The 10-megapixel Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 ($99.99 direct) is one of the smallest, lightest, and simplest digital cameras you’ll find. Designed for a generation of users who take photos of their friends and upload them to Facebook without a second thought about image quality, Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 a fine camera for the price. Be forewarned, though: there’s no image stabilization, so unless you’ve got a tripod, or perfect lighting conditions, you’ll either need the flash or you’ll end up with seriously blurry photos. Much can be forgiven on a sub-$100 camera, but between that, and the Mini’s lack of HD-video recording, it’s tough to recommend unless you’re on a strict budget. If image quality is at all important, you should save up for a low-end, but more-full-featured camera, like the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS ($149.99, 4 stars) or the Editors’ Choice Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 (4 stars), which Kodak sells for just $120 these days.
Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 Design
When I first grabbed EasyShare Mini, a co-worker turned around and said, “It looks like you have giant hands!” Hence the name, the Mini is that small. Measuring 2.0 by 3.4 by 0.7 inches (HWD), and weighing 3.5 ounces, it will fit easily in pretty much any pocket. If you’ve got larger-than-tiny hands, though, its size might be a problem—my thumb frequently wandered over top of the screen, and the camera was even a bit difficult to hold at times.
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Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 Specifications
- 10 MP
- Media Format
- Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity
- 35-mm Equivalent (Wide)
- 29 mm
- 35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto)
- 87 mm
- Optical Zoom
- 3 x
- LCD size
- 2.5 inches
- Video Resolution
The Mini comes in red, blue, and purple models—mine was red. The camera’s front is very glossy, filled with the lens, flash, and a small mirror for self-portraits. There are buttons on the top and back of the camera, dedicated to adjusting the most obvious modes—switching from video to still photos, toggling the flash, and the like. That’s a smart move from Kodak, as most people buying the Mini will probably shoot in automatic mode and only toggle the flash.
The lens offers 3x zoom, starting at 29mm and extending to 87mm (35mm equivalent), with corresponding aperture of f/3.5-f/5.9. Not all that impressive, but it’ll work fine in most situations. The LCD on the back of the Mini is a 2.5-inch display that’s filled with 230,000 dots, which is typical point-and-shoot-camera resolution, but since the screen is smaller, it looks sharper than normal. The half-inch size decrease (from most compact cameras’ 3-inch display) does make a difference, though, and will cause a lot of scrolling through menus and a fair amount of squinting at photos.
All on-screen menus fall into two sections—Capture, which controls everything involved in picture taking, and Setup for functions like changing the date and time. Other than the button for shooting mode toggling, there are only a few controls on the camera: a zoom rocker, two menu buttons, dedicated Playback and Delete buttons, and a Share button. Kodak’s sharing functionality is one of the camera’s flagship features, allowing you to earmark photos and videos for upload to services like Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and more—and when you connect your camera, they’re automatically sent to their respective destinations.
Calling the EasyShare Mini “fast” is a bit of a stretch, but its shooting performance isn’t bad for a sub-$100 camera. It can boot up and shoot a picture in 3.2 seconds, and you’ll wait an average of 2.8 seconds between shots, with 0.5 seconds of shutter lag. There are certainly faster compact cameras, but the Mini doesn’t feel particularly slow. Other activities are pokier, though: Some of the UI elements lag when you’re scrolling or pressing a button, and playback of images and videos was very slow in my tests—I often saw a red “processing” bar.
At PCMag we use the Imatest testing suite to collect objective information about image quality. Imatest’s first test is image sharpness, measured in lines per picture height. The EasyShare Mini scored a center-weighted average of 1,664 lines, which is a solid sharpness score, especially for such an inexpensive camera. The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS scored a super-sharp 2,173 lines per picture height, and the Kodak M580 scored 2,127. Regardless, the Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 score is good enough for most casual use.
Imatest also measures noise at various ISO sensitivities, calculating the camera’s low-light shooting abilities. If there is more than 1.5 percent noise within an image, that image will likely be visibly noisy or grainy. The Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 settings only goes up to ISO 1000—a giant red flag meaning this might not be a camera you’ll want to use indoors, without a flash. However, it stayed under the 1.5 percent threshold with every photo I snapped—even at ISO 1000.
There’s a caveat to this surprisingly good performance, though: despite its good numbers, you’ll likely have trouble taking usable pictures in anything other than perfect light. That’s because the camera lacks image stabilization, which corrects for motion from both the photographer and subject. Unless you’re shooting in excellent light (and can use lightning-fast shutter speeds), or using a tripod and shooting still subjects, even the slightest motion can render your photos unrecognizably blurry. Using a flash helps mitigate this problem, and with the Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 ,Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 really your only option for anything but brightly lit shooting situations.
Video recording is unimpressive on the Kodak EasyShare Mini M200, which is frustrating for a camera that connects so easily to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, but not surprising for a $100 model. The camera records only at VGA (640-by-480)resolution, so HD video is out. It does have autofocus available during video recording, as well as digital zoom. (Don’t use the digital zoom, though—it will decimate the already-low quality footage.) Video is recorded as MPEG files, which can be natively uploaded to most video sites.
Kodak EasyShare Mini M200
The Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 reads SDXC cards, which are backwards compatible with SD. There’s also a micro-USB port for syncing the camera with your computer, and for charging the battery—a nice feature, so you don’t have to lug around a separate charger. There’s no HDMI port for playing photos and video back on your HDTV, but that’s not surprising given the camera’s price or its video-recording capabilities.
Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 Like I said earlier, much can be forgiven in an under-$100 pocket camera. If you’re happy using the flash, and only want Facebook-sized images and videos, the Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 will serve you well. For $50 more, though, you can take a giant leap forward in image and video quality with the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS and the Kodak EasyShare M580.