capsule review

Kodak EasyShare C663 camera

Kodak’s 6.1-megapixel EasyShare C663 is not only easy on the wallet at $300, but is the first camera to include a digital version of the company’s Perfect Touch technology, the process used in Kodak film minilabs to correct exposure. Perfect Touch does a pretty effective job in bringing out shadow detail in images, and generally improving the appearance of photos taken in high-contrast lighting situations, such as indoors with flash.

The EasyShare C663’s image quality was good but not exceptional and its image quality scores 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 the 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 photos. Even so, I saw noise in images shot at only ISO 200.

Mixed design

The C663’s 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, and is 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 it’s 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 easily press the Menu button instead of the Review button. 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—this last feature could be useful if your camera has to double as an album for showing off your favorite photos.

The C663 is aimed at point-and-shoot users, so unsurprisingly, it offers limited manual controls. It has 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 lets you 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, this feature is limited because 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 Kodak 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.

Performance

Image Quality Good
Battery Life Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

How we tested: The image-quality rating of the camera is based on a panel of judges’ opinions in five categories: exposure, color, sharpness, distortion, and overall. Battery life testers follow a precise script, including shots with and without flash, until the battery dies.—Tested in conjunction with the PC World Test Center

Specifications

Resolution 6.1 megapixels
Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent) 3x optical (34-102mm)
Battery Type Rechargeable AA
Media Slots SD Card (1)
Size (wxhxd) 3.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches
Weight 7.6 oz.

Macworld’s buying advice

The Kodak EasyShare C663 is a reasonably good camera at a good price. 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 is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in PC World, Wired, and JIWire.com. He also maintains a Camcorder blog.]

Kodak EasyShare C663
Related:
1 2 Page 1
Page 1 of 2
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon