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Kodak EasyShare LS443 Digital Camera

Camera QuickLook
Review Date
11/06/02
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot / Some Manual Control
Picture Quality
High, 4.0-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Sharp prints to 8x10
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
$499

 

Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Test Images
Specifications
Conclusion

Introduction
Perhaps more than any other digital camera manufacturer, Kodak has figured out that the average consumer is looking for easy to use digital cameras. They've responded with their EasyShare line, which indeed is one of the easiest-to-use line of digicams in the industry. The whole idea behind EasyShare is simplicity, and the ability to take good pictures with an absolute minimum of hassle. A trademark of the line is the EasyShare camera dock, which makes downloading images a snap. You just drop the camera in the dock, press a button, and Kodak's EasyShare Software transfers the files for you. I've been impressed with the performance of Kodak's EasyShare models from the beginning. - Not because they achieve the ultimate in resolution or low image noise, but because they consistently turn out good-looking pictures under a wide variety of conditions, with little or no user input. The latest EasyShare model is the LS443, which allows a bit more user control than lower-end models, while still retaining the ease of use that's the hallmark of the EasyShare line as a whole. The LS443 also sports a larger, 4.0-megapixel CCD for more detail in its images, although it frankly doesn't come up to the resolution level of the best competing 4-megapixel camera models. The LS443 also boasts a sleeker physique than most of its EasyShare siblings, and comes with the latest generation EasyShare dock.


Camera Overview
Boasting a handful of manual controls and a 4.0-megapixel CCD, the Kodak EasyShare LS443 expands the capabilities of Kodak's line of exceptionally user-friendly digicams. Quite compact, the LS443 measures only 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches (109 x 61 x 37 millimeters) and weighs only 7.9 ounces (225 grams) without the batteries. The metal and plastic body is durable and rugged, ready for travel. A wrist strap keeps it securely in-hand while shooting, but I'd recommend a soft case for longer trips and better protection. The LS443 slips into larger shirt and coat pockets with ease, and should fit most average-size purses as well. A retractable lens keeps the front panel relatively flat, and is protected by a shutter-like lens cover that automatically protects the lens when the camera is turned off. The 4.0-megapixel CCD captures high resolution, print quality images (for potential prints as large as 20x30 inches according to Kodak, but I'd personally say to not plan on usable images much larger than 11x14), as well as smaller image sizes suited for distributing via email.

The LS443 features a 3x, Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom lens, equivalent to a 35-105mm zoom on a 35mm camera, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. By default, the camera's autofocus mechanism uses a Multi-Zone system to "find" the primary subject closest to the lens, but a Center Zone mode is also available. In Multi-Zone mode, brackets highlight the AF area in the LCD display, and the AF point is chosen based on the proximity of the subject to the lens, while Center-Zone simply focuses on the center of the frame. Focus ranges from two feet (0.6 meters) to infinity in normal mode, with a Macro mode range from 5 to 28 inches (0.13 to 0.7 meters) for closeup shots. A Landscape shooting mode fixes focus at infinity, for distant subjects and scenery. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the LS443 also offers 3.3x Advanced digital zoom, which effectively increases the camera's zoom capabilities to 10x. Keep in mind though, that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it just "stretches" the central area of the CCD image digitally, rather than actually magnifying the image the CCD is seeing. For composing images, the LS443 offers a real-image optical viewfinder, as well as a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor. Framing with the optical viewfinder was a little tight, but the LCD monitor was about 99 percent accurate, which well meets my expectations.

Exposure control is fully automatic on the LS443, although the camera does offer a Long Shutter mode for exposures as long as four seconds. A Mode dial on the camera's rear panel controls the main operating mode, offering Auto, Sports, Night, Landscape, Macro, and Movie settings. While Auto mode is best for general photography conditions, the remaining preset modes match specific shooting situations from city night shots to track meets. In Sports mode, the camera uses faster shutter speeds to "freeze" action. Night mode optimizes the camera for darker portraits and scenes, automatically combining the flash with a slower shutter speed to let more ambient light into the image (you can also cancel the flash, if desired). Landscape mode fixes focus at infinity, for capturing subjects more than 57.4 feet (17.5 meters) away from the camera.

The LS443 employs a matrix metering system by default, which bases the exposure on several light readings taken from points throughout the frame. You can also opt for Center-Weighted or Center Spot modes, as chosen through the Record menu. Center-Weighted metering bases the exposure on a large area in the center of the frame, while Center Spot reads the exposure only from the dead center of the frame. Although you can't adjust the aperture or shutter speed (apart from Long Shutter mode), you can increase or decrease the overall exposure through the Exposure Compensation setting under the Record menu. Exposure compensation adjusts the image from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments. White balance options include an Auto setting, as well as Daylight, Tungsten, and Fluorescent presets. Using Kodak's proprietary Color Science technology, the LS443 manages a pretty accurate color balance under an amazing range of conditions with the Auto setting, although I found a very slight reddish cast with several of my test subjects. (See my comments in the Test Results section and on the Sample Images page.)

For creative effects, the LS443 offers special color modes to produce Black and White and Sepia-toned images. The LS443 also offers a sensitivity adjustment, with options for 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents, but this option unfortunately can't be combined with the longer exposure times of the Long Shutter mode. There's also an Auto ISO setting, which adjusts the ISO between 100 and 200, depending on the light level. The built-in flash is rated as effective from 1.6 to 10.8 feet (0.5 to 3.3 meters) depending on the zoom position, and operates in Auto, Fill, or Red-Eye Reduction modes. Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay between a full press of the Shutter button and the time that the shutter actually opens, perfect for self-portraits.

In addition to its still photography modes, the LS443 offers Burst and Movie recording modes. Burst mode captures a maximum of three consecutive images at short intervals (0.56 seconds between successive frames, in my testing), while the Shutter button is held down. Actual frame rates will vary somewhat depending on the image resolution. Movie mode captures moving images with sound for as long as the internal memory or SD card has available space. Recording begins and ends with a full press of the Shutter button (you can also just hold it down), and the full length of available recording time appears in the LCD monitor. Movie lengths depend on the amount of memory space available.

The LS443 is compatible with Kodak's LS443 EasyShare camera dock, a trimmer, sleeker version of the previous EasyShare dock designs. The dock offers hassle-free image downloading, simply by placing the camera into the cradle and pressing the Connect button. (Assuming of course, that you've loaded the Kodak EasyShare Software onto your computer.) The dock also serves as an AC adapter and in-camera battery charger. Built into the LS443 is 16 megabytes of internal memory, but the camera also supports SD memory cards for additional storage capacity. I highly recommend picking up at least a 32 or 64 megabyte card right away, given the camera's 2,448 x 1,632-pixel maximum resolution, and the resulting large file sizes. For power, the LS443 uses a single, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery pack, provided with the camera. As always though, I strongly recommend picking up an additional battery and keeping it on-hand and freshly charged.

Basic Features

  • 4.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,448 x 1,632 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.
  • 3x, 35-105mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
  • 3.3x Advanced digital zoom.
  • Multi-Zone and Center-Zone autofocus modes.
  • Automatic exposure control.
  • Adjustable white balance with four modes.
  • Sensitivity setting with three ISO equivalents.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to four seconds.
  • Built-in flash with four modes.
  • 16MB internal memory.
  • Optional SD/MMC card storage (card not included).
  • Power supplied by a single lithium-ion battery pack or AC adapter (both included).
  • Compatible with Kodak EasyShare LS443 camera dock (included).
  • Kodak EasyShare Software included for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Special Features

  • Movie mode (with sound).
  • Night, Sport, Macro, and Landscape photography modes.
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Long Shutter mode provides longer exposures for dim shooting conditions (maximum four seconds).
  • Burst capture mode.
  • Black and White and Sepia color modes.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).


Recommendation
Small, compact, and easy to operate, the LS443 is a great option for novice users who want just a taste of exposure control, and more advanced amateurs looking for a good point-and-shoot digicam that's relatively hassle-free. It manages to deliver excellent image color and image quality under a surprising range of conditions, without the need for manual adjustment. The included LS443 camera dock and very user-friendly software make it easy to actually use your photos after you've shot them, more than can be said for many cameras on the market. Overall, a very capable digicam that's also very easy to use.


Design
Compact and reasonably small in size, the LS443 measures 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches (109 x 61 x 37 millimeters), small enough to fit into most average coat pockets and purses, but a tight fit for some shirt pockets. The LS443 is light weight as well, at just 7.9 ounces (225 grams) without battery or SD card. A wrist strap comes with the camera, but I'd recommend a soft carrying case for safekeeping while traveling.

The telescoping lens is the dominant feature on the LS443's front panel, surrounded by a notched, plastic lip that unscrews to reveal threads for accessory lenses.n (I have to say though, that it's a bit of a wrestle to get the decorative bezel unscrewed, since the metallic surface is rather hard to get a grip on. - A strong set of fingernails is almost mandatory.) The lens extends outward about another inch when the camera is powered on. A shutter-like cover protects the lens, automatically sliding open when the camera is activated and closing again when the camera is turned off. There's thus no need for an easily-lost lens cap. Also on the front panel are the optical viewfinder window, flash, AF assist lamp, light sensor, and a tiny microphone. A slight, sculpted ridge provides a finger grip, just beneath the flash.

The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) holds the SD memory card compartment and the eyelet for attaching the wrist strap. A hinged, plastic door protects the memory compartment.

The opposite side of the camera features the connector compartment, covered by a flexible flap. Inside the compartment are the DC In, Video Out, and USB connector terminals.

On the LS443's top panel are the Shutter, Drive, and Flash/Info buttons, as well as a grille concealing the speaker. The oblong Shutter button has a recessed notch that provides a nice tactile cue when your finger is in place.

The remaining camera controls are on the rear panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. A two-way Zoom rocker button in the top right corner controls optical and digital zoom. Just below that are the Share and Review buttons. Review does just what it says, switching the camera to playback mode so you can review previously-captured photos. The Share button lets you mark individual photos for printing, emailing, or simply as a "favorite." On the opposite side of the LCD monitor are the Delete and Menu buttons. A large Mode dial controls the camera's power and operating mode, and features an omni-directional, joystick-like controller for navigating through menu options. I've generally found joystick controllers of this sort to be easier to use than the more common "rocker pads," and the LS443's is one of the best I've seen.

The LS443's bottom panel holds the battery compartment, metal-threaded tripod mount, and dock connector terminal. A plastic door covers the battery compartment and slides outward before opening on hinges to reveal the compartment. The battery compartment is too close to the tripod mount to allow quick changes while mounted to a tripod, but I doubt this will be much of a concern for most users, given the camera's portable design and point & shoot orientation. (Despite the consumer focus of the camera, I really like seeing the rugged and easily repaired metal tripod socket. Other manufacturers could take a page from Kodak in the area of tripod socket design.)


Camera Operation
As I've come to expect from Kodak's EasyShare digicam line, the LS443 has a very user-friendly interface with simple-to-navigate menus and controls,and plain-English menu prompts. The largely automatic exposure control limits user decisions, making the LS443 well-suited for most point-and-shoot users, while a few manual options expand the camera's range of application. The LCD menu system is short and logical, and the Mode dial lets you change camera modes quickly. As noted above, I especially liked the joystick-like controller in the center of the Mode dial, which further simplifies menu navigation. It also eliminates the need for a four-way arrow pad, thus conserving space on the rear panel. As with the rest of the Kodak EasyShare digicam line, I doubt it'll take more than a half-hour for even novice users to become familiar with the LS443's setup.

External Controls


Shutter Button
: Located on the camera's top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed. In Playback mode, pressing this button returns the camera to the selected Record mode, ready to take the next picture.


Flash/Info Button
: Directly to the left of the Shutter button, this button controls the flash operating mode. Options are Auto, Fill, Red-Eye Reduction, and Off. Pressing this button displays the flash mode screen, which shows the current mode. Successive presses of the button cycle through the available flash modes. As part of the flash mode display, a small Info section in the lower left-hand corner of the screen reports any exposure settings that you've manually adjusted, such as exposure compensation, white balance, etc. This is a quick way to review any settings you've made without fishing through the menu system.


Drive Button
: To the left of the Flash/Info button, this button accesses the Self-Timer and Burst photography modes.


Zoom Rocker Button
: In the top right corner of the back panel, this button controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. Pressing the "T" side of the button zooms the lens towards its telephoto position. When the lens reaches full telephoto, the zoom pauses until you release and press the control again. The second press activates the digital zoom. This two-step process prevents you from activating the digital zoom accidentally. When zooming back out, the zoom proceeds from digital to normal zoom with only a brief pause as you move back into normal zoom operation. (No second press is needed when going from digital zoom back into normal zoom mode.)


Share Button
: Directly below the Zoom rocker button, this button lets you tag images for printing, emailing, or as favorites. (A heart icon appears on "favorite" images.) Pressing this button in Review mode displays the Share menu, with options for DPOF, Email, or Favorite.


Review Button
: Below the Share button, this button activates Playback mode when pressed in any Record mode. Once in Playback mode, pressing the Review button again or lightly pressing the Shutter button returns the camera to normal record-mode operation.


Delete
: Adjacent to the top left corner of the LCD monitor, this button pulls up the Delete menu in Review mode. You can delete individual images or all images on the card. There's also an option to cancel.


Mode Dial
: Just below the optical viewfinder, this dial controls the camera's operating mode, with the following options available:

  • Movie: Records moving images with sound, for as long as the memory card has available space.
  • Off: Turns the camera off, and retracts the lens.
  • Automatic Record: Best for average shooting conditions, this mode places the camera under automatic exposure control, with limited user options available through the Record menu.
  • Sports Mode: Optimizes the camera for moving subjects, freezing action with faster shutter speeds.
  • Night Mode: Employs slower shutter speeds to allow more ambient light into the image. Combines the flash with the longer exposure for night shots with brighter, more natural backgrounds.
  • Landscape Mode: Fixes focus at infinity, for capturing distant scenery.
  • Macro Mode: Changes the focus range for close-up subjects.

Omni-Directional Joystick: In the center of the Mode dial, this joystick controller moves in any direction. In any settings menu, the joystick navigates through menu options. Pressing the button acts as the "OK" to confirm selections. In Record mode, the joystick also controls the LCD display, turning it on or off. In Playback mode, moving the joystick to the right or left scrolls through captured images and movies, while pressing it cycles through normal display, 2x and 4x image enlargement.


Menu Button
: Immediately below the Mode dial, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes.


Camera Modes and Menus


Movie Mode
: The first mode on the Mode dial, Movie mode is indicated by a movie camera icon. In this mode, you can record movies with sound, for as long as the memory card or internal memory has available space.


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


Sports Mode
: A small icon of a person running marks this mode on the Mode dial. It biases the exposure system toward faster shutter speeds to capture fast-moving subjects.


Night Mode
: This mode is indicated by a person with a star on the Mode dial, and uses longer exposure times to capture bright images in low light. The flash is automatically set to Red-Eye Reduction and normally fires with each exposure, but you can cancel the flash altogether.


Landscape Mode
: A mountain icon marks this mode on the Mode dial. Here, the camera fixes focus at infinity for distant subjects and scenery.


Macro Mode
: The traditional flower symbol marks this mode on the Mode dial. The focus range adjusts for close-up subjects, and only limited exposure options are available.

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 Record mode. However, not all menu options are available in all modes.

  • Image Storage: Dictates where images are stored, either in the 16MB internal memory or SD card. Auto tells the camera to store images on the SD memory card if one is inserted and has space available, while "Internal" restricts storage to the internal memory only.
  • Exposure Compensation: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments. (This is useful for subjects that are bright or dark overall, which can fool the exposure meter.)
  • White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, or Fluorescent modes.
  • Picture Quality: Sets the image resolution to Best (2,448 x 1,632 pixels), Better (1,800 x 1,200 pixels), or Good (1,224 x 816 pixels).
  • Color: Options are Color, Black and White, and Sepia.
  • Exposure Metering: Default setting is Multi-Patterned, but Center-Weighted and Center Spot options are available.
  • Focus Zone: Switches the AF area to Multi-Zone (default) or Center-Zone.
  • ISO: Sets the camera's sensitivity to Auto, 100, 200, or 400 equivalents.
  • Long Time Exposure: Accesses longer exposure times, for darker shooting conditions. Shutter speeds range from 0.7 to 4.0 seconds, and are set manually. (Don't worry if you don't know what exposure time to use - Just shoot a test picture and see how it looks, adjust as needed, and discard any photos that don't turn out. - Isn't digital great?)
  • Date Stamp: Turns the date stamp function on or off, which records the date in the lower right-hand corner of each image. You can choose from a selection of date formats as well.
  • Orientation Sensor: Controls the camera's orientation sensor, which detects when the camera is tilted sideways, and reflects that in the LCD monitor.

  • Setup Menu: Accesses the following main camera settings:
    • Return: Returns to the previous menu display.
    • Default Print Quantity: Sets the default number of prints specified when "tagging" images.
    • Quickview: Turns Quickview on or off. Quickview automatically displays the most recently captured image, with options to delete or Share.
    • Liveview: Disables the LCD's "live" view, meaning you can turn off the LCD as a viewfinder by pressing the joystick controller. If this Liveview option is off, the LCD remains active at all times.
    • Advanced Digital Zoom: Determines how the digital zoom advances from the normal zoom range. Options are Pause, Continuous, or Off. (Pause is the default, as described earlier.)
    • Low Light AF LED: Enables or disables the low-light AF assist lamp.
    • Shutter Sound: Turns the shutter noise on or off.
    • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
    • Video Out: Specifies PAL or NTSC timing for the Video Out signal. (PAL is a European standard, NTSC is used in the US and Japan.)
    • Language: Sets the menu language to English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, or Japanese.
    • Format: Formats the SD memory card or internal memory.
    • About: Displays the camera's firmware information.

Playback Menu:

  • Magnify: Enlarges the displayed image, so you can check on fine detail and framing.
  • Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing it from being accidentally erased or manipulated (except via memory reformatting). Alternately, removes protection from previously-protected images.
  • Image Storage: Selects between the internal memory or the SD card for image storage. "Auto" stores files on the SD card if one is available, while "Internal" forces the camera to use the internal memory only.
  • Slide Show: Enables a slide show of captured images, with user-adjustable intervals between images.
  • Copy: Copies files from the internal memory to the SD card, or the reverse.
  • Video Date Display: Enables the date display over movie files, with a choice of formats.
  • Multi-Up: Displays the nine-image index display.
  • Picture Info: Displays the filename, directory, date, time, and quality information for the current image.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu.

 Test Images
See our test images and detailed analysis here. The thumbnails below show a subset of our test images. Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size photo.

Outdoor
Indoor
Indoor Flash

House
Musicians
Macro

Davebox
Resolution
Viewfinder Accuracy

 

"Gallery" Photos
For those readers interested in a set of less "standardized" photos from the P10, here are some thumbnails of more random shots snapped with it. Click on one any of the thumbnails below for a larger view. Click on the larger view again to see the original image from the camera. (Photos in this gallery were shot by Gibbs Frazeur or Stephanie Boozer. Thanks Gibbs and Stephanie!)

NOTE: that these are big files, so be aware that (a) they'll take a while to download, and (b) they'll chew up a pretty good chunk of bandwidth on us. (Read the "support this site" blurb at the top the carrier pages, and think about it while you're waiting for the images to download.

NOTE TOO: Some browsers have difficult with very wide images, and distort them a lot when they display them. (I don't know about others, but IE 5.0 on the Mac definitely does this. If the full-sized images appear to be stretched horizontally, you may need to just download them to your hard drive and view them in an imaging application, or possibly try another browser.)

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Specifications
See the specifications sheet here.

Picky Details
Information on shooting speed, battery life, etc. can be found here.

User Reviews

Test Results

  • Color: Like the rest of EasyShare line, the LS443 has an exceptional ability to deliver correctly color-balanced images under a wide range of shooting conditions. In my testing, it showed some tendency toward reddish casts, particularly with the "daylight" white balance setting, but generally responded well. It showed more color cast in the very difficult Indoor Portrait test, but nonetheless produced better results there than the vast majority of cameras I've tested. Colors are very bright and saturated, almost too much so in the case of the additive primary colors of red, green, and blue. Despite the high saturation though, skin tones came out about right. Overall, very much the "Kodak color" that's been so popular in other members of the EasyShare line.

  • Exposure: Exposure accuracy was a bit less than I'd have preferred, as the LS443 tended to overexpose shots with a broad range of contrast, such as our Far Field, House, and Davebox shots. It also underexposed the Musicians poster. Despite a slight overexposure though, the camera faithfully preserved the delicate pastels of the Q60 target in the Davebox test. Overall, I'd like to see better exposure accuracy, but the inaccuracies I encountered weren't too severe.

  • Sharpness/Resolution: There's a fair bit of detail to be found in the LS443's images, but sharpness and resolution overall are closer to what I'd expect from a good 3-megapixel camera, rather than a 4-megapixel one. The bottom line though, is that the 443 has ample resolution to produce sharp, detailed 8x10 prints, the largest size most consumers are interested in.

  • Closeups: Performance here was a bit below average, with the LS443 capturing a relatively large minimum macro area of 6.0 x 4.0 inches (151 x 101 millimeters). Resolution was high, however, with strong detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. The camera's flash throttled down a bit too much for the macro area, producing strong falloff along the left side of the frame. (This was a little unusual, in that most cameras are more likely to significantly overexpose macro shots.) The presence of accessory threads does suggest that closeup attachments might be forthcoming. Without a closeup lens, the LS443 would be a mediocre choice for closeup work, but could do quite well with one.

  • Night Shots: For low-light shooting, the LS443's best bet is its Long Shutter mode, which offers exposures as long as four seconds. Though you forfeit the ability to adjust the camera's ISO setting, the automatic ISO adjustment that comes with Long Shutter mode produces good results. Images remained bright at light levels as low as 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) in Long Shutter mode. In the normal autoexposure mode, however, images were only bright as low as two foot-candles (22 lux) at ISO 400. (Only four foot-candles, 44 lux, at ISO 200, and eight foot-candles, 88 lux, at ISO 100.) Noise was high only at ISO 400, and color balance was slightly warm. Comparing these light levels to the one foot-candle level that's typical of city streetlighting, the LS443 should work fine in long shutter mode for most night shots, but you'll need to use the flash for after-dark automatic-exposure photography.

  • Viewfinder Accuracy: The LS443's optical viewfinder was rather tight, showing only about 80% of the final frame at wide-angle, and approximately 83 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor was very accurate though, showing nearly 100% of the final frame, at both telephoto and wide angle. Given that I generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the LS443 does very well in that area, but it's too bad that its optical viewfinder isn't more accurate, particularly in light of the camera's excellent battery life when running with the LCD turned off.

  • Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the LS443 is slightly higher than average at wide angle, where I measured a barrel distortion of 0.9 percent. At telephoto, it does somewhat better, with 0.6 percent pincushion distortion, although that level is higher than average for consumer digicams at telephoto zoom settings. Chromatic aberration and corner softness are also higher than average among consumer cameras I've tested. Overall, its lens is one of the LS443's weakest points.

  • Battery Life: The LS443 shows surprisingly good battery life for a compact camera. In its worst case power-drain mode (capture mode with the LCD turned on), it will run for nearly an hour and a half on a freshly-charged battery. The best news here though, is that power drain drops dramatically if you leave the LCD turned off. With the LCD off, the camera can run for more than 9 hours per charge, an impressive feat. Despite the good battery life though, I still strongly recommend purchasing a second battery pack along with the camera, so you can keep a spare charged and ready in your pocket when on longer excursions.

In the Box
The EasyShare LS443 ships with the following items in the box:

  • Kodak EasyShare LS443 digital camera.
  • Kodak EasyShare LS443 camera dock.
  • EasyShare lithium-ion battery pack.
  • AC adapter.
  • USB cable.
  • Video cable.
  • Wrist strap.
  • Software CD-ROM.
  • Instruction manual and registration card.


Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SD memory card. (I'd recommend 32MB as a bare minimum, 64MB would be preferable.)
  • Additional battery pack.
  • Small camera case.


Recommended Software: Rescue your images!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. I get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digicam reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

 

Conclusion
Kodak's EasyShare cameras have consistently set the standard for ease of use and bright, vibrant color. The LS443 carries that tradition forward, adding higher resolution and a good range of manual adjustments, extending the range of shooting conditions the camera can handle. In my testing, the 443's resolution was more on a par with the best three-megapixel cameras, rather than four-megapixel ones, but there's ample detail to make tack-sharp 8x10 prints, the largest most consumers will care about. The metal-clad body is both stylish and rugged-feeling. Overall, an excellent camera for people wanting appealing pictures and superb ease of use but with a few advanced features that they can grow into.

 

Reader Comments!
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