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DCRP Review: Kodak EasyShare C875  
   

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: December 20, 2006
Last Updated: January 4, 2012

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The EasyShare C875 is the top dog in Kodak's entry-level C-series of digital cameras. It offers features for both beginners and enthusiasts alike, from scene modes to help screens to manual exposure controls. Other features on the camera include a 5X optical zoom lens, 8 Megapixel CCD, 2.5" LCD display, MPEG-4 movie mode, and Kodak's PerfectTouch technology, which enhances your photos at the push of a button. And, being an EasyShare camera, sharing your photos via e-mail or prints is as simple as it gets.

After reading about all the features offered by the C875, you may be surprised to hear that it sells for just $199. Is the C875 the best value for your money in the compact camera field? Find out now in our review!

What's in the Box?

The EasyShare C875 has a good bundle. Inside the box you'll find:

  • The 8.0 effective Megapixel Kodak EasyShare C875 camera
  • Two AA Oxy-alkaline batteries
  • Insert for optional camera and printer docks
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Kodak EasyShare software
  • 30 page Getting Started Guide

As is the case with many cameras these days, the EasyShare C875 has built-in memory instead of a bundled memory card. The C875 has 32MB of built-in memory (of which only 28MB can be used for photo storage), which holds just eleven photos at the highest quality setting. Thus, you'll want to buy a memory card right away, and I'd recommend a 1GB card as a good place to start. The camera supports both SD and MMC memory cards. A high speed card is not a necessary purchase.

The C875 uses two AA batteries for power, and Kodak includes two Oxy-alkaline batteries in the box. Once these run out of juice, they'll be in your trash can, so pick up a four pack of NiMH rechargeables (2500 mAh is good) and a fast charger. That'll save you money while helping the environment at the same time. The camera also supports CR-V3 lithium batteries, and Kodak's own 2100 mAh NiMH battery pack (not recommended since it's low power). For some bizarre reason, Kodak says that you can't use regular alkaline batteries with the camera -- why I do not know. So keep this mind if you're ever buying "off-the-shelf" batteries!

What kind of battery life numbers can you get out of the camera? Here, have a look:

Camera Battery life, LCD on
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot A540 360 shots 2 x 2500 mAh NiMH
Canon PowerShot A710 IS 360 shots 2 x 2500 mAh NiMH
Fuji FinePix F650 150 shots NP-40
Kodak EasyShare C875 250 shots Unknown NiMH *
Nikon Coolpix L5 250 shots 2 x 2000 mAh NiMH
Olympus FE-200 290 shots LI-12B
Olympus Stylus 740 200 shots LI-42B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 390 shots Unknown NiMH
Samsung Digimax L85 300 shots ** SLB-1237

* Kodak does not disclose what batteries they used for their tests, but I'm guessing 2100 mAh
** Number not obtained using the CIPA standard
Group average: 282 shots

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

Kodak's supplied battery life numbers aren't terribly helpful. First off, they don't tell you what kind of batteries they used. Based on the chart in their manual, I'm thinking 2100 mAh. Secondly, they give a range of numbers (200-300) instead of one number like everyone else. So, that's where the number in the chart came from. If you use more powerful batteries (2500 mAh or higher) you should be able to get average or above average battery life out of the C875.

The EasyShare C875 has a built-in lens cover so there's no clumsy lens cap to worry about.

While there are quite a few accessories listed for the C875, most of them aren't camera specific. Here's a list of what's available according to Kodak:

Accessory Model # Price * Why you want it
Camera dock series 3 8512089 $50 Charge the NiMH battery pack (included with the dock), transfer photos to your computer, or view them on a TV
G600 printer dock 1633379 From $120 Pop the camera on this dye-sub printer and you'll get a print in a little over a minute
AC adapter 8919409 $40 Power the camera without wasting your batteries
2500 mAh NiMH battery set 1223353 From $6 Four of these bad boys
1 hour charger kit 8413460 From $20 Includes the charger and four 2500 mAh batteries
NiMH battery pack kit 8065997 From $22 Includes the 2100 mAh NiMH battery pack and a charger
Car charger kit 8720351 From $15 Car charger plus two 1800 mAh batteries
Soft camera case 1622653 $15 One of many Kodak camera cases available; this one's blue
* Prices were accurate when review was posted

Okay, so most of those aren't very exciting -- and believe it or not there are even more battery options than I listed! There aren't any conversion lenses available for the C875, though I'm not terribly surprised by that.


EasyShare 6 for Mac OS X


EasyShare 6 for Windows

The C875 comes with Kodak's EasyShare 6 software for both Mac and Windows. While the software is fairly similar on each platform, the WIndows version looks a lot slicker and less like a ripoff of iPhoto.

The main screen in EasyShare is where you'll organize your photos after they've been imported from the camera. You can view your photos by date taken, and you can create both regular and "smart" albums as well.

On this screen you can also view your photos in a slideshow, edit or rotate them (see below), get exposure data, burn them to a CD or DVD, or even upload them to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery for printing and sharing. You can also e-mail them (directly or via a website) and print them in numerous ways.


EasyShare 6 for Mac OS X


EasyShare 6 for Windows

On the edit screen you've got a bunch of nice tools for fixing up your photos. They include rotation, cropping, "instant enhancement", redeye reduction, brightness and contrast, color, exposure, and instant black & white or sepia conversion. For some edits, you can split the screen (see above) so you can see a "before and after" view of your proposed changes. The Windows version adds a few other "fun effects" as well.


EasyShare 6 for Windows

Something else that the Windows version lets you do is create greeting cards. The software includes templates, and Kodak sells packs of templates for around $10. Just plug in your photo and you're ready to print your card either yourself or via Kodak's EasyShare Gallery service.

All-in-all the EasyShare package is pretty darn good for bundled software, especially if you've seen the stuff that some other companies give you.

When it comes to manuals, Kodak has taken an enormous step backwards (and I'm being generous here). While you do get a basic printed manual in the box, if you want anymore details, you'll need the extended manual. But they don't give it to you -- not even on CD. No, you need to go online to view it, and as far as I can tell, you can't even download it as a PDF. What's more, the URL listed in the basic manual for the C875 support site doesn't even work. So yeah, pretty disappointing. The quality of the manuals themselves are fine -- it's getting to them that's the problem.

[Update 12/28/06: You can download the PDF of the manual here.]

Look and Feel

The EasyShare C875 is a compact (but not tiny) camera that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nikon Coolpix L5 that I just reviewed. Unlike the plastic L5, the C875 has a metal body, which is remarkable given its low price. As a result, build quality is quite good.

Ergonomics are a mixed bag. While the camera doesn't have too many buttons, some of them are on the small side, like the four-way and zoom controllers. The camera doesn't have much of a right hand grip, but I still found it easy to hold and operate the camera with one hand.

Okay, let's take a look at how the EasyShare C875 compares to other cameras in its class in terms of size and weight:

Camera Dimensions (W x H x D, excluding protrusions) Volume (bulk) Mass (empty)
Canon PowerShot A540 3.6 x 2.5 x 1.7 in. 15.3 cu in. 180 g
Canon PowerShot A710 IS 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.6 in. 15.8 cu in. 210 g
Fujifilm FinePix F650 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.2 in. 11.8 cu in. 170 g
Kodak EasyShare C875 3.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in. 12.6 cu in. 177 g
Nikon Coolpix L5 3.6 x 2.4 x 1.8 in. 15.6 cu in. 170 g
Olympus FE-200 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in. 10.3 cu in. 155 g
Olympus Stylus 740 3.8 x 2.1 x 1.0 in. 8 cu in. 140 g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.8 in. 16.8 cu in. 186 g
Samsung Digimax L85 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.1 in. 11.8 cu in. 190 g

As you can see from the chart, the C875 is right in the middle of the pack in terms of size and weight. While it won't fit into your smallest pockets, it should fit nicely in a jacket pocket or small camera bag.

Alright, enough with that let's tour the C875 now!

One of the nice features on the EasyShare C875 is its F2.8-4.4, 5X zoom lens. Yep, that's more "zoom" that you'd typically find on a camera this size. The focal length of the lens is 7.8 - 38.8 mm, which is (more or less) equivalent to 37 - 185 mm. As you can see, there's not much of a wide-angle end to this lens. You can't do anything about that, since add-on lenses are not available.

Straight above the lens is the C875's built-in flash. Kodak lists a working range of 0.6 - 4.1 m at wide-angle and 0.6 - 2.6 m at telephoto, though these numbers are taken at ISO 200 instead of Auto ISO like on other cameras. The numbers themselves are about average for a camera in this class. You cannot attach an external flash to the C875.

To the lower-right of the lens is the camera's microphone. Moving to the left of that, we find the AF-assist lamp, which also lights up during movie recording and when the self-timer is counting down. The AF-assist lamp is used as a focusing aid in low light situations.

The main event on the back of the camera is a 2.5" LCD display. While it's big in size, it's low on resolution, with just 115,000 pixels, and when you're viewing photos on the screen you'll certainly notice. Hey, this is an entry-level camera after all. Outdoor visibility was about average. Low light visibility was better, as the screen brightens automatically in those situations.

As you may have noticed, there's no optical viewfinder on the C875. In fact, most of the competition that I listed earlier doesn't have it either. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you -- it's purely a subjective matter.

Now let's talk about buttons, starting with the zoom controller at the top-right of the photo. I found the controller to be too small and flush with the body to be comfortable. Anyhow, this controller moves the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in about 1.9 seconds. I counted eleven steps in the lens' 5X zoom range.

Those four buttons to the right of the LCD include:

  • Delete photo
  • Display + Info + Help - toggles what is shown on the LCD, also displays help options for menu items
  • Menu
  • Review - enters playback mode

In between those four buttons is the four-way controller, which you'll use for menu navigation and for adjusting shutter speed (8 - 1/1600 sec, aperture (F2.8 - F8), ISO (64-800), exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV), and focus mode (AF, macro, infinity, and manual) in the manual shooting modes.


Manual focus

When you turn on manual focus mode you'll use that four-way controller to set the focus distance yourself. The center of the frame is enlarged on the LCD, though the focus distance guide on it is basically useless.

The orange gem-like button at the lower-right of the photo activates the EasyShare system. The camera jumps into playback mode and displays the menu above. The options here include:

  • Tag a picture for printing
  • Tag a picture for e-mailing
  • Tag a picture as a "favorite" for easy reviewing later on the camera or computer

Let's say you want to mark an image for e-mail. Here's what you'll see:

You can select a person or persons to whom you want to e-mail this picture. Once you connect to your computer, the EasyShare software will send the pictures to the chosen recipients.

Selecting photos to print later is just as easy. Just select the photo and the number of copies, and the next time you dock with a printer, it'll prompt you to make those prints. This works with both the Kodak Printer Dock as well as the scores of PictBridge-enabled photo printers on the market.

And that's it for the back of the EasyShare C875!

On the top of the camera you'll find the speaker, three buttons, and the mode dial.

Those two buttons in the middle of the photo are for:

  • Drive (Normal, 2 sec self-timer, 10 sec self-timer, 2x self-timer, first burst, last burst) - see below
  • Flash setting (Auto, fill flash, auto w/redeye reduction, off)

There are two continuous shooting modes on the C875. The first burst mode is pretty standard: the camera took five photos in a row at around 2 frames/second. The last burst feature keeps shooting at the same frame rate (for up to 30 pictures) and saves the last four photos that were taken when you let go of the shutter release button. The LCD doesn't black out while you're shooting, so tracking a moving subject should not be a problem.

At the far right of the photo is the camera's mode dial. I would've preferred having the "Off" position at one end of the dial, instead of in the middle -- or perhaps just a power button instead. Anyhow, the options on the mode dial include:

Option Function
Movie mode I'll have more on this later
Scene mode You choose the situation and the camera picks the proper settings. You can select from portrait, panorama, sport, landscape, closeup, night portrait, night landscape, snow, beach, text, fireworks, flower, manner/museum, self-portrait, party, children, backlight, panning shot. See below for more.
Smart scene (auto) mode The camera will attempt to automatically select the right scene mode, otherwise it will default to "auto". More below.
Off This one should be obvious
P/A/S/M mode Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and full manual modes; see below for more.
Custom mode Your favorite camera settings, easy to reach
Favorites Quickly access the photos that you've tagged as favorites.

Lots to talk about before we can move on. Three of those scene modes (portrait, night portrait, and backlight) use some kind of face detection (Kodak says it's to ensure proper exposure) but I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary happening when I took pictures of faces.

The panorama feature helps you line up two or three photos side-by-side, which are then automatically stitched into a single photo. There is a catch though -- the image resolution is reduced to 3.1 Megapixel, and the original images aren't saved, so you have to accept whatever result the camera comes up with.

The smart scene mode will try to "guess" what scene you should be using, and it worked pretty well for the most part. In my tests the camera selected portrait, landscape, and close-up when it was supposed to. One time, at the local dog park, the camera was insistent on using the "beach" mode when there was nothing but grass in the frame.

If you want more control over your photos then you'll want to use the P/A/S/M mode. Program mode is just like auto mode, except that you can adjust all camera settings. Aperture priority mode lets you adjust the aperture (from a range of F2.8 - F8) and the camera uses the proper shutter speed. Shutter priority mode is just the opposite: you choose the shutter speed (the range is 8 - 1/1600 sec) and the camera picks the right aperture. In full manual (M) mode you choose both the shutter speed and aperture, with the same ranges as above.

The custom feature lets you pick whatever settings you like (including one of the shooting modes I just listed) and save them to a spot on the mode dial.

Nothing to see here!

On the other side of the camera you'll find its memory card slot and I/O ports. As I mentioned earlier, the C875 supports both SD/MMC cards. The I/O port below the memory card slot is for the both USB and A/V out. The camera supports the USB 2.0 High Speed standard, for fast photo transfers to your PC. The plastic door that covers all this is of decent quality.

There's another port to see here at the bottom of the photo. Here's where you'll plug in the C875's optional AC adapter.

By the way, the lens is at the full telephoto position in this photo.

On the bottom of the camera you'll find the battery compartment, dock connector (partially hidden here), and a plastic tripod mount.

As you know, the C875 uses one CR-V3 or two AA batteries. The door covering this slot is fairly sturdy.

The dock connector is what mates the camera to an optional camera or printer dock.

Using the Kodak EasyShare C875

Record Mode

It takes about 2.7 seconds for the C875 to extend its lens and "warm up" before you can start taking pictures. That's a little on the slow side.


If you turn on the composition grid (by pressing up on the four-way controller) you'll also get a live histogram

Autofocus speeds on the EasyShare C875 were good for the most part. Wait times ranged from 0.2 - 0.4 seconds at wide-angle, which is about average. At the telephoto end things were slower, though, with delays exceeding one second at times. Low light focusing was hit and miss: sometimes the camera locked focus, other times it just couldn't. In other words, better than a camera without an AF-assist lamp, but still not great.

I did not find shutter lag to be a problem, even at the slower shutter speeds where it sometimes crops up.

Shot-to-shot speeds were excellent, with a delay of about a second before you can take another shot. The post-shot review feature cannot be turned off, but you can exit that to take another shot quickly by halfway pressing the shutter release button.

You can delete a photo immediately after taking it by pressing the delete button on the back of the camera.

There are just a few image quality choices on the EasyShare C875. There's no "fine" or "normal" quality here (it is a C-series camera, after all) -- just these options:

Resolution # images on 32MB*
on-board memory
# images on 1GB memory card (optional)
8.0 MP
3264 x 2448
11 408
7.1 MP (3:2)
3264 x 2176
12 456
5,0 MP
2560 x 1920
17 645
3.1 MP
2048 x 1536
26 970
1.1 MP
1200 x 900
64 2352
* Only 28MB is actually used for image storage

There's no support for the RAW or TIFF formats on the EasyShare C875, and I certainly wouldn't expect that.

The camera names files as 100_####.JPG (where # = 0001 - 9999), and remembers the numbering even if you switch cards or delete photos.

With "easy" in the camera's name, it's not surprising that the menu system is simple to use. By pressing the Display/Info button, you can get a help screen for most menu options -- which is very helpful. And now, keeping in mind that you may not see some of these options in the auto modes, here is the full record menu:

  • Exposure bracketing (±0.3, ±0.7, ±1.0) - see below
  • Picture size (see above chart)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade) - no custom white balance to be found
  • Metering (Multi-pattern, center-weighted, center-spot)
  • Focus zone (Multi-zone, center-zone) - the former is 5-point
  • AF control (Single, continuous) - see below
  • Color mode (High color, natural color, low color, black & white, sepia)
  • Sharpness (Low, normal, high)
  • Reset to Default
  • Set Album (on/off) - pre-select an album for your photos to be put into; more on this later
  • Image Storage (Auto, internal memory) - where photos are stored
  • Setup menu - see below

It's a shame that with the numerous manual controls offered by the C875 that Kodak left out a custom white balance option. You'll see why this matters in a moment.

The exposure bracketing feature takes three shots in a row, each with a different exposure value. You can select an interval between each shot of ±0.3EV, ±0.7EV, or ±1.0EV. If you've got the space on your memory card then this is a great way to ensure a proper exposure every time.

There are two AF control modes on the camera. The first, single, is the normal "push the button halfway to lock focus" mode that everyone's used to. The continuous mode is always trying to focus, which can reduce focus times at the expense of battery life.

Now, here's a look at the setup menu, which you can get to from the record or playback menus.

  • Camera Sounds (Theme, individual) - choose all the blips and beeps that the camera makes
  • Sound volume (Off, low, medium, high)
  • LCD brightness (High power, power save)
  • LCD dimmer (Off, 10, 20, 30 secs)
  • Auto power off (1, 3, 5, 10 mins)
  • Date & Time
  • Video out (NTSC, PAL)
  • Orientation sensor (on/off) - automatically rotates images that are taken in the portrait orientation
  • Redeye preflash (on/off) - this is an addition to the software-based redeye reduction system that's always on
  • Date stamp (Off, YYYY MM DD, MM DD YYYY, DD MM YYYY) - print the date on your photos
  • Video date display (None, YYYY MM DD, MM DD YYYY, DD MM YYYY, YYYY MM DD HH:MM, MM DD YYYY HH:MM, DD MM YYYY HH:MM) - date format when using video out
  • Blur warning (on/off) - see below
  • Language
  • Format (Memory card, internal memory)
  • About


Blur detection

The blur detection feature quietly tells you if your photo is sharp enough for a 4 x 6 inch print. When you're viewing a photo (either in playback mode or during the post-shot review) the camera will display a little hand icon at the top of the LCD display. Green means that the photo can print well, yellow is questionable, and red is "delete it and try again".

Enough about menus, let's talk photo quality now.

Despite not having any manual white balance controls (usually a requirement for a decent shot in my studio), the C875 did a good job with our usual macro test subject. The colors are nice and saturated, and plenty of detail was picked up (notice the hair on the right ear).

In macro mode you can get as close to your subject as 10 cm at wide-angle and 70 cm at telephoto.

While it looks pretty nice in the reduced size version above, the night shot doesn't look quite as nice when you view it at full size. There's a combination of noise reduction and JPEG artifacting here. The former "smudges" the edges of things, while the latter seems to have caused a nasty gradient-like effect in the sky. Neither of these issues will make much of a difference in print quality as long as you keep your print sizes fairly low. The camera did take in plenty of light, thanks to the manual shutter speed control, and purple fringing was not to be found.

There are two ISO tests in this review. The first one uses the night scene above, so you can see how noise levels look at high ISOs in low light. Here we go:


ISO 64

ISO 100

ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800

I first want to apologize for the somewhat inconsistent exposure in these shots. Anyhow, the ISO 100 shot looks just like the one I took at ISO 64. At ISO 200 we start to see an increase in the nasty effects of noise reduction, and this is probably as high a setting as you'll want to use in low light, as things are all downhill from there.

There's mild to moderate distortion at the wide end of the EasyShare C875's 5X zoom lens. While there's some vignetting (dark corners) in the test chart, I didn't find it to be a problem in my real world photos. You will, however, deal with minor corner blurriness at times.

The C875 has a two-prong redeye reduction system which unfortunately didn't work, at least in my tests. First the camera uses a series of preflashes to shrink the subject's pupils. After the photo is taken, if the camera detects redeye, it removes it digitally. While your results may vary, I would say that most folks will have at least some problems with redeye on this camera.

Here's the second of the two ISO tests. Remember earlier how I said something about why custom white balance is a nice feature? If you look carefully in the shot above, you'll see a greenish cast. If there was custom white balance that cast would probably not be there. This shouldn't matter to most folks, but if you shoot under unusual lighting, you might want to seek out a camera with a custom WB feature.

And now, on with the show. The crops below give you the short version of the noise story, but you should view the full size images to get the whole picture (pun intended).


ISO 64

ISO 100

ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800

There's very little difference between the ISO 64, 100, and 200 shots, and that's a good thing. At ISO 400 we see some noise reduction artifacts (smudged details), but you should still be able to get a midsize print at that setting. There's heavy noise reduction artifacting at ISO 800 so I'd save that one for desperation only. It's interesting to compare these samples with those taken with the Canon PowerShot A710. You can see the different approaches used by each manufacturer. Canon uses very little noise reduction, which makes the high ISO shots look pretty noisy. Kodak, on the other hand, uses a lot of NR, which gets rid of the noise, but at the expense of details.

I was impressed with the photos produced by the EasyShare C875. They were well exposed -- most of the time (here's the exception) -- and colors were really saturated, which is a trademark of Kodak. Sharpness is sort of right in the middle -- not too sharp, not too soft. Noise levels were quite low through ISO 200, with 400 still usable for smaller prints. You do see the effects of heavy noise reduction (fuzzy details), but it's not that bad, and your typical C875 user won't be bothered by this. Purple fringing was well controlled.

Don't just take my word for all this, though. Have a look at our photo gallery, printing the photos if you can. Then decide if the C875's photo quality meets your expectations!

Movie Mode

The EasyShare C875 has an excellent movie mode. You can record video at 640 x 480 (30 frames/second) with sound until the memory card is full. Since the camera uses the efficient MPEG-4 format, you can fit 54 seconds of video onto the internal memory, or 33 minutes onto a 1GB SD card.

For longer movies you can reduce the video resolution to 320 x 240 (still at 30 fps), which more than doubles your recording time.

The C875 is one of the rare cameras that actually lets you use the optical zoom while recording a movie clip. Naturally, the sound of the zoom motor will be picked up by the microphone. Another sound that may be picked up is the focusing motor, if you're using the continuous AF mode. To avoid that, just change the focus mode to single AF.

And now, here's the sample movie:


Click to play movie (5.1 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, MPEG-4 format)
Can't view them? Download QuickTime
.

Playback Mode

The EasyShare C875 has a very nice playback mode. Basic features are all here, like slideshows, image protection, DPOF print marking, thumbnail view, and zoom and scroll. This last feature lets you enlarge your image by as much as 8 times, and then move around in the zoomed-in area. While you can crop (trim) photos right on the camera, you cannot rotate or downsize them. One neat thing you can do is undelete a photo which you just removed (presumably by accident).


Viewing photos by date

Photos can be viewed sequentially, by album, or by date.


Picking an album for a photo

Speaking of albums: you can put photos into one or more albums that you've previously set up on your computer. When you transfer the photos to your Mac or PC, they'll automatically be sorted into albums in the EasyShare software.


Perfect Touch

The EasyShare C875 has Kodak's PerfectTouch technology built in, which is an "auto enhance" feature. Press a button and a few seconds later the photo is looking a lot nicer. You can choose to overwrite or save the original image. To see how well the system works, look at this shot: before and after.

The C875 has some neat movie editing features as well. You can trim off unwanted footage, grab a frame and save it as a still image, or you can make an "Action Print", which grabs a bunch of frames and puts them into one collage-style photo.

By default the camera shows just a little information about your photo, though this includes a histogram. Press the Display/Info button and you'll get much more, as you can see in the photo on the right.

The EasyShare C875 moves from one photo to another instantly -- nice.

How Does it Compare?

I have to admit: I wasn't expecting much from the Kodak EasyShare C875 when I took it out of the box. After all, the last few "budget cameras" I've reviewed have been real stinkers. But, what do you know, I actually really liked the C875, which gives you more bang for the buck than nearly any camera on the market. And that's why it earns my recommendation.

The EasyShare C875 is a compact (but not tiny) camera made of a mix of plastic and metal. It feels quite solid, though I must always complain about plastic tripod mounts, so there you go. The camera fits well in your hand, with the important controls in the right places. I do wish that the zoom controller was a bit larger, and that the on/off switch wasn't right in the middle of the mode dial, though. The C875 packs an 8 Megapixel CCD and a 5X zoom lens into its stylish body. The lens doesn't have image stabilization like the similar Nikon Coolpix L5, but for $199 I wouldn't expect it. On the back of the camera you'll find a large 2.5" LCD display, but no optical viewfinder. The screen resolution isn't great, but again, this is a budget cam. It was reasonably easy to see outdoors, and nice and bright in low light situations.

The C875 offers both automatic and manual controls, so it covers just about everyone. If you're a beginner then this may very well be your dream camera. In addition to the millions of scene modes offered, the camera even has a mode which picks the scene for you! Want more? Okay, how about an in-camera help system, instant photo enhancement, blur detection, and elaborate photo sharing system? The included EasyShare 6 software is also really nice compared to the junk that comes with most cameras. If you're "too cool" for auto modes, then you'll enjoy the nearly full suite of manual controls offered on the C875. That includes shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Sadly there is no manual white balance option available. Regardless of your skill level, you'll probably like the camera's movie mode, which records smooth VGA quality video, even letting you zoom during recording.

Camera performance was about average. It takes 2.7 seconds after you turn the camera on before you can start taking pictures, which is on the slow side. The camera focuses fairly quickly at the wide end of the lens, but telephoto delays can exceed a second. Low light focusing was just so-so for a camera with an AF-assist lamp. Thankfully, shutter lag was not a problem, and shot-to-shot delays were minimal. The C875's continuous shooting mode was just okay -- nothing to write home about. Battery life was about average.

I was pretty happy with the C875's photo quality in most respects. It took well exposed photos (except once) with the almost over-the-top color saturation that Kodak cameras tend to have. Sharpness was nice, noise levels were low through ISO 400, and purple fringing levels were minimal. Despite having a fancy redeye reduction system, I still got noticeable redeye in my flash photo test. The night test scene didn't turn out terribly well, with gradients in the sky, probably due to too much JPEG compression.

I slipped most of the negatives about the camera in the preceding paragraphs, but here are two more things. The "guide" in manual focus mode borders on useless -- it's too small and doesn't really tell you what the focus distance is. Finally, Kodak really deserves a scolding for not just leaving the full manual out of the box -- they make you view it on their website! Let's hope that this isn't the start of a bad trend.

If you want a compact camera with more zoom power than most entry-level cameras, an easy-to-use interface, and both automatic and manual controls then you'll want to take a close look at the Kodak EasyShare C875. Priced at just $200, it's an incredible value for the money, whether you're just starting out, or upgrading from an older camera.

What I liked:

  • Great value for the money
  • Very good photo quality in most situations
  • More zoom than your typical entry-level camera
  • Compact, well-built metal/plastic body
  • Large 2.5" LCD display (but see issue below)
  • Many manual controls
  • Tons of scene modes; auto scene mode will pick one for you!
  • PerfectTouch feature improves photo quality at the push of a button
  • EasyShare system makes it easy to "tag" photos for e-mailing and printing
  • Great movie mode; zoom lens can be used during filming (though you'll hear it)
  • USB 2.0 High Speed support
  • Very good software bundle

What I didn't care for:

  • Redeye, despite fancy reduction system
  • Disappointing night shot performance
  • Low resolution LCD
  • No optical viewfinder
  • Could really have used manual white balance
  • Fairly useless "distance guide" in manual focus mode
  • Small zoom controller; on/off is in the middle of mode dial
  • Plastic tripod mount
  • Full manual only on Kodak's website

Some other cameras worth a look include the Canon PowerShot A540 and A710 IS, Fuji FinePix F650, Nikon Coolpix L5, Olympus FE-200 and Stylus 740, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5, and the Samsung Digimax L85.

As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the EasyShare C875 and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

Want to see how the photo quality looks? Check out our gallery!

Want a second opinion?

You'll find another review of this camera at CNET.com.

Feedback & Discussion

If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal recommendation.

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