Kodak EasyShare C875 Review

In the annals of photography, a few brands stand out as film juggernauts that barely made the jump to digital and, in some cases, died in the process. Leica. Polaroid. Eastman Kodak. How far the mighty have fallen, friends. Leica is aiming for the stars, Polaroid is almost gone, and Kodak, bless its heart, is hanging on by a thread. Has old Kodachrome fallen yet? No, it hasn’t, thanks to easy to use entry-level cameras like the C875.

I have heard some complaints about the Easyshare line, but I used this camera for about three weeks and found few problems. As an 8-megapixel point-and-shoot, it is sufficiently simple to keep Grandma from accidentally taking snaps of her orthopedic shoes and offers enough quality to keep the mid-range camera user happy.

The camera is clad in chromed metal and has a 37-185mm lens with 5x optical zoom. The digital zoom is all but useless without a tripod. It has 21 scene modes, ranging from close-up to “baby” and offers on-board color and brightness adjustment using Kodak’s Perfect Touch technology. It also has an interesting panoramic stitching system which knits three photos together to make one large one.

All of this adds up to quite a bit of power in a small package that runs on two AA batteries, another useful feature for those not willing or able to remember to bring along a charger. It uses a proprietary USB cable under the SD/MMC card door and you control most of the menu functions with a little joystick and four buttons on the back. The “Share” button can tag images to print or, using Kodak’s own software, email, once you dock with your PC.

All of this works well. If I gave this camera to my mother, for example, she would be able to pick it up and snap away, ignoring the scene modes entirely. Face tracking makes it easy to pick out figures on a busy background and the 2.5-inch LCD screen is easy on the eyes. The images on the LCD—and, to some extent, in the JPEGs this camera creates—are fairly grainy. They are, however, acceptable.

Now for the bad news. If you intend to use this for anything other than a few vacation snaps, keep looking. The close-up quality is fairly poor even in well lit conditions and the colors are washed out. Here, for example, is a scene taken with a Canon Digital Rebel XT.

And here is the Kodak shot:

Go ahead. Yell at me. Say I’m comparing a Pinto to a Ferrari. However, I’m trying to show how this camera stacks up against my benchmark DSLR. While the picture is fairly clear, these images were taken with a tripod in the same overhead lighting at the same distance. There is some grain in the Kodak photo and there is very little depth. The C875 has little depth of field, offering a flatter, deader image. The colors are also a bit washed out. Both shots were taken in “Automatic” mode with no alterations.

That said, if this is for Grandma or Mom for the holidays, then purchase away. Unless they’re WeeGee, this thing will work just fine. It is fairly large, about one inch thick by four inches wide, so it’s easy to grab. It’s also reasonably sturdy and some past issues with EasyShare aside, it is a serviceable point and shoot. If you’re looking for amazing photos, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking to take a few pics of Fido dressed up like a turkey, then by all means pick this camera up. It is available now for $299.