Recent years have seen Kodak shift the focus of its camera range and associated marketing towards the idea that sharing your photos is possibly even more important than actually taking them. If you live to upload your party photos to Facebook and the like, then the slim, £140 Kodak EasyShare M590 could be the compact camera for you.
Upon unboxing our silver review unit (the M590 is also available in red), we discovered a removable tag proudly bearing the legend 'World's thinnest digital camera'. On closer inspection, this bold statement had two qualifications. Firstly, the claim specifically refers to digital cameras with a 5x optical zoom and, secondly, the claim was only good up until July 2010.
If you're really desperate for the thinnest camera possible, then you'll find there are slimmer models available. But the 16mm-deep M590 is certainly highly pocketable and, therefore, easy to keep on you at all times. Its metallic body and rubbery edging make it feel surprisingly rugged too.
Unfortunately, there's no lens cover, so the outermost layer of the internal optical housing is left rather exposed. Likewise, the camera's only connection -- a multi-purpose USB/AV/DC-in socket -- is left unprotected and open to the elements, allowing fluff, biscuit crumbs and other potentially damaging detritus to get inside.
Most of the rear is taken up by a 2.7-inch LCD screen. The display doesn't have the highest resolution, and it can look rather grainy, but we've seen worse and it's perfectly adequate for casual use. There are no fancy touchscreen controls. Everything is operated via on-screen menus and a five-button strip running down the right-hand side of the LCD. It's not the greatest control scheme in the universe, and it may take a while to get the hang of.
Kodak has opted for microSD cards as the M590's storage medium. That choice may have been driven by the desire to keep the camera slim. It's a shame that people who already have a drawer full of larger SD cards won't be able to use them in this snapper, though.
The M590 switches on in about 2 seconds. Predictably for a camera in its class, your options are relatively limited when using it in the standard auto mode. You can change the ratio and resolution of your shots, for example, but there are very few manual settings or controls to speak of.