The Kodak EasyShare M873 is a super-slim compact camera that crams in 8 megapixels. It has all the typical hallmarks of an affordable compact, such as ISO sensitivity up to 1,600, allowing for digital image stabilisation, a 3x optical zoom, VGA video and a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen.
We tested it to see whether this highly affordable £120 camera holds its own in a crowded market.
The M873 is a snake-hipped 18mm thin at its widest point. The whole thing is so light and slender that it slips well into even the tightest pockets.
The slider switch to choose between video, scene and modes is fiddly. Usually these are grouped together with playback on a mode wheel, and it would have removed an extra button if they had been kept together here. Equally, the delete function could have been moved to the clickpad, as the dedicated button only works in playback mode and is redundant the rest of the time.
The battery is charged by plugging the camera into the AC adaptor rather than by removing it and placing it into a separate charger. While this may be a more elegant solution, it does mean you have to leave the whole camera out and exposed to possible theft while charging.
Annoyingly, for those who do not own an EasyShare dock, file transfer requires an adaptor to plug a USB cable into the M873's docking slot. That's one more tiny piece of equipment to potentially go missing.
There are various whistles and bells on the M873. You can set the exposure time for up to eight seconds, or use the panorama stitch mode to take three pictures and have them automatically knitted together. A fragment of the previous image appears on screen to aid you in lining up the segments of your panorama. There's also an orientation sensor, that senses which way up you're holding the camera and turns the final picture accordingly.
You get 20 preset scene modes, although the high ISO and digital shake-reduction modes are basically the same. One customisable scene mode is available for saving your own settings.
Unfortunately, that's where the control over your actual photography ends. There isn't even shutter or aperture priority, let alone a manual mode. There's no optical image stabilisation or face detection either.
The M873 takes about three seconds to start up, with the first picture captured in just over four seconds (without flash). In standard shooting mode and with decent light, the M873 is capable of snapping a picture every two seconds, but tends to take longer if lighting is unfavourable or if the autofocus has to hunt around. Fortunately, the AF is reasonably decisive. Surprisingly, centre-weighted focus isn't much faster than multi-zone.