With a large touchscreen and sharing functionality built-in, this budget compact seems perfect for younger users on a tight budget. The What Digital Camera Kodak Easyshare Touch review digs deeper to see whether it's a winner all round...
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Features
Beginning with the hardware, the camera combines a 14MP CCD sensor with a 28-140mm Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom lens – a construction including aspheric elements to improve image quality. Both of these are now commonly found across compacts of the Touch’s ilk, although at such a price the 460k-dot touchscreen LCD is far more of a rarity, particularly as it’s based on capacitive technology. This utilises the conductive properties of the human body to access the screen, in contrast to the resistive technology usually seen on such compacts which instead uses layers of materials which conduct electricity when they meet (ie. when you press or swipe them). As capacitive systems are the better performing of the two it’s more than welcome to see one on such a keenly-priced camera.
In terms of its sharing functionality, the Touch allows images to be tagged for uploading to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other social networking sites, as well as to emails and Kodak’s Gallery. Elsewhere the camera boasts 720p video recording at 30fps and both Face Detection and Recognition functionality, as well as Film Effects based on Kodak’s most popular emulsions (the user may choose from Kodacolour, Kodachrome and both Tri-X and T-Max options among others). Further editing is also possible post-capture.
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Design
With a 3in LCD screen the Touch is a little larger than similar compacts at this price, but it’s not a weighty model and is still pocketable. Admittedly, the glossy plastic finish won’t be to everyone’s liking, although for such a camera build quality is perfectly fine. The doors covering the battery compartment and USB/HDMI ports aren’t as flimsy as on some other entry-level models, and the few buttons there are around the body are all well sized for even larger-handed users. Only the zoom control is a little fiddly, given that it’s a small rocker which you have to move up and down rather than one which presses into the camera.
The quality of the screen is superb, with high detail and far better visibility in harsher conditions than what we’re used to seeing at this level. The camera’s slick graphic user interface (GUI) looks as though it belongs on a television or Blu-ray player rather than a compact, but this doesn’t hinder operation and makes it pleasing to use. It makes good use of colour and graphics, and does well to use the full dimensions of the screen rather than just the peripheral areas. As promised, it responds to even the slightest touch, although there is generally a slight delay between a function being pressed and the camera actually bringing it up.
Performance & Image Quality
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Performance
A number of intuitive functions make themselves known throughout the camera’s operation, and this begins right from powering up. Should there be any images on the camera’s internal memory, for example, the camera automatically asks the user if they would like to copy them onto a memory card, whenever one is used for the first time since their capture. Furthermore, a small and discreet bin icon appears after each shot in the corner of the frame, which makes light work of immediately deleting any images you know you won’t want to keep.
Elsewhere the camera puts in a reasonable performance, although nothing really impresses as much as the interface and LCD screen. It takes the best part of a couple of seconds for the camera to fully ready itself for shooting, while focusing speeds are good but a touch slower than some other cameras around this price, particularly at the zoom’s tele end. There’s also room for improvement with the camera’s zoom operation, as even the most gentle nudging only allows six points over the entire focal range to be selected, including the two extremes.
Things improve in image playback, though. Thanks to the display’s responsiveness it only takes a gentle swipe of the finger to browse through images, and it’s possible to view them by both date and subject. The Share feature also works well, and with the supplied software makes transferring images to both a computer and websites a cinch.
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Image Quality
With the user experience scoring brownie points all round, it’s a pity that image quality is only really suited for casual snapshots viewed at small-print or web-friendly sizes. Viewed at 100% the camera’s aggressive processing can be easily seen, with noise reduction turning details to mush and slight oversharpening giving subjects unnatural outlines, even when shooting at the lowest sensitivities in optimum conditions. Slight distortions from the camera’s lens are noticeable but overall they’re well controlled, and while chromatic aberrations are also noticeable across edges of details, the Touch is by no means alone here.
If you’re not looking at images so closely, there’s less to disappoint. The metering system does well to keep exposures balanced, with harshly-lit situations the main culprits to forcing highlights to blow, although the camera relies on its flash more than expected which isn’t always appropriate (particularly for close-up subjects). Colours are pleasing if a touch pale, and the white balance does a sterling job most of the time, although certain images taken during the test displayed inaccurate colour casts – even in daylight – and ambient exposures of the same subject occasionally differed in colour and white balance between shots.
Value & Verdict
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Value
Compacts with 460k-dot capacitive touchscreens are practically non-existant for anywhere near this price, so if this is what you’re buying it for it’s an absolute steal. If, however, you’re looking for the best image quality at the lowest price, you can do far better elsewhere.
Kodak Easyshare Touch review – Verdict
The Easyshare Touch has by far the best touchscreen for a compact of this price, and it’s full of clever and intuitive touches which simplify its operation, but there’s plenty of room for improvement with its images.