Review: Kodak EasyShare LS420
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
who are just starting out want to keep things simple, and that's
the aim of the Kodak
EasyShare LS420 ($299). The LS420 is a fixed focus, point-and-shoot
camera which is very easy to use. Transferring photos is easy too,
with the included EasyShare dock that hooks into your Mac or PC.
While the camera is in the dock, your battery is charged.
the LS420 a good entry-level camera? Find out in our review.
in the Box?
LS420 includes everything you need to get started taking pictures.
Here's what you get in the box:
2.1 (effective) Mpixel LS420 camera
Li-ion rechargeable battery
dock for LS420
page camera manual (printed)
Picture Software CD-ROM
probably saying: hey, what about a memory card? Well, that's up
to you to provide. But don't worry, as the LS420 includes 8MB of
built-in memory, so you can get started shooting right away.
you're ready to buy a memory card, the LS420 can use either Secure
Digital (SD) or MultiMedia (MMC) cards. They are interchangeable.
KLIC-5000 Lithium-ion battery sure looks familiar -- I think I've
seen this on other cameras (from Nikon?). This little 1050 mAh battery
packs in 3.9 Watt/hours of power. Kodak doesn't say how long the
battery lasts per charge.
The LS420 rests in the dock
you want to recharge the battery, you just pop the camera onto the
dock and it charges automatically (in three hours). If you want
to transfer pictures to your Mac or PC, just press the button on
the dock, and your computer will spring into action. The camera
works just fine with Mac OS X and iPhoto too. My only complaint
is that you must have the dock plugged into the wall, even to transfer
Look out, it's a small one
includes software to transfer photos and do basic editing. I did
not try it. The manual included with all Kodak cameras is better
EasyShare LS420 camera is very small and light. It's pretty wide,
but very thin. It's reminiscent of the small P-series Sony cameras.
The camera is easy to hold and will fit into all your pockets.
body of the LS420 is a mix of metal, plastic, and rubber. It still
looks like they glued two different bodies together at the middle,
if you ask me. Anyhow, the body seems quite solid, though with all
metal cameras, they scratch easily. Here's a look at the dimensions
of the LS420 versus the competition.
x 1.1 x 1.8
x 2.2 x 1.1
x 2.5 x 1.2
x 2.6 x 1.7
x 2.3 x 1.2
x 2.2 x 1.2
it's the lightest one I've tested recently! Let's start our tour
of the LS420 now.
it look like two cameras in one? Anyhow, most of the goodies are
on the right side of the body. The LS420 has a rather slow F3.9,
fixed focal length lens, which is equivalent to 38 mm. The lens
is not threaded.
you want zoom, you've got to use the 3X digital zoom. As a rule,
using digital zoom dramatically reduces the quality of your photos.
to the right of the lens is the microphone. The two "holes"
to the upper-left of the lens are the light sensor and the self-timer
lamp. There is no AF illuminator on this camera.
on the "other side" of the front is the flash. The working
range of the LS420's flash is 0.8 - 2.5 m. Kodak lists a 5 second
flash charging time.
move onto the back now.
here we are. The LS420 has a 1.6" LCD that is worse than average.
It's just plain hard to see. At least the refresh rate is good.
(I should add that a poorer LCD is a good way to keep the price
of the camera down). You can adjust the brightness of the screen
via the setup menu.
to the left of the LCD is the "joystick" and the mode
dial. The joystick is used for navigating the menus. The four choices
on the mode dial are setup, playback, movie mode, and record mode.
Just below that is the menu button.
the top left corner of the picture, you can see the optical viewfinder.
The viewfinder is quite small and lacks diopter correction or even
"crosshairs" for framing your pictures.
the top of the camera, you'll find the on/off switch, flash/DPOF
switch, and the shutter release button. There is a snazzy pulsating
light under the power switch (I'm a sucker for these things). Everything
else up here is pretty self-explanatory. I always like to see LCD
info displays up here, but I don't see how they could fit one on
such a small body.
this side of the camera, you'll find the A/V out port, for connection
to a television. There are no USB or AC adapter ports -- you must
use the dock for both of those.
the other side, with the battery shown (sorry, it doesn't photograph
well). The door covering these compartments can be fussy about opening.
The battery compartment is on the left, while the SD/MMC slot is
on the right.
here is the bottom of the camera. You can see the connector for
the dock, as well as the plastic tripod mount.
the Kodak EasyShare LS420
LS420 takes just over three seconds to "boot up" before
you can start taking pictures.
Sorry these don't look so hot
the camera is fixed focus, there is no waiting for the camera to
focus. The only lag is the shutter lag, which is short but noticeable.
Shot-to-shot speed is not great: you'll wait at least 6 seconds
before you can take another picture. The LS420 gives you the ability
to erase a photo before it is a written to the card. Another annoyance
is that the LCD is turned off (after you press the shutter release
button) when you are in self-timer mode.
with the simplicity theme, the LS420 has just two image quality
shots on 8MB
(included with camera)
shots on 32MB
1752 x 1168
876 x 584
probably don't have to tell you that there are no TIFF or RAW modes
on the LS420.
Record Mode Menu
LS420 is as basic as you get. If you enjoy manual controls of any
kind, this one is not for you. There aren't even white balance or
exposure compensation controls. Here's what you do get:
quality (see chart)
Storage (Auto, internal memory) - in auto mode, the camera defaults
to use the SD/MMC card
stamp (on/off) - three different formats to choose from
(on/off) - shows image on LCD after it is taken; gives opportunity
to delete photo
that's it for the record menu! There's also a setup menu, with the
usual options like date/time, beep, language, and card formatting.
Setup Mode Menu
talk photo quality now.
not having a "night scene" mode or any manual controls,
the LS420 did a pretty good job at the night shot test. Sure the
image is noisy, but it's not bad at all for an entry-level camera.
the macro test? Well, since the LS420 doesn't have a macro mode,
I can't do one! The minimum focus distance is 80 cm which is pretty
quality on the LS420 was a mixed bag. Generally, outdoors things
were good. Indoors, I had trouble getting anything good. I had one
weird thing happen when I took pictures of a visiting cruise ship.
Here's a close-up:
the LS420 recorded
it was supposed to look like. Photo from Fuji FinePix F601 Zoom.
know that these are totally different cameras with very different
prices, but this was the easiest way to illustrate the photo quality.
Not only is the LS420 image not terribly sharp, but those funky
yellow patterns are not normal either. This happened in all my pictures
of the back of the ship.
see the photo gallery for more samples
from the LS420.
EasyShare LS420 has a pretty good movie mode. You can record movies,
with sound, until the memory card (or internal memory) is full.
You can also choose to limit movies to 5, 15, or 30 second clips,
via the menu.
are saved in QuickTime format. You can choose from 320 x 240 or
160 x 120 sizes. You can store 35 and 90 seconds of video to the
built-in memory for those sizes, respectively.
the LS420 records sound, you cannot hear it when you play it back
on the camera, as the LS420 has no speaker.
with the cruise ship theme, here's a sample (lots of "banding"
in the sky!):
to Play Movie (2.4MB, QuickTime format)
play it? Download
with its record mode, the LS420 has a pretty basic playback mode
as well. The features available include slideshows, image protection,
DPOF print marking, and zoom & scroll.
big thing missing in playback mode is the traditional 9 (or sometimes
4) thumbnails on the LCD. There is also no info about your photos
shown on the LCD (and I mean nothing).
zoom & scroll feature (called magnify here) lets you zoom in
2X into your photo and then move around in it, using the joystick.
handy feature on the LS420 is the ability to copy images from the
internal memory to a memory card.
These screens did not photograph well. They look
better in real life.
LS420 moves fairly quickly through images in playback mode. A low
resolution image is shown immediately, with a high res version showing
up about 1.5 seconds later.
Does it Compare?
Kodak EasyShare LS420 is a camera that will likely be enjoyed by
people just starting out in photography. It offers very easy operation,
a useful dock for charging the battery and transferring pictures,
and decent photo quality (in most cases). I did have some trouble
with indoor photos (not of them came out, though I wasn't using
a tripod), and there was the "cruise ship incident" shown
earlier. What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is if the
LS420 is the best value for the money. My thought is that there
are better choices available. For around the same price you can
get a 2 Megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom, and far more features
(Canon Powershot A40). I've detailed some cameras to look at down
at the bottom of this review. The LS420 isn't a bad choice, it's
just not your best choice.
is great for photo transfer, battery charging
to set shutter speed
I didn't care for:
- Very limited features, especially compared with the competition
- No macro mode
- Dock must be powered even to transfer photos
with photo quality sometimes
low cost cameras that I recommend looking at include the Canon PowerShot
the Fuji FinePix A201,
the Kodak DX3900
DiMAGE X, Nikon
Coolpix 2500, Olympus D-380
the Sony DSC-P31
and the Toshiba
PDR-M25. Yeah it's a long list, but it's a crowded field with
lots of good offerings.
out our photo gallery to see how the
photos turned out.
a second opinion?
out the Steve's Digicams EasyShare LS420 review.
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not send me requests
for personal camera recommendations.