Kodak M883

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The Technology Train Ride

by John B. Holbrook, II

Published March 2008

In my experience, new technology is much like a train ride. Many folks out there, like myself, enjoy riding the new technology train and can’t wait to see where it next takes them. Other segments of the population seem to ride along the new technology train and simply fall off somewhere along their journey. Still others seem to intentionally jump off the technology train with no intention of going any further down the tracks.

My father, God bless him, fell off the technology train long, long ago. So long ago in fact that it may have actually been a new technology covered wagon he fell off of. Now as he approaches 80 years of age, he can get flustered by any product much more complex than a teaspoon in technological sophistication. My wife, on the other hand, jumped off the technology train about the time we married, and has no use for a product which might require more patience then that possessed of the average hummingbird in order learn to use. Both my father and my wife, as you might imagine, tend to lean on me quite heavily as their personal “technical support” representative. Sound familiar?

Fortunately, companies like Kodak produce digital cameras like the EasyShare M883 for this particular demographic of the world population. And any product which is designed with the goal of being easy to use, thereby resulting in fewer technical support calls to people like me, bares further scrutiny.

Overview

Right off the bat the aesthetic considerations of the M883 bring a smile to the face. The all-metal body (available in black, red and the silver model reviewed) is quite stylish and snazzy looking. It’s also quite thin, light and extremely compact — so much so, in fact, that you could easily put the camera in your shirt pocket or toss it into your purse pocket. A built-in lens cover (which automatically retracts when you power on the camera) protects the lens from scratches when not in use. The camera has a very large (3 inches) LCD display which takes the majority of the surface area of the rear of the camera. During indoor shooting, the large screen was a pleasure to use. There is no viewfinder on the M883, so the LCD screen is your only option for composing photos. However, thanks to size and quite impressive brightness and clarity of the LCD, most users will be more than comfortable composing photos with the LCD. Like most LCDs, however, it was difficult to see in bright, direct sunlight.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the EasyShare is, as the name suggests, its ease of use. There’re only seven buttons on the entire camera which are all well marked and very intuitive – I’ve seen toasters with more complicated and intimidating control schemes. The top side of the camera has just two buttons – the power button and the shutter release. Along the right hand side (facing the LCD) of the camera is the mode selection switch with three available modes – Auto, “SCN” and Video. The first selection, or “Auto,” will be the option most users will select in most situations. In the SCN mode there are actually 20 user selectable settings for “special conditions” which will allow the camera to function differently under a very specific set of circumstances, such as the Sport setting or the Night Time Portrait setting. Selecting one of the user selectable settings will cause a corresponding icon to appear in the upper left hand corner of the LCD so that the user knows what mode the camera is currently set. On the back of the camera, to the right of the LCD is the balance of the camera controls. Again, the controls were exceedingly logical and well laid out so that even the most novice user would up and shooting in no time.

Picture Quality

So the M883 is chic, compact, and very easy to use – so how’s the picture quality? Generally speaking, “compact and uncomplicated” and “award winning photos” aren’t concepts which are generally synonymous when it comes to digital cameras. It has an 8mp sensor, so it’s theoretically capable of producing photos that can be enlarged to 8×10 or even larger, but in most of the test photographs I took, both the limitations of the camera optics and the digital noise produced by the imaging system limits usable prints to 3×6 or maybe 5×7 inches. I took several test photos in both “Auto” mode at various zoom lengths as well as some macro photos. Generally speaking, the photos were average at best.

Most of the problems I noted came in the backgrounds of the photos taken; focus was soft and color reproductions were less accurate. With a usable range of 38-114 (35mm equivalent) the camera doesn’t have a very broad usable range, so users will find themselves at either end of that range quite often where the camera performed at its weakest. Most users of this camera will simply want it to be able to take nice landscape type shots and portraits, so the M883 lens range should suffice. To aid in portraits, it is equipped with face detection technology, giving the camera the ability to automatically detect and optimize exposure and focus of faces of subjects in photos.

I was also surprised by the high level of digital noise in my test photos, even in bright light, low ISO conditions. One of the camera’s selling features is its extremely high ISO range (up to 3200 ISO). But image noise will render most photos unusable in ISO settings well below the upper limit. All that said, for the casual user just looking for a camera that produce useable photos to email to friends and family, or produce 3×6 photos for the family album, the M883 will definitely fit the bill.

The M883 gets its power from a 710 mAh 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion battery. I was able to shoot all day long, with considerable flash usage and still had some power left in the rechargeable battery – quite surprising given the small dimensions of the camera and battery. I was also surprised to note that this is the first Kodak model I’ve seen that uses a 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. But not having to use a Kodak docking station is a cost savings and a convenience as well.

In some respects, penalizing the M883 for not producing the highest quality photos out there is like being critical of a submarine for getting poor highway gas mileage

– it’s simply not designed for that. When evaluated for what it is designed to do, the M883 gets reasonably high marks – it’s a very compact, extremely easy to use and stylish point-and-shoot digital camera. And it’s a pretty darn good value too – an eight-megapixel camera for under $200 from a trusted name like Kodak is sure get the attention of many consumers. 

  • Size/Weight: 3.6-in. W X 2.2-in. H X 0.8 in. D; 4.1 oz.
  • Image Sensor: 1 / 2.5 in. CCD, 8.5 megapixels.
  • Maximum resolution: 3382 X 2513.
  • Zoom: 3X optical, 5X digital zoom.
  • Lens Focal Length: 38mm –114 mm (35 mm equiv.).
  • Focusing capability: Multi-zone (5 point) AF, TTL center-zone AF.
  • Display: LCD 3.0 in./230Kpixels.
  • Manual Exposure Control: No.
  • Exposure Metering: Multi-pattern, center-weighted, center spot.
  • Provided Accessories: Li-Ion Battery, 5V AC Adapter, wrist strap, Camera Pouch.
  • Warranty: 1 year.
  • Contact: www.kodak.com.
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4 Responses to “Kodak M883”

  1. ED Med says:

    Useful blog post definitely a good contribution to the web.

  2. Good job, this article is just great, especially for beginners. I used google translator

  3. I think diferrent because my friends use another brand.It’s pleasant and save power.But next camera Let me think of this as camera that you present.Appreciate!!!

  4. I am a huge fan! Many thanks posting this

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