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I remember reading somewhere that Kodak designed some of the very first digital camera's, but were loathe to take on the technology as they worried it would have a large impact on the revenue they gained via the format of 35mm film. As such they were 'late to the game' in rolling out consumer cameras in a digital format and started dropping further down the scales in terms of market share. As it stands they have now decided that photography is no longer a profitable market for them and their business is having serious struggles. That said Kodak still has its followers and there are some digital cameras made by them on the market today.
What is it?
This camera is called the 'Kodak Fun Saver FD3' (no idea what the FD3 stands for, maybe someone else can enlighten me). It's a low end digital compact with a price that reflects.
The specifications of this camera in brief are 12 megapixels, 2 AA batteries, SD card slot, standard definition video, 2.4" LCD screen
Appearance and ease of use:
Kodak have made a rather cheap looking camera here - it's very plasticy feeling and incredibly light weight, basically it doesn't feel like a quality product but more like a fake model for display purposes. The materials used also make it feel like due to it's flimsy nature it would probably be fairly easy to break.
On one side is a bulge that is there to accomodate the AA batteries, it also serves as a grip which, all credit to Kodak, does sit quite nicely in the hand. There's also a small area on the back which has been left empty of buttons to enable you to put your thumb somewhere without selecting any functions accidentally.
The 2.4" LCD screen is fairly small by modern standards and the resolution is low, however it's still fairly easy to see the subject matter you are photographing despite this. The buttons are well laid out on the back with their functions clearly denoted - hand in hand with this goes the on screen menu's which are also easy to navigate making this camera simple and easy to use.
The start up is quick, taking about 1 second to be functional and image deletion is done one at a time in playback mode (format is available via the menu).
One thing which should be considered, as it has become standard on many modern cameras, is that the automatic function is not intelligent, which is to say it does not scene detect.
Costing about £40 online for genuine UK stock, you can expect to pay up to about £60 on the highstreet including a card and case. As such there's no denying this is a bottom of the market digital compact.
Quality of results:
This is the most important part of any camera and however good the rest of a camera is - if the results don't match your requirements then you need to carry on looking as you'll never be happy.
Now we've already covered the fact that this is a cheap camera so the results aren't exactly going to blow anyone away - if the photos were that good then Kodak wouldn't be struggling and there would be no need for bigger, more expensive cameras on the market. This really is a case of you get what you pay for.
I found that the images are very soft (lack of edge definition and lots of grain/noise) which of course only gets worse if you crop in on an image, they also look a bit sickly. If you use the flash to try and reduce the grain levels it seems to give slightly underexposed results with a magenta tinge to them.
There is a panoramic mode, using a stitch overlay method - ideally you need to use a tripod to get the best out of this function, otherwise it's hard to get the horizons straight. That said 'll give credit where it's sue and the inbuilt software seems pretty good at lining the images up.
If you like macro in particular then this probably isn't the camera for you - compared to the large majority of compacts on the market, the minimum focus on this camera isn't brilliant. Personally I found I couldn't get much closer than 10cm and retain sharp focus on the subject.
In terms of the video functionality - this is only standard definition as opposed to HD. The camera allows you to zoom in and out while recording and when playing back you can't hear the sound from the lens motor which is a plus, as you can on many other cameras. On the downside the the quality is very poor as you zoom in (puts me in mind of a web camera), it looks alright though if you keep zoomed out.
Who would like this camera?
Where I work I frequently get requests for a 'simple' point and shoot digital camera, often for the older generation who are used to using focus free, zoom free, 35mm film cameras - this camera certainly has more functions and buttons than that, but is about as simple and easy to use as any digital camera you are likely to get. As such it could be a great first choice for someone who wants to move on to digital, but may struggle getting to grips with technology.
Another market that may like this camera is children - it's cheap so if they break it it's not the end of the world and once again it's easy to use, plus as kids aren't really concerned with quality of results, they'll quite happily snap away photos of anything and everything with this.