Kodak EasyShare M580 Review - Design and Features Review

The overall body shape of the M580 is a wedge with the thick end on the right, with a narrow rubber strip inset into a small raised feature on the front that serves as a handgrip, making the camera easy and comfortable to hold securely. The rear panel control layout is basic but sufficient, and the controls are labelled with small but clear and reasonably obvious symbols, presumably so that the same model can be sold all over the world without the need for re-printing the control panel.

The M580 is a very simple point-and-shoot camera with only the most basic set of options and just three main shooting modes. Program Auto allows manual adjustment of ISO setting, white balance and a limited range of options such as focus mode, face detection and a handful of colour pre-sets. The Scene Mode offers 20 scene programs, with all the usual suspects such as portrait, landscape, close-up, sunset, sport and more. However whenever it is switched on the M580 automatically sets itself to the all-auto Smart Capture mode, which offers almost no user options at all. If you prefer to have some control over your camera this power-on default can quickly become annoying, but it is a boon for novice users who prefer the camera to do everything for them.

Another annoyance is the top panel control layout. It has four buttons for power, flash mode, shooting mode and the shutter button, but they are all flat black plastic and mounted flush with the camera body, making it very difficult to distinguish them by touch or sight. It may look sleek and stylish but it is very fiddly, and astonishingly poor design from a company that has been making consumer cameras for well over a century.

Like nearly all new cameras the M580 offers HD video recording, shooting at a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30fps, recording in the QuickTime MOV H.264 format, with mono audio recorded via a small microphone on the front panel. It has to be said that the video quality is not that good, but the sound recording is quite directional.

The M580 does have a couple of unusual features. One is a built-in keyword system, in which keywords such as “wedding”, “holiday”, “birthday” etcetera can be added to the EXIF data of the image at the time of shooting. New keywords can be added by the user. The supplied EasyShare software includes the ability to search for pictures using these keywords. Another unusual idea is that the Kodak EasyShare software, normally supplied on a disk in the box, is instead built into the camera. The first time the camera is connected to a computer via the USB lead it prompts you to install the software direct from the camera. After this is done, photo can be shared with social network sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flikr and ohers direct from the camera. The battery is also charged via the USB connection, although a mains adapter is supplied.

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