Kodak believe that the future for digital cameras is wireless, but can the company that wants us to share moments and share life be right? Pocket-lint flew to the south of France to find out.
The EasyShare One is the new flagship model of Kodak’s fleet and shows what could be possible with digital cameras in the future. Announced in CES in January 2005 the camera has taken a long time to come to the market. So long, in fact, that Nikon is about to launch a wireless model itself.
The spec of the camera is fairly standard: 4 megapixels with a 3x optical zoom lens. However what isn’t standard is the flip out touch screen 3in LCD display and the wireless g access on board.
The wireless access means that you can take a picture and then, as long as you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot either upload that image directly to Kodak’s EasyShare Gallery online or email to a friend - it seems that MMS is so last year darling.
Furthermore the camera will also allow you to view the images in your EasyShare Gallery to show and bore your friends with all the snaps you’ve taken so far.
In practice we found the system very easy to use, with the menu for the most part straightforward to navigate, helped by the touch screen facility and you get a small stylus to help you out - think PDA rather than digital camera - it still needs some ironing out, but nothing too major.
The camera comes with an impressive 256Mb of memory on it - shooing the usual 11Mb - and it's something that should be commended. We don’t like the fact that most digital cameras come with such pathetic memory allocations in the box that you have to buy a card from the start.
Uploading or emailing your images was simple too. The camera will connect to any wireless access point as long as you have the codes. Password encrypted options can accessed via the on screen keyboard and email addresses sent using the same on screen offering. Because of the large screen there is no need to squint and we managed to send a couple of emails of the pictures we took to colleagues back in the office without even really having to think about.
Uploading pictures can be done either as a single image or the whole album and depending on the connection speed and quantity of images will determine the time it takes. Likewise viewing back the images from the EasyShare Gallery was quick and easy.
Other options on the camera that we especially liked were the burst modes that allowed us to capture the action easily. The response rate was actually very good considering the spec of the camera and there are three modes that you can work from; single, last burst and start. The most interesting of the three was the last burst mode, which allowed you to take pictures until the internal storage or your additional SD card becomes full. Once it is full, the camera keeps on taking shots deleting from the start.
Overall the picture quality was good with strong colours and a good balance of skin tones for the limited amout of test shots we were able to take.
While a 4 megapixel resolution is ideal for the kind of market this camera is aimed at - i.e., holiday snaps and party pics, we are surprised that Kodak hasn’t loaded this model with a 5 megapixel resolution option. When we asked Kodak why this was the case they suggested that corners had to be cut at some point to achieve a sub £500 price tag. We personally think it might be because of the speed and memory allocation to send 5 megapixel files via a wireless connection. Perhaps it just took too long in tests when developing it.
As for the wireless approach it is one that should be welcomed as long as you are sure you are always likely to be close to a Wi-Fi network.
Kodak have said that they are currently in talks with T-Mobile to be able to offer users of the EasyShare One free access to its Hotspots and depending on who you talk to in Kodak, this will either be for the first couple of months or the first year. Either way it shows the possibilities ahead.
After badgering us for years that we aren’t printing our pictures, Kodak seem to have realised that perhaps we just want to share them instead. This camera will make that possible. Give it a couple of years and this breakthrough product will be the norm and for us we think that can only be a good thing.