The Bottom Line
A touch screen LCD is not something you commonly will find in a sub-$150 camera, so the Kodak EasyShare Touch has a leg up on the competition as soon as you take it out of the box.
I really like touch screen LCD cameras for beginners, because they're so easy to use. Especially for children, who are already used to touch screen interfaces with iPods and smartphones, a touch screen LCD camera is a great option. The Touch also includes many features designed to simplify sharing the photos through social networking sites, which, again is nice for teens and young adults.
However, other than an extremely accurate autofocus mechanism, the Touch's image quality features aren't quite as good as I'd like to see, so the trade off with some of the cool features the Touch has is that the photography features are lacking a bit. Still, the Touch is well worth considering for some beginning photographers, especially at this price.
For such a small point and shoot camera, the Touch's autofocus was surprisingly sharp. The majority of the time, photos were focused correctly. Even low light photos, either close up or at a distance, tend to be sharply focused, as long as you have no camera shake.
Like most point and shoot cameras, the Touch struggles occasionally with the quality of indoor photos, as some are blurry and others aren't exposed quite right. When the flash works correctly -- more on that in a minute -- flash photos are a little above average. Outdoor photos are sharp and bright nearly all of the time, though.
One aspect of this camera I did not like was that the built-in flash unit attempts to fire on almost every type of photo. This will cause some photos to be underexposed because, even though the flash doesn't need to fire, and camera will adjust its settings as though the flash will be adding light.
Other times, you will end up with a photo that has blown out highlights or glare spots, because the flash is not needed. You can try to fix this problem by backing away from the subject and using the zoom lens, which will reduce the intensity of the flash onto the subject, but you may end up having some issues with camera shake using this technique.
To maintain good image quality, you may have to manually turn off the flash quite a bit with the Touch.
Kodak has included a few special effect features with the Touch that will mimic classic Kodak film types. You can select from Kodacolor, Ektachrome, Kodachrome, T-Max, and Tri-X special effects, which will be interesting to those who remember using those types of film.
I would like to see Kodak offer more image resolution settings with the Touch. You can only shoot at three aspect ratios, and only five resolutions combined are available among the three aspect ratios.
The response times for the Touch are average to below average. Shot to shot delays will be noticeable most of the time. In addition, the previous photo remains on the screen for a few seconds in a review mode, and I could not find a way to reduce the amount of time for the review. You can end review mode by pressing the shutter button halfway, though.
Shutter lag is a significant problem with the Touch, unfortunately. It's especially problematic in low-light, flash photos, and it may cause you to miss a few photos of moving subjects. The autofocus is a little slow sometimes, too, but it is very accurate and sharp.
One final note on this camera's review mode: A small, thumbnail image of the previous photo remains on the edge of the screen, making it easy to select it for further review or editing, which is a unique feature to the Touch.
This camera includes a "share" button, which allows you to mark photos as you shoot them for sharing through Facebook, e-mail, or various social networking sites. Once you download the photos to a computer, the photos will be automatically shared. You also can "tag" people in the photos as you shoot them, which may save you some time later.
The Touch's movie mode works pretty well, shooting sharp images and offering a maximum of 720p HD video. A digital zoom is available when shooting movies, but using it will lead to quality problems. The camera's dedicated movie button is a nice feature.
The Touch is a nice looking camera, although I would like to see the touch screen LCD be a bit larger and sharper than the screen Kodak included with this model. Most touch screen cameras I've reviewed have higher quality screens that the one included on the Touch. However, the touch screen's calibration is good, and I had no problems making the screen recognize my choices. You also can set up this camera to allow you to shoot photos by simply touching the screen on the subject.
This is a pretty small camera, especially for a touch screen model, measuring only 0.8 inches in thickness. It is offered in a blue or silver body color, with black and silver trim along the edges and back of the camera.
The camera's design is pretty simple, with only a few buttons: Power, zoom, movie, "share," and playback. All other menu selections must be performed through icons on the touch screen, and Kodak has included a very easy-to-use menu structure with the Touch. The icons are listed across the top and bottom of the screen, but, to be able to see the photo on the full screen, you can choose to "hide" the icons.
In fact, nearly all of the Touch's features are very easy to use. Kodak isn't shy about letting you know how easy its cameras are to use -- after all, "EasyShare" is part of the name -- and its cameras always seem to live up to this billing.
The Touch has 18 scene modes, which simplify the camera's controls. Kodak has designed this camera to work well in automatic mode, and the extremely limited manual control options really are only available in the Program scene mode.
You must use microSD memory cards with the Touch, which aren't as common as SD cards, so you may need to purchase a new memory card if you purchase this camera.