It's always nice when a camera just works. Such is the case with the fairly ordinary Kodak EasyShare M1093 IS. It's a simple ultracompact with a ton of scene modes, HD movie capture, a modicum of shooting control, but most importantly Kodak's Smart Capture mode, which does all the snapshot heavy lifting if you let it. Give the M1093 bright light and you'll be rewarded with sharp photos with great color. However, use it handheld in low light and without a flash and you probably won't be happy with the results--which is typical of sub-$200 cameras. Otherwise, it's a fine, standard 10-megapixel pocket camera with a 3x zoom lens and image stabilization.
|Key specs||Kodak EasyShare M1093 IS|
|Dimensions||3.7 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 0.8 inch deep|
|Weight (with battery and media)||5.3 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD|
|LCD size, resolution||3-inch LCD, 230K dots|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||3x, f3.1-5.7, 35-105mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/Motion JPEG|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||3,672x2,748 pixels (4:3)/1,280x720 at 30fps (16:9)|
|Image stabilization type||Optical and electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Lithium ion rechargeable, 200 shots|
Available in black, silver, or red, there's something very basic about the M1093 IS' design. If someone told you to picture a pocket-size digital camera, chances are you'd envision a camera that looks like this Kodak. Buttons for the shutter, power, flash, and mode selections are on top, flush with the body, adding to the camera's streamlined looks. This also means there's little distinguishing one button from the next, so operating by touch is difficult. On back is a 3-inch LCD that's bright enough to remain visible in sunlight.
A relatively large rocker zoom switch is well positioned to the top left of the screen; however, the lens itself is a bit slow to move in and out. Below it sits a five-way joystick for navigating menus and for playing images and video. That's flanked by Delete, Playback, Menu, and Kodak's standard Share button, which lets you tag an image to be printed or e-mailed the next time the camera is connected to a computer.
|General shooting options||Kodak EasyShare M1093 IS|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200|
|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open Shade|
|Recording modes||Smart Capture, Program, Scene, Video|
|Focus||Multi-zone AF (5 zones), Center-zone AF|
|Metering||Multi-pattern, Center-weighted, Center Spot|
|Color effects||Natural, High Color, Low Color Black & White, Sepia|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||3 photos|
Press the Mode button and you get four options: Smart Capture, Program, Scene, and Video. Smart Capture mode integrates scene and face detection, optimized auto ISO, and a broader dynamic range among other things, so you truly don't have to worry about a setting to take a decent picture. This mode also applies Kodak's PerfectTouch technology to help improve detail and contrast. In general this system works, producing fine photos no matter what your subject or lighting conditions are. The camera always starts in Smart Capture regardless of your settings when you power off, which can be a little frustrating if you prefer shooting in Program mode where there are controls for exposure, white balance, and ISO.
Powering on to first shot takes 2.8 seconds on average. Shot-to-shot times were very good at 1.2 seconds without flash and only 1.4 seconds with. Shutter lag was at the high end for what we consider acceptable: 0.5 second in bright conditions and 1 second in dim. Burst mode offers only a three-shot spurt, but it does it quite fast at 2 frames per second. It's important to note that if you let it--by pressing the shutter button completely rather than halfway and waiting for a focus confirmation--the M1093 will take a picture without locking focus. This does let you capture photos extremely quickly, but they'll frequently be blurry.