capsule review

Kodak EasyShare M853 Compact Digital Camera

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Kodak EasyShare M853 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    This small, lightweight camera doesn't cost much, but it takes mediocre pictures and offers few controls.

Point-and-shoot simplicity is the hallmark of most of the Kodak digital cameras we've reviewed, and the inexpensive ($160 at time of review) Kodak EasyShare M853 is no exception. This small, light, 8.2-megapixel camera offers few exposure controls, but it has a wealth of built-in help information and 19 scene modes. Using it is akin to driving an inexpensive compact sedan--it's not particularly fun, but it does its job.

Next to the wide shutter button is a small mode dial with tiny, somewhat hard-to-read icons. The four-way thumb buttons are unlabeled, but because they do far less than the ones typically found in digital cameras, the drawback is minor.

The on-screen menu has relatively large text on a blue background, making for easier reading than on most point-and-shoots, but selecting a setting prompts lots of subsequent scrolling and button pressing. There's also no obvious organization to the menus. Typical of Kodak cameras, you see a short text description of what each setting does.

Proof that a high megapixel count does not guarantee excellent photos, the M853's image quality is mediocre, at best--many of my test shots had noticeable noise (or color speckling). Scenic shots captured in bright sun had a slight bluish tinge; color saturation and contrast were acceptable. Earning an overall score of Fair in PC World's formal lab testing, the M853 scored slightly below average in color and exposure accuracy, and well below average for distortion. The movie mode was fun--if you like those old, slightly jumpy and faded 8mm movies.

Creating a panoramic shot with the M853 is quicker than with most of its competition, but with dicier results. Each panorama is limited to just three source shots (most cameras with this feature allow significantly more), and stitching happens in-camera, whereas most of this Kodak's competitors do the stitching via software in your PC. In-camera stitching makes the process extremely simple, but it also means you can't make often-necessary fine adjustments during the stitching process.

The M853 comes with Kodak's EasyShare application--a capable, easy-to-use utility for managing your digital photos. The photo editing tools are fine for casual photographers, and you can use the software to order prints online or to back up your photos to CD or DVD.

The M853 is, in short, adequate for family snapshots, where photo-quality expectations are modest.

For other, similar models, see our chart of Top 10 Compact Cameras.

--Tracey Capen

This story, "Kodak EasyShare M853 Compact Digital Camera" was originally published by PCWorld.

To comment on this article and other TechHive content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This small, lightweight camera doesn't cost much, but it takes mediocre pictures and offers few controls.

Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.