Priced only $50 more than its 4-megapixel sibling, the LS743, the Kodak EasyShare LS753 is easily worth the extra cash. Your half-Benjamin buys you twice as much internal memory (32MB), a 5-megapixel sensor, and four additional scene modes. This camera is also an upgrade from the similarly spec'd but slightly lower-priced , thanks to a sleeker 4.3-by-1.2-by-1.9-inch, 6.4-ounce all-metal body that's easier to tuck in a pocket and a long-lived rechargeable battery that hung in for 872 shots--50 percent of them with flash--on a single charge. The chief downside is a 2.8X zoom lens with a 36mm-to-100mm (35mm equivalent) range that's better suited for framing adjustments than changing perspective.
With its elongated layout, the LS753 fits two hands better than one, especially if you want to thumb the back-mounted zoom lever while keeping a finger poised over the shutter release. Also nestled on the top surface are the power button (which glows an eerie blue when the camera is switched on), slits for the built-in speaker, a flash adjustment button, and a jog wheel that you turn to switch among shooting and scene modes, then depress to lock in the mode. These modes include Auto, Portrait, Self-Portrait, Night Portrait, Close-Up, Landscape, Night Landscape, Sport, Snow, Beach, Party, Fireworks, Backlight, Children, Flower, and a "politeness" mode labeled Museum/Manner that deactivates the flash and camera sounds in environments where flash photography is prohibited or frowned upon.
Other than the four-way cursor/OK button nested within the zoom lever's collar, the only controls to fuss with are the Delete, Menu, Review, and Share (tag, print, e-mail) buttons located to the left of the 1.8-inch LCD. Unfortunately, some key options, including exposure compensation, burst mode, and the self-timer, are buried in the menu system, along with less-frequently accessed controls such as white balance; ISO speed; multi- or center-zone autofocus; and multi-, center-weighted, or spot metering. While the camera sets sensitivity within only the ISO 80 to ISO 160 range in full auto, you can specify manual ISO settings up to ISO 800, although the highest setting is available solely in the 1.7-megapixel Good mode. These adjustments all return to their defaults when the camera is powered down, so you may visit the menus more often than expected.
Close-up shooting capabilities are extremely good. The LS753 focuses down to 2 inches in wide-angle mode and as close as a foot at the modest telephoto setting. Burst mode is equally impressive; the Kodak grabbed four shots in about 1.2 seconds. A few features are notable chiefly for their fun factor and their convenience. For example, the LS753 can automatically rotate vertically oriented photos for viewing when the camera is held horizontally and, at the same time, embed this orientation information in the file for the benefit of image software that can use it. The Share button makes it easy to tag images for an in-camera photo album or mark them for e-mailing to any of 32 e-mail addresses you've downloaded to the camera from your computer using the included EasyShare software. Less fun are the movie capabilities, which are limited to 640x480 pixels at 13fps or 320x240 pixels at 20fps, up to the capacity of the 32MB of internal flash memory or your SD card.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (typical)||Time to first shot|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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The LS753's performance is always at your fingertips because the camera is always ready to take a picture when powered up, even if you're navigating a menu or reviewing your previous shots. You don't waste a lot of time with shutter lag, which amounted to only 0.6 second under high-contrast lighting and a respectable 0.9 second under more challenging low-contrast illumination. Even with burst mode switched off, you'll wait only 1.4 seconds between shots (or 2.4 seconds with flash) until the roughly four-shot buffer fills.
The LS753 had some fringing on high-contrast edges (left), and the focal point of our test photo wasn't sharply in focus (right).
Image quality was generally good but suffered from purple fringing around many backlit subjects. Exposures were solid, with lots of detail in shadows and highlights, while colors, especially flesh tones, were realistic with the right amount of saturation. However, the images were much softer than we expected from a 5-megapixel camera, and there were lots of JPEG artifacts to be found. The camera's default ISO 80 to ISO 160 sensitivity settings produced little noise, but this grainy effect was quite visible at ISO 400 and above.