The Tech-pert: The Kodak EasyShare Touch Review
Kodak may have stumbled a bit while transitioning from its historic film roots to the modern digital world, but lately the company has created some killer products. For example, the Pulse digital photo frame remains one of my favorite products ever, and the new Easyshare Touch is my new favorite camera. With these products, Kodak has demonstrated a knack for making previously cumbersome tasks–like sharing photos–simple. The Pulse frame, for example, has its own e-mail address; friends and family members can send new photos right to it. Likewise, it can automatically absorb new pictures from the likes of Facebook and Flickr.
The Easyshare Touch, meanwhile, makes photo sharing about as easy as it gets. Just press the bright red Share button, then tag the selected photo (or video) with one or more destinations: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, e-mail, or even your Kodak Pulse frame. The next time you plug the camera into your PC, Kodak’s software automatically delivers each photo wherever it’s meant to go. No manually copying over your photos, attaching them to e-mail messages, and all that hassle-packed nonsense.
My one and only complaint is that this doesn’t happen wirelessly. In an ideal world, the camera would e-mail or upload photos on its own, via Wi-Fi, no PC required. How about it, Kodak?
Don’t let that minor obstacle stop you from considering this camera. The Easyshare Touch snaps positively gorgeous photos at up to 14 megapixels, thanks in part to a Schneider-Kreuznach lens (which features a 5x optical zoom and 28mm wide-angle view). Credit also goes to Kodak’s SmartCapture technology, which lives up to its name by automatically adjusting the sensor settings depending on lighting and environment.
In my tests, the camera produced beautiful images everywhere I pointed it. I’m definitely an amateur when it comes to photography (seriously, I take really bad pictures), but shooting with the Easyshare made me feel like a pro. For example, I framed a shot that was half out a window (into a brightly lit day), and half in a kitchen. This is would trip up a lot of cameras, either overexposing one half or underexposing the other, but the photo came out perfectly balanced.
Meanwhile, like any good modern camera should, the Easyshare captures crisp, 720p video with the push of a button. (No fiddling with menus to switch between still and movie modes.) You can watch that video on your TV, though Kodak doesn’t include the necessary HDMI cable. (The company wants $30 for it, but you can get a compatible micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable from Meritline for just $4.99 shipped.)
Another major highlight: the bright, high-resolution 3-inch touchscreen, a feature I will forever insist on for all cameras. If you’ve ever used an iPhone (or even if you haven’t), you’ll have no trouble swiping through photos, navigating onscreen menus, adjusting camera settings, and so on. There are a few aspects of the user interface that seem confusing at first, but ultimately the learning curve is very shallow.
I’ll let you peruse Kodak’s product page if you want to know more about the Easyshare Touch specs. Suffice it to say, I think this camera hits nothing but high notes, and for the startlingly low price of $149.95. Even better, if you like the red/orange color (it’s also available in black and purple), Best Buy has the Kodak EasyShare Touch for $128.99 shipped, plus sales tax. That’s a killer price on a killer camera.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.