not also the picture taking button as it can be on some cameras. In fact, they're not even next to each other, so you can't accidentally switch it off at a crucial moment or so on. On this model they have combined the picture taking button with the zoom - you pull the little blob to one side to zoom in or out, and press down to take which is much better from my point of view.
==== Faster Than Fairies, Faster Than Witches ====
The camera is very quick, both in switching on and in responding to your requests. Many a time I've missed a shot because my camera has been off while I've been driving past something, or a bird or animal has been crossing my path, but with this camera it takes longer to get it out of the case than actually switch it on, and it goes from off to photo ready in a mere 3 seconds. It takes a split second longer than you might expect for a photo that has been taken to appear on the screen for review, but this only seems the case really because everything else is so quick.
I am not a photographer: I am someone who likes to take photos. I take them of everything from landscapes to monuments to food to friends and I have no desire to set up the shots carefully or fiddle around with settings. I simply want to point and shoot, and for that this camera is excellent. The focus is automatic and quick, and it picks up colours beautifully. With 12 megapixels and blur reduction, the clarity is great, and though the zoom is only x3 (pretty much the minimum these days) it has never proved anything less than sufficient for me.
==== Grand Designs ====
The camera is well designed, both easy to hold and easy to use, even before you become familiar with the position of the various controls. The back of the camera display is amazingly clear and a virtually identical representation of what the photo will look like when you upload it. It's a big screen, too, taking up almost all the back of the camera unlike on my previous one where it was only about half the size it could have been. The icons also show clearly on the screen, so you can tell whether the flash is on or off, whether the self timer is on or off and so on.
==== It Just Keeps Going And Going ====
The battery life on this camera is outstanding. I resent paying lots of money for batteries that only last for a dozen shots, but this has been used almost daily for more than 2 months with the original batteries and the battery indicator hasn't even dropped one bar yet. However, mentioning the batteries has reminded me of the one thing that really bugs me about this model. The SD card slots in next to the batteries, and since I tend to use my SD reader rather than the cord to move my photos to my computer, this means I have to open the sliding cover every few days. While it's quite easy to open it up, and remove the card or batteries as needed, it is much trickier to shut it again. It appears to be spring mounted, and never slides as smoothly as it should, so I always worry I've got the angle wrong and am going to break it. While the camera could handle the odd dent or scratch, if this cover broke it would literally be the end of the world as there would be nothing left holding the batteries in place. Simply put, it doesn't feel as robust as it should, or as well designed as the rest of the nice, sturdy camera.
The reason I tend to use the SD reader on my laptop rather than plug in the camera is two-fold. One, it is quicker to do so as you're only waiting for the laptop to detect the card, not for the camera to react as well. Two, I have to locate the right cable. Previously I had one USB cable that fit my camera and my MP3 player, and my phone as well, which was super handy. They were all the standard size, so it worked. The port on the camera is, however, not normal sized, so you have to use the specific, supplied cable. Which, as you can imagine, in a drawer strewn with cables and chargers, takes some finding.
==== More Features Than Blockbuster ====
The camera has a lot of features which I am only beginning to explore, because they don't interest me all that much. These include the burst feature - lots of photos in quick succession - and the option to change to black and white or sepia, though the one exception, i.e the one I am interested in, is the self-timer (since I travel alone, but need proof I've been places!) This has two options, for 2 second and 10 second, and is easy to use, meaning I've not had to resort to those up-nose, at arm's-length shots yet that so many people on here favour for their profile pics...
It has a video feature that produces films as good as any phone. It's easy to switch between photos and filming, but since it takes up more memory I tend to film only the really vital stuff and just snap away at anything else. What counts as vital? Well, at a cheese and wine on Sunday, 4 of the 5 camera present thought it vital to film the host's dog as he performed his tricks in an attempt to earn some cracker crumbs.
==== Safety First ====
Once in Mexico I let a friend use my camera to view the photos on their SD card as their camera's screen had cracked. A few minutes in and an anguished wail came my way, as he managed to delete ALL his photos (from 6 months into a round the world trip) with the incorrect press of a button. With this in mind I am always cautious about deleting photos, fearing I might select 'all' when I mean 'one' but this camera has built in safeties with a double check AND an undo-delete feature which I've not come across on cheaper models. As an extra bonus it has the option to protect photos, which gives you an additional prompt before deletion of protected work.
==== Function Over Fashion? ====
Though I tend to leave my camera in general mode, I appreciate that others may have more time / patience to fiddle around with more appropriate settings. This camera has 12 options, which seemed pretty much the same as on my last camera (a completely different model). They include auto, sport, portrait, snow and fireworks but they're just a little niche for me. The standard 'Smart Capture' does the work for me, and I've never looked at a picture and thought it would have been better with a specific setting.
==== Easier Than Katie Price? (Over)sharing More Than, erm, Katie Price? ====
For normal use you don't need any specific software to upload the photos to your computer. However if you want to Easyshare you need to install the relevant enabler. The Easyshare feature intrigued me but I didn't learn much about it before I purchased the camera. I had decided in my mind it must have some sort of snazzy wifi built in, and I was looking forward to trying it out. That's not quite the case, and I've found the Easyshare aspect of the camera to be more of a gimmick than anything. The way it works is, once you've formatted it, it will upload photos automatically to your place of choice as long as said place is one of the following: Facebook, flickr, YouTube, Kodak Gallery or your email and as long as you plug your camera in to a computer with an active internet connection. During the set up phase it asks for your log in details, passwords etc, and stores these, so that when you want to share you can just plug the camera into the computer and press the Share button. Personally I don't find it takes long to upload photos manually on Facebook etc, so I don't tend to use this feature as it only does half the work: it will upload them but if you want to tag them, caption them, or put them in a relevant photo album, you have to go in and do that yourself. If you could upload straight from the camera I might be more interested, but since you have to be next to your computer anyway I don't really see the advantage.
==== Been There, Done That, Got The Date Stamp To Prove It ====
I personally don't like date and time stamped photo (should I ever need to provide a proof of life ransom photo, and no newspaper is handy, I may change my mind) so I am glad that, although you can include these on your photos, the default setting does not include them. You can also tag photos but again, this seems a little odd, as if I want people to see my pics I upload them to Facebook, I don't pass my camera round to show them photos of themselves... I also find the optional slide show gratingly slow so I prefer to scroll through the photos manually. For showing people photos on the LCD screen, I was quite taken with the rotate feature - I always rotate when I upload (because sideways photos look naff, don't they?) but being able to do it on the camera itself isn't half fancy. You can also crop photos - basically all the 'edit' features from a computer, right there on your camera.
==== Finally....2 Thumbs Up====
This camera achieves the double whammy of being simple and easy to use, but producing great photos too, even for inexperienced photographers. I have been extremely impressed by this camera. As a Kodak model, and not the cheapest on the market, I expected it to be fairly good, but in my opinion it's great, and short of dropping it in a swimming pool, I expect it to last me a nice long time. For the average amateur photographer I would highly recommend this model.
First was impressed with how this camera looked,its light and nice design but misses out the slim look like previous Kodak easyshare cameras.Its easy to use without having to read the manual first,slot the batterys in,sd card if you got one as this does not come with it. The zoom with the camera is great but can be fiddaly at first.Has great choice of flash and a flash for red-eye.the video playback is good quality too. The camera has no software cd in the box.Just connect to your computer via usb connection and download via online. This took bit of time as i wasnt sure if it had worked.If you select the smart capture, it performs well indeed,VERY impressive! This camera has a little red button that can Direct upload to Facebook, YouTube, Flicker and Kodak Gallery sites with Kodak Share button. The camera has these qualitys-12 mega pixels. Silver. 3 x optical zoom. 2.7in LCD screen. Features PictBridge compatible. Anti-blur. Face detection up to 5 faces. Red eye reduction. Memory card compatibility: SD/SDHC. Movie capture with sound. Splashproof. Self timer. Built-in flash. General information USB cable carry strap. Batteries required 2 x AA (included). However i must say the kodak batteries do not last as long as you think. You couldnt leave your camera on waiting for that special shot, and turning it on and off soon wears them down.This camera is easy to use once you know how and takes brilliant pictures.Just the batteries that let it down.