Color accuracy evaluations are conducted with an industry standard GretagMacbeth color chart that is photographed in a controlled studio environment with tungsten softbox lamps. The resulting images are uploaded into Imatest Imaging Software which compares the tones rendered by the camera with the original colors displayed on the chart. The results from this comparison are listed below. Each color tile has three segments; the outermost square depicts the hues produced by the camera, while the vertical rectangle is the corresponding ideal. The inner square displays a color corrected version of the image captured by the camera.
The results in the modified color chart above are quantitatively displayed below, providing a more direct reading of color discrepancies. The squares within this chart are the colors produced by the Kodak EasyShare C360, while the circles are the ideal colors from the original chart. The longer the line connecting the two shapes, the more inaccurate this color was when reproduced by the C360.
Unfortunately there is no manual white balance on the C360, which is a shame considering the difficulty the camera had in reproducing accurate color tones when using the fully automatic setting. Our color tests were originally shot using the camera’s auto white balance setting; however, the produced colors strayed so significantly from the original that we reported the camera’s scores when using the tungsten white balance preset instead, as this was the most accurate reproduction of the scene we could attain.
The tungsten white balance setting improved upon the camera’s auto mode color score of 4.35, but still could only achieve a 5.56 overall mark. This is significantly lower than most EasyShare models we have tested and came as quite a surprise. Many of the C360’s rendered colors in all white balance modes were incredibly over-saturated and strayed substantially from their corresponding ideals. The inaccurate tonal reproductions spanned both warm and cool tones and seemed to be far more of an unrecognized flaw than a deliberate effort to embellish the shot. If you’re searching for a camera to photograph your artwork, house, garden, or anything grounded in a realistic portrayal of the scene, better look elsewhere.
**Still Life Scene **
The following photograph was captured by the Kodak EasyShare C360 using our standard and overtly colorful still life scene. Within the still life scene the C360 once again struggled with white balance when shooting in auto mode under tungsten lights, and inevitably produced scenes which were distinctly tinted orange. White balance on the Kodak EasyShare C360 appears to work best when shooting with presets. This shot was recorded using the camera’s tungsten setting.
Click on the above image to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: the linked file is very large!)
Resolution / Sharpness*(3.38)
*When testing the resolution and sharpness of an image, noticeable discrepancies will occur between the advertised resolution and the actual number of pixels used in the composition of a given frame. We test resolution and sharpness by recording a series of well exposed images at 300 Lux of an ISO resolution chart. The images are then uploaded into Imatest Imaging Software which reads the shot and measures the number of pixels actually used by the camera to form the image. Cameras which exceed 70% of their advertised pixel count are labeled "good" performers, while cameras which use 80% or more are "very good." Any camera which exposes images with 90% or more of their marketed potential is rare and deemed "excellent."
Click on the chart above to view full res version](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=Kodak-C360-ResLG.jpg)
Our tests concluded that the Kodak EasyShare C360 uses 68% or 3.38 megapixels of its 1/2.5-inch 5 MP CCD sensor to form images. While this is not one of the highest scores we have received, it lies just below the "good" mark and is certainly adequate. With the EasyShare Series 3 printer dock, which creates 4 x 6 inch prints, the available resolution will surely suffice. Users should not expect to notice a significant reduction in quality until they reach print sizes of 11 x 14 or significantly crop their images prior to printing.
Noise - Auto ISO*(6.41)
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 earned a strong score of 6.41 when using the camera’s automatic ISO setting. These tests were conducted in a controlled setup with tungsten lights. The auto ISO noise level score places this camera well above many point-and-shoot cameras we have tested, many of which struggle reading the available light in the scene and default to a higher ISO setting than is necessary. The C360 did not display the same problem and handled the bright conditions with ease. Compared to some other cameras in the same general price range, the C360 produced images with impressive clarity.
Noise - Manual ISO*(8.97)*
The C360 has manual ISO settings of 80, 100, 200 and 400 in all resolutions, and offers an ISO 800 rating with a reduced resolution of 1.8 MP. The chart below expresses the C360’s manual noise results, with the ISO ratings displayed along the horizontal axis while the resultant noise levels are plotted on the vertical axis.
Using the C360 ‘s manual ISO settings, the camera earned an 8.97 overall noise score, improving upon its impressive 6.41 auto ISO score. This means for those users who do wish to take a bit more of an active role in the photographic process and adjust the sensitivity ratings manually, the results will be rewarding. There is a noticeable jump in noise between the camera’s ISO 200 and 400 ratings; however, the 400 rating is still usable.
For comparison, the C360 produced less noise at both its ISO 80 and 100 ratings than the Canon PowerShot A510 and A520 produced at their less sensitive ISO 50 setting.
Low Light Performance*(1.0)
*We test low light performance without the assistance of a flash, at the camera’s highest ISO setting. Each camera is tested at four decreasing light levels to perceive the how sensitive the sensor is to light and the point at which the camera becomes unusable. Cameras are tested at 60, 30, 15, and 5 Lux to approximate its ability to perform in common low light conditions; 60 Lux appears as a bedroom might when lit with two small lamps, 30 Lux is roughly the illumination that is given off by a single 40 watt lightbulb, and 15 and 5 Lux gauge the camera’s ability to record in near darkness.
As is apparent from the sequence above, the C360 is not a strong low light performer. We tested the C360 using its ISO 400 rating rather than the ISO 800 setting, which is only offered at reduced resolution. At 60 Lux, the camera is able to reproduce some form of representation of the chart, although color is a bit washed out. The camera maintains its ability to suppress noise to an extent; however, once the available light drops to 30 Lux, the representative element of the shot is lost. While this is one of the lowest low light scores we have attained, this should not deter users from purchasing the camera. Most snapshooters interested in the C360 will just have to accept the need for a constant flash and adapt to its omnipresence.
Speed / Timing
***Start-up to First Shot(6.62)
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 takes 3.38 seconds to start up and record its first exposure. While there are many cameras that take far longer, exceeding three seconds is long enough to miss shots because of it. Perhaps if less energy was spent on the two parallel LED landing strips on the top of the camera, the C360 would be able to activate in a reasonable period of time?
*Shot to Shot (9.36) *
Shot to shot time is a big improvement from the C360’s startup time, averaging 0.54 seconds between exposures in burst mode. Keep in mind that this is an average over the five captured images and the individual times varied slightly; however, the consecutive capture time is admirable on this entry level camera.
*Shutter to Shot (8.04)
*From the release of the shutter to image capture, the C360 reserves 0.48 seconds to get the job done. This is enough of a lag to potentially cause a sizable scrapbook of blinking subjects.
*The front of the Kodak EasyShare C360 features a Kodak Retinar All Glass Lens shifted to the right of the camera’s font face (when looking at the lens). The body of the camera bulges slightly out from the left side of the camera, creating a visual break on the otherwise rectangular face and providing a stable grip for the user’s right hand. In the lower right corner of the front face between the lens and the corner of the camera body is the in-camera microphone, designated by three small horizontal bars. This placement means that users will always need to be aware of where fingers are positioned when shooting videos or the additional left hand support will muffle the audio. The lack of grip pads or other features to dictate hand placement may present handling problems for users of the C360. To the left of the microphone on the other side of the lens are two features. One is a light sensor, and the other is a self-timer light. Moving above the retractable 3x optical zoom lens, the user will find an in-camera flash situated slightly right of center from the camera lens, but still remaining above it. To the left of the flash is the Viewfinder window, positioned neatly away from meandering fingers. The right side of the camera features a protruding flat plane for holding the camera. A brushed metal plate is positioned on the face of this plateau and has no grip or texture beside the small Kodak logo positioned in the center of the metal plate. Bridging the plateau on the left side and the flat camera body is a long angled plane which is vertically emblazoned with the Kodak EasyShare C360 brand.
*The back face of the EasyShare C360 has an appropriately sized 2.0-inch, 110,000-pixel LCD which would benefit from an increase in pixel count. Above and slightly left of center from the LCD is the real image optical viewfinder. This viewfinder is able to display zoom levels during use, although the inaccurate representation of the frame makes composing the image quite a challenge. The viewfinder is extremely small and has no surrounding protection, so users will need to be in a steady position when pressing their eye to the plastic. Also, unless the user only shoots photographs with the right eye, it is likely that the LCD will pick up sweat and dirt from the user’s face since it does not extend beyond the LCD plane. To the left of the viewfinder the user will find the "Ready Light" which indicates that the camera has finished starting up or when video/still images are ready to be shot or are being saved or deleted. The viewfinder and LCD screen are slightly built up from the main body of the camera but are just about even with each other. To the right of the viewfinder the user will find the hallmark share button which allows for quick transferal of pictures to print or email, or presents the option of saving them to the favorites section within the camera. Just to the right of the share button and creating a cross with the five hole arrangement is a small mono playback speaker. And finally, located in the upper right corner and partially raised are the small but separate buttons which control focal length. These controls double as a playback magnification control when viewing previously captured images.
Below the zoom toggle controls are eight raised dots intended to be a resting point and grip for the right-hand thumb. Below these dots lies the four-way controller which has a slight scallop that transgresses the border of the LCD screen frame. The four-way control is a continuous ring which is a little too small to really function well as a whole. If it is necessary for this to be a continuous ring it would help functionality if it was larger, or if small dimensions were the main concern, the control could have been broken up into four autonomous directional controllers and been far easier to utilize. At this point the size and design are not well balanced enough to permit concise use. In the center of the four-way controller the user will find the OK button. When depressed in Auto mode, this button provides a description of the setting. When positioned in a scene mode, the user is able to access descriptions for each individual preset scene mode setting. And when shooting in auto mode, the user is able to control exposure compensation by depressing the left and right sides of the four-way control. Located between the right side of the monitor and the four-way controller are four well spaced, yet somewhat small buttons. These buttons are vertically positioned and control from top to bottom: the delete setting, monitor settings, menu, and the review button. They are well labeled and easy to handle. Beneath the LCD screen along the bottom of the camera is the Kodak EasyShare C360 logo again.
*A prominent display of the 5 MP CCD rating for the camera is vertically displayed up the left side of the Kodak EasyShare C360 camera body. At the bottom of the camera body towards the back the user will find the clearly labeled DC in 3V jack. Although the two partially opaque plastic stripes continue onto the left side of the camera body from the top, there are no LED lights within them on the side of the camera body.
The most prominent feature on the right side of the camera body is the cover for the SD/MMC memory card slot (the card is optional). The user must press this cover down and slide it towards the back of the camera to open it fully. It offers a significant degree of protection when closed, but is easily susceptible to damage when open. This cover not only protects the memory card slot but also the USB A/V out port, which allows the user to transport still and video/audio clips from USB to TV screen for viewing via the included USB to RCA video/mono audio cable. Bridging the edge of the right side and top of the camera body is a polished silver wrist strap eyelet which appears to be sturdy enough to support the camera for prolonged durations. It is also large enough to easily thread.
*The top of the Kodak EasyShare C360 has a large and well sized mode dial positioned on the right side of the camera body. The mode dial feels sturdy and registers each mode position switch with a satisfying click. The mode dial is also stiff, but not prohibitively so. The dial contains a series of modes which are controlled by turning the dial counterclockwise from the off position. It is possible to set the mode dial to Off, Auto, Scene, Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Macro, and Movie Mode; however, it is not possible to turn the dial counterclockwise from Movie to the Off position, forcing the user to spin the dial all the way back to reset the camera when it enters into sleep mode. This can be a hassle at times. If the user turns the dial clockwise from the Off position, the camera enters into Favorite mode. This setting allows the user to review previously captured images which have been moved into this folder when the camera is in review mode. To the left of the mode dial is the flash button which enables the user to alter flash settings without having to enter the onscreen menu. To the left of the flash button is the dual purpose Self-Timer/Burst mode controller. Setting changes can be viewed along the top of the LCD screen. To the front and back of these two controls, towards the edges, are two strips of partially opaque plastic which have a series of LED lights situated beneath. When the camera is powered on, these lights turn on in rapid fire sequence down two parallel tracks. While they serve no functional purpose they may be enough to distract impatient users from restlessly pushing buttons before the camera is ready to capture images. I like to think that Kodak putting these lights on the C360 is analogous to decking an ’89 Camry with 20s—it’s both pointless and hilarious, but maybe you’ll feel really sweet when you roll past.
*The compact C360 does contain a completely plastic real image optical viewfinder which displays zoom levels. The viewfinder can be used to conserve battery power by turning off the monitor (via the control located directly below the delete button beside the right side of the LCD screen). The viewfinder is small but usable if you only use your right eye—otherwise, you’ll smear grease on the LCD screen. It would be nice to have a larger or more comfortable viewing device, but if pressed for battery life, the viewfinder will suffice. However, potential users should be aware, the viewfinder is far from 100% accurate.
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 provides the user with a 2.0-inch LCD screen with a pixel resolution of 110,000 pixels (480 x 240). The display button situated to the right of the LCD allows the user to set the monitor at: on with full information, on with minimal information, or off. When turned off, the user must rely upon the real image viewfinder. There is no way to control the brightness of the LCD which means that the user will have to deal with glare and potential solarization that will occur in bright lighting and when viewing the screen at an angle. Also it should be noted, and although this is probably specific to the camera we tested, the LCD on this particular review unit came with a large patch of darkened pixels along the lower edge of the camera. Although it can be ignored, the darkened region draws the eye to it and while also masking a portion of the display, also detracts from the visible portions. We found this to be a bit ironic and somewhat contradictory to Kodak’s emphasis on their cameras being ready to go straight out of the box.
*The built-in flash on the Kodak EasyShare C360 is positioned in the upper right corner of the front face (when looking at the lens), which means it’s in a perfect position to get masked by meandering fingers whenever users apply their left hand for added support. The illumination of the flash only extends 2 to 12.1 feet in wide angle perspective and 2 to 6.9 feet in telephoto. The user is able to engage the flash when in every mode but the movie mode. Flash settings are controlled via the flash button positioned on the top of the camera rather than through a menu on the LCD screen, which is a nice touch. The user can choose to shoot with flash settings of Off, Auto Flash, Fill, and Red-eye. These settings can be cycled through by repeatedly depressing the flash button and viewing the icons which appear at the top of the LCD screen.
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 is fitted with a Kodak Retinar all glass lens which contains aspheric elements. The variable focal length lens extends 3x optically and equates to 34-102mm in 35mm format. There is also an additional 5x continuous digital zoom available; however, the digital zoom function offered not only mars the quality of the image when engaged, but is also as slow as molasses to set. It would be wise to stick with just the optical zoom, unless you have all day to wait for the camera to hit 15x zoom and are contended with getting an image with horribly compromised clarity. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.7 (at full wide angle) and a minimum F-stop of f/8.0 (in telephoto).
Model Design / Appearance*(7.5)
*The body of the Kodak EasyShare C360 has clean, sharp lines which clearly articulate the various planes and surfaces. The smooth design and silver finish of the C360 gives the camera a clean look, while the enlarged left side (when looking at the lens) provides the user with a thick surface to grip when shooting. The camera is relatively slender and tall with an upright and nearly square body. Although the C360 is not quite suitable for slipping inconspicuously into any pocket, it also isn’t too bulky or thick to exclude the possibility. The camera feels sturdy and durable with a solid build. For presumably aesthetic reasons, Kodak has added a series of LED sensors buried beneath parallel strips of slightly transparent plastic that run along the top left of the camera. The LED sensors light up in a runway-like pattern when the camera is turned on, when images are deleted, or when other control features are altered. Although completely unrelated to performance, some users may find this add-on amusing, and some less patient users might like the reminder that the camera is processing. There are six small dots located on the back of the camera, which are intended to provide a resting point for the thumb when the user is not accessing controls or navigating menus. While it would have been nice to have more gripping options or rubber segments on such a smooth body, the camera is small enough for most users to hold and control without much concern. If potential consumers are worried about hand size or sweaty palms becoming problematic, other point-and-shoot cameras may be better options; however, the C360’s sleek, smooth surfaces may provide enough aesthetic and visual interest to appease others.
Size / Portability*(7.5)
*The Kodak EasyShare C360, while not large, is not the camera to drop into a pocket before a day of picture taking. The camera is 1.4 inches at its thickest point (the left side of the camera body when looking at the lens) and is 2.5 inches tall and 3.3 inches wide. When these measurements are considered with the 5.3 ounce (without batteries) camera weight, the sturdy design is still far more portable than other less expensive point-and-shoot camera models. Also, if baggy attire fits your personal style, this camera will easily slide down into more spacious pockets.
The EasyShare C360 also contains an eyelet for an optional wrist strap located on the right side of the camera body and it is large enough to thread easily. The strap loop is thick and more solid than most and appears as though it will endure for a long period of time.
*The overall camera body is well sized for comfortable control with one or two hands and the lens barrel of the camera is placed far enough off to the right as to position it out of the way of wondering fingers. The microphone in the lower left corner of the front face, just below the lens barrel is however in an unfortunate place on the front of the frame, since fingers can easily mask this feature when shooting. The only gripping texture available when shooting with the C360 is located on the back of the camera and is merely a series of six raised dots located on the camera’s right side. Although this feature is well placed and in proper balance with the camera’s thick right hand gripping protrusion, this might not provide enough support or gripping aid to compensate for the otherwise entirely smooth camera body. Fortunately, the camera’s large right hand grip is well designed and divided into two planes; one of which is angled down towards the lens. This thin, vertical plane is perfectly designed, slopping towards the lens and granting the right hand fingertips ample space to rest comfortably and support the shot.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size*(6.5)
*The controls on the Kodak EasyShare C360 are well spaced and marked with either universal symbols or full text descriptions. The mode dial on the top of the camera body is sizable if a bit stiff. Although this makes fast mode changes more difficult, the user will be able to clearly hear and feel when a new mode is selected. Also, accidental mode changes are highly unlikely if the dial is accidentally bumped or knocked. While the mode dial is large enough for any user to access, the four-way control located on the back of the camera body is an undersized continuous ring, which makes quick adjustments and navigation a bit tedious.
While the spacing of controls on the compact C360 is generous, the zoom toggle would greatly benefit from an increase in size. But the fact that the wide angle and telephoto aspects are autonomous is helpful for control, and will probably lead to faster and more accurate deployment. If all the controls were like the mode dial, Kodak would really have something; however, the continuous four-way control, and generally undersized buttons may leave some users frustrated by a camera that is supposedly designed for ease of use.
*All menu settings are controlled through the Menu button located on the back of the camera body to the right of the LCD screen. When activated, the menu appears with only one display screen. This is simpler than menu systems that use separate menus to list control settings, camera set-up, and tool menus, which is a perfect navigational setup on a camera designed for the point-and-shoot crowd. Menu settings may be navigated by pressing the up and down arrows on the four-way controller. Once a subsection heading is highlighted the user merely presses the OK button to enter the setting. And once the setting is changed, the user must merely press the OK button to register and save this control alteration. The menu entered when the camera is set to auto mode allows the user to control Exposure Bracketing, EV Compensation, Picture Quality settings, White Balance, Metering Patterns, ISO Speed, Focal Zones, AF control, color control, sharpness, long time exposure, album setup, image storage, and the setup menu.
The final submenu listed within the first menu allows the user to shift into the setup menu. The simple and colorful structure continues here. Within this menu, the user can adjust Live View On/Off, Camera Sounds, Volume Levels, Auto Power Off, Date/Time, Video Out, Orientation Sensor, Red Eye PreFlash, Date Stamp, Video Date Display, Blur Warning, Language, Format, and About settings. The setup menu, although less intuitive without obvious labels like White Balance, is still easy to navigate using the up and down arrows on the four-way controller.
The menus use a large, highly readable font with both full text headings for each submenu and universal symbols situated along the left side of the LCD screen. The menus are composed of opaque blue and yellow backgrounds with sizable black fonts which are easy to read.
When the camera is entered into the Scene mode setting, the user is able to access the scene modes listed along the bottom edge of the LCD screen through the activation of the four-way controller. The preset scene modes cut off user access to settings like EV Compensation, Exposure Bracketing, ISO speeds, and white balance when shooting through these presets. The user is still able to access other settings available in auto mode when shooting in preset scene mode, allowing for alterations to picture size, AF control, color mode, set album, image storage and setup menu. The setup menu for the preset scene settings is identical to the setup menu available in both movie and auto modes.
In Movie mode the user is able to access control over the image resolution and size of the video clip, duration of recording, set album, image storage, and setup menu. The setup menu for movie mode is identical to the one accessed when shooting in standard auto mode.
Ease of Use*(8.0)
*The EasyShare C360 remains in line with the series and Kodak’s current digital stance; the camera is incredibly easy to use through all stages of the process and should not intimidate even the true photographic greenhorns. The camera offers direct external controls that are clearly labeled and easily understandable, a simple menu structure, in-camera help features, and an EasyShare printing system which embodies the concept of ‘basic’. The preset scene modes all offer descriptions of their settings whenever the user scans the onscreen scene bar. The few manual controls appear in-menu with full text labeling. Unfortunately there is no live view available when making adjustments to these settings, even though there is a "live view" submenu setting, which would help less familiar users understand potential adjustments prior to making the selection. Nonetheless, an intimidating camera this is not; the C360 is truly accessible to any level user right out of the box.
*With the C360, like most EasyShare models, the Automatic mode will be heavily relied upon by most users in search of simplicity and ease of use. When using the C360’s Auto mode, the user is paradoxically given the most opportunity for manual control. When desired, users can opt to set the image size, exposure compensation, white balance, metering mode, ISO rating, focusing zone, auto focus, color (picture effects), and image sharpness. Although this is a significant degree of control, when users do not actively alter settings, the camera will assume responsibility for the exposure.
The alterable settings typically only offer two or three options, providing the user with simplified versions of more advanced photographic settings. For more experienced photographers this may present a problem; however, most users drawn to the EasyShare line will find it an ideal blend of opportunity and simplicity.
When the camera switches into Preset Scene shooting modes, the user is able to access none of these controls and will have to rely fully upon the camera to adjust properly for photographs.
*The movie mode for the Kodak EasyShare C360 enables the user to shoot video clips at resolutions of either 640 x 480 or 320 x 240. The rate of capture in both of these modes is 24 frames per second with accompanying audio recording. While 24 fps is adequate and is viewable without inducing seasickness, 30 fps would allow the user to capture fluid motion. Unfortunately, unlike the current trend among digital cameras towards more hybrid functionality, the C360 does not permit access to zoom levels when recording. Users can adjust the focal length prior to shooting, but once recording has begun, the perspective is fixed. Also prior to shooting, the user may enter the menu and make alterations to features like video size, set album, video length, image storage, and setup menu. When recording video to a less qualified microphone (such as the one on the EasyShare C360), it is necessary for subjects to speak loudly and directly into the face of the camera to remain audible. Audio can be listened to directly from the camera via a playback speaker positioned on the back of the camera body. Audio quality on the C360 leaves much to be desired, but then again, this is an area that has not (yet) been targeted by digital camera manufacturers.
Drive / Burst Mode*(5.0)
*There are two burst modes offered by the Kodak EasyShare C360. They allow the user to shoot a series of photographs at a quicker frame rate when compared to shooting in standard mode. Both modes are accessed by pressing the Self Timer/Burst Mode button located on the top of the camera body. "First Burst" mode captures 5 pictures at 2.4 frames per second, except when shooting at ISO 400 or 800 ratings, where the total duration will fall to 4 consecutive images. The camera also contains a "Last Burst" mode that shoots up to thirty photos and saves only the final 4, ignoring any frames previously recorded. While this mode can be handy, it can also be aggravating when you’ve shot a series of photos and realize that the shots you wanted were eight frames prior. It’s unfortunate that there is no continuous mode that allows for shooting an extended series of images, but the 2.4 fps rate is fairly quick for an entry level point-and-shoot camera.
*To enter Playback mode the user must press the Review button located next to the lower right-hand corner of the LCD screen. Once the camera is in review mode, the user can review full size images individually by pressing the left and right arrows on the four-way control. Magnification in playback functions that same way focal length or zoom is controlled in capture modes. All other playback mode controls are accessed within the menu, and they be viewed with either a standard background or a background of the current image. The user can view images in a nine frame multi-up format, as a slide show, crop and save images, set albums and pictures, enter the standard overall setup menu, alter image storage setup, protect images, or copy images. Unlike other digital cameras which require the user to access the playback menu to print, the Kodak EasyShare C360 uses a simple share button to print images directly to a printer.
Custom Image Presets*(8.0)
*This camera comes with a number of custom image presets which present the user with prepackaged settings calibrated for various shooting scenarios. The Kodak EasyShare C360 has 16 custom image presets in total, which is a pretty hefty selection. Portrait, Sports, Landscape, and Macro mode settings are all positioned externally on the mode dial for quick access to those shooting parameters. The Scene mode setting (SCN) allows the user to access other preset scene modes, which are displayed on the LCD screen. They are: children, party, beach, snow, fireworks, flower, self portrait, backlight, night portrait, night landscape, manner/museum, and text modes. These modes are toggled through using the left and right arrows on the four-way controller. When shooting in scene mode, the user is unable to access the manual controls that are available on the C360.
Manual Control Options
Users are given some manual control on the EasyShare C360, although it is certainly limited. Scene modes located within the SCN setting allow for access to preset AF distances, whereas the landscape and macro mode settings, positioned externally on the mode dial, don’t limit access to certain controls as other preset modes do: they allow for the same manual alterations as those available in auto mode. The user is able to control exposure bracketing, exposure compensation, ISO speeds, White Balance presets, focal zones, long time speeds, and AF mode. While not all of these settings qualify as true manual control, they do offer users an element of control and impact on camera settings.
Auto Focus (7.0)
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 contains a TTL Auto Focus system with continuous and single AF options. When selecting the framing marks for auto focus, the camera initially focuses on objects and shapes in the foreground of the image. If the selected object in the foreground isn’t the desired subject, the user may release shutter which disengages the AF lock, allowing the image to be re-framed. It is possible to adjust the framing marks when recomposing a shot to allow the camera to shoot in center, center wide, side, center and side, or left and right frame marks. Switching outside of center focus is a bit aggravating, and the camera only occasionally managed to overcome this bias and set in one of the other framing compositions. The framing marks appear as blue squares onscreen. Once the shutter is partially depressed and the shot is registered, these frames turn green to inform the user that the focus is set.
The available AF modes, continuous or single shot AF are accessible using the onscreen menu. The camera is set in Multi-zone mode when in default mode and it is possible to set the camera into center-zone mode if desired. This will allow the camera’s focus to emphasize the center area of the composition. When the camera is set in standard shooting mode, the C360 can shoot at depths of 2 feet to infinity and 10 feet to infinity in Landscape. When shooting in macro mode it is possible to focus on objects as close as .05 to 28 inches from the lens’ front element in macro wide and 9 to 28 inches in macro tele mode.
Manual Focus (0.0)
There is no opportunity for the user to control manual focus settings when shooting with the Kodak EasyShare C360. This should come as no surprise, considering the heavy emphasis placed upon preset modes and automatic settings.
*The metering controls for the Kodak EasyShare C360 are situated within the in-camera menu and offer multi-pattern, center-weighted, and center-spot metering modes. Multi-pattern is the default setting and will often suffice; however, there are situations in which a different metering mode would be more applicable. While many manufacturers choose to limit metering on point-and-shoot cameras to multi-pattern, Kodak has offered two additional settings. These will allow users adjust to more complicated lighting situations without shifting the entire scene to another angle, such as high contrast scenes or when the frame is heavily represented by thick shadows. Considering the number of backlit portraits and snapshots taken by point-and-shooters, the presence of a center-spot feature should certainly be appreciated.
*There are two exposure controls available on the Kodak EasyShare C360, both of which are accessible using the in-camera menu. The user is able to control exposure compensation settings and exposure bracketing. It is possible to alter the exposure compensation scale via an onscreen shortcut. This setting appears in the lower part of the LCD and is controlled by pressing the right and left arrows on the four-way control. The exposure compensation scale is offered in the standard +/-2 EV range, moving in 1/3 stop increments. The 1/3 stop alterations do provide a bit more control than most cameras which limit the user to 1/2 stop alterations.
The exposure bracketing setting captures three simultaneous images, with one image being shot at the exposure previously set, followed by two exposures which vary the illumination by +/-0.3, +/-0.7, or +/-1.0 degrees. This can be incredibly helpful in difficult lighting or high contrast situation when the progressing exposure sequence will help to capture the proper exposure. In some situations when the scene is just too challenging to capture correctly on the first shot, users can shoot a bracketed sequence and combine the images into a composite photo in a software application. While this will require a substantial degree of effort, it is an option when using the bracketed setting.
*White balance options on the EasyShare C360 are manually alterable by the user but the camera does not contain a customizable option. While most users of the EasyShare line might prefer to not bother with constant alterations to settings, the option to customize the color in difficult lighting can prove invaluable, particularly in harsh indoor lighting and mixed temperature illumination. When different color lights converge in a scene, it may not be noticeable or bothersome to the human eye, but certainly becomes apparent when recorded to a digital sensor. This will force users to either edit their images after capture or deal with extreme overtones and tints. However, in most situations, the preset options should suffice. The list of white balance options on the C360 is a bit thin, containing just auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, and open shade settings. Many point-and-shoot cameras from other manufacturers, particularly those that do not contain a custom setting, will include more preset options to compensate.
*Just as users can cycle through white balance options, they can select from a list of ISO or sensitivity settings. This is handy in situations when flash exposures are prohibited or just undesired and darker scenes need to be photographed. The available ISO settings on the C360 in all resolution sizes are 80, 100, 200 and 400 ratings, along with a full auto setting. An ISO 800 rating is included and may be used at a reduced resolution of 1.8 MP. This limitation is unfortunate since the poor resolution will result in an unsuitable image to begin with, and the excessive noise which plagues higher ISO levels will only make it worse if users attempt to blow up the final image, but nonetheless, for an entry level point-and-shoot model, it’s nice to see it included.
*The shutter speeds when in standard mode are not controllable by the user, although they do have a range of 4 seconds to 1/1400 of a second. The C360 also permits the user to record "Long Time Exposures," accessible through the main menu in a 0.5 second to 8 second range. Note that the exposure compensation settings that are normally available are no longer accessible when recording shots with the Long Time Exposure setting engaged. Although this feature is a nice add-on it would be an even better option if it had a shortcut to it so it could be directly accessible in the shooting position. The Long Time Exposure setting provides a list of shutter durations in seconds (.5, .7, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0) for the user to select from. Since there is no visible light meter or exposure gauge, users will have to learn this one by trial and error. Additionally, since the setting is buried within a menu, the user will have to enter the menu, select the option and estimate a shutter speed, shoot an image, gauge the results, and then reenter the menu to adjust again. This is probably enough of a pain to make using Long Time Exposure a rarity.
*The user is unable to control the aperture settings on the Kodak EasyShare C360, which isn’t all that surprising, considering the camera’s intended market. At its widest focal length, the camera has an aperture range of f/2.7-f/5.2 and when in telephoto mode the range moves to f/4.6-f/8.0. This is an adequate range, while somewhat limited, still acceptable for an entry level point-and-shoot offering. The f/2.7 opening will open up a bit more than most (which typically max out at f/2.8) and help out slightly in low light situations.
Picture Quality / Size Options*(6.5)
*Picture quality and size settings available on the Kodak EasyShare C360 are listed as a series of resolution options listed in megapixels. The available options include 5.0 MP (2569 × 1929), 4.4 MP, 4.0 MP, 3.1 MP, and 1.8 MP settings. When shooting in movie mode, the user has the option of shooting with resolutions of 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 at a frame rate of 24 frames per second with audio. While this is better than many manufacturers in terms of frame rate and resolution combined, a 24 frame per second image will still not be as smooth as standard video clips which generally equate to a 30 fps recording rate. The space remaining in the internal memory (or card) is indicated by the number of images potentially left with a certain resolution, which appears in the upper right corner of the LCD screen during shooting. There are no additional quality settings included beyond image size.
*There are several different picture effects settings available on the C360 to alter images in-camera. Among these options, users can shoot with four alternative color settings in addition to the normal color representation. The available settings include black and white and sepia tone settings which are pretty much standard; however, Kodak also adds high and low color options to embellish or diffuse general tones a bit. While this is enough flexibility for most hands-off users, those seeking a bit more opportunity for adjustment should look into some of Canon’s point-and-shoot offerings.
*Those users who wish to edit their images prior to printing can utilize the Kodak EasyShare Software 4.0.4 for windows and version 4.0.5 for Mac OSX. The software took about six minutes to install when using Windows and running no other programs. Once installed, a series of tutorials appears to guide the user though the process. Upon completion of the tutorials (or after closing the dialogue box) the user is able to begin importing images from the EasyShare C360 via the USB cable. When viewing images in the thumbnail mode, the user can enlarge any image by doubleclicking the desired thumbnail. A new screen opens which displays a full size image, though the user can still scan through thumbnails via the left/right arrows located at the bottom of the screen. When viewing the image at full scale, the user can select favorite, edit, or delete, and once they are ready to return to the thumbnail screen, can select the "done" button at the bottom of a black framed screen. When the edit option is selected, the software opens a new window and a variety of setting options emerge. Users can select from the following: crop, red/eye, enhance, brightness/contrast, exposure, fun effects, rotate, zoom, or help options.
There seems to be a lot of various windows that remain open which may become confusing to those unfamiliar or annoyed by typical graphic and window-based editing applications. The extra clicks (to close the various windows) are not a terrible inconvenience, although to exit the "fun effects" category you must first click cancel, then click the close button, then click done in the full size screen, all to return to the thumbnail menu and find a different image. Speaking of fun effects, the user can pick from black and white, sepia, cartoon, fish eye, and coloring book. The effects take a few moments to initialize and the user can elect to accept or reject any effect.
Brightness/contrast or exposure settings provide a split screen representation of the image, with one half affected by the new image alterations, and the other maintaining the appearance of the original. The user can choose to accept or reject the alterations made. Other than the abundance of windows, the setup for image editing, viewing, albums and other controls and operations are both simple and easily navigated with or without the help of the available onscreen Help menus. This editing program isn’t terribly in-depth and lacks the opportunity to alter specific tonal levels, but it is not intended for that type of depth. It is EasyShare software and it lives up to the name.
*Jacks, ports, plugs (7.0) *
The right side of the Kodak EasyShare C360 contains the SD/MMC memory card slot. Along side the memory card slot, the user will also find the USB / A/V out port. On the left side of the camera is the DC in port. The bottom of the camera features a dock connection port, a seemingly metal tripod socket, and the cover for the battery compartment.
*Direct Print Options (8.0) *
The direct print capabilities of all EasyShare models is a major draw for many potential consumers. The EasyShare system is designed to allow users to shoot the picture, place the camera on the printing dock, and make a print with the press of a single button. It’s simple and devoid of cables or aggravating editing interfaces. Printing for novice users couldn’t be easier. Additionally, the EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3 is ImageLink compliant and thus compatible with some cameras produced by Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Olympus, Nikon, and Sanyo.
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 comes with a CRV3 Lithium battery that has a shooting life of approximately 350 to 500 shots, depending on usage. The lithium battery which comes with this camera is not rechargeable. This is unfortunate and requires the user to purchase either a rechargeable NiMH battery or 2 AA lithium batteries once its power supply has elapsed. Note that many digital cameras have recharging units available for extending the life of batteries beyond the life of a disposable CRV3 lithium battery.
*The Kodak EasyShare C360 comes with a generous 32MB of internal memory, which should be either a good starting point for users or a nice buffer to have when shooting for longer durations of time with higher resolution settings. The 32MB of memory is consumed fairly quickly though when shooting in the highest resolution, granting the user just 17 potential images before reaching its capacity or 43 images at the camera’s lowest quality setting. The C360 accepts SD/MMC memory cards up to 256MB. The memory card slot is located on the right side of the camera body underneath a door which is constructed out of the same plastic as the surface of the camera. This door has a slightly raised scallop to allow for easy access.
ImageLink Printing System - *The ImageLink printing system was introduced earlier this year and gives Kodak and other manufacturers the opportunity to use the extremely straightforward EasyShare one-touch printing system. The Printer Dock Series 3 is available in a bundle when purchasing the EasyShare C360 and will be compatible with cameras being manufactured by Ricoh, Olympus, Sanyo, Nikon, and Konica Minolta.
Self-Timer - The user of the Kodak EasyShare C360 is able to set the self-timer without entering a menu, which is a welcome setup. The self-timer button is positioned on the top of the camera body to the left of the flash button, and when pressed, user’s can set the camera to 2 second or 10 second delay times. Note that this control also doubles as the burst mode setting, and it will be necessary to scan through the burst mode settings to return to the self-timer options.
Box Contents - The Kodak EasyShare C360 is being sold either autonomously or in a bundle that includes an EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3. Along with the camera and printer, the user is given a CRV3 lithium battery, USB Cable, audio/video cable, Wrist strap, Kodak EasyShare software, a "getting started" kit, and a camera docking system.
Users seeking a basic, well designed camera with uncomplicated controls and menu structure will be attracted to what the Kodak EasyShare C360 is able to offer. The camera provides an impressive all glass 3x optical zoom lens, 4 MP CCD, 24 fps video mode with audio, 32MB of internal memory, abundance of presets, and the ease and simplicity of the EasyShare printing system which allows for either EasyShare, PictBridge, or ImageLink printers to work with this camera system. The screen on the C360 is a well sized 2.0-inch 110,000 pixel LCD, and there is the option of saving battery life and using only the optical viewfinder.
Kodak offers the camera with or without the EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3. With the dock, the C360 is a practical solution for most snapshooters, helping less photographically-inclined users capture memorable events to paper easier than any other alternative currently on the market. For $379.95 consumers are getting the entire process (camera, battery, software, and printer).
***Canon PowerShot A510 -* The Canon PowerShot A510 retails for less than the C360, although it doesn’t have the slick, stylish exterior of the C360. It does however take conversion lenses and slave flash attachments as well as offering a substantial degree of manual control. The A510 contains a smaller 1.8-inch LCD along with a smaller 1/2.5-inch 3.3 MP CCD. The A510 provides manual settings for focus, white balance, shutter speed, aperture, EV compensation, ISO, and metering control – most of which are not accessible to users of the C360. If users are unsatisfied with the diminished manual controls on the C360, they should look to the Canon A510 as a suitable alternative within the same general price bracket. The A510 also offers direct print capabilities, but video recorded on the A510 is captured at a laughably slow 10 frames per second and makes the fluidity of the video feature look like choppy slow motion.
Nikon Coolpix 5600 - With a 3x optical zoom lens and 5 MP CCD, the Nikon Coolpix 5600 offers the same basic, uncomplicated shooting platform that serves beginner users as well as those seeking a camera that will just do the work for them. The Coolpix 5600 also provides novice users with 16 preset shooting modes to choose from. The 5600 retails for around the same price as the Kodak EasyShare C360 when not bundled with a printer. The 5600 contains a smaller 1.8-inch LCD screen, 14MB of internal memory, and enables in-camera alterations to images. The LCD screen has a poor resolution level and is hard to use. When we tested the resolution of the Coolpix 5600, we found it to be so poor that it makes the 5 MP CCD (a major selling point) a moot point. Although similar to the automatic controls of the Kodak, the EasyShare printing system and other simplified control make the C360 a much more suitable option for the novice, strictly automatically-oriented user.
Olympus D-630 - Like the Coolpix 5600, the Olympus D-630 offers a 5 MP CCD and a 3x optical zoom lens. The D-630 is both smaller and lighter in weight when compared to that of the C360, and has a similarly clean design. Like the C360, this camera is intended for users who prefer automatic settings over manual control. Unlike the C360, the white balance setting does provide the opportunity for a live view feed. The movie mode settings are unfortunately much worse when compared to the C360 and will leave users desiring increased resolution and faster frame rates. The 2-inch 115,000 pixel LCD screen is the only viewing option on the D-630 and is nearly identical to the screen fixed to the C360. The D-630 includes 14MB of internal memory and an extremely user-friendly interface, while retailing for slightly more than the C360.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 - Although the DSC-S60 lacks the clean sleek lines of the Kodak EasyShare C360, it does offer a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, 32MB internal memory, and a 2-inch LCD. It has a 3x optical zoom although with a smaller 4.1 MP CCD. The S60 retails for around the same price as the Kodak EasyShare C360. The DSC-S60 does not offer the same amount of preset modes as the C360 and also lacks overall manual control. That being said, the S60 sports impressive movie mode statistics, capturing video at 30 fps at 640 x 480 resolution with audio recording. For video lovers, the S60 would be the way to go in this price range.
**Who It’s For
***Point-and-Shooters —* Designed for simplicity, the C360 provides snapshooters with a host of preset modes, one-touch print structure, basic menu design with large font face, and help menus to assist point-and-shooters of any level.
Budget Consumers — When selling without the printer bundle, consumers can find this camera available for a suggested retail price of US $279.95. With the Series 3 printer dock the total comes to $379.95. Considering the opportunities that come with an ImageLink compliant printer and the direct, simplified print structure, the bundled package actually offers consumers a far stronger value.
*Gadget Freaks — *Although the lights on the top of the camera are sure to temporarily amuse the gadget freak, much as that neon frame on your license plate might briefly amuse all your cool 16-year-old friends, there really aren’t features on this camera which will astound the gadget lover.
Manual Control Freaks — This camera contains a stripped-down design which avoids full manual settings in favor of preset options for standard control settings like White Balance, ISO and focus. Following the purchasing decision, users will relinquish most of the control to the camera. In other words… no.
Pros/Serious Hobbyists — There is no real reason that the pro or serious hobbyist would turn to the Kodak EasyShare C360 other than portability; however, professional photographers looking for a pocket-sized sidekick would likely opt for a compact camera with a bit more available control.
The C360 is a suitable alternative for the point-and-shoot crowd, particularly when bundled with the Series 3 Printer Dock. The EasyShare C360 is equipped with a 1/2.5 inch 5 megapixel CCD and 3x optical all glass lens that creates sharp images with impressive clarity. The camera offers snapshooters 16 custom image presets, in-menu help options, easily legible bold font face, and 32MB of internal memory. Although the camera has limited manual controls, the interface is designed for the less photographically-engaged user, providing an opportunity to take and print images in just two buttons. Other than the camera’s substandard color reproduction, the $379.95 package is a strong value. Without the printer, there are many other alternatives within the $250 - $300 price bracket that will provide more shooting flexibility and control but can only hope to parallel the camera in simplicity.
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