Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Kodak EasyShare M1033
A simple compact camera for first-time users.
- Simple to use, clean layout, useful long exposure mode, good macro mode
- Pictures look blotchy and feathered when viewed at their full size, no manual mode
If you're not a stickler for quality and just want something that's small and easy to use when photographing your kids at play or your mates at the beach, the M1033 is a decent option.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Kodak’s M1033 will suit people who are purchasing their first digital camera and want something that is simple to use and will take decent photos. The M1033’s layout and interface are so well designed that you can learn how to use all of the camera's features in a single afternoon.
It’s a light and thin compact camera with a 10-megapixel sensor, a 35-105mm (35mm equivalent) 3x optical zoom lens, and a 3in LCD screen. Unlike most cameras, you won’t find any dials or levers — only a thumb-control, four control buttons and a zoom button on the rear; shutter, power, mode, and flash buttons across the top.
There are only four modes to play with: smart picture, program, scene and video. Without a manual mode, not all exposure settings can be customised; program mode does give you some flexibility by letting you adjust the ISO speed, focus mode, exposure compensation, white balance and light metering. Scene mode is useful for when you will be taking a specific type of shot — there are 22 settings to choose from.
Face detection is also available, and it worked effectively during our tests: it was able to focus on and track a face from one end of the frame to the other.
The key to taking good pictures with the M1033 is to shoot in well-lit environments. This will help keep the ISO sensitivity low and shutter speed high so that shaky hands don’t have too much effect on photos. You don’t have to worry too much about the settings if shooting outdoors on a bright day, but photos taken indoors or at night might end up cruel victims of the low light.
Shots look best at ISO 64 and ISO 100, but at higher sensitivities (200 and above), pictures start to look very blotchy. In smart picture mode, the camera will decide all of the settings itself, which means that many night and low-light indoor shots will be shot at ISO 200 or even ISO 1600, and therefore look blotchy; shots taken without a flash will be too blurry, as there is no optical image stabilisation and the camera will tend to use a shutter speed lower than 1/10th of a second.
We found the M1033’s image quality to passable, especially for users who just want to record their grandkids at the park or mates doing goofy things at the beach and aren’t too concerned about having the crispest and most vibrant shots. But overall, images did look soft and had feathered edges, which is something that most Kodak cameras suffer from. On the plus side, there wasn’t any noticeable fringing in high-contrast areas.
If anything, the softness and feathered edges are things we’ve gotten used to from Kodak and they now carry a certain charm. The softness won’t be an issue if you upload your photos to Flickr, or another photo sharing Web site, at a size up to 1024x768 pixels, for example, but will be very noticeable when you view photos at their 100 per cent resolution (3648x2736).
The M1033 captures good detail in macro mode and allows you to get up close — approximately 5cm — to your subjects, and it has a decent long exposure mode. This is a welcome feature, as the aperture and shutter speed can’t be manually changed. It allows you to plonk the camera on a tripod and expose your shots for 1, 2, 4 or 8 seconds. With a little practice you can get creative and take some interesting portraits or landscape shots in long exposure mode.
Even though the lens does not have a huge zoom there was some distortion in our photos, with horizontal lines being slightly curved. It wasn’t enough to ruin the shots, but it was noticeable.
While the M1033’s image quality might not be the best, it’s still relatively good and it's one of the easiest digital cameras to use. Pick up this camera if you want something that won’t make your brain hurt.
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