Kodak C663 Review

 
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Kodak C663 Operation

Though its imaging chops might not be equal to some of its competitors, the one thing Kodak has consistently done right is to make its cameras simple to use. The Kodak C663 is certainly no exception, offering a clean menu interface with clear descriptions of its functions in plain English. While long-time digital camera users might take symbols like the playback and trash icons for granted, first time users will likely be unfamiliar with them and Kodak does a good job of simply spelling out all of this camera's main features. All of which makes it even more befuddling why accessing the camera's new Kodak Perfect Touch technology is more difficult than it should be. Since it's a new feature, I'm willing to chalk this one up to a case of first-time bugs.

Record-Mode Display
The Kodak C663's LCD display shows the center autofocus area along with currently-selected options for image size/quality, macro and flash mode, the number of images of the current size and quality that can be stored in the remaining space on the memory card. The camera also has a live histogram on the left side of the display for judging exposure. Half-pressing the Shutter button displays the chosen aperture and shutter speed settings. Pressing the Kodak C663's Information button once in a record mode cancels the information display, while a second press disables the LCD entirely. A third press brings back both displays. Through the Setup menu, you can disable the "Liveview" function, which eliminates the LCD's viewfinder function.

Playback-Mode Display
In Playback mode, you can use the Kodak C663's Zoom lever to zoom in or out on an image, with a maximum enlargement of 8x. A thumbnail display of the images on the card is also available called Multi Up, available through the camera's Playback menu. The Display button offers a more detailed information display, reporting the set exposure variables for the current image. The normal Playback display reports the image number, and any shared settings information. You can also disable the information overlay entirely.

Kodak C663 Modes and Menus


Favorites Mode
: An album icon with a heart on its cover indicates this mode on the Power/Mode switch on top of the camera. In this mode, any images that have been designated as "favorites" are displayed. (Favorites are selected in the EasyShare software. Once selected, they are shrunk to a size suitable for making 4x6 prints, and downloaded back to the camera's internal memory. This lets you carry a larger number of your favorite photos on the camera, without using up a lot of memory card space.)


Auto Mode
: Marked with a green camera icon and the word "Auto," this mode is best for most average shooting conditions. Exposure is automatically controlled, but a small selection of user options is available through the Record menu.


Landscape Mode
: An icon of two mountains indicates this mode on the Mode dial. In Landscape mode, the camera captures a well-focused foreground and background, perfect for wide vistas of scenery.


Close-up Mode
: The traditional Macro flower symbol indicates this mode, which enables the lens' macro setting. You can focus on subjects as close as two inches, though the lens zoom position determines the minimum focus distance.


Scene Mode
: The letters "SCN" indicate this mode on the Mode dial, which offers 14 preset shooting modes. Available "scenes" are Portrait, Sport, Children, Party, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Flower, Self-Portrait, Backlight, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Manner/Museum, and Text.

Program/Manual Mode: The mode is symbolized by the letters P/M and allows the user a range of manual controls that allow for more creativity. When in this mode, press in the joystick to choose Program or Manual. In Program, you can control exposure compensation and flash compensation. The camera automatically sets the shutter speed and aperture (f-stop) based on the scene lighting. In Manual, the user can set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO speed. Exposure compensation acts as an exposure meter, recommending the proper combination for aperture and shutter speed.


Movie Mode
: The last mode on the Kodak C663's Mode dial, Movie mode is indicated by a movie camera icon. In this mode, you can record 640 x 480 or 320 x 240-pixel resolution movies with sound, at 24 frames per second.

Playback Mode: Accessed by pressing the Review button, this mode lets you review captured images and movies, as well as manage files.

Record Menu: The following menu items appear whenever the Menu button is pressed in any still Record mode. However, not all menu options are available in all modes.

  • Exposure Bracketing: Enables the auto exposure bracketing mode, with EV step sizes of either 0.3, 0.7, or 1.0 EV units.
  • Exposure Compensation: Adjusts the overall exposure in one-third-step increments from -2 to +2 EV.
  • Picture Size: Sets the resolution for still images. Choices are 6.0 MP (2,832 x 2,128), 5MP 3:2 (2,832 x 1,888 pixels), 4 MP (2,304 x 1,728 pixels), 3 MP (2,048 x 1,536 pixels), or 1 MP (1,200x 900 pixels).
  • White Balance: Sets the color balance to Auto, Daylight, Open Shade, Tungsten, or Fluorescent settings.
  • Exposure Metering: Designates the camera's metering mode as Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, or Center-Spot.
  • Focus Zone: Controls where the camera's AF system determines focus from. Choices are Multi-Zone and Center-Zone.
  • AF Control: Sets the autofocus to Continuous or Single modes.
  • Color Mode: Allows you to record images in High, Natural, or Low Color, or in Black and White or Sepia tones.
  • Sharpness: Controls the in-camera sharpening, with options of High, Normal, or Low.
  • Reset to Default: Resets camera to all default settings.

  • Set Album: The Kodak C663 lets you set up albums through its interface software on a computer. If albums have been set up and downloaded to the camera, you can associate both images and movies with an album as they are recorded.
  • Image Storage: Dictates where images are stored, either in the 32MB internal memory or SD card. If Auto is selected, the camera automatically stores images to a memory card if one is present.

  • Setup Menu: Displays the following Setup options:
    • Return: Returns to the previous menu display.
    • Liveview: Turns Liveview on or off. If off, the LCD monitor does not act as a viewfinder, but instead provides access only to the menu system.
    • Camera Sounds: Lets you select a sound theme for basic camera operations, or set specific sounds for each type of camera noise.
    • Sound Volume: Sets the volume to Low, Medium, or High, or turns sound off.
    • LCD Brightness: Lets you choose High Power bright setting or Power Save darker setting.

    • Auto Power Off: Sets the period of inactivity that must pass before the camera shuts itself off. Choices are 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds.
    • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
    • Video Out: Specifies PAL or NTSC as the Video Out signal.
    • Orientation Sensor: Controls the camera's orientation sensor, which detects when the camera is held vertically. Vertical-format images captured when the Orientation Sensor is enabled are rotated to their correct orientation on-screen when they're played back.)
    • Red-eye Preflash: If enabled, this option automatically corrects Red-eye, regardless of the flash mode setting.

    • Date Stamp: Turns the date stamp function on or off, which records the date over the image. You can choose from a selection of date formats as well.
    • Video Date Display: Like the Date Stamp option above, imprints the date and time on video files, with a choice of display formats.
    • Blur Warning: If activated, this feature indicates on the LCD display if the exposure will require the use of a tripod to prevent blurring.
    • Language: Sets the menu language to one of nine languages.
    • Format: Formats the SD memory card or internal memory.
    • About: Displays the camera's firmware information.
  • Video Size: (Movie mode only.) Sets the video resolution to 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels.
  • Video Length (Movie mode only.) : Sets the default length of movie files to 5, 15, or 30 seconds, or to Continuous.
  • ISO Speed: Places the camera's sensitivity under automatic control (Auto setting), or sets it to 80, 100, 200, 400, or 800 ISO equivalents.
  • Long Time Exposure: Enables the camera's longer shutter speeds, from 0.5 to eight seconds.
  • Image Storage: Dictates where images are stored, either in the 32MB internal memory or SD card. If Auto is selected, the camera automatically stores images to a memory card if one is present.

Playback Menu:

  • Album: Adds images to an image album, created on a computer with the camera's interface software.
  • Perfect Touch Tech.: The picture is copied then enhanced for brightness in shadow areas to bring out detail. The original picture is saved. Pictures can only be enhanced once. Kodak Perfect Touch technology can only be used with pictures, not video.
  • Crop: This function lets you crop a portion of an image and save it as a separate file.
  • Slide Show: Enables a slide show of captured images, with user-adjustable intervals between images.
  • Multi-Up: Enables a index display of images on the memory card or stored in the internal memory.

  • Copy: Copies files from the internal memory to the SD card, or the reverse.
  • Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing it from being accidentally erased or manipulated (except via memory or card formatting). Also removes protection.
  • Image Storage: Selects between the internal memory or the SD card for image storage.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu.

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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