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The week before last, in my review of the Pentax Optio S55, I recounted how I had lent the camera to my father, a newcomer to digital photography, to take his holiday snaps, and that he had found it to be too complicated. I wish now that I could have lent him this Kodak EasyShare C360 instead, because it’s simplicity itself to operate, and is absolutely ideal for a first-time digital camera user. In fact with a price tag of just £137 I might buy him one anyway.
The first impression of the C360 is one of user-friendly simplicity. In overall design I can only describe it as cute, with a compact, rounded and easy-to-hold shape and large, well-labeled controls. The 2in LCD monitor is bright and easy to read, and with 110,000 pixels it is nice and sharp too. The camera body is made from silver-coloured high-impact plastic, with some metal parts such as the band around the top and left side, and the insert into handgrip.
At 186g without card or batteries it is quite heavy for such a small camera, and with 2x AA cells fitted it is much too heavy for a shirt pocket, but in the hand this weight gives it a reassuring solidity and stability.
The power switch is on the main control dial on top of the camera. Turn it from ‘off’ to ‘auto’ and the camera powers up in around 2.5 seconds, which while not especially fast is quite adequate. Start-up is accompanied by a chime and a brief lightshow of green LEDs around the edges of the top panel, completely unnecessary but not unattractive.
Upon entering any of the seven modes on the main dial, a few words of explanatory text appear on the monitor screen, telling you what the mode is and what it should be used for. While this is invaluable for first time users, once you know what the modes are for it does become a bit annoying, and unfortunately there’s no way to turn it off. There is also no way to turn off the dreaded digital zoom.
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