EasyShare P880

EasyShare P880

It may look like an SLR, but it's not.


The 8-megapixel EasyShare P880 is a feature-laden camera that delivers more than you might expect. Though it looks like an SLR camera, it's not. See the viewfinder just above the lens? SLR cameras let you view images through the same lens that captures them. The P880, however, uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF) - and it's one of the best ones we've seen. Coupled with the large 2.5-inch LCD on the back (clearly visible in daylight), you have no one to blame but yourself if you can't frame your pictures properly.


The P880 has a few unique features that we'd like to see more often in other cameras, including a hand-operated 5.6x optical zoom lens. While that doesn't sound very high-tech, it's actually a lot faster to zoom by hand than to zoom with a motor. Kodak also describes the focal length of the zoom range in terms of 35mm film-based lenses - the owner's manual specifies the focal length of the lens in 35mm parlance. And lastly, like several other new cameras, the P880 has built-in memory - only 32MB of it, but that's still better than nothing. The P880 also uses SD and MultiMediaCards, and it saves its images in RAW, JPEG, or TIFF formats.


The P880 has a built-in flash, along with a hot shoe on top of the camera for an optional external flash, such as Kodak's P20 Zoom Flash ($149.95), which can really light up a room - consider buying one if you plan on taking a lot of indoor shots.


Other features include 15 shooting modes, five color modes, three sharpness modes, and three contrast modes. The camera can also capture QuickTime movies at 30 frames per second at either 640-by-480-pixel or 320-by-240-pixel resolution. When it comes time to output your photos, the P880 connects to your Mac via USB 2.0; the camera is also PictBridge and ImageLink compatible, so you can skip the Mac and connect directly to printers that use those technologies.


Image quality. Unfortunately, the P880's images aren't quite as nice as its features. Our sample pictures from the P880 showed a significantly elevated level of noise. As we increased the ISO of the camera from 100 to 200 to 400 (doing so increases the sensitivity of the imager), the level of noise increased as well. At ISO 400, the noise level reached a crescendo that would have rivaled a heavy-metal concert. We shot our best images with the ISO set to 50.


We also would have liked to see the EasyShare P880 fitted with a more comfortable handgrip - it's not designed for folks with big hands.


The bottom line. The P880 does what it's supposed to do. If you can work within the constraints it places on the photographer, you'll find plenty of good features for a fairly decent price.


CONTACT: 888-368-6600, www.kodak.com
PRICE: $549.95
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.2.8 or later
Clear, large LCD. Quick manual zoom.
Noisy images.





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