Kodak EasyShare C643
The step-up model from the EasyShare C533, the equally basic Kodak EasyShare C643 sports a 3X optical zoom lens, a 2.4-inch LCD screen, and a 6-megapixel CCD. Unfortunately, its mediocre image quality should make you think twice before buying.
Like the C533, the chunky, inexpensive Kodak EasyShare C643 seems cheaply built, with a 6.8-ounce, 1.4-inch-thick light plastic body that feels like the prize from a cereal box. With the same control layout as its sibling, it's a bit button-heavy for such a basic snapshot camera. The shutter release is set inside a mode dial on the camera's top side, next to two buttons for flash and timer/burst settings. The back panel holds a tiny zoom rocker; a four-way-plus-OK control pad; a red Share button; and four menu, review, display/info, and delete buttons. These controls sit next to the camera's relatively large (for its class) 2.4-inch LCD screen. There's still room for an optical viewfinder, however, which is useful for framing shots in close quarters or when the LCD washes out in sunlight.
The camera uses the same low-quality 3X zoom lens as the EasyShare C533, but combined with the different sensor size, the focal length range translates to 36mm to 108mm in 35mm-equivalent terms on the Kodak EasyShare C643. The lens produces serious purple fringing along the edges of high-contrast objects, and colored auras appear along almost every dark object with a light background. The higher-resolution sensor produces more noise; we noticed splotches and grain at ISO 80, and our ISO 400 test shot looked like a watercolor painting. As a result, the camera actually produces worse photos in this respect than its lower-resolution brother. On the other hand, its color reproduction and exposure look far better.
The EasyShare C643 offers few shooting options. It has a sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 400, exposure compensation, and four white-balance settings, plus a handful of scene modes, including self-portrait, snow, party, and fireworks. It also supports VGA QuickTime movies at 30 frames per second.
The Kodak EasyShare C643 performed decently in our tests. After a speedy 2.7-second wake-up time, we recorded a shot-to-shot rate of 1.8 seconds, increasing to just 2 seconds with the flash enabled. We experienced shutter lags of 0.6 and 1.1 seconds, respectively, for our high- and low-contrast targets, which are typical for this camera class. The camera can fire off only three-shot bursts, albeit at a speedy rate of 2.2 frames per second.