The Kodak EasyShare M1073 IS is a 10.2-megapixel point-and-shoot. We've seen some scorching-hot cameras from Kodak in recent months, but the blocky M1073 doesn't inspire the same kind of love at first sight. We took this £199 snapper for a spin to see if there was more going on under the bonnet.
The M1073 comes in a choice of silver, red, black or pink colours. It's a very plainly styled camera, with a boxy front and a small silver and gold lens ring. One positive note is that the flash is positioned well away from the lens, which cuts down on red-eye.
At the back there's a small mode wheel, which doesn't get all the way round in both directions, and a milled silver clickpad. The screen is a decent-sized 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD. There are dedicated buttons for the flash, menu, playback, delete and sharing. This marks images to print or add email addresses to share later.
We like the charger plug, which has a USB connection so you use the same cable for charging and picture transfer. This cuts down on the need to carry separate leads, and means you can recharge the camera from a computer without the charger.
The M1073 sports a 3x optical zoom, with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 32–96mm, which is around the middle of the compact market in wide angle terms. Optical image stabilisation and digital blur reduction are also included, which is welcome on such a basic snapper. What you don't get is manual control, which is expected, but still frustrating.
The sticker on the front trumpets high-definition stills, but as HD is substantially smaller than 10 megapixels anyway, this really is just marketing hot air. The M1073 only shoots 640×480-pixel VGA video at 15 frames per second, with mono sound and on-camera editing. You can also print contact sheet-like frames from your videos, with a choice of one, four, nine and 16-up prints.
Other features include face detection and the option to combine up to three shots into one with panorama stitch mode. Images can be tagged with sound clips or text tags, which you can enter yourself or select from generic presets. We'd be more inclined to make use of this feature if tagging was easier to find, instead of being buried in the settings menu.
We liked that the menus were transparent, but this would have been more useful if you could actually preview the effect that your changes would have as you scroll through the options. Menus are short -- a maximum of eight shooting options and thirteen options in the settings menu.
The M1073 is quite slow to start up, taking four or five seconds to capture an image. It doesn't help that you can't turn off the brand logo introductory screen, which is usually the first thing we turn off when we get a new camera in, along with the button sounds.
Burst mode is passably quick, taking four images in two seconds. The screen goes black while shooting, which isn't very helpful if you're tracking with the action, such as snapping someone playing sport.
We weren't too impressed with the face-detection system, which struggled in all but the best lighting and even then was unsure about faces that were even slightly turned away.
We had no problems with barrel distortion, vignetting or excessive purple fringing. Image quality is basically fine, but with little control over exposure, you have to trust the camera's automatic settings. There's nothing wrong with that, but we found it frustrating in low light when we had the choice of a fairly harsh flash -- that you can't adjust -- or horrifically noisy images.
There's nothing wrong with the Kodak EasyShare M1073 IS, although it is overpriced for what it does: takes photographs with the minimum of user input. Our problem is that you don't always end up with the photograph you wanted, because you have such limited control over exposure. Even at the budget end of the market there are far more flexible cameras, such as the Pentax Optio V20, and far sexier, like the excellent Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5.
Edited by Nick Hide