Kodak’s EasyShare range seems to grow new shoot each week and the C360 is another neat little digital compact that is compatible with the company's EasyShare printer docks - you can get prints straight out of the camera without messing about with a PC - well, at least if you don’t want to that is.
In terms of kit on the C360, you get a basic set of controls dominated by a large mode dial on the top plate, which surrounds the shutter release. The mode dial has the usual controls such as an Auto, and ‘SCN’ (or scene) mode, direct access to four of the main scene (or subject program) modes including landscape, portrait, sports and macro settings. You can get at the 640x480-pixel, 24fps (MPEG-4) movie mode here too.
Focus control is pleasingly responsive and that is a real plus; shutter lag did not become a major issue and the camera even has a burst mode of five frames (at any resolution) at 2.4fps so you can get some neat 'action' pictures without many problems.
Images are stored on an internal memory of 32MB or via removable SD/MMC cards. The camera’s large LCD screen is of the ‘indoor/outdoor’ variety making it quite usable in all but the very brightest conditions; the optical viewfinder that backs it up and helps in such conditions and/or to save power from the C360’s 2 x AA or single CRV3 battery pack.
The LCD is joined by a small four-way jog button for image and menu scrolling while a dedicated delete button speeds up getting rid of your photo-flotsam. A screen toggle control, menu button and review button complete the back plate controls, apart from the all-important ‘Share’ button. This sits above the LCD and allows you to print or email selected images directly from the camera (using the accessory EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3 or Camera Dock Series 3 docking stations).
Image quality is good rather than great, it’s let down by highlights that lack detail - even in correctly exposed images; exposure is however generally very good with +/-2EV exposure compensation to back you up in any difficult situations. Metering is comprehensive with TTL-AE multi-pattern AE, centre-weighted and spot metering all ticked off.
The TTL-AF set up works well and provides both continuous (for moving subjects) and single AF settings. Sensitivity runs from ISO 80 to 160 in auto shooting modes or 80, 100, 200, 400 and ISO 800 in manual, so there’s plenty to play with for this level of compact. Noise becomes problematic over ISO 400 however. Finally, my one other bugbear is barrel distortion at the wide end of the 34mm-102mm Kodak Retinar, 3x zoom lens. While the optics perform well in terms of rendering the image sharply, the distortion can be most distracting.
Given the (just) sub £200 price and more than adequate specification, not to mention you have 5 million pixels to play with, the C360 is not a bad little camera. Ideal for snaps rather than studied shots, the C360 is a nice model from Kodak, but it is at large in a world populated by many, many, equally as nice (or better) small, digital cameras. It is in for a fight...