Review of Kodak Easy Share M1093 IS

Kodak's top M-series digital compact, the M1093IS has some neat kit at a great price, find out how it fared here, in its full, Best4Reviews test.

The Kodak M1093 IS sports 10-megapixel resolution and is, arguably, lacking in the mega pixel department compared to many of its digital compact counterparts, despite being at the top of the Kodak M-Series of digital compacts. However with “HD quality” images and video, and an optimum print size of “30x40 inches” according to Kodak - does it really matter how many megapixels it's offering you? Let's find out.

Style and Handling:
The Kodak has a sleek and simple look; with a nice chunky and sturdy feel. The large three-inch viewing screen is great for getting compositions right and for scrutinising your images, however it does compromise the ease of use of the camera because space for placing fingers is limited. The buttons on the camera are simple and not over complicated, making the settings in the camera easily accessible.

Charging the camera couldn't be simpler, with the lithium ion battery being charged in camera - no awkward charging docks, just a simple lead you plug into the camera and hey presto! However, the battery life is pretty poor - about 2 hours of actually using the camera from a full charge and that's not good at all considering you've got to find a plug point in order to charge it back up again if it runs dry mid shoot.

Uploading your images to your computer is very easy after installation of the software on the given disk, with uploading taking a matter of minutes, though that will depend on the number of images stored on the camera's SD/SDHC external storage of the 32Mb of internal storage you also get.

The software also contains the 'Easyshare' program, which linked with the 'Share' button on camera allows you to print off or email images that you had 'tagged' earlier whilst taking the photos. The EasyShare software also allows you to edit your images - you can even turn your images into postcards or invitations!

Taking pictures:
Using the camera is pretty simple really, with a rather large shutter button and easy to use automatic modes, including Smart Capture akin to Panasonic's new iA system and the usual array of scene modes to play with. This little compact is simply for taking snapshots as there are no manual modes to speak of (okay, you do get Program mode and exposure compensation) and sure, you can opt to use the 'High ISO” mode, but your not really getting hands-on or learning anything about your photography here. If that's what you want this camera's not for you.

Talking about the Smart Capture, it's really an automatic auto-snapping mode, if you see what I mean, including face detection AF, image stabilisation and the rest: it does a good job, but it offers nothing, well, different.

The camera's actually quite responsive: it turns on within two seconds, and takes an image within three seconds. This time extends dramatically with flash, and certain scene modes (as the flash may fire up automatically in some, for example), but given the market, these timings are not unreasonable.

The flash is underpowered and has trouble illuminating subjects that are over four feet away, although getting the flash on is fast thanks to an easy to use button on the top of the camera, near the shutter button.

Disappointingly (but unsurprisingly) you can't choose the ISO the camera uses (apart from the Hi ISO scene mode of course), that control is out of your hands and means high ISO noise can come into play if you're not careful. As the camera pushes the ISO up, the images get very noisy- anything up to ISO 200 is fine, but anything over 400 and the images are ruined by noise, so not that great for a camera with the capacity to reach ISO 6400! As you can image, images above ISO 800 are very poor and almost unusable above ISO 1600.

But, I was impressed with some of the different scene modes within this camera - it's got the usual suspects: macro, firework and portraits and landscape modes, but it has also got some other cooler ones too.

For example, there's blur reduction, panning and a self portrait mode and there's a panoramic mode where you take three pictures either from left to right or right to left; the camera helpfully stitches the images together for you as well. Okay, sometimes it doesn't quite stitch the images in the right way, but when it gets it right it does a damn good job - all done in camera in about 30 seconds.

The 3x zoom lens is crisp but has an uninspiring focal range of 35mm to 105mm typical at this price point though I suppose but one of the other standout features is the camera's HD movie capability. Here you can shoot 1280x720-pixel movies at 30fps continuously for up to 30-minutes, so not bad at all for camera just under £130.

The Kodak M1093 IS offers good quality low ISO images (which, yes, you could probably stretch to a print size of 30x40) that's easy to use, has some cool scene modes and a good quality build. But I cannot help feeling it is little more than average not really offering anything that different. But most cameras within its price range make me wonder what am I complaining about - what more can you want or expect from a digital compact for this amount of money? If your just looking for a simple point and shoot that takes pretty good quality (with the caveat on low ISO) images, then this is for you: just press the shutter button, and your done.