Hands-on review: Kodak EasyShare Mini digital camera

Kodak brought a handful of new compact digital cameras to CES 2011, and one of the tiniest of them all was the EasyShare Mini. Here's the hands-on review.

Kodak brought a handful of new compact digital cameras to CES 2011, and one of the tiniest of them all was the EasyShare Mini. Here's the hands-on review.

SET-UP

Setting up the EasyShare Mini is rather simple and much like any other basic point-and-shoot camera. As soon as the battery has been fully charged and you turn the device on, the menu appears for the basic settings to be configured: date, time, etc.

One inconvenience I noticed right away is that I couldn't start taking photos immediately because there isn't an SD card included in the box. Frustrating, but it is mentioned on the outside of the box so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

After I installed my own SDHC card, it was time to get started taking photos and playing with all the preset functions available.

USE

This 3.5-ounce camera is really best for casual shooting, such as at parties or just having a camera better than one on a smartphone in your bag. (Check out the size comparison photo at the bottom of the page to get an idea.) The 10-megapixel EasyShare Mini is capable of 3X optical zoom and 5X advanced digital zoom. It's also capable of shooting motion JPEG videos with a VGA (640 × 480) resolution at 30 fps.

So before buying this camera, don't expect the world from it. Even though its $100, it's more of a stocking stuffer present or something you might give to a relative on graduation day rather than something you'd want to take on that European vacation.

Take a look at some of the untouched, sample images below I shot in Central Park in New York City on a gorgeous spring afternoon:

While everything came out clearly in the day time, the colors aren't crisp and are actually rather washed out. As I mentioned before, this camera is good to take out at night as well because it's extremely compact and inexpensive for a pocket camera. Thus, if you lose it or break it, you shouldn't cry over it.

However, even with the flash on, pictures might not come out so clearly. For this image below, I was sitting right in front of the dessert with my hands still, but there is still a little blur present. However, thanks to the flash, it still came out visibly.

One of the reasons for buying this pocket camera would be the easy sharing capabilities. (Get the name now?) On the bottom of the rear side of the Mini is a red "Share" button. This leads to a three-step process that really is as simple as advertised. When in review mode, I just pressed "Share" and then chose the destination. Options include e-mail, one of Kodak's Pulse digital frames, or a photo sharing site such as Kodak Gallery, Facebook, Flickr and more.

Then, once the camera was attached to my computer using the included USB cable, the images went straight to the recipient as promised. If you like to share photos on social networking sites often and want to save time, this is the way to do it.

AVAILABILITY

Now available in three shades (red, blue and purple), the EasyShare Mini retails for $99.95. This is an ultra, ultra-compact camera that should fit in almost any pocket or purse. It's a basic shooter without many bells and whistles, but it will get the job done and the reasonable price tag reflects that.

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