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Kodak EasyShare M873
- Slim design, long exposure mode
- Chromatic aberration issues, noise is a little higher than usual, sluggish burst mode and interface
Kodak's M873 is a decent but not outstanding compact camera. The long exposure feature is nice and it is both slim and sturdy, but the pictures are marred by prominent haloing and a slightly grainy look.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
Spoiled for choice is the phrase we'd use to describe anyone looking to acquire a compact digital camera these days. The competition is hot and companies are adjusting, releasing units stuffed with higher resolution sensors and more features. Kodak's EasyShare M873 is a decent example of this, packing together an 8-megapixel sensor with a 3x optical zoom and a few nifty functions such as long exposure mode and digital image stabilisation. However, there are some image quality and general operation issues that make this purchase less attractive than it should be.
We ran our standard combination of tests, including our software Imatest, and the M873 achieved mixed results. Its pictures were sharp at times, with a score of 1658 in this area. However, we noticed some fringing in our test shots and at times clarity was a little lacking. There was also some over sharpening evident in high detail areas, which were also picked up by Imatest. This has the effect of making shots look a little cell shaded.
This can largely be attributed to the extremely high levels of chromatic aberration, for which Imatest awarded a score of 0.241 per cent. This is a massive result, far worse than we've seen from most cameras recently and has a strong impact on the pictures, which results in blurring and haloing in most areas of high contrast.
Similarly, image noise was also higher than normal, leading to a loss of clarity. While it wasn't terrible, Imatest's score of 0.96 per cent is higher than normal and our pictures were grainier than we've come to expect. Colour representation was decent, with the M873 scoring 10.9 in Imatest's colour check. All the primary colours exhibited some minor error, but it wasn't too worrying and most users will be satisfied with this camera's colour performance.
We also ran the usual speed tests, and the M873 performed quite well. While its 0.09-second shutter lag is a tad on the sluggish side, it only took 1.8 seconds between shots. Start up time resulted in a decent 2.8 seconds. However, the burst mode disappointed quite a bit, capturing a mere one frame per second.
Another speed issue we encountered was with the interface. There is only a single menu; unlike many other manufacturers, Kodak hasn't followed the trend of having a separate display specifically for imaging functions. Nevertheless, the single menu can be very sluggish to respond, at times taking half a second or more to open and close. This makes basic navigation and changing settings a pain.
The feature set is fairly standard, with a variety of metering and focus modes as well as white balance presets (but no custom option). ISO sensitivities scale from 100 through to 1600 and this allows for digital image stabilisation (increasing the sensitivity to reduce blurring); however, we wouldn't recommend using it often as shots are too noisy at anything above ISO 400. One other notable feature is the long exposure mode, which gives users slightly more flexibility, allowing for those funky blurry shots of a moving subject with the background still in focus.
Aesthetically, the M873 is fairly smooth and sports a slim design that will appeal to people after something more inconspicuous. It is constructed of silver metal and feels extremely sturdy.
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