Kodak M883 Review

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Kodak Easyshare M883

Steve's Conclusion

Sitting on top of the Kodak M-series is the EasyShare M883. It is a slim and stylish ultra-compact 8-Megapixel camera that is available in several different colors (silver, black, and red). Sporting a 3x optical zoom, 3-inch LCD screen, and Kodak's EasyShare capabilities, this is a good camera for anyone that likes to print and e-mail pictures with just the touch of a button. It also includes Face Detection, 640x480 video capture modes, and 22 pre-programmed scene modes.

This camera is very compact and stylish, one of the smallest that I have seen that features a 3-inch LCD screen. The metal body is not only sturdy but attractive and is available in three colors. Because it is so thin, it can be hard for a person with large hands to take pictures with only one hand, but it is very comfortable to use via the "pinch" technique. The controls located on the back are clearly marked and easy to use. The directional button does take a little time to get used to because it is more like a small joystick. The LCD is very bright and easy to see, but does show some reflections in bright light. It gains up nicely in low-light situations to help you in framing your shots. One feature that disappointed us, was that the M883 only outputs video when using an optional EasyShare Camera Dock. This means you can not plug the camera into your TV set to share pictures with friends and family unless you purchase this device.

The shooting performance was a little less than desirable, because the camera takes a long time to save its images to the memory card. It takes 3.3 seconds on startup before you are able to take your first picture. It has a very minimal shutter delay when the camera is pre-focused, at 1/10 of a second, but takes over a half second when you include the AF system. In single drive mode, you will be able to capture an image every 3.5 seconds or every 4 to 5 seconds if you are using the flash (depending on light, distance and battery power). There is also a continuous shooting mode, that shoots without the flash. This mode performs very well taking 6, 8-megapixel images in just 4 seconds, however this fills the buffer and you have to wait for it to clear before you can start shooting again. All test were done using a Lexar Professional 133X 2GB SD card, using 8MP image size, flash off, and all other settings at the factory defaults. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

Image quality from the M883 was ok at best. There was a lot of noise that is noticeable in all of the photographs no matter what the ISO setting is. The exposures are good, and the colors are bright and vivid, however the light areas (sky blues and light whites and yellows) really show the noise in the outdoor photos that have an ISO setting of 64. The 3x zoom, with a 35mm equivalent of 38mm - 114mm, is nice for shooting landscape shots and group portraits, however, it is not big enough to get close to a distant object. There was very little purple fringing (chromatic aberrations) and very little edge softness.

Indoors, we encountered the same noise problem as with the outdoor shots. Even when the camera is shooting at ISO 200 or less with the flash, the noise was very noticeable, and gets much worse as the ISO increases. The flash has a range of about 12 feet at wide angle (ISO 400). This works well for shooting close portrait and group shots, but will not be enough to light up a large room. The flash exposure was good, but because of the noise, skin tones are hard to judge. There is also apparent redness in the eyes, even when using the red-eye pre flash. The camera does take a long time to focus in darker lighting conditions and would have benefited from an AF assist lamp.

When it comes to movie recording, the M883 did very well. The autofocus did very well when following a moving object, and the camera handled light and color adjustments very well, considering the sample is taken by the pool, with a lot of reflections. A nice feature that is not available on most digicams is that the optical zoom is functional while you are recording. It is also a slower zoom than other cameras with this feature. This makes it easier to control your zoom. You may notice a slight humming sound from the zooming mechanism when you use this, depending on how loud the background noise is when you are recording.

Powering the M883 is a 710 mAh 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion battery. During the testing phase, I was able to capture around 100 photographs (1/2 indoors with the flash) and several movies without having to recharge the battery. This means that the battery should always have a little juice as long as you keep an eye on it, but it always good to have a backup battery just in case. This is the first Kodak model we have seen that uses the USB cable to charge the camera. You simply plug the adapter into the bottom of the camera, then attach the USB cable and plug it into a USB port on your PC. As with almost all Kodak models, there are also EasyShare Camera and Printer Docks that charge the battery as well as perform other useful functions.

Bottom Line - The Kodak EasyShare M883 is a very stylish camera with some nice features, such as the Face Detection, Kodak Perfect Touch technology, etc. However, there is a real problem with the noise in all of the photographs even at the lowest ISO settings. This really takes away from the quality of the images that it captures. That, combined with the less than average performance, mainly due to the slow write speed to the SD memory card, further lessens the appeal of this consumer camera. All of this considered, there are several other digicams with a price tag of slightly under US$200 that will give you better performance and image quality, while still offering most all of the other features available here.

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