By Josh Fate
Timing Test Results
|The Kodak EasyShare M530 is an entry-level camera with just a few extra useful features. It performs and features very good image quality for a camera in its price range. |
Pick This Up If...
are looking for a compact digicam that will be someone's first digital camera or it is perfect for situations when the camera will only be used on occasion. It is easy enough for anyone to operate. |
This compact camera is easy to hold and operate with either one hand or two. The large buttons and simple menus make changing settings quick and easy. Kodak's one-touch "Share" button also allows you to upload images directly to your favorite media sharing website when you plug the camera into your PC. Framing and viewing your images is done with the 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot LCD screen. With adjustable brightness control and an anti-glare coating, it is easy to see in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight.
Looking at our outdoor sample images we can see that the camera provides good overall exposures and colors, whether you are shooting in Smart Capture or Program mode. The overcast sky did cause some overexposure, but the subjects in our images are good. Composing your images is done with the 3x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 36-108mm. This is a very mediocre wide end, but it will allow you to capture descent landscapes and group portraits as long as you take a step or two back. Throughout our samples you can see some chromatic aberrations and a noticeable amount of noise in the dark, low contrast areas.
Our indoor images show that the camera is not incredibly accurate with its metering and exposures. As you look at each image, the brightness and color tone changes slightly but noticeably. Image noise is kept in check on the lower ISO settings, but at ISO 800 it becomes unacceptable. Assisting with your indoor and other low-light shots is the small built-in flash with a range of up to 13.1ft. at ISO 400. This will assist you as long as you stay close to your subjects but don't expect it to light more than a small room.
Kodak's face detection works well, quickly recognizing a face and following it. The camera then sets the camera to properly expose the face instead of the rest of the image. The faces of your favorite subjects can also be saved in the camera. The camera will then recognize a saved face and tag it whenever it comes into the frame. These tags also carry over when you upload your images to Facebook, FLICKR or Kodak Galleries.
While all digicams are capable of recording video, most have taken the leap and include 720p HD video capture. The M530 has not, leaving you with the TV standard 640x480 resolution. These videos play back smoothly, but they do show a moderate amount of noise in less than perfect lighting, as shown in our sample. The built-in mic is very sensitive, allowing you easily pick up the audio of subject if it close to the camera, however, it also picks up all other sounds that are close the camera as well. To help avoid these background noises, be careful where you position yourself while shooting and try to stay out of the wind and away from A/C units and furnaces.
Powering the M530 is a 740mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. While this is a smaller battery, it allowed us to easily capture 120 images while completing our tests, making Kodak's claims of 200 shots per charge very believable. While this is good for this size of battery, it is still a small battery and 200 shots is not a lot. You will want to have a spare battery charged and on hand at all times. This is a little more difficult than with some other cameras, since Kodak includes a USB adapter instead of an external charger.
Bottom Line - Kodak's Easyshare M530 is your basic point-n-shoot digicam. With a 12.2-Megapixel imaging sensor, 3x optical zoom lens and face detection with recognition, this is a very basic camera with a couple, very useful extras. Image quality and performance are good and very good respectively for an entry level model at the bottom of the price range with its MSRP of US $129.95.
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