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Kodak Easyshare C875 Digital Camera Review
by Ben Stafford -  9/16/2006

The Kodak Easyshare C875 is currently the top of line in Kodak's C-series. Typically, the C series cameras have been entry level, easy to use, and affordable. The C875, loaded with features, including manual modes, is sophisticated enough for the second time buyer or first time buyer who is looking for a camera with which they can learn the techniques of digital photography.


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The C875 can capture images with 8 megapixels of resolution. A 5x optical zoom provides a little "extra" zoom power and a 2.5 inch LCD provides easy framing and image reviewing.

In the Box

The camera is packed along with 2 AA batteries, USB cable, AV cable, wrist strap, Kodak Easyshare software, Getting Started Guide, custom camera insert for Kodak Easyshare camera and printer docks. If you want the advanced user manual, the Getting Started guide directs you to the Kodak support website.

Camera Design

The C875 is on the larger end of compact cameras -- the kind with the enlarged hand grip and protruding lens cap. By no means is the camera large, but it's the best way to describe it. It will still fit in most pockets, but will fit better in a purse or other type of pack.

Build quality of the camera was good.  While fairly lightweight - from the use of a lot of plastic - the camera still felt solid in your hand and nothing felt flimsy or cheap.

The front of the camera has lens (duh), flash, focus assist lamp, and microphone.  You'll find the mode dial, shutter release, flash mode button, and drive mode/timer mode button on the top of the camera.  The dial is nice and large to make it easy to turn from any angle.  There is a tripod mount on the bottom, along with the battery compartment.  The memory media is kept in a separate compartment, on the right side of the camera.

The back of the camera is pretty much the control center of the camera (like most cameras).  You'll find the zoom rocker switch, delete button, display mode button, menu button, review button, share button, LCD, and joystick.

Camera Features

The C875 has an 8 megapixel CCD image sensor. It's currently the highest megapixel count that you can get in Kodak's "C" line of digital cameras and capable of producing 30x40 inch prints. The 5x optical zoom lens and manual modes (PASM) also sets it apart from the rest of the C cameras.

The Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon lens provides a 5x optical zoom range (a 35mm equivalent focal length of 37-185mm). The aperture ranges between f/2.8-4.4 in twelve steps. The zoom control moves the lens by 0.2x increments.

The 2.5 inch LCD on the back of the Kodak is color accurate and refreshes quickly enough to afford a smooth image. It gains up or down automatically, depending on the light conditions. It also will "preview" any changes to exposure settings that you make. If you increase the exposure compensation, the screen will brighten to simulate the over-exposure that you're about to capture. Outdoors in the sunlight, the LCD visibility is average.


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Images can be captured at resolutions of: 3264 2448, 3264 2176 (3:2 aspect ratio for 4x6 prints), 2560 1920, 2048 1536, and 1200 900. At full 8 megapixel resolution you can fit approximately 204 shots on a 512MB memory card.

Movies can be captured in several modes: 640x480 and 320x240 at 30 fps.

For storage media, the C875 accepts SD and MMC memory cards. It also has 32MB of internal memory.

The camera is powered by 2 AA batteries. Battery life was average using high capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries.


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All of the shooting modes are accessible from the mode dial on the top of the camera. The dial is also the power switch for the camera. From the off position (in the middle of the dial, you can switch to these modes:

I want to mention a bit about the PASM mode since I was so impressed with the way Kodak set it up to be controlled. The mode and exposure settings are visible in the screen. You use the left and right directions of the joystick to choose the parameter you want to adjust (mode, exposure compensation, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and focus mode). Once you have the right parameter selected, just use the up and down directions to adjust the setting. For example, if you're in P (program auto mode), you can basically just change the exposure compensation, ISO, and focus mode. The aperture setting and shutter speed setting are grayed out, but you can see how they change as you change the other settings. Increase the ISO and the shutter speed increases. It's a great way to see how different settings affect the exposure parameters (shutter speed and aperture).

The auto focus system on the C875 can focus as close as 2 feet while in normal AF. When you switch over to macro, you can get as close as 4 inches. You can use a mulit-zone focus area or a center zone focus area. The camera, by default, uses a "single" AF which doesn't obtain focus until a partial or full press of the shutter release. If you want to speed up AF time and drain the battery a bit faster, you can put the camera into continuous AF mode so that the camera is constantly adjusting the focus.

A button on the top of the camera cycles through all of the timer modes and other drive modes. If you need a timer, you can choose from a 2 second timer, 10 second timer, and 2-shot timer. There are two continuous modes on the camera. The first burst mode captures the first 4 images at 2 frames per second. The last burst mode captures the last 5 images captured during a continuous press of the shutter at 2 frames per second.

The flash button on the top of the camera cycles through the available flash modes. You can set the flash mode to auto, fill (always on), off, and red eye reduction. The flash range of the camera is 13.5 feet at wide angle and ISO 200 or 8.5 feet at telephoto and ISO 200.

Camera Performance and Image Quality

The camera operates quickly enough for most users. It's not the speediest camera out there, but I was happy with its operation. Kodak actually publishes the click to capture time and shot to shot times in the specifications sheet. According to them, it takes less than 0.6 seconds, with preview on, from click to capture. This is actually for a full press of the shutter -- if you complete a partial press, click to capture is even less. The shot to shot time is less than 1.5 seconds.

The camera was easy to hold and most buttons were easy to operate. I have criticized the joysticks on previous Kodak cameras, but this one operates well. My only complaint about the ergonomics is that the zoom rocker switch is too small. As with any camera purchase, it's a good idea to try before you buy to see how it works for you.


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5x telephoto (view medium image) (view large image)

The flash on the C875 performed well. In an almost completely dark room, it did a good job of illumination to about 12 feet or so.

Typically, the camera achieved auto focus quickly. By default the camera uses a multiple area auto focus, so pay attention to the focus point in the image after doing a partial press, just in case the camera gets it wrong. You can also use a center focus area for more predictability. A focus assist light helped in all but the dimmest light.


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I liked the images that the C875 produced. The colors were accurate and strong, but not too over-saturated (I prefer more natural colors in images). The images showed good detail across the frame and a good dynamic range. I ended up using the automatic white balance the entire time during my review and had consistently good results.

Noise performance was also very good. Everything under ISO 400 was acceptable and you could probably even get away with ISO 400 shots in most cases. At ISO 800, noise was readily apparent and details were starting to go.

Additional Sample Images

 
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Specifications

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the Kodak Easyshare C875 is a good camera, but facing some stiff competition. Image quality was very good, ease of use was good and it has a good feature set. Where it falters is battery life and speed of operation. Its operation speed is by no means slow, but it's just not as fast as similarly priced competitors like the Canon A540 or A700. However, if you're looked for an entire digital imaging package, with camera and printer, the Kodak is a good option. Being able to dock the camera into an Easyshare Printer and print with a touch of a button is a very attractive proposition.

Pros

Cons