The Kodak EasyShare C533 is a basic budget camera that doesn't pretend to be otherwise. This 5-megapixel point-and-shoot produces decent photos and responds quickly, but its flimsy-feeling build quality, tiny 1.8-inch LCD screen, and minimalist feature set keep the C533 firmly in the bargain bin.
Budget cameras aren't known for having extremely rugged bodies, but the C533 feels cheap, even compared to its sub-$200 brethren. The C533's chunky 6.6-ounce, 1.4-inch-thick light plastic body feels as if it came from a cereal box. Its control scheme is a bit button-heavy for a basic snapshot camera. The shutter release is set inside a mode dial on the top of the camera, next to two buttons that control the flash and timer/burst settings. The back panel holds a tiny zoom rocker; a four-way-plus-OK control pad; a red share button; and four additional buttons for menu, review, display/info, and delete. These controls sit next to the camera's smallish 1.8-inch LCD. This last feature leaves enough room for an optical viewfinder, however, offering additional framing options if you're in close quarters or when the LCD washes out in sunlight.
The Kodak EasyShare C533's modest 37mm-to-111mm lens (35mm equivalent) is sufficient for general-purpose shooting, though you'll find the angle of view a bit narrow for close-up group shots. The C533 offers few shooting options. Four white-balance settings are available, as is exposure compensation to plus or minus 2EV. The C533 comes with a handful of scene modes, including self-portrait, snow, party, and fireworks. Its VGA QuickTime movie mode records at a jerky 11fps. The camera has a sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 800, although the highest setting is available only at 1.1-megapixel resolution.
Despite a slow 4.6-second wake-up time, the C533 performed decently in our tests. We recorded a shot-to-shot rate of 1.8 seconds, which increased to just 2.3 seconds with the flash enabled. We experienced shutter lags of 0.6 second and 1.1 seconds for our high- and low-contrast targets, respectively, which are typical for this class of camera. We could fire off bursts of only 3 shots at a time, at a rate of 2.7fps.
Photos taken on the C533 are attractive enough but far from the best in class: they suffer from significant purple fringing along contrasting edges, overly cool or warm images, and noticeable noise at ISO 200 and above.