Thursday, July 7, 2011

24 Hours with a Kodak M583

Had a day to play with a Kodak M583 camera, described in the previous post. A quick summary:

  • Image quality: pretty good, edge-to-edge. Nice handling of low-light/twilight images at 28mm wide-angle. At 224mm full zoom, however, subjects looked softer. OK for general snapshots and travel images in bright daylight.
  • In very low light, the camera could not lock focus on a table candle.
  • Image stabilization (optical) worked well. Camera selected a moderately low ISO 125 for a portrait shot in twilight, and didn't fire its flash, making for nice skin tones and no blowouts.
  • Menus are now so heavily layered that you're really forced to choose your settings in advance, because there's no quick-set beyond the basic "Smart Capture" function.
  • Camera uses a micro SD card, which big-fingered hands will find hard to load and unload.
For me, the most challenging feature were the microscopic buttons on the right side of the LCD screen (see the red camera, above). They access menu flash, delete and other functions. They are impossibly tiny, and make for an unhappy user experience if your fingers are anything but dainty.

In contrast, consider the button layout on this Canon 790is:

The buttons are actually flush "tabs" above and below the four-way selector. Even a big-fisted football player can easily depress these buttons without bumping up against another function.

Camera designers, take note: the Kodak M583 and its GE clone would give a far more satisfying user experience if the buttons didn't require a jeweler's screwdriver to press.