Another week, another 8-megapixel compact camera. Can the Kodak EasyShare M873 stand out from its peers?
Initial impressions are that this camera is efficient, practical... uninspiring. ISO sensitivity up to 1600, allowing for digital image stabilisation, check. 3x optical zoom lens, check. Video shooting VGA resolution of 640x480 pixels at 30fps, check. Laughable 32MB of onboard memory and SD/MMC card expansion, check check check. Come on Kodak, surely you can do better.
Of course it can -- with its extras. The fact is that 8-megapixel (or thereabouts) compacts with 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screens and 3x optical zooms are the bread-and-butter of the consumer camera market. Although compact megapixel counts are stacking up to 10 and 12 these days, and screens are starting to stretch to 3 inches and maybe even getting touchy-feely, the emphasis seems to be on keeping the numbers the same and cramming in more features.
The M873 has all sorts of whistles and bells. You can set the exposure up to a time-chompingly slow eight seconds, for those trippy street scenes where people whoosh by and cars leave crazy light trails. You get an orientation sensor that detects whether you are taking portrait or landscape images and turns the picture accordingly. On top of that, there's a panorama stitch function, which knits together your sweeping images of the Grand Canyon, or more likely your garden.
All this for only £120 of your Earth pounds! And it comes in a matte black or silver body so slim we've already lost it twice (only kidding, Kodak). There are a lot of buttons, and a slider switch to choose between video and shooting mode, but the layout feels uncluttered. You'll also find Kodak's little red share button, that puts the 'easy' into EasyShare. If all that isn't worth getting excited over, then we don't know what is... We'll share a review with you very soon. -Rich Trenholm
Update: A full review of the Kodak EasyShare M873 is now live.