At first glance, the Kodak EasyShare V1273 certainly looks like an attractive proposition with its solid metal lens and tough black plastic exterior. It immediately exudes class, which comes as somewhat of a surprise given that most cameras retailing around the AU$399 mark fail to make much of an impact with their styling.
The top of the camera houses the backlit power button, gently recessed into its surrounds, and the shutter button. At the back of the camera is a 3-inch LCD touchscreen, flanked by three buttons to its right and a zoom rocker in the top corner. The whole unit feels remarkably solid, though it does sit toward the heavier end of the scale at 148 grams.
With a huge 12 megapixel sensor, the Kodak is certainly no slouch in the numbers game, though we do wonder just how many people buying a camera such as this will need such a high resolution. In terms of movie capabilities, 720p high definition video makes the checklist.
The battery and memory card door sits at the bottom of the camera and is incredibly flimsy once peeled back — we could just imagine it being damaged or breaking off if the camera was roughed up a bit too much with the door open.
All major controls apart from the shutter are relegated to the touchscreen. Fortunately, it was incredibly responsive to everything we threw at it, and worked without a stylus. Even large fingers will find the screen easy to adapt to, with all controls within easy reach and for the most part, intuitive. One design fault with the interface though is the placement of the trash button. In the top left hand corner it was far too easy to accidentally hit delete instead of cycling back through the images.
Performance and Image Quality
Unfortunately, for all the exterior sophistication, the inside is what lets the V1273 down the most. Start up time is a relatively slow 2.5 seconds, and shot to shot time is even more snail-like. Navigating through photos in playback mode is again a long process, even if the touchscreen itself is responsive. While we enjoyed the feel of the small zoom rocker, the movement of the lens itself was also plagued by the lethargy that seems to have affected every other part of this camera.
Despite all our love for the touchscreen, the one area where it did fall down was in outdoor situations, in direct and bright sunlight. In controlled situations (like an office, house or even in a shop) the screen was reasonably bright and easy to see, but take one step outside and it becomes nearly impossible to see anything. We had to duck under shaded areas and shield the screen with our hands on numerous occasions when shooting outdoors, a major disadvantage given this camera is designed to be easy to use.
Picture quality does put the ball back in Kodak's court, for the most part — colours are vivid, scene modes actually work and the Smart Capture technology does a good job of adjusting pictures to best suit the conditions. Even so there are some considerable noise issues at all ISO levels here, especially in busy areas. It's not so much a problem from a distance, but at full magnification, the 12 megapixel picture suffers from colour artefacts and loses detail significantly.
We also found that because the power and shutter buttons were similarly sized, it was easy enough to turn the camera off instead of taking a shot, if you weren't looking at which button to press.
The Kodak EasyShare V1273 is an easy to use camera, ideal for families and those who don't know (or want to know) much about photography. It is incredibly slow though, and the screen is hopeless in brightly lit situations which limits our ability to wholeheartedly recommend it.