Timing Test Results
|The M575 is a capable little pocket camera that is light on the wallet. We had minimal issues with this camera, and it seemed to produce nice photos rather quickly the majority of the time we used it. |
Pick This Up If...
|You are one who wants an affordable pocket camera that offers some standard features. |
Build quality is pretty good for a sub $180 camera. The body is built with a combination of plastic and metal, giving it a good solid feel in your hands. All of the various controls are laid out in a comfortable manner, just within reach of your right thumb and index finger. The 3.0-inch LCD worked well in various lighting conditions, and with 230,000 pixels offers a decent picture. Overall, for a camera in this price range the display is quite nice.
For the most part, image quality is pleasing. Photos are nice and sharp with strong contrast. Colors are very realistic when using the default "natural" setting, with just a touch of increased saturation to make them "pop" a bit. One issue I saw outdoors was when viewing images at 100%. If you look at our small statue shot, you can see the grass looks very weird; almost like it was painted or drawn in. This is surely from some post processing algorithm Kodak is using to enhance fine detail. At normal viewing sizes (and small to mid sized prints), you're not likely going to see this. For the most part, the 5x optical zoom helped the M575 capture sharp images. However, at f/4.2 the camera seemed to have some serious softness issues which made just about every image captured at that aperture setting look horrible. During our tests, the camera chose this aperture value for both our Cannon and M&M man shots, which look pretty bad. We also noticed typical amounts of barrel distortion at the wide end of the 28 - 140mm equivalent zoom range.
Shooting people or portrait style photos is a breeze thanks to Kodak's face detection/recognition system. It worked very well during our tests, finding and locking onto multiple targets quickly. Once locked on your subject's face, it produces a nice sharp image with good facial detail. The flash is quite weak, so be sure you are within the effective range when indoors. I found it worked "ok" as a fill-in unit outdoors, however it seems about 5-6 feet is the maximum effective range when the ISO is set to a lower setting. With the face recognition feature, your favorite "faces" can be saved in the camera. The camera will then recognize a saved face and tag it whenever it comes into the frame. As mentioned earlier, these tags also carry over when you upload your images to Facebook, FLICKR or Kodak Galleries.
Like most digicams on the market today, the M575 offers video capture at either HD (High Definition, 720p) or SD (Standard Definition, 640x480) resolutions, with a fixed frame rate of 30fps. While the M575 captures decent HD video, don't expect the quality to compare to a good HD digital camcorder. The zoom is Not accessible while recording, however you can preset the desired focal length. I strongly suggest not using the digital zoom option while recording video, unless absolutely necessary. Remember indoors your videos can get a bit grainy in low lighting due to the camera boosting the sensitivity, and the microphone is Very sensitive; you'll likely hear background noises in your video that you did not notice while recording.
Battery life is average for a camera of this size and price. Kodak claims the small KLIC-7006, 3.7V 740mAh Li-ion battery can power the M575 for up to 220 photos. I captured over 100 still photos and several short video clips, along with extensive use of the menu system and playback functions, and the camera is still showing the battery level at about 1/2 full. So, Kodak's 220 photo claim sounds very accurate. We recommend you pick up a spare pack if you are planning a vacation or an extended day of shooting. One issue however with a spare pack, the battery is charged in the camera using the USB cable; there is no external AC battery changer to allow you to charge one pack while using another.
Bottom Line - The Kodak EasyShare M575 is a nice addition to their M-series line of affordable compact digicams. With speedy shooting performance, average image quality, and a capable Smart Capture exposure mode, the M575 is sure to please the average user looking to capture simple snap shots. The only real issues we had with this camera were some over processing which caused some "fake" looking fine details (grass blades for example) and the softness problem we encountered when the camera chose an aperture setting of f/4.2. That said, with a street price of $179.95 US or less, the EasyShare M575 has a lot to offer for such an inexpensive camera.
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