How to Download and Use Kodak "EasyShare" Camera Software
Digital cameras have certainly come a long way over the years, market dynamics and competition between manufacturers have made them one of the most accessible and popular electronic luxury choices for consumers. From the professional to the novice, everyone seems to be ready, willing, and able to point and click at any given moment to document a personal experience or newsworthy event. This fascination with capturing today's images for tomorrows enjoyment is one of the fastest growing activities in the world. When you think about it, the only way to accurately preserve and archive an event or occasion in the annals of history other than documenting it in writing, or on audio recording, is to simply take a picture. Today, there are a virtual plethora of camera manufacturers offering a myriad of different products equipped with varying technologies and features making it that much more difficult to narrow down the list to a few potential candidates.
This entry will primarily focus on a new state of the art, all in one bundled solution called "EasyShare Software" and how the included features relate to the Digital Camera experience. Engineers at Kodak have designed this product specifically to provide consumers with a more user friendly, seamless upload of photos and gallery management to be electronically imported or transferred anywhere within the virtual universe by applying a few simple clicks.
The Kodak Camera I will use in this article as an example to illustrate functional flexibility and performance, is the M580. A small, lightweight product equipped with a Schneider - Kreuznach 28mm "WIDE" Zoom Lens. It's an impressive unit which has a nice look and style, however, this particular model is certainly not a fashion statement nor a sleek en vogue attention getter, but on the positive side, according to my research and hands on use, it's just as reliable and practical as many other major brands of greater price on the market today. Kodak was never renowned for aesthetically appealing products, however, experts in the field of photography will admit this American image producing institution always manufactured a good, solid workhorse capable of providing just as much, if not more picture taking muscle as its competitors.
- Downloading "EasyShare" Software
The first time you connect the digital camera to your computer via a USB cable ( Included ), the initial screen will pop up to give a brief introduction and pertinent instructions on how to download the EasyShare Software and how to initiate the Setup & Installation Wizard. Follow the menu and it will guide you step by step through the process which is very easy to understand even for the novice. The download should only take a matter of minutes if using a High Speed connection and possibly a little longer for other access modes. The software takes up a small amount of computer space considering the numerous features but I don't think it's enough to significantly affect PC performance. It took only .20 GB's of space on my hard drive which is insignificant for my computer and most others on the market today. Once it's Downloaded & Installed, the software will start up along with your computer when turned on. I've realized minimal if any slowdown or delay in start up time due to the additional software integration.
- Now, every time you upload images via the USB Cable, almost immediately a screen will pop up and give you a choice via "Settings" of where you would like to store the photos. With a simple click, they can be sent to the any of the following popular online locations:
- Kodak Gallery
This convenient feature allows you to send photos directly to the web site of your choice bypassing the extra step of importing from a computer file which can certainly be a big time saver. You can also upload from the camera directly to any other location on your computer such as a picture file on your desktop if you prefer to use your own editing tools, or they can be directed to just about any other place you desire. One misconception is that you can only download images from the "Kodak Camera" to the "Kodak EasyShare Software" which is not true. When I initiated installation the choice of where I wanted to download the photos was the first prompt that appeared on the screen, and storing in the Easyshare Gallery is certainly not mandatory.
Some experts are predicting that the Kodak Picture Gallery is a convenient marketing strategy and tool for the company, a smart way to entice consumers to start storing their images within a Kodak product to compete with the likes of "Flickr" or other photo sharing web sites in the future. True or not, I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this develops over the next few years.
The EasyShare Software is unquestionably a good solid bundle of features and tools. It provides viable and convenient photo album storage space for users and also comes complete with a unique editing application so you can fine tune and modify to taste. So needless to say, it certainly has many advantages and the price is just right, "Free" with the purchase of a Kodak Camera.
- Fast & Convenient Download
- Free Photo Editor
- One "click" and images are downloaded to the web site or computer file of your choice
- Free Kodak Photo Gallery Access
- User Friendly
- "Settings" are very easy to adjust before uploading
- The software takes up hard drive computer space
- The photo editor is bundled with the "Kodak Gallery Software"
- We've covered the EasyShare Software in detail but I think it's imperative to briefly review the Kodak M580 Camera since it was my choice used in this review. I will publish a more extensive article touching on its features and capabilities in the future, but here are some highlights of importance that I'd like to share with you during the interim.
- M580 Image Quality
All things considered, I would say the image quality is good to excellent depending on the "Mode" & "Zoom Level". When it's in the "Smart Capture" mode for "General" picture taking I find the quality to be excellent. When not using the "Smart Capture" feature and the flash is off and it's not set to any of the "SCN" or scene modes, the quality can be a little less than spectacular, containing a little distortion or blur effect. I think more extensive experimentation with all the built in options under differing lighting conditions may provide the key to "Capturing" a premium quality shot outside the "Smart Capture " mode.
The image stabilization mechanism is excellent, however when using the optical zoom I find your hand must be completely steady to capture a clear distortion free image. The higher the zoom, the more steady your hand must be. Once again, experimentation with a combination of features may resolve this minor problem. "Red Eye" is non existent. I've taken hundreds of photos and have yet to have this seemingly persistent apparition appear on any of my images.
- Ease of Use
Unquestionably, the most user friendly digital camera I've ever owned and operated. With a simple push button located on top of the camera you can navigate from "Smart Capture" Flash, to Non Flash to "SCN" to "Video" with ease making your picture taking experience that much more enjoyable. Tagging, Deleting Images, etc. can also be accomplished with a simple push button application and all other features can be accessed with very little effort giving the user a hassle free & fun photo taking session.
- Battery life in between charges is a little shorter than normal ( If you turn the camera off in between picture taking this should mitigate the issue ).
- The 14 MP provides crisp clear images but the Internal Memory will only hold approximately 15 pictures due to the higher quality, a Memory Card is needed for additional storage ( This is true with all Digital Cameras - The higher the MP Count the Less Internal Storage Capacity ). ( 4 GB Memory Card will hold roughly 800 - 900 images )
After weighing all the pros and cons of the Kodak EasyShare Software & Camera I've come to the conclusion that it's one of the best photography packages for the price on the market today. Clear crisp pictures in the "Smart Capture" mode and with a little experimentation I'm confident I will see improved results in "Non Flash" mode. "EasyShare Software" does exactly what the name states, makes it "Easy" to share photos with friends, family, associates, and web site visitors. A free photo editor combined with other useful tools round out the bundle.
- In summary, I have never seen a "perfect" camera on the market boasting a "flawless" design and that is certainly the case with respect to the M580, however, in my opinion, for the price paid, it's absolutely one of the best products in its class. -
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