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The C360 comes with Kodak’s outstanding EasyShare software, as well as an adapter plate for the company’s range of USB camera docks and printer docks, which are available separately, although since the C360 uses AA batteries it will not be recharged while docked. Using these docks it is possible to automatically download and print pictures from the camera simply by pressing the red ‘Share’ button. It is also fully PictBridge compatible, so it will work with any PictBridge printer.
So it’s very easy to use, but what are the results like? Well, if I had lent the C360 to my father he’d have got much better holiday snaps. The autofocus system is exceptionally quick and accurate, and operates reasonably well in reduced lighting. The exposure system is also very good, and as usual Kodak’s Colour Science image processing is superb. The resulting picture quality is outstanding, with bold clear colours, deep rich shadows and virtually no burned out highlights even in very strong lighting. There is some slight purple fringing, but it only appears when a light area is below a dark one, so rooftops and trees are not unduly affected.
The optical quality of the Kodak Retinar lens is especially praiseworthy. It suffers from none of the edge distortion common to so many compact zoom lenses, and produces excellent contrast, sharpness and detail right across the frame. There is some slight barrel distortion at wide angle, but not enough to cause a problem. The only slight hiccup is the auto white balance, which like many such systems can be fooled by large areas of a single colour in the frame. This is easy to rectify by simply using the appropriate manual white balance setting. Other than that picture quality is exemplary, and makes the C360 an outstanding choice for the first time user.
With it’s user-friendly appeal, ease of use and excellent performance and results this C360 is a great camera for the first-time digital user. More experienced users will find its limited range of options restricting, and the helpful messages get annoying after a while. Also it earns a big slap on the wrist for the lack of an off-switch for the digital zoom.
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