Size matters in electronics and smaller often tends to be better. Thick, heavy gadgets fit poorly into pockets, feel uncomfortable to carry around and simply aren't sexy.
In the last year, we can count on one hand the number of snapshot cameras we've reviewed that measured more than 25mm across. That's why the Kodak EasyShare C653, Kodak's super-low-budget 6-megapixel shooter, confounds us so much.
At 36mm thick, its chunky, blocky body refuses to fit comfortably in all but the largest jacket and shirt pockets. With two AA batteries and an SD card, it weighs a hefty 196g. Even the cheapest budget cameras today can be built small and light, making the C653's brick-like form feel downright anachronistic. We took it to a barbecue and friends marvelled at the fact that it was a new Kodak; they first thought it was a camera from 2001.
The camera includes a 6-megapixel CCD and a 3x optical zoom, 36-108mm-equivalent lens, both standard ingredients in a budget shooter. Its 61mm LCD leaves enough room for a small optical viewfinder, a welcome provision on any camera.
Besides an automatic shooting mode, the C653 offers 20 different scene presets for various situations. You can also adjust the camera's white balance and ISO sensitivity, an increasingly rare option on budget cameras.
Like all Kodak EasyShare cameras, the C653 works with Kodak's EasyShare docks and photo printers. The camera's sadly deficient Movie mode feels like another relic of the past -- while most inexpensive digital cameras offer VGA movies at 30 frames per second (fps), the C653 can only shoot at 10fps, rendering video jerky and ugly.