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Testing / Performance
*This digital camera comes with a Kodak Color Science Chip, which is advertised to produce realistic colors. Although, looking at the pictures on the LCD screen will leave viewers a bit skeptical. We tested the C663’s ability to reproduce colors by photographing the GretagMacbeth chart, which displays 24 different color tiles so industry professionals can compare the camera’s pictures with the real thing. That is just what we did: we uploaded the images into Imatest Imaging Software to compare the original colors of the chart with those produced by the camera. Below is a chart output by Imatest; it shows the original GretagMacbeth’s colors in the vertical rectangles of each tile. The outer squares show those colors produced by the Kodak EasyShare C663 and the inner squares represent the ideal, corrected for luminance.
Because the chart looks like a poorly painted piece of pop art, we’ve included another chart below to illustrate the camera’s color error. The ideal colors of the original chart are shown as squares, with the C663’s colors represented as circles. In a perfect world, only circles would be seen because they would cover up the squares. However, many of the shapes are connected by lines that show the degree of error.
The C663 gets a bad start by not properly balancing the whites; the white circle is off-center of the grid. Cameras usually gauge all other colors from the white balance point, and there is no custom setting on this model. It is like a traveler who tries to find the North Star to navigate, but accidentally chooses the wrong star and ends up hundreds of miles from the destination.
Indeed, the camera’s colors are far from where they should be. We tested the camera using the automatic and tungsten white balance settings, with the tungsten preset giving us the best results. With this, the Kodak EasyShare C663 mustered a 4.58 overall color score which is one of the lowest scores we’ve seen on recent models. The C663 over-saturated its colors by 18.9 percent and had a whopping mean color error of 14.5. This is incredibly disappointing and users who are attracted by other features on this camera will have to remember that the C663 has a parallel universe where colors are morphed and output as completely different hues.
*The Kodak EasyShare C663 advertises 6.1 megapixels, which we tested the effectiveness of by photographing an industry standard resolution chart. The chart has all kinds of patterns and lines of various shapes and thicknesses to determine how well the camera can reproduce a sharp picture. We used different exposure settings to ensure the sharpest picture possible and our best results came from a photo snapped at a focal length of 16.8mm and an aperture of f/4.6. Below is the resolution chart taken by the C663.
Click on the chart above to view the full res image](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=C663-ResGR-LG.jpg)
We uploaded all of the images into Imatest for analyzing; the software program determined that this shot was sharpest, providing quantitative results in units of line widths per picture height (lw/ph). This measurement describes how many alternating black and white lines of equal thickness could fit across the frame both horizontally and vertically. Cameras with low resolution would blend the small lines together, so their number of lw/ph would be low.
The Kodak EasyShare C663 managed to resolve 1332 lw/ph horizontally and 1279 lw/ph vertically. Both directions were slightly under-sharpened: the horizontal plane by 2.43 percent and the vertical by 6.27 percent. By way of comparison, the 6-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S5 resolved 1497 lw/ph horizontally and 1493 lw/ph vertically – although it did so with a vast amount of in-camera sharpening. The Fujifilm FinePix F30 advertises a touch more resolution at 6.3 megapixels, but its numbers are far above those from the Kodak or even the Nikon. The F30 resolved 2005 lw/ph horizontally and 1786 lw/ph vertically. The F30 is on the extreme end of the spectrum, but it shows the difference in resolution even though all three manufacturers here listed 6-6.3 megapixels. Unfortunately, the Kodak EasyShare C663’s 6-megapixel resolution isn’t at all impressive. For that, it received an awful 2.36 overall score.
**Still Life Scene
**Below is a shot of our delightful still life arrangement, as captured by the Kodak EasyShare C663.
Click on the image above to view a full resolution version](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=C663-StillLife-LG.jpg )
Noise – Auto ISO* (2.63)
*When the EasyShare C663 was set to automatically choose its own ISO setting, it didn’t quite meter properly. In our bright studio lighting, most compact digital cameras choose the lowest ISO setting possible. This camera, however, produced noise equivalent to the noise found near the manual ISO 200 setting. Another poor rating for the Kodak C663: 2.63.
Noise – Manual ISO* (5.95)
*At a time when digital cameras are coming with more sensitivity options, the Kodak EasyShare C663 is a bit behind with its limited manual ISO range. Its options consist of 80, 100, 200, and 400. Below is a chart showing the camera’s ISO settings on the horizontal axis and the produced noise on the vertical axis.
The 80 and 100 settings handle noise decently, but are still noisier than many other models’ equivalent settings. The higher ISO 200 and 400 settings, which are still in the standard range of every digital camera, are quite noisy. For its fair performance, the Kodak C663 received a 5.95 overall manual ISO noise score.
Low Light* (3.25)
*We tested the C663’s capability to capture images in low light by photographing the color chart, but dimming the studio lighting to 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux. The 60 lux test is roughly equivalent to photographing in a softly lit living room after dusk. The 30 lux test is similar to shooting with a single 40-watt bulb in the room. The 15 and 5 lux tests are extremely dark, almost like shooting with a tiny night light, and won’t often be used with everyday photography. Still, these tests show any limitations that the image sensor may have.
Testing this camera in low light was an absolute nightmare. In the Auto mode, the C663 wouldn’t open the shutter longer than about a half-second, leaving pictures horribly under-exposed in the 15 and 5 lux tests. Using the night scene mode opens the shutter longer, but automates the white balance with terrible results: the C663’s colors were already discolored in bright light, and they get exponentially worse in low light. In the Program mode, there is a feature that lets users keep the shutter open up to 8 seconds. This finally produced a decent exposure, but the pictures turned out unfocused and the metering system went haywire. The C663 would flash and say that the picture would turn out over-exposed by 3.7 stops, when in actuality, the file would be at least a full stop under-exposed. So using the Program mode allows the shutter to remain open, but the focusing system virtually shuts down and the metering system goes crazy and requires users to guess their way into decent shots.
It is a common issue for digital cameras to produce increasing amounts of noise as the shutter remains open longer, which happens in these low light performance tests. Below is a chart showing the exposure duration on the horizontal axis and the noise level on the vertical axis.
Indeed, the noise level increases as the exposure time increases. There is quite a rise in noise, but that is only one of many problems with the Kodak EasyShare C663. In low light, the pictures are noisy, out of focus, discolored, and they are nearly impossible to properly expose anyway. In conclusion, either don’t get the C663 or don’t shoot after about 4 in the afternoon.
Dynamic Range*(5.75) *
The extend in which a camera can record information in extreme bright and dark tones is referred to as a camera’s dynamic range. To test the Kodak C663’s dynamic range, we took a series of exposures of a standardized back-lit Stouffer step wedge and ran the results through Imatest Imaging software. Dynamic range is measured in EV, or stops of exposure. A dynamic range of 5 EV means that the lightest object that shows detail in the image is 5 stops brighter than the darkest area with detail. The High Quality measurement expresses the dynamic range the camera achieves with 1/10EV of noise or less, while the Low Quality reading measures the range with up to 1 EV of noise.
The Kodak C663 did not perform very well on our dynamic range tests, delivering adequate performance at ISO 80 and 100 settings, but taking a significant hit when the sensitivity was pushed. With limited dynamic range, images will appear contrasty and flat, with more of the composition falling into pure black and white tones. At ISO 200, the Kodak C663 stays around 5 EV at high quality, which is better than some of its EasyShare cohorts, but still a good deal behind other competing models, like Fuji’s FinePix F470.
**Speed / Timing
***Start-up to First Shot (7.26)
*The Kodak C663 took 2.74 seconds to boot up and snap the first picture. This is fairly average, especially for a camera at this price point. The good news is that the camera doesn’t take much longer even when the flash is activated.
*Shot to Shot (9.56)
*The Kodak EasyShare C663 has a decent burst mode; it took 30 consecutive shots faster than 2 fps. With a picture being taken every 0.44 seconds, the camera’s burst was fast and long. The downside came after the pictures were snapped though: it took over 31 seconds to write all the information to the memory card!
*Shutter to Shot (8.38)
*Consumers who despise the typical shutter lag that plagues so many cheap point-and-shoot cameras will be dissatisfied with this model. The Kodak EasyShare C663 took 0.31 seconds from the moment the shutter release button was pressed to the time the picture was captured.
*The front of the Kodak C663 has an unassuming face with the chunky hand grip on the left and the steeped and beveled lens on the right. For the most part, the hand grip has straight lines, while the outer edge is slightly curved for comfort and the inner edge has a more defined slope which is better for fingers to grip. The front of the hand grip has a textured plate which is about an inch across; a chrome Kodak logo sits at the top and the rest of the plate is covered with a checkerboard-style surface. The right side of the C663’s front has a Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens, labeled with its brand name and the following specs: "34-102 mm (Equiv.), AF 3x Optical Zoom." The lens barrel is circular and extends outward slightly in a single segment when powered up. Even when turned off, it sits within a fixed chrome ring that protrudes from the rest of the camera body. The center of the lens has a rectangle in which the glass peeks through. When turned off, flimsy plastic doors snap shut over the glass. Beneath the left of the lens are two circular windows; the one on the left is the light sensor and the one on the right is the self-timer/movie recording lamp. Below the right side of the lens are three slits that make up the microphone. Above the lens are two rectangles: the optical viewfinder is on the left and the larger built-in flash unit is on the right.
*The rear panel of this digital camera is typical of other models with a large LCD screen on the left side and the control buttons to the right. The 2.5-inch LCD monitor is framed on a platform that protrudes slightly from the rest of the back; the bottom of the frame bears the manufacturer name and camera model title: "Kodak EasyShare C663." Above the screen is the optical viewfinder, which is also set on a platform above the rest of the body. To the left of the viewfinder is an indicator lamp that shows when the camera is reading and writing to the memory card and when it is ready to grab the next shot (you’ll be watching this one impatiently, a lot). Above the display screen but to the right of the viewfinder is the red Share button that is included on all Kodak EasyShare digital cameras. Directly to the right of the display screen, the frame slopes downward blending in with the rest of the back, and on this sloped edge are several small, chrome control buttons. There are two rectangular buttons at the top, a joystick navigator in the middle, and another two buttons on the bottom. In the top set of buttons are the Delete button (at the very top) with the display and information button beneath it. In the bottom set of buttons consists of the Menu button being at top and the Review button at the bottom. In the top right corner of the back are two separate zoom buttons – the "W" button on the left for zooming out and the "T" button on the right for zooming in on subjects. Below the "T" are eight bumps for grip.
Left Side* (6.5)
*The left side of the EasyShare C663 is nothing spectacular with its chrome band running down the center and with plastic housing on both sides. The middle of the chrome band has a "6.1 megapixels" tag on it. At the bottom of the band, there is an open port for the power adaptor. It is labeled "DC IN 3V" on the chrome.
Right Side* (6.5)
*The right side of this Kodak model is just as boring as the left, with its only notable features being a fixed chrome eyelet at the top and a plastic door that opens toward the rear panel. This door is labeled "A/V OUT" and has the USB symbol on it, along with a finger grip and a symbol for a memory card.
*The top of the Kodak C663 shows a large protrusion on the right side which is the hand grip. It is on this side that the large mode dial is positioned. The mode dial has grooves on its edge which makes it easy to turn; the center of the dial has a polished chrome shutter release button. The wrist strap eyelet can be seen to the right of the dial. On the left is an LED that indicates when the camera is on. This LED is atop a chrome band that runs across the center of the top and onto the left side. On the left of the chrome band are nine holes that make up the built-in speaker. Between the speaker and the LED is a rectangular panel with two buttons and a few icons. The button on the left has burst and self-timer icons, while the one on the right has a flash icon.
*Like many digital cameras, the bottom of the C663 isn’t very attractive. It is thicker than the top because the platforms were placed on the back instead of up on the top. As a result, the platforms run into the bottom creating a fat base. This isn’t all bad though. The fat base makes the camera steady when it is set on a table, even when the lens is extended. Under the hand grip is a plastic door that must be pushed in and slid outward; this is where the battery is housed. The Kodak logo is below it. To the right of the door is the serial number and legal information. Below that is the multi-terminal that connects the camera to the host of Kodak EasyShare docks and printers. Beneath the lens is a plastic quarter-inch tripod mount.
***The Kodak EasyShare C663 has an optical viewfinder that zooms just as the lens does. It isn’t entirely accurate, as its view is different from the view of the lens. Kodak publishes an 84 percent accuracy rate, which doesn’t sound very good at all. However, it clips from all edges and doesn’t favor any particular side of the composition. As the viewfinder zooms in, it becomes increasingly inaccurate. To make matters worse, the top and left edges of the viewfinder are blurry and will make you wonder if you have a concussion. The viewfinder itself is a square window within a rectangular platform that is flush with the LCD screen’s platform and above the rest of the camera body, but only slightly. The window is small, but certainly not the smallest ever installed on a digital camera. On the platform, next to the optical viewfinder, is an LED indicator light; this blinks when the camera is reading and writing to the memory card. Overall, the C663’s optical viewfinder has plenty of flaws but would still be a decent gamble when battery power is scarce.
A much more accurate view can be had on the C663’s 2.5-inch LCD screen. The display is large enough that you won’t need to squint to see pictures, but its resolution will leave the edges in your pictures looking jagged (don’t be fooled by the "HI-RES" sticker Kodak tags above the screen). With only 115,000 pixels, users will be able to read menus just fine but will be disappointed when checking out images. Showing off pictures to a large group of people will be a problem too. Sure, the screen is big – but everyone would have to squeeze directly in front of the screen. It doesn’t have a very wide viewing angle, so when looking from the side, the image solarizes and looks like a negative. Another obstacle to viewing this display is the blazing star the earth orbits. Yes, direct sunlight makes it nearly impossible to see the screen. There is a LCD Brightness option in the setup menu, but unlike some other digital cameras, there is no 10-step scale. Instead, there are only two choices: Power Save and High Power. Power Save dims the screen after a few seconds of inactivity, while the High Power boosts the picture’s contrast for viewing outdoors. After going outside and hardly being able to see the screen, then fiddling in the menu system trying to activate the LCD Brightness option without seeing the screen– well, let’s just say it was disappointing to find out that the High Power setting just doesn’t cut it. It’s still hard to see outdoors.
Another viewing issue with the Kodak C663’s LCD screen is the visible artifacts that showed up on the live view. When a subject was backlit, the bright light produced purple bands that ran across the screen. These weren’t captured in pictures (although seen on the display), but can be seen in videos. The 2.5-inch LCD screen does have some good qualities too. It has a 30 fps refresh rate, so viewing moving subjects looks smooth. A Blur Warning appears on the screen in various colors to mean different things. If the icon of a shaking hand comes up green, then there are no worries. If it shows up red, the picture is not sharp enough for a decent 4 x 6-inch print. A yellow icon means the sharpness is not determined. A white icon means the camera is still thinking about whether it is sharp enough. The Blur Warning appears on the quick view just after a picture is taken. While it is nice to have all this info, I never really used this feature much because I was always busy trying to snap the next picture before the moment passed – and I could never remember what all the colors meant. The information on the LCD screen can be changed using the Display/Info button on the right side of the screen. Pushing the Display/Info button brings up a clean live preview, a preview with status icons, a preview with icons and a histogram and a mode that turns off the display completely. Overall, the 2.5-inch LCD screen is nicely sized and is much more accurate than the optical viewfinder, butit still has downsides such as poor resolution, narrow viewing angle and ineffective viewing in daylight.
A built-in flash is cornered in the top-right portion of the C663’s front. It is off-axis from the lens and it shows in the images. I took a picture of my son using the flash and with the camera oriented in a vertical position; it turned out awful. There were harsh shadows and brightly lit skin, with a bright spot at his feet! When landscape-oriented photos are taken, the bright spot appears on the left side. So, while the C663’s flash won’t wash out foreheads, like on many models, anything in the bright spot could turn out a white wash. The flash also skimps on the edges and corners of the frame; it has a sort of vignette effect, but coupled with the off-center bright spot it looks quite awful. The flash reaches from 2-12.1 ft at the widest focal length with an ISO 140 sensitivity. When zoomed in on a subject, the flash is only effective to 6.9 ft. The EasyShare C663’s flash has the following modes that can be changed with the designated button atop the camera: Auto, Fill, Off, and Red-Eye Reduction. The red-eye preflash can be turned on and off within the menu system; it isn’t totally annoying when turned on though. Rather than a six-second disco party of fast strobes – yes, this happens on some digital cameras – the C663 fires one preflash and then the real thing with the shutter. Overall, the flash is disappointing with its spotty coverage.
Zoom Lens ***(6.5)*
**Like other Kodak digital cameras, the C663 is equipped with a Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 3x optical zoom lens that offers equivalent focal lengths of 34-102 mm. For a wide angle, this lens doesn’t have much, so snapping pictures of large groups will be tough ("Everyone squeeze tight. More, please. Okay, how about the people on the edges kneel in the front?"). The lens itself isn’t very high quality. It shows banding when portions of the frame are blown-out and other chromatic aberrations. The lens is controlled by two buttons: a "W" for wide and a "T" for telephoto. The buttons aren’t very sensitive, so it takes a good push to go one way or another. The lens stops at about 6 focal lengths throughout its range, however, much of the time, the lens over-shoots where you want to stop. When zooming, a bar shows up about two-thirds of the way up the LCD screen – right in the way of subjects most of the time. Across the horizontal bar are three letters to show where you’re at in the range: W, T, and D. One push of the zoom button will get you from "W" to "T", but you’ll have to lift and push again to make it to "D". You’ll never want to go there because that accesses the digital zoom, which makes jagged edges look much worse.
The 3x lens does have some redeeming qualities. It remains quiet while zooming and shooting, which is nice. It also has a manually controllable aperture. Although it is only two steps, users can choose from f/2.7 and f/5.1 in wide and f/4.6 and f/8.7 in telephoto. Overall, this is one of the cheaper lenses that Kodak includes on its cameras but it’s still functional.
Design / Layout
**Model Design / Appearance ***(4.0)*
Honestly, this digital camera is homely. It has a chunky shape and a plastic housing that is silver colored with a few chrome highlights. It looks square-shaped and has all kinds of grooves and platforms that make its landscape look more like Utah. As a result, it doesn’t slide into a pocket very easily. The Kodak EasyShare C663 has variety on its housing. The front has a volcano-like feature where the lens protrudes. Also on the front is an inch-wide textured metal plate with the Kodak logo on it. The back has platforms and slopes and grooves. The sides are slick and boring. Overall, the design is ugly and not cohesive at all. The C663’s features aren’t very innovative and that shows in its plain shell.
**Size / Portability ***(6.0)*
As stated above, the variability in the C663’s landscape makes it difficult to slide into a pocket. The lens and hand grip protrude on the front face, while different platforms and buttons create small valleys and slopes on the back. This EasyShare will fit nicely in a pair of cargo pants, but wouldn’t stand a chance in tight Wranglers. Despite all this, the C663 isn’t a huge boat. It measures 3.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches and weighs 5.3 ounces without the battery. To make it more portable – or rather just to keep users from dropping it – Kodak included a wrist strap eyelet on the right side. A thin fabric wrist strap is included with the camera.
**Handling Ability ***(7.0)*
The Kodak EasyShare C663 may be hideous, but it is functional. The hand grip is not attractive, but works very well. It has a sloped outer edge that makes handling very comfortable and a stepped inner edge that makes it easier for the fingers to curl around for the grab. The shutter release button on top of the grip is properly positioned so fingers won’t have to strain or cramp to snap a shot. The two zoom buttons on the back’s top right corner aren’t entirely comfortable to push but are just fine to rest upon; there are eight plastic bumps below for a thumb grip. The bumps don’t work very well, but the thumb will be on the zoom buttons most of the time anyway. Overall, the handling was comfortable. One caution though: the left fingers could easily get in the way of the built-in flash.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(6.0)*
**For the most part, the Kodak C663’s control buttons are awfully small. The zoom buttons are small and hard to push. The burst and flash buttons atop the camera are tiny, as are the buttons to the right of the LCD screen. The Share button is small, but it's spaced so far from any other button that it doesn’t really matter. Rather than a traditional multi-selector, the C663 has a tiny joystick that can be pushed in any direction. In addition to its diminutive size, the joystick has sharp edges on its tip – so after pushing it around to change something in the menu system, you might be grabbing your thumb in discomfort. The buttons to the right of the LCD screen are also strangely positioned. The top buttons (Delete and Info) aren’t used nearly as much as the bottom buttons (Menu and Review); Kodak should’ve swapped their places. Still, the manufacturer didn’t get it all wrong. The most important button of all, the shutter release button, is nicely positioned and sized. It is surrounded by another good control: the mode dial, which is large and grooved and easy to turn. Overall, the controls are too small but there are a few good components.
The C663 has a simple menu system that is very intuitive and easy to view, but isn’t designed for frequent changes. The recording menu has an enormous font that can only fit five options on one frame, compared to seven or eight options on some cameras. The C663’s menus are easy to read with the white lettering and a yellow highlighted selection box set against the blue background. The icons run down the left side ("WB"), the option title appears at the top when scrolled over ("White Balance"), and the selected choice appears down the center ("Daylight"). The following menu comes from the Manual recording mode.
Because only five options appear at once, users must scroll and scroll if they want to access options such as Image Storage. There is no scroll bar or page number to show where you’re at in the menu system and there are no folder-like tabs or anything to organize options neatly. Keep in mind, the target audience for this camera are point-and-shooters; Kodak assumes this group won’t delve into the menu system anyway. The following is the setup menu, which can be accessed from the recording and playback menus.
Again, this menu isn’t neatly organized but it is easy to read, since the text is all in capital letters. The order of the options isn’t very intuitive, so users will be guessing which way to scroll for the LCD Brightness option. The next menu comes from the playback mode.
This menu overlays the selected picture, which is nice. Overall, the menu system isn’t meant for heavy duty usage but is still functional and very readable. I like that there is always a "Cancel" or "Exit" option that will take a step back in the menu rather than shutting down the menu completely.
**Ease of Use ***(7.0)*
The aforementioned huge font is a help, and there are plenty of other ease of use features on the Kodak EasyShare C663. The hand grip makes handling comfortable, the large mode dial makes selections easy, and the mode guide explains what each position and scene is optimized for: "Children: Use for action shots of children in bright light." As always, the red Share button also makes transferring and printing pictures simple. The C663 isn’t perfect with its painfully tiny joystick and disorganized menus, but users will still be able to point, shoot and print without having to dig through the user manual after every other shot.
**Auto Mode ***(6.75)*
The auto mode on the C663 has its own position on the mode dial, with the off mode as its closest neighbor. Many options are available in the auto mode: exposure bracketing, exposure compensation, picture size, auto focus control, color mode, album, picture storage, burst mode and flash mode. The difference between Auto mode and the Program mode is that Auto mode resets to its default settings every time it is accessed. So you can turn off the flash in the Auto mode, then move the mode dial to shoot some video, then come back to the Auto mode and find the flash set to the Auto Flash setting. This makes the Auto mode convenient if you need to snap a shot quickly and don’t have time to fiddle with the settings.
**Movie Mode ***(4.0)*
The Kodak C663’s movie mode is activated through its very own position on the mode dial. It records video with 640 x 480 pixels at a rate of 24 frames per second. Almost all other digital cameras record video at the same resolution but at a faster 30 fps rate. Even though the C663’s slower frame rate only affects video of moving subjects; it’ll still garner decent clips of the baby’s first steps and first high-chair experience. The camera also has a smaller, more email-friendly 320 x 240-pixel recording mode that captures at the same frame rate. The camera captures audio too, although, it makes subjects sound farther away than they really are and it picks up even the slightest breeze and amplifies it into seemingly hurricane force winds. Videos can be recorded for 5, 15, or 30 seconds, or can record continuously up to the capacity of the memory card. When recording, a red light beams steadily from the front of the camera; unfortunately, it shows up on subjects if they get within three feet or so of the camera.
Optical and digital zoom are disabled in the movie mode, and there is no image stabilization to speak of. Thus, if you’re recording your daughter’s track race with this camera, every shake of the hand and bump of the elbow will show up on screen – making your viewers a little sick from all the commotion. The Kodak C663’s movie mode is great if you have something to steady the camera and are in bright sunlight. However, videos in low light are awful. Colors take on a warm hue, so people’s faces look unnaturally red. Another drawback to the movie mode is that it records all the issues from the lens: purple banding around light sources and lens flare are quite pronounced, etc. In the right light, movies can look like a Pink Floyd music video. Movies are compressed as MPEG-4 files and can be played back on computers with QuickTime software. When played back on the LCD screen, there are no editing options available but the volume can be adjusted. The Kodak EasyShare C663 has an option to create video prints with either 4, 9, or 16 tiny prints per page. These certainly aren’t high quality because the resolution is already minimal to begin with. The camera doesn’t let you pick out which frames to print either; it automatically selects them from different points in the clip. Overall, the C663’s movie mode isn’t all that impressive but will garner decent videos in bright light with a steady hand.
**Drive / Burst Mode ***(5.5)*
Atop the Kodak EasyShare C663 is a continuous shooting button that doubles as the self-timer activation button as well. There are two burst modes: a first burst and a last burst. Both shoot at the same 2 fps speed, which isn’t incredibly speedy but is still decent for a compact model. The first burst mode snaps and records the first 4 pictures. The last burst snaps up to 30 times and records only the last four pictures. In both modes, if the ISO is set to Auto, 400, or 800, the camera can only record 3 pictures at a time. After the pictures are snapped, it takes about six or seven seconds to write to the memory card. If you’re recording any kind of action, the burst mode is a necessity. Otherwise, between the shutter lag and recording time it takes forever just to snap one shot! The C663’s burst mode isn’t the best out there though. Besides the short burst and long writing time, the camera only meters, color balances and focuses for the first shot. The other two or three shots are a Hail Mary. It gets worse. Not only does the camera "not look" at the other shots, but users can’t either. The screen blacks out after the first shot and users don’t get a look at them until they enter the playback mode. With the continous shooting button, self-timer modes are also selectable. Users can choose to snap a shot after 2 or 10 seconds of waiting. There is also a 2-shot mode that waits 10 seconds, snaps the first shot, waits another 8 seconds, then snaps the last shot. The 2 and 10-second self-timing modes are available in the movie mode too.
**Playback Mode ***(6.75)*
This Kodak digital camera has plenty of features highlighted in its playback mode. The playback mode is accessed by the Review button at the very bottom of the right side of the LCD screen. This isn’t the most convenient place; users will wish it were a little easier to reach with the thumb. There are several ways to view a picture in playback mode, along with a few ways to change pictures and save them.
Photos can be seen individually or in groups of nine pictures. The multi-up view is only available from the playback menu, unlike most compact digital cameras where you would push the ‘W’ end of the zoom toggle. Individual pictures can be viewed with or without their recording information and histograms. Users can zoom in up to 8x on a picture. In the setup menu, users can choose to have their pictures automatically rotated or not. Videos can be played back and paused, but cannot be fast forwarded or rewound. All files can be protected from accidental deletion via the playback menu.
Videos cannot be edited, but pictures have access to in-camera editing features. Kodak Perfect Touch technology and cropping are available. Kodak’s Perfect Touch technology is like an "auto fix" button that tweaks the lighting and applies a digital red-eye reduction filter. The red-eye reduction doesn’t work as well as it should; sometimes it only catches one red eye. However, the lighting can usually be greatly improved with this function. Best of all, the camera shows the before and after pictures side by side before letting users save the touched up shot. It also saves the edited shot as a separate file , so the original copy is still preserved. Cropping is done by zooming and panning with the zoom controls and joystick; it works well but users should keep in mind that they’re cropping pixels – i.e. you can’t make an enlargement of a heavily cropped photo. The camera can play slide shows, but they are nothing fancy compared to what has been coming out on other recent compact models. The slide show is available from the playback menu and lets users choose whether to play the show on a loop and how long to show each picture (from 4-60 seconds). This is basic, but it’s fine for those users who just want a simple medium through which to show off their latest snapshots.
Pictures and videos can be saved on a memory card or on the internal memory, with the ability to copy from one to the other. Print orders can be made from the Share menu, which allows users to select images quickly or to select all of them. Print orders can be canceled there too. The Share menu includes the following choices: Print, Email, Favorite, Print All, and Cancel Prints.
Users can tag their pictures as "favorites" in the Share menu. When a photo is tagged, it is transferred to the Favorites folder – but only after connecting to a computer equipped with the included Kodak EasyShare Software. Once transferred via a computer, the user’s favorite pictures are accessible by its own position on the mode dial.
The Email option is as much of a hassle. The camera comes with some demo email choices (you can send email to a generic Michael), but to add names and email addresses of people you actually care about you have to connect to the Kodak EasyShare Software. It is there that the address book is managed and loaded to the C663. The camera can only store up to 4 names and addresses. However, once set up, this feature is a breeze to use. When users select a picture and an email address, the camera automatically configures the picture to a smaller size and when connected again with the software, it syncs to email the picture as an attachment.
The Kodak EasyShare Software also gets involved with the album process. The C663 comes with three albums – Birthday, Holiday, and Wedding – preloaded into the playback menu. The album mode is the first choice at the top of the menu and is designed to organize loads of pictures and make them more manageable when loaded into the software. Users can delete, edit, and add up to 32 albums to the camera by hooking up to the included software. The process is a little confusing. First, users must create the albums on the computer. Second, they must connect to the camera and upload the album names. Third, snap a shot and file it. But if it’s a "favorite," connect all over again to the mother-ship Kodak EasyShare Software and transfer it from one spot on the memory to another.
Overall, the playback mode has some basic features like the viewing and simple editing features. The Kodak Perfect Touch Technology works really well and will make users wonder why their pictures didn’t come out looking like that in the first place. The only problem with the playback mode is that all of the really cool features require hooking up to the software and tinkering with it for hours. This is supposed to be easy, but for most people it won’t be. Some of these functions should, in theory, be performed without hooking up to the computer. Why should you have to connect to move a tagged "favorite" photo to the "Favorites" position on the mode dial?
**Custom Image Presets ***(7.0)*
The Kodak EasyShare C663 comes with 15 scene modes: Portrait, Sport, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text/Document, Fireworks, Flower, Museum/Manner, Self Portrait, Party, Children, Backlight, and Close Up. There is a "scene" position on the mode dial, which gives access to the scene list and can be scrolled through with the joystick. The scenes are depicted as icons, but their text titles appear when scrolled on. There is also an explanation of the scene mode that appears simultaneously and lingers for a second or two. Many of the explanations include the phrase, "Steady camera for best results." The Self Portrait mode garnered decent shots; it won’t distort and blow up noses larger than they should be like on some cameras. Flower saturated the colors a bit and really made brightly colored flowers look great. The Backlight mode works well, but it uses the flash. There isn’t a preset mode for taking good pictures in low, natural lighting. Even the Party mode, which is designed for indoor scenes, uses the flash. Some of the scene modes are so similar that so many options hardly seems necessary. The Beach and Snow modes are nearly identical. The Flower and Close Up modes are very similar. And the Children and Sport modes have the same concept: fast-moving subjects in bright light. Most C663 users will rely on these scene modes to snap great pictures. And if they’re in great lighting, that’s just what they’ll get. However, if the light is low, expect plenty of harsh shadows from the flash.
**Manual Control Options
**This EasyShare digital camera has more manual control than most of Kodak’s low-end compact models. There is a Manual/Program position on the mode dial that allows control over a few parameters. The joystick can be used to select whether the camera is in the Manual or Program mode. Of course, the greatest number of options are available when in Manual mode. Using the joystick, users can scroll, on the LCD screen without entering any menus, through the following: Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. While there is manual control over the exposure, Kodak slacked on its white balance option. There is no custom white balance setting, so users have to rely on the automatic and preset choices. For the C663 though, the manual mode is more of a bonus than a staple.
***Auto Focus (5.5)
*The Kodak EasyShare C663 has an auto focus system that can be controlled individually or continuously. The focus mode can be set to multi-zone or center-zone via the recording menu. Most modes only allow access to the multi-zone option while the center-zone mode is only available in the Manual and Program modes. The camera displays yellow and green brackets on the display screen to indicate where it is focusing. The auto focus system works much more slowly. It uses a combination of a through-the-lens auto focus and an external sensor. By the time these components find the subject and focus on it, nearly a half a second has gone by. Indeed, this auto focus system is main cause for the shutter lag. Another downside to the auto focus is the lack of an assist beam, so it has trouble in low light. Normally, the C663 focuses from as close as 2 ft, but users can get a little closer with the macro mode. At the widest focal length in the macro mode, the camera can focus from 2 inches to 2.3 ft. At the most telephoto focal length, it can focus on subjects as close as 8.76 inches. When in the landscape focus mode, the C663 focuses from 32.8 ft to infinity. Overall, this digital camera has a common auto focus range, but its system takes an inordinate amount of time to work.
Manual Focus (0.0)
*The EasyShare C663 doesn’t have the capability to manually focus on subjects. Most compact models geared for the point-and-shoot audience generally don’t include this anyway. *Exposure ***(7.0)*
The C663 is almost like a top-of-the-line low-end digital camera because it has manual control over the exposure. Users can tweak the shutter speed and aperture up and down, along with the ISO. When more automatic control is desired, the camera takes over and allows for +/- 2 adjustments of exposure value in 1/3-stop increments. The exposure compensation shows up on the display screen in auto, landscape, close up and program modes; otherwise, in other modes, it resides in the recording menu. For users who are unsure of which exposure value to use, there is an exposure bracketing mode that makes it nearly foolproof. The bracketing mode takes three pictures in a burst at intervals of +/- 0.3, 0.7, or 1. The display screen’s quick view only shows the last picture taken, so users will have to enter the playback mode to compare all three shots. There is a histogram available in the live view, quick view and review modes. The histogram is tiny, but visible; it appears when the Info button is pushed. Overall, the Kodak C663 offers more exposure choices than the average compact model. Most models only offer an exposure compensation scale and maybe a histogram. Few, however, offer bracketing and manual control.
The owner’s manual and the company web site specs claim this model has all kinds of metering options, but they are nowhere to be found in the menu system. Surely, they are not manually selectable, but there are scene modes optimized to use one metering mode or another. Most of the time, the through-the-lens metering system uses a multi-zone metering method, but it uses a center-weighted algorithm in the Backlit scene mode. This works well, however, backlit subjects will still get stricken by the harsh flash.
**The Kodak EasyShare C663 has a disappointing ISO range that extends only from 80-400 for full resolution pictures. There is an ISO 800 option, but it is only available for 1-megapixel pictures. So if you use this to shoot in low light, you’ll have to print wallet-sized pictures or smaller. Users can manually set the ISO in the Manual and Program recording modes with the joystick; it appears directly on the LCD screen without having to enter the menus. There is a live view of the exposure when the options are scrolled through, so users can better judge what ISO sensitivity they will want. The automatic ISO mode shortens the sensitivity range to 80-160. This ISO range is typical of a cheap camera; like all of the low-end models, it is disappointing to forego a high sensitivity that would allow pictures to be taken in more natural lighting than the harsh flash.
**White Balance ***(3.5)*
This is one area where Kodak skimped. The following white balance modes are available: Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Open Shade. This list leaves out options such as Flash (which would have been useful with all the flash pictures that will be taken), Cloudy, and Custom. The manual setting would also have been helpful, as there are thousands of different kinds of fluorescent lights that all emit different shades of white light. The automatic white balance mode isn’t always reliable – especially in low light. Automatic white balance mode, is where whites begin looking more like reds and oranges.
**Shutter Speed ***(6.5)*
The Kodak C663 has shutter speeds that range from 8 seconds to 1/1400th of a second when automatically set. The manual range is a little shorter, going as fast as 1/1000th of a second. The shutter speeds can be changed in the Manual mode, directly on the display screen, using the joystick. When users scroll up and down through the shutter speeds, there is a live view of the exposure darkening and brightening.
The camera’s aperture offerings aren’t as impressive as the shutter speeds. The aperture opens to a nice and wide f/2.7 at the widest focal length, but closes down to a much smaller f/4.6 in the widest focal length. The aperture only offers two stops at each focal length. At its widest, the Schneider-Kreuznach lens offers users f/2.7 and f/5.1 choices. In telephoto, users are limited to f/4.6 and f/8.7. The nice part about the aperture is that when it is tweaked with the joystick there is a live view. The downside is that it’s nearly impossible to zoom in on a subject in low light and come out with a decent shot.
**Picture Quality / Size Options ***(6.5)*
The 6.1-megapixel digital camera has 6 megapixels that are effective for imaging. The Kodak EasyShare C663 has the following JPEG image sizes available:
Best: 6.0 MP/ 2832 × 2128
Best: 5.3 MP/ 2832 × 1888 (3:2 format)
Better: 4.0 MP/ 2304 × 1728
Good: 3.1 MP/ 2048 × 1536
Email: 1.1 MP/ 1200 x 900
According to Kodak, the top resolution is decent enough to make prints up to 20 x 30 inches. For more information about whether that statement is accurate, check out the Resolution section in our Testing/ Performance page. Also of note in this section is the fact that only the smallest 1.1-megapixel image size has access to the ISO 800 setting. So if you do shoot in low light with the high sensitivity setting, you’ll only be able to email or print an incredibly tiny picture.
**Picture Effects Mode ***(7.5)*
The Kodak C663 has a few picture effects that have become staples even on cheap compact cameras. The camera has High Color, Natural Color, Low Color, Sepia, and Black and White color modes. These can be chosen within the menu, but there is no live view.Users have to enter the menu, select the mode, then exit the menu to check its color. The high and low color modes tweak the saturation, while the Sepia and Black and White change the colors altogether. The Sepia looks dark brown much like coloring with brown crayons on a brown paper bag. Still, this looks better than the pizza orange color some compact models pass for sepia. The Sharpness of the picture can be adjusted in the Program and Manual modes to Low, Normal, or High settings. Kodak cameras tend to over-sharpen a bit anyway, so this shouldn’t be necessary. The EasyShare C663 distinguishes itself, in this section, with the inclusion of its Kodak Perfect Touch technology. In the playback mode, users can apply this quick fix to brighten a background, reduce harsh shadows, and eliminate red-eye. It works well in making the lighting a little more pleasing to look at, but doesn’t completely banish red eyes. The best part about this feature is that it shows the original file next to the fixed file on the LCD screen, and then saves both copies.
Connectivity / Extras
*If you’re one who tends to ditch the included software, then you’re not going to like this setup. The C663 relies on the included Kodak EasyShare Software for fully functionality. To use the Favorites position on the mode dial, sort pictures into albums, and use the Email function via the Share button, users must connect the C663 with an EasyShare software-enabled computer. The good news is that it’s free and it’s thorough. The bad news is that it completely takes over a computer. Pop-ups appear to offer free tips, downloaded images boot up the EasyShare program to appear, and viewing a single image takes up the entire computer screen (can’t even see the Windows Start menu). These are all issues if users choose the automatic download, rather than tweaking all the custom settings when installing the program. There are ways to set the computer to use other imaging programs as the default for opening pictures from email, but it’s not easy for most people. The C663 comes with version 5.2 software, but the most recent version (currently 6.0) is available to download free from the Kodak web site.
The Kodak EasyShare Software is tailored for computers that are connected to the Internet, but it can certainly function without a connection too. Howeever, without the Internet, users cannot use features such as the Order Prints Online, Email, Creative Projects or Kodak EasyShare Center tabs on the left side of the browser window. This leaves only the top two tabs for disconnected users: My Collection and Print at Home.
In My Collection, users can view all pictures as thumbnails and can adjust the size of thumbnails to be large or small on a sliding scale. Users can browse the entire collection of photos or can call up images from the last batch uploaded. Users can also search pictures by date as well as look at My Favorites and My Albums. From the viewing window, there are plenty of options across the top: Add Pictures, New Album, Edit, Rotate, Select All, Burn CD/DVD, Slide Show, and Express Upload.
When a thumbnail is clicked upon, that picture takes over the entire screen. The Start menu disappears and users can no longer jump between windows or programs. The picture appears along with options to skip to the next or previous images, and to edit, delete, print, or tag as a favorite. Once the editing button is pushed, several more choices appear: Crop, Rotate, Red Eye, Enhance, Scene Balance, Color Balance, Scene Effects, Fun Effects, and Help.
Most of the editing options are self-explanatory such as Crop and Rotate. Some of the others require elaboration. The Red Eye function works automatically or manually. The automatic function doesn’t always work, and the manual is hard to aim at the right spot because the pointer is so big. The Enhance function works automatically and is very similar to the on-camera Kodak Perfect Touch technology. The Scene Balance option lets users tweak the dynamic range; users can adjust the exposure, shadow, and highlight. The Color Balance requires users to only find a patch of gray and click on it. The Scene Effects include Black & White, Sepia Tone, Forest, Scenic, Portrait, and Sunset. Fun Effects include Spotlight, Coloring Book, Cartoon, and Fish-Eye. Those options are interesting, but won’t warrant great 8x10s. In all modes, there is a Help window that will appear at the push of a button to explain how to perform any function.
The Print at Home tab allows users to select paper sizes, print layouts, paper types and print qualities. The Order Prints Online tab throws users into a step-by step process that helps them create print orders and connects the user directly to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery web site encouraging users to open an account. Registering an account is free, but printing is not free. The Email tab lets users select whether they’d like to email pictures with attachments or create online galleries which users can send as links to their friends. The Creative Projects tab allows users to scrapbook their pictures onto layouts complete with text and such, but unfortunately that also requires an online account. The final Kodak EasyShare tab connects to the company’s web site and offers the most recent version of the software for free. It also has a link to the online store, and encourages users to register their Kodak products.
Overall, the Kodak EasyShare Software has decent editing options and is very easy to use. It offers a lot of options, and even though it is saturated with the company’s marketing ploys, the most recent version is available free from Kodak’s web site.
*Jacks, ports, plugs (7.0)
*The Kodak C663 is lightly dotted with jacks and ports on three of its sides. On the right side, there is a door that opens to reveal the separate USB and AV ports. The AV-out function can be set to North American (NTSC) or European (PAL) standards, no matter where you are, you can play slide shows on television. The left side of the camera has an open port for the DC-in cable but it is also a great place for other things such as bubble gum, dirt or hair. On the bottom of the camera is a multi-terminal that allows the C663 to rest on Kodak’s series of printers and camera docks.
Direct Print Options (8.0)
*Kodak claims that the C663 can print pictures up to 20x30 inches. This seems to be quite a stretch *(check out the Resolution section in Testing/Performance for more details). This camera is mainly designed to produce 4 x 6-inch prints. There is a Blur Warning feature that appears on the screen to inform users if an image isn’t sharp enough to produce a good 4 x 6-inch print. Users can create print orders by pushing the red Share button. From that short menu, users can either scroll through and select pictures for printing or the user can select all pictures at once. Once an order is made, the camera remembers the order, until it is connected to a computer or printer. The Kodak C663 can connect to PictBridge and ImageLink compatible printers, including the Kodak EasyShare Series 3 printers. The camera comes with a plastic insert that fits between the camera and the printer so the C663 can rest on top and still show off the display screen. Pictures from this camera can be print-ready with in-camera cropping and the Kodak Perfect Touch technology that automatically fixes lighting and other issues. Users have access to a video print mode that creates index prints of movies with 4, 9, or 16 thumbnails per 4 x 6-inch print. Users can’t select which frames get printed – the camera automatically does this – so it’s a crapshoot.
*The Kodak EasyShare C663 comes with a rechargeable NiMH battery and a wall-mount charger. The battery is shaped like two AA batteries stuck together, but common alkaline AA batteries cannot be used. Instead, this camera requires lithium AA batteries that can get 250-350 shots per charge or a Kodak CRV3 battery that can get 350-500 shots per charge. The included NiMH AA battery gets 200-300 shots per charge. It seemed to hold up just fine during testing, but users on an extended vacation may want to invest in a backup battery. It costs only $14.95 on the Kodak web site. The battery doesn’t take long to charge up at only 2.5 hours. The wall-mount charger is made up of two pieces: the main compartment that holds the battery and the plug portion that connects the main compartment to the wall outlet. If you’re prone to losing small pieces, this setup won’t travel well for you. Otherwise, it’s just fine. If users don’t want to ever open the battery compartment door on the bottom of the C663, they can purchase an optional Kodak EasyShare Series 3 Camera Dock. The camera sits atop it with its multi-terminal, but the battery takes a little longer to charge at 3.5 hours. Still, it can play slide shows continuously or download photos while charging up.
*The Kodak EasyShare C663 comes with 32 MB of internal memory with only 28 MB available for picture storage. The other few bytes go to remembering things like album names and email addresses. Since this is hardly enough memory for more than 30 seconds of photography, a SD or MMC card is recommended – but not included. Users can choose to let the camera automatically decide where to put photos (onto the card first and then to the internal memory) or decide for themselves and specify it in the internal memory. The internal memory and memory card can be formatted individually in the setup menu. Pictures can also be copied from one storage area to the other through the playback menu.
The 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare C663 offers basic features at a price of $299. Surprisingly, the same amount of money can get you a 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare-one with wireless capabilities, 256 MB of internal memory, a 3-inch LCD screen, and all the same scene modes as the C663. The only feature it lacks is the manual control. Sure, the Kodak EasyShare C663 is near the top of the line in the low-end C-series,but its features don’t come close to other models that cost $299 – regardless of whether they have a Kodak logo on them or not.
***Kodak EasyShare C643 –* This digital camera is under the flagship C663 in Kodak’s point-and-shoot series. It has many of the same features such as 6.1 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom lens and 2.4-inch LCD screen. The biggest difference between the two cameras is that the C643 doesn’t have manual control over shutter speed and aperture like the C663. There are subtler differences too. The Kodak C643 has only 11 scene modes; omitting the Night Landscape and Text presets. It does not have High and Low Color modes, but it has the Sepia and Black and White modes. This model does not have exposure bracketing and it has only four white balance options. Kodak seems to think these differences must add up to a huge change on the price tag. This more automatic 6.1-megapixel model retails for $199. It does keep the positive aspects of the flagship ; the Kodak EasyShare C643 includes Perfect Touch technology and 32 MB of internal memory. The Kodak C643 provides a cheaper option to consumers who want all the bells and whistles without manual controls.
Kodak EasyShare-one 6 MP – This digital camera also doesn’t have manual control over exposure, but it has promising features and sells for the same $299 retail price as the C663. The 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare-one has a sturdy, inch-thick, metal body that includes a 3-inch, 230k LCD screen which folds out and rotates. Better still, the screen comes with a stylus that reacts when touched. This model has 256 MB of internal memory and includes a WiFi card to wirelessly transfer images from the camera to a computer. It can also email pictures and messages straight from the camera; no need to shuffle in the included software to manage addresses and send messages. The Kodak EasyShare-one has a 3x optical zoom lens that can’t shoot as close in its macro mode (3.9 inches), otherwise it is very similar to the C663’s lens. The EasyShare-one has 16 scene modes, an auto mode and a movie mode. Consumers will have to forego manual control over exposure, but would gain a movie mode that can shoot 30 fps. This digital camera also includes Perfect Touch technology and even comes with a leather carrying case. The 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare-one is ideal for someone who wants more innovative features and doesn’t care about manual functionality.
*Canon PowerShot A620 –*This digital camera falls under Canon’s point-and-shoot series of digital cameras. It debuted in August 2005 at a higher price, but currently retails for $299 (although it can be found for about $220 online). This camera comes with mode resolution at 7.1 megapixels and more zoom power with its 4x lens. It has a smaller 2-inch LCD screen that has 115,000 pixels, and the display folds out and rotates almost like a camcorder’s screen. The A620’s body is much thicker and much heavier, but its appearance is plain. The Canon A620 has a variety of recording modes including a fully manual mode, two priority modes, programmed and auto modes and 11 scene modes. There is also a movie mode that records 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 at a selectable 30 or 15 fps. A Fast Frame Rate option is also available; with 60 fps and 320 x 240 pixels, it records action smoothly for up to a minute. This PowerShot earned decent resolution scores with so-so colors. It handled noise respectably and illuminated and focused subjects properly in low light. The A620 has an optical viewfinder and runs on 4 AA batteries, which need to be charged every 350 shots or so. The Canon PowerShot A620 gives consumers more resolution and zoom, along with overall better image quality and more manual control for about the same price.
Fujifilm FinePix F470 – For a $279 price, consumers can get the same amount of resolution in a slimmer and sturdier camera body. The 6-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F470 has a much sleeker look and fits much better into a pocket with its mere 0.8-inch thickness. This digital camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD screen with 115k pixels. Manual controls are not including with this model and there are 10 scene modes. There is a movie mode that records 640 x 480-pixel video clips at a full 30 fps frame rate. The FinePix F470 has a pedestrian burst mode that shoots 1.9 fps and performed poorly in low light tests. Still, it produced colors fairly realistically and handled noise well. The F470 has 16 MB of internal memory and more white balance presets than the Kodak C663, even though there is still no manual setting. The Fujifilm FinePix F470 is a good option for consumers who don’t care for manual controls but want a relatively inexpensive camera that will fit in a pocket.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 – This digital camera has 6 megapixels and comes with a much longer zoom lens. The Panasonic LZ5 has a 6x optical zoom lens that is optically stabilized, which reduces the effects of shaking hands on images and movies. Still images can be recorded in widescreen format, which like having a built-in panoramic mode. Some Lumix cameras can record videos in 16:9, but the LZ5 cannot. The Panasonic LZ5 has 15 scene modes; in addition to the normal Portrait and Landscape stuff, it has two Baby modes that save the exact age of the subject (you have to preload the birthday, of course. It can’t magically guess) with each image file. The camera also includes a High Sensitivity mode that uses ISO 800-1600 settings to capture images in low light without firing the flash. The LZ5 does not have manual control, but it does have an exposure bracketing feature and a custom white balance setting. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 produces great colors and decent resolution, but it does poorly in low light. It has a better burst mode that snaps 3.4 fps for up to 6 shots. The LZ5 has a 2.5-inch LCD screen that has a disappointing 85,000 pixels and runs on AA batteries that can get 235 shots per use. This digital camera offers consumers a lot more zoom and image stabilization for a cheaper $249 price.
**Who It’s For
***Point-and-Shooters –* The Kodak EasyShare C-series is designed with this audience in mind. The C663 is at the helm with its few manual controls for those point-and-shooters who just want to dabble with exposure control.
*Budget Consumers – *At $299, consumers can get better digital cameras. There are models out there with more zoom, more innovative features, more manual control and even more resolution at a smaller price.
Gadget Freaks – The C663 has plain features that aren’t very innovative or interesting. Gadget freaks would be completely bored with this camera and would be embarrassed to even be seen holding one at a store.
Manual Control Freaks – The Kodak C663 does have manual control, but unlike other models, it is not as extensive. The shutter speeds and apertures can be adjusted in the manual mode, but there are no priority modes and other manual controls like metering, focus, and white balance simply are nonexistant.
Pros / Serious Hobbyists – Despite being the flagship of the C-series, the Kodak C663 probably won’t ever be picked up by a professional or even a serious hobbyist. It doesn’t have the right body type, manual control or look.
**This digital camera has few pros and a lot of cons. It has a nicely sized LCD screen, but poor resolution and a narrow viewing angle. The 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare C663 has manual control over shutter speed and aperture, but doesn’t have a custom white balance setting. It has a 3x optical zoom lens, but it doesn’t work when recording movies. The C663 has cool in-camera features to email and sort pictures into albums, but the setup requires connecting to the included software and tinkering around for much too long. The camera is easy to use if you’re just taking pictures, but it’s hard to change any settings with the tiny buttons and painfully sharp joystick. Its image quality doesn’t help. Most pictures in anything but bright daylight are plagued by uneven shadows and spots from the substandard flash; the ones that are spared by the flash have unrealistic colors. The shutter lag may cause the user to miss the moment. Some of these issues can be cleared up with Kodak’s built-in Perfect Touch technology (which can be applied in the playback mode), but there is much to be desired with the C663’s pictures. In the end, the cons outweigh the pros for the Kodak EasyShare C663 – especially considering the $299 price tag.
Specs / Ratings
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