The M580’s overall performance isn’t going to win it any prizes, but it is surprisingly good for a budget camera. It starts up in just under four seconds, which is a little bit on the slow side, but in single-shot mode its shot-to-shot time is approximately 2.2 seconds, which isn’t too bad at all. It doesn’t have a long-period continuous mode, just a three-shot burst in just over four seconds, which isn’t really that much faster than shooting in single-shot mode.
The camera could have faster performance if only the autofocus system was a bit better. It is reliable enough, but even in good light it is quite slow, and its low light performance is a bit disappointing. It has an AF assist lamp, but it only has an effective range of about a metre, and beyond that range the camera has a major problem focusing in twilight brightness.
Picture quality is, to be honest, not brilliant. Schneider-Kreuznach is a respected name in optical manufacturing, but while the lens on the M580 avoids barrel distortion at wide angle it does suffer from quite noticeable chromatic aberration around the edges of the frame, and the overall sharpness could be a bit better too. The overall level of detail is not helped by the rather fierce compression. Dynamic range is actually surprisingly good, but colour rendition is quite garish, especially blue skies which come out looking unnaturally bright. Noise is also a problem, and although results at up to 200 ISO are acceptable for a cheap camera, at 400 ISO and above colour distortion and obtrusive noise rob the images of any fine detail.
For a budget price the Kodak EasyShare M580 offers superior build quality, a good range of features, decent performance and very simple operation, in a slim and attractive body. It is let down only by its lacklustre low light focusing, garish colour rendition and poor high-ISO results.
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