Kodak EASYSHARE M550 review

Review Date : Sat, 1 May 2010

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The EASYSHARE M550 is one of the latest products in the series, and sits towards the extremely affordable range of the scale. The model features a sizeable sensor, decent LCD screen and the expected range of simple functionality – all of which is available at a bargain price. But how does the M550 perform? Is it solely an entry-level shooter, or does it offer something for the more experienced photographer as well?

Pros: Affordable price point, reasonable LCD screen
Cons: Very poor image quality, dated design, sluggish performance

Despite all of the trials and tribulations that have faced Kodak over the past few years, one glimmering light has been the brand's EASYSHARE series of cameras and peripherals. While they may not have received the critical acclaim placed upon other brands and ranges, the series has been a commercial success. This owes a lot of the no-frills interface and easy-to-use nature of the products, as well as a host of one-touch sharing facilities that give the series its catchy moniker.

The EASYSHARE M550 is one of the latest products in this series, and sits towards the extremely affordable range of the scale. The model features a sizeable sensor, decent LCD screen and the expected range of simple functionality - all of which is available at a bargain price. But how does the M550 perform? Is it solely an entry-level shooter, or does it offer something for the more experienced photographer as well?

Kodak EASYSHARE M550 review - Features

For a compact camera that is available at around the hundred pound mark, the EASYSHARE M550 feature a pretty impressive specification. First up is the sensor - the compact offers a resolution of 12.7MP in total, housed on a 1/2.3in CCD sensor, which produces images of 4096 x 3016 pixels. The optics featured offer a 5x optical with a wide-angle of 28mm, covering a range of 28-140mm in old money, though this isn't optically stabilised. The shutter speeds in normal capture modes range from 1/8 - 1/1400 seconds, though in manual mode the maximum shutter speed is extended to between 1/ - 8 seconds.

The M550 sports a reasonable LCD screen - its 2.7in size is larger than a lot of compact cameras on the market, though unfortunately the 230k resolution is towards the lower end of the market. The ISO covers an interesting range of settings, from 64-640 in smart capture mode, though this extends to ISO 1000 in manual mode.

While on exposure modes, best to address the modes present on the M550. The model features a ‘Smart Capture' mode, Kodak's packaging of the prevalent intelligent auto setting, which allows the camera to decide upon which scene mode to use relevant to the shot. Alongside Smart Capture sit a range of scene modes, while a more adaptable program mode also features for those looking to take more control over their settings.

The M550's movie mode does not, unfortunately, capture in HD format, instead recording at VGA resolution and 30fps. The camera also features several in-camera editing functions - Kodak ‘Perfect Touch' technology features, as does the ability to crop and copy images, as well as basic video editing functionality.

The real sell of the EASYSHARE series that they make sharing images across a range of social networks a painless process. With the M550, Kodak has placed a large red share button on the camera rear which, when pressed, bring up a choice of platforms across which you can share the images. However, this only marks the photo for sharing - the actual sharing process comes about open plugging the memory card into the camera and then browsing the shots through the supplied software.

Verdict

In theory, there is a lot to like about the Kodak EASYSHARE M550. It’s affordable price means that those new to photography can get a foot on the ladder for very little cash. Then there’s the specification – the 12MP sensor, 5x optical zoom with 28mm wide-angle and 2.7in LCD screen all result in what looks like a good value package. However, the problems soon surface upon closer inspection. As mentioned, the compact is poorly designed and looks dated, while button layout is unintuitive and complicated. Performance is generally sluggish, with zoom and focus being less than prompt, though AF tracking does seem up to the job. Finally, there’s the image quality, which is amongst the most disappointing of compact cameras to recently grace the WDC testing bench. All in all, if your looking to get one of the most affordable cameras on the market and really aren’t fussed about performance, design or image quality, then the Kodak EASYSHARE M550 may be right for you. If any of those factors are important to you however, there are much better options out there.


Lens Reviews

Price as reviewed

£110.00

Scores

Scores
Design 13/20
Image Quality 11/20
Performance 14/20
Value 15/20
Features 17/20
Overall Score 70%