Kodak EasyShare M1063
A compact 10-megapixel camera that is very easy to use.
- Small and easy to use, plenty of scene modes to choose from
- No manual or program mode, images are muddy, bright daylight shots were overexposed
For under $200, this point-and-shoot compact camera is a reasonable offering, but don't expect super-clear, well-exposed and noise-free images. It's strictly a camera for anyone who doesn't want to mess with manual settings and just wants something simple with which to capture images that will be uploaded to the Web.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Kodak's EasyShare M1063 is an affordable camera that's suitable only for users who want a basic unit with which to just aim and shoot. It's a camera that will suit kids and anyone who doesn't want to think about what settings they are using. However, it's not ideal for users who want a camera with which to learn about photography.
It doesn't have dedicated manual or program modes, but there are 17 scene presets to choose from and they can be fun to play around with. You can easily switch between scenes by hitting the OK button on the back of the camera and navigating through the selections by using the direction pad.
The dial atop the camera allows you to switch between different shooting modes: auto, landscape, blur reduction, close-up, scene, high ISO and video. The dial isn't well designed — it can't rotate 360 degrees, so if you're using the last setting (video) you have to turn it back the other way. The use of a dial makes it feel more like a conventionally designed camera, unlike the EasyShare M1033, which has a more streamlined design and lets you change modes via the menu system.
You will probably do most of your shooting in auto mode, which will produce acceptable images overall. However, you shouldn't expect stellar clarity, exposure and detail. Colours were not overly vibrant but also didn't look underdone. The M1063's 10-megapixel sensor takes huge images but they look a little blotchy and feathered around the edges when scrutinised in their full size. They will look much better when examined at a scaled-down resolution. Basically, the M1063 will be fine if you want to take photos for Facebook or Flickr while around the house, at the beach or on a sunny holiday. If you're a real estate agent looking for something to take well-illuminated, highly detailed, flash-less pictures of bedrooms and bathrooms, you'll end up with noisy and slightly blurred pictures.
In auto mode the camera will restrict itself to using an ISO sensitivity between 64 and 160, which will leave images relatively noise free. It's the ideal mode for outside photos and indoor shots where you have plenty of light, although it did overexpose white tones on a bright day while outdoors. Chromatic aberration was also noticeable, with contrasting colour areas showing purple fringing and, in some cases, green fringing.
Higher ISO settings up to 1000 can be selected manually, but they will introduce plenty of noise into pictures. It's probably best not to use this camera in dark environments (such as a cafe or bar) or at night, unless you can use the flash and leave the ISO low. In saying that, you can get creative by adding more noise to your shots while playing around with them on your PC, to give them that arty look.
Flash photography is only effective with your subject no more than a couple of metres away from you. Any further and they will look underexposed. There is no optical image stabilisation, but there is a blur reduction mode than can be used to combat shaking hands. It did a reasonable job during indoor shots where the shutter became as slow as 1/15th of a second; any slower and the blur in our pictures became too obvious.
The M1063 is approximately the same size as the M1033, so it will happily travel in your pocket, but it has a slightly smaller zoom lens: 32-96mm. It's not ideal for capturing distant subjects, but it does a good job of landscape and macro shots. We noticed some slight barrel roll in our test shots, but it wasn't enough to be problematic. Macro shooting can be done with the camera at approximately 11cm away from your subject, and the camera has a relatively narrow focal point, which will surround your subject with a nice blurry background.
Face detection mode is present on this model; it will focus on faces and track them across the 2.7in LCD screen. The camera has the same metering modes as other compact cameras (centre-weighted, multi-pattern and centre spot). It helps to play around with these modes if your pictures are turning out dark or overexposed, with the only caveat being you will have to switch off face detection.
There's not much more to say about the M1063, except that it has an easy-to-use menu and logically laid out controls. It accepts SD memory cards, but it also has 16MB of built-in memory (which is enough for only a couple of shots at the maximum resolution). You can capture videos at up to 640x480, and you can also tag photos with audio notes and text. With its sub-$200 price tag, it's an entry-level camera that is well worth considering. However, like with most cameras in this price range you shouldn't expect great image quality.
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