Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
kodak_m580_450.jpg
  • 14-Megapixel CCD image sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens: 35mm equivalent of 28-224mm
  • Image stabilization
  • 3.0-inch, 230K pixel LCD screen
  • 720p HD video capture; Quick Time H.264 codec
  • Face Detection and Recognition Software
  • Smart Capture auto mode
  • EasyShare button and software
  • Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery
  • SD/SDHC memory card slot
  • HDMI output
  • 64MB internal memory

Pros
  • Versatile 8x optical zoom lens
  • 28-224mm focal range
  • Excellent image quality from Smart Capture
  • Small but powerful built-in flash
  • 720p videos with Quick Time H.264 codec
  • EasyShare software allows one touch uploading to several web sites and email
Cons
  • Tricky shooting mode and shutter release buttons
  • Noise in darker and lower contrast areas
  • Poor Program mode image quality
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 3.4  seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = 2/10 - 6/10 of a second, depending on AF change
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 2.44 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.92 seconds
  • Burst mode = 1.07fps (3 images in 2.8 seconds) 3 image max at 14-Megapixels
Bottom Line
The Kodak EasyShare M580 is a compact 14-Megapixel camera with a versatile 8x optical zoom lens, face detection and recognition, and 720p HD video capture. It performs well and captures great images when using Smart Capture.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an affordable, yet versatile compact digicam that is easy enough for anyone to use for capturing images and HD videos.
Leading the way in Kodak's sleek and stylish line of cameras is the EasyShare M580. Featuring a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 8x optical zoom lens, Image Stabilization, 720p HD video and Kodak EasyShare software, this is one of the easiest cameras on the market to shoot and share your images with. The EasyShare software allows you to tag, edit, transfer and upload your images to your computer, e-mail or social networking site (facebook, YouTube, flickr) with just the touch of a button (and a USB cable of course). 

Operating the M580 can be difficult until you get used to the shutter release and shooting mode button being split (which can be see on the physical views page). While shooting, it is very easy to hit the mode button, or even easier to hit the shutter release while trying to change the shooting mode. Other than that, camera operation is very simple. Framing and viewing your images is accomplished on the 3.0-inch, 230,000 dot LCD screen. This screen is bright and easy to see in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, although you may see some reflections. 

Performance from the M580 is good for a digicam under $200. It is able to capture its first image in 3.4 seconds after being turned on (camera starts in smart capture mode). Shutter lag is less than 1/10 of a second when the camera is pre-focused and between 2/10 and 6/10 of a second when allowing the auto focus to work, depending on available light and zoom. In single shot mode, the camera is able to capture 5 images in 12.2 seconds or 5 images in 14.6 seconds if you are using the flash. Finally the camera's burst mode allows it to capture 3, 14-Megapixel images in just 2.8 seconds before filling the buffer. All of our tests were completed using a RiDATA Pro 120x 2GB SD card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise. All times may vary depending on lighting, camera settings, media, etc.

The quality of our outdoor image samples is excellent, showing good exposures and vivid colors from the images captured while the camera is in Smart Capture mode. While shooting in program mode, the images look slightly overexposed and the colors are very dull in comparison. Helping you compose your shots is an 8x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 28-224mm. This range is great for shooting vast landscapes and group portraits on the wide end, while the telephoto end does a good job of getting you closer to a distant subject. On the wide end of the zoom you will see some barrel distortion, which is common with a wide lens. You will also notice when looking at the images at 100%, that there is a noticeable amount of noise in the image, especially in the darker areas. This is something that we have seen on all 12 and 14-Megapixel compact digicams that are currently on the market.

Our indoor samples show a great deal of detail within the images along with producing very accurate colors. At the lower ISO settings, you can still see a little more noise than you would like to, which softens some of the edges in dark and low contrast areas. Assisting with your low-light situations is a built-in flash with a range of up to 9.8ft. (wide angle) at ISO 200. It had no problem lighting the indoor shot from 5ft. away at ISO 80, and at the same time, keeping the same color balance as the non-flash shots. While shooting in macro mode, the camera chose a very high ISO when shooting without the flash, but produced a descent image with it. You can see that the lens does block the flash on left side of the image when shooting with it enabled.

Capturing portraits is very easy whether you are shooting in Smart Capture or using the Portrait scene mode. Both modes allow the camera to quickly detect and follow any faces within the frame. This camera also features face recognition, which allows it to store and recognize up to 20 different faces, although it can only handle 5 at a time in a single frame. When the camera recognizes a face, it will automatically tag it for you, saving you time when you upload to one of the camera's social networking sites.

The M580's movie mode works great when capturing a still image just isn't enough. Shooting either 1280x720 or 640x480 resolution video with sound, the video is clear and keeps the moving subject in focus very well. The 8x optical zoom is not available for use while the camera is recording, but it can be set before hand. Our movies played back smoothly and can be watched on a computer, standard TV with an optional A/V cable or on an HDTV with an optional HDMI cable. Sound is captured on the camera's built-in mic, which is very sensitive. You can hear the wind and lawnmower in the background, neither of which were that obvious while recording. To help cut down on background noises, try to stay away from furnaces, air conditioners and out of the wind.

Powering the M580 is a 3.7V, 740mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery allowed us to capture over 130 images and videos on a single charge while the battery icon still shows ½ power. This easily supports Kodak's claims of being able to capture 200 images on a single charge (CIPA). Keeping a second battery charged and on hand is a little more difficult since the battery is charged inside the camera, but it is still a good idea. The M580 is charged via the USB port and includes an adapter that allows you to plug it into any US outlet.

Bottom Line - The Kodak EasyShare M580 is an incredibly easy to use, very versatile digicam featuring a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 8x optical zoom lens, Smart Capture automatic scene selection and 720p HD video capture. Shooting in Smart Capture mode produced excellent quality images, better than the images that we captured in Program mode. We did see some noise in our images, but we have seen this same level of noise in all of the 14-Megapixel digicams that we have tested recently. With a MSRP of US $199.95, this is an excellent camera that is leading the way with features at this price.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.