capsule review

Kodak EasyShare C663

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Kodak EasyShare C663 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    Has a button to mark images for sharing or e-mailing, and menus are easy to use. The joystick knob is too small, however.

Kodak EasyShare C663
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

Kodak's 6.1-megapixel EasyShare C663 ($300 as of 2/6/06) is the first camera to include a digital version of the company's Perfect Touch technology, the same process used in Kodak film minilabs to correct the exposure of photos. It does a pretty effective job: Like Nikon's D-lighting technology, Perfect Touch effectively brings out shadow detail in images, generally improving the appearance of photos taken in high-contrast lighting situations such as indoors with flash.

In our tests, the quality of the C663's images was good but not exceptional. Overall, its scores for image quality were roughly average. Colors tended to look realistic (if a little dark), and exposure was typically accurate, but our indoor still-life shot exhibited a green cast. Photos looked reasonably sharp, although judges noticed fuzziness in some edges and fine details. The camera's maximum ISO setting is 800, but only at a very low resolution; ISO 400 is the maximum for 6.1-megapixel-size photos. Even so, I saw noise in images shot at only ISO 200.

Design-wise, the C663 is a bit of a mixed bag. Its plastic case feels flimsy, and it has a curiously retro boxy look. The camera's LCD screen is a good size and a reasonable resolution (2.5 inches and 115,000 pixels), and it dominates the back panel, leaving only a relatively small amount of space for the buttons. The display looks good in most lighting situations, viewable in all but direct sunlight.

Most of the controls are accessible through the on-screen menu, which includes both icons and text labels for easy navigation. A joystick helps you navigate, but it's a little small and too easy to push the wrong way by accident. The C663's other buttons are also rather small; if you aren't looking closely, you could press the menu button instead of the review button fairly easily. Additionally, the buttons for setting the shooting and flash modes are oddly located on the top of the camera, so you'll need both hands to change them. A share button above the LCD screen allows you to mark images for printing or add them to a favorites list, where they are displayed when you set the mode dial on the top of the camera appropriately--this last feature could be useful if your camera has to double as an album for showing off your favorite photos.

The C663 is squarely aimed at point-and-shoot users, so perhaps unsurprisingly it offers limited manual controls. There is a full manual mode, but no aperture or shutter priority modes, which tend to be more useful. One interesting touch is the last burst shooting mode, which allows you to keep taking pictures indefinitely while the camera saves the last four images. This feature could be useful for situations where you aren't certain when something is going to happen but you want to make sure you capture it. If you're photographing a horse race, for instance, you could hold down the shutter button to keep taking pictures, releasing it when the horses have passed; the camera would then retain the last four images. However, the limitation of this feature is that the camera takes only two shots a second, not really enough to capture high-speed action.

The camera can capture video at a resolution of up to 640 by 480 pixels, at 24 frames per second, with sound. It can also automatically create what it calls a video action print, a still image composed of 4, 9, or 16 frames from the video--an interesting idea, and pretty effective. A video action print from a short clip of a sports event, for instance, could tell a good story.

The C663 is a reasonable camera, and it isn't badly priced. Its image quality is good, and it offers most of the features that point-and-shoot users will need. And the Perfect Touch processing can make a big difference in image quality, a feature that may make the camera attractive for folks who just want to take pictures without fuss.

Richard Baguley

This story, "Kodak EasyShare C663" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Has a button to mark images for sharing or e-mailing, and menus are easy to use. The joystick knob is too small, however.

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