Two Months Later ...By MIKE PASINI
The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter
Kodak was unusually generous in letting us use a One and series 3 printer for a few months. But something this different deserves to be lived with a bit. Our appreciation of the company's achievement deepened somewhat more than our annoyance for the product's shortcomings.
Like the slow startup. Folding and unfolding the camera does protect the LCD, but it's a pretty tough LCD, we found. If we were going to shoot intermittently, we preferred to press the Power button to turn the camera off. We didn't gain much time, though. The lens still has to telescope out, but for some reason that doesn't happen until the sign-on screen yields to the next display.
We do wish the LCD hinge let us shoot from the waist. It seems to turn in just the opposite direction we want, even after two months of use.
We still wish the Flash mode and EV setting would persist between shutdowns. A menu option to make the settings persistent would help. We tend to set these and reset them when we're done with them. Less experienced users might tend to forget to reset them. But why should we pay that toll?
THAT INTERFACE | Back to Contents
The interface itself took two months to get through. There are really three interfaces here:
- We really like the column of buttons along the right side of the LCD. They are simple, intelligently laid out and easy to use (especially the square navigator button). They're a little small, but we found that easy enough to tolerate. Except for the Shutter button, which needs a redesign. We often couldn't find it.
- The menu system takes advantage of the big LCD to use large type for the options. That's a benefit for older users, right there. And having a Menu button to get to the menus was something we did naturally whenever we couldn't find a command we needed. But even when it was time to Share our images, having a Share button to bring up the Sharing menu was a nice touch. You can certainly use the stylus to navigate the menus, but we found using the navigator button a lot more convenient.
- As great as those two systems are, the designers could not resist tossing a third option into the mix. It took us a long while to realize how important the on-screen icons are to the operation of the camera. They're the only way to the two Burst modes (first five or last five shots). And the only way to set the EV. And the only way to set up an Album to collect future images. You can go through the Flash modes with the button on the top panel and select a Scene mode from the Menu button, but that's the only duplication.
|The Confusing Shutter Button
The embossed border makes it impossible to feel the crown.
Unfortunately, having three ways of doing things is confusing. Having two ways means if Plan A doesn't work (you can't find a button), Plan B will (it's on a menu). But the One doesn't operate that way.
As troublesome as that is, the One has a worse problem. It probably isn't fair to harp on this, since we can't think of any other camera that provides what's missing. But the One has unusual capabilities and capacities that demand some way to select a subset of the stored images. Either for printing, transmitting, uploading or just displaying in a slide show.
Yes, there are tricks built into the One to filter the most recent images, or images on a certain date. But it really needs a way to select more than one thumbnail at a time. And to operate on the selection. As it is, you have to click on each image and click on the Drawer icon to move the image to the temporary album called the Drawer before you can operate on a group of images.
Try moving 146 favorite images one at a time from internal storage to the Drawer so you can copy them to a memory card. Insane.
BATTERY LIFE | Back to Contents
Between the big LCD and the WiFi, the battery takes a big hit. But we never ran it down in one session. We had two batteries during our tests. We put one in the AC adapter which plugs directly into a wall socket. The other we kept in the camera. We didn't mount the One in the series 3 printer dock (which would have kept the internal battery charged) simply because we didn't have the plastic insert for it, so it wobbled when mounted.
We do wish the battery had been designed so it only goes into the charger one way. Unfortunately, you can insert it so the contacts are not making contact and the battery isn't getting charged. We got into the habit of lining up the battery contacts with the adapter contacts and checking for the adapter's red light, indicating it was charging.
UPGRADING FIRMWARE | Back to Contents
In the time we've had the One, Kodak has issued one firmware upgrade to improve red-eye reduction. We gave it a whirl to see how hard it is to upgrade the One.
The first step is to download the update from the One support site. Just pick the link for your operating system.
Once you have the "*.pak" file on your hard disk, the trick is to get it to the camera. The easiest way to do this is to copy it to the camera's SD card.
Mount your card on your desktop (with a reader or a PCMCIA adapter) and copy the .pak file to the SYSTEM directory. If there isn't a SYSTEM directory at the root level of the card (and there may not be), create one. But note that case is important. It has to be "SYSTEM" not "System."
Remove the battery from the One and flip the screen over so you can see it. Reinsert the battery (a fresh one is a great idea even if the process only takes 20 seconds) and the SD card, then turn on the camera with the Power button.
You'll get a slightly different startup screen indicating the installed firmware version and the new one on the card. Tap the Start button to start the process.
If the One has custom network profiles, you'll be asked if you want to clear them. No, you don't.
It then performs the upgrade. Twenty seconds later, it asks if you want to delete the upgrade from the card (yes, you do).
A Start-Up Wizard steps you through a few options you've already set (including language, screen calibration and more). Skip the EasyShare Gallery setup (there's a Skip button) if you've already done that to preserve your settings.
You can confirm you are running the new firmware on the startup screen (it's the little number in the bottom right corner) or in the About box in the Settings, Device menu.
Upgradable firmware means there's always hope.
A FEW STORIES | Back to Contents
Thanksgiving. We had the One at the house for Thanksgiving, where both sides of the family were impressed. Everyone loved the big screen right away. There's nothing more attractive about a digicam than a big color screen. Sony found this out first, if we recall. But it hasn't been lost on anybody else. Screens are getting bigger.
Beats leftover turkey
The One uses that screen to especially good effect, though. As we sat on the couch with family members we hadn't seen in a while, we brought them up to date on one or another visit by showing them a recent album or two on the EasyShare Gallery. The One was displaying images from our online Gallery albums by connecting wirelessly to our router downstairs. Our guest held the One in their lap and played a slide show as we narrated the events.
Having a ham or two in the family (not to mention on the table) made for some fun pictures. Unfortunately, they are all members of the Screen Actors Guild or we'd put the pictures up. But the One had the last laugh. A few minutes after the silly pose, the joke or the stealth shot, the print would arrive. We left the printer downstairs in the bunker, but we might have put it on a side table with us. Except we preferred the mystery of a print arriving out of nowhere.
The One made itself welcomed company. It was easy for everyone to see the pictures it could display. And it was easy for everyone to take pictures with it, too. Which meant we got to eat before the turkey got cold.
And the next day, stealing away for a light lunch at a charming French bistro, we were surprised to find the place was a WiFi hotspot. We took a couple of shots and emailed them to family 2,500 miles away just so they'd know we were OK <g>.
Christmas. Thanksgiving was such a hit, we were invited away for Christmas. We found it easy to pack the One with its adapter and spare battery with the series 3 printer and a spare cartridge and lots of paper. It's harder to haul along the latest hardback best-seller.
Same great fun displaying Gallery albums to those who missed the fun (even on their television if the whole family missed out). Same fun passing the Shutter button around. A couple of the younger ones even wondered if it might help capture Santa at work if they happened to fall asleep before he arrived.
OK, the flash is underwhelming
Between the shopping, wrapping, cooking, visiting, eating and all, there really wasn't much time to print pictures. And the 128-MB card didn't mind at all. There was always room for a few more shots, so we let it ride.
But the morning of our departure, we stayed a bit longer in bed, having come down with the cold the kids had been perfecting. It was nasty. We rolled over to get another half hour in the sack when it struck us, we might as well put the One to work. We turned it on in Playback mode, tapped a picture without popping up the WiFi card, printed it to the Outbox (since there was no printer to be found) and looked for another picture. We queued up a good number of prints, then popped up the WiFi card and let it send the queued print jobs to the printer while we tried to get a bit more rest. The series 3 makes a soothing sound as it prints, lulling us nearly back to health.
When we did get up, we had a nice stack of prints to distribute to our hosts. "Oh, that's where you were!" they laughed, thinking I'd been laying around in bed all morning.
We had so much fun with the One, we started to think about ways we might put it to work. We may not be quite done with it yet!
EasyShare-One Diary: Two Months Later
EasyShare-One Test Images
EasyShare-One "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Kodak EasyShare-One, or add comments of your own!
1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate
2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate
3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate