A little compact such as the Kodak Easyshare C913 can be the perfect option for holidays or nights out due to its ease of use and pocketability.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Specifications
- Zoom: 3x optical
- Resolution: 9.2Mp
- Sensor size: 1/2.5in
- Sensor type: CCD
- Max. image size: 3504x2632
- File type: JPEG
- Sensitivity: ISO80-1000
- Storage: 16Mb internal, SD/SDHC expansion
- Focus types: Normal, macro, landscape
- Normal focusing: 60cm-infinity
- Close focusing: 13cm-70cm
- Metering types: Multi, AE, centre-weighted, spot
- Exposure compensation: /- 2EV in 1/2 step increments
- Shutter speed: 1/2-1/1400sec
- Flash: Built-in, auto, fill, red-eye
- Monitor: 2.4in LCD
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Power: 2x AA batteries
- Size: 91.1x62.2x25.3mm
- Weight: 137g
Priced around £60 you get a 9Mp sensor, 3x optical zoom and an easy to use menu system that is expected in this classification.
At around £10-£15 more, the Fujifilm FinePix J10 has a lower 8.2Mp, longer 5x optical zoom and ever so slightly larger screen. If you want to stay at the same price then the Samsung Digimax S760 at £59 has a lower 7.2Mp, similar 3x optical zoom and the same sized 2.4in LCD screen.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Features
If you don't want to be disappointed with a budget camera then it's best not expecting too much from it but in a world where we all want something for nothing, the term "you get what you pay for" has been lost in the mists of time.
When it comes to budget compacts, the term generally applies the strongest and that's the best way to look at a camera such as the Kodak Easyshare C913 which, retailing at around £60 you can see why.
The front is curvy with a small grip to the right side for holding onto while you're shooting and the smoothness is only let down by the lens barrel sticking out of the front despite only having a 3x optical zoom. A silver ring surrounds the lens and is cut into by the built-in flash.
On top are two buttons for power and flash options alongside the shutter release which is wrapped in a command dial. Rather a large command dial which is rotated using a thumb lever on the right. From the command dial you can choose from auto, electronic image stabiliser, video mode, landscape, macro or scene modes. Having it designed this way does make picture taking that little bit harder as the button is more difficult to get to.
The back is mainly occupied by the screen but there are plenty of buttons and systems to keep you entertained.
The command dial wraps around the shutter release making picture taking more awkward.
The electronic stabiliser doesn't alter the optics or steady the sensor using actuators but increases the ISO sensitivity which allows the camera to use a faster shutter speed. The main problem with this is an increase in noise which will be exacerbated by the smaller sensor. If this is something that won't bother you then it doesn't really matter but if it does then the only real piece of advice to give which will avoid raising the ISO is to use the flash. If it's a dark landscape you're shooting, use a tripod because that's what the bush is there for.
Looking on the back of the camera and the left side is dominated by the 2.4in LCD screen. That size is a little on the smaller side by today's standards but doesn't impair it's performance. It suffers minimal motion blur and no purple banding that it usually prevalent on budget models.
Pressing the menu button takes you into a better menu than has been seen on Kodak digital cameras in the past. Comic San font has been replaced by a more serious style with grey and yellow contrasting colours. The options are easy to read and have icons of which some aren't seen anywhere else. These include a star for resolution and a sun & bulb for white balance.
The title of each menu option comes up in the top right corner so you know where you are even if you don't recognise the icon.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Build and handling
Moving around the camera is easy enough and I don't think that the users who this camera is aimed at will have a problem either. The buttons have a firm click to them but I think the power button could be more responsive.
The command dial is easy to move when using the thumb lever but won't move easily if caught which is great as you spend most of your time in that area.
The camera takes 2x AA batteries which share the same space as the SD memory card.
A plastic tripod bush reaffirms that this is a budget model as well as the cheapish feeling outer skin. It also takes AA batteries but that's not such a bad thing these days. Improvements in performance have ensured that they last a lot longer than just a few years ago. Of course dedicated Lithium Ion batteries do still last longer but AA are easier to get hold of if you do require a replacement.
Motors used for the lens are slow but very quiet. It certainly doesn't shoot out at you in eagerness to take photos. This is a camera perfect for someone with plenty of time. This may instil a bad habit of leaving the camera on to make sure you get the perfect shot, but that's how you run down those fab new AA batteries you got.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Performance
Start up time is around the two second mark or just over three seconds including taking a picture. Saying that, the picture I shot wasn't focused properly which I found unusual. I'd rather wait a second extra and get a sharp shot. At least then I'd have a picture I would be less likely to delete.
Deleting pictures isn't such a bad thing. The camera has its own delete button next to the zoom rocker and a confirmation will come up before deleting. In a computer game fashion, it defaults to no so you have to select yes to delete. Interestingly, if you make a mistake, the camera gives you the opportunity to retrieve your previous image which is a great feature.
I thought it was odd when Nikon removed manual ISO from some of their compacts but now Kodak have done a similar procedure by removing the continuous shooting feature from the C913. I can't understand why they think no-one would use a feature that's been a staple requirement for decades.
On the colour chart image, blue has shot out of the picture in one big saturated leap off the screen while other colours seem to dissipate into the background in comparison. Red is quite stale but yellow seems pretty stable. I like the skin tone and earth colours but orange, which is normally quite vibrant, is dulled down.
Annoyingly, the Kodak Easyshare C913 is one of those compacts that doesn't remember stuff so if you turn the flash off, take a picture and change the mode, the flash turns itself back on. This could be annoying if you're using portrait mode and decide you want more control so switch it into auto which then frees up white balance.
It was a bright morning when I took the landscape test shot and there was lots of contrats to see if CA appeared which it did. It's noticeable at 25% view as well as full size and appears as a thin orange line down the edge of the white bar.
The rest of the image looks sharp and well detailed until you zoom into 100% magnification and notice the noise control smudging the image out slightly which gives texture a mild painted look.
During my portrait test I adjusted the white balance to daylight and the image still came out very blue. Interestingly, using flash has balanced out the white balance which makes me wonder about its set up. Switching to portrait mode overrides the white balance to auto and it's still come out blue which suggests that the camera doesn't have appropriate programming to handle too many different lighting conditions.
Normal portrait mode can't cope with the white balance giving the image a blue cast but compared to the auto version, it has a degree of warmth.
Shooting in auto has given a bluer cast than the previous image if that's at all possible.
Adding flash has removed the colour cast and lit the face up nicely. It's not over cooked and there are some nice catchlights.
In auto mode, the result is much of a muchness. Shadow detail has been filled on both and there are no bleached areas.
This is a shame as it's best to try and avoid using flash if you can and it certainly wasn't necessary in this scenario. Luckily, red-eye works well on the Kodak and it isn't evident on the images using flash. Skin tone is quite good and there are some nice catchlights in the eyes.
Without flash, portrait mode has a slight warmth to it which will be the camera adding this for the skin tone.
The Kodak Easyshare C913 has three colour modes to bring a bit of fun to your photography. You can choose in the menu system between colour, sepia or black & white. Don't get overly excited at the prospect of these amazing effects. The sepia isn't as bad as some that I've seen in the past but is still a standard effect and will need some work doing in post production to be acceptable. Black & white is actually more a range of greys which is unfortunate as the opportunity to add some contrast would be nice.
But then am I asking too much from a budget camera? Maybe so, but I can dream can't I?
Normal colour mode is bright and not over saturated despite the readings of the colour chart test.
Black and white is more a variety of greys with no or little contrast unless it's already in the picture.
Adding a pocket watch to the image may increase the effect of sepia but it's a little used feature that should be canned.
The image is really sharp in the centre but as well as fading out of focus towards the edges of the frame, some motion blur also appears suggesting the camera was moved.
Macro capability isn't the strongest contender but puts in a decent performance in print. This image of the peacock feathers is acceptably sharp although I'm unsure of the shakiness of the image to the edges of the frame. Sure the image is going out of focus like it's supposed to but it still looks like there's camera shake despite being sat on a tripod and the centre being sharp.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Noise test
The sensitivity ratings of the Kodak are very interesting. They start at ISO80 although in auto ISO, this can go as low as ISO64. I'd like to use that setting but I'm not allowed to. I don't think that ISO80 and ISO100 have enough of a difference between them to use them. It's the same with the top end finishing at ISO1000 instead of going up to ISO1600. With the noise damage at the top end, they may as well have added the extra 1/3 increment or so increment.
Unfortunately, due to the small sensor, noise is evident at really early stages and I can even see it at ISO80/ISO100. ISO200 sees noise control come in which is really early even for a budget model. By the time you hit the top end, all detail is lost and noise has flooded the image.
The ISO80 test.
The ISO1000 test.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Verdict
The Kodak Easyshare C913 is by no means perfect suffering in a variety of areas from noise damage at low ISO to having trouble taking pictures with the obscure shutter release to the removal of continuous shooting.
For the money, don't expect a great deal and you won't be disappointed. It's ideal for a kids first proper digital camera or if you need something expendable as it doesn't break the bank.
Kodak Easyshare C913: Plus points
Easy to use
Clear menu system
Kodak Easyshare C913: Minus points
Noise at low ISO
No continuous shooting
The Kodak Easyshare C913 is available online for around £60. Go to Kodak's website for more details.