Re(al)view: Kodak M340 Point-and-Shoot Cam with Panorama

Re(al)view: Kodak M340 Point-and-Shoot Cam with Panorama

Sonia Zjawinski
May 6, 2009

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I've been a Canon fan for a few years now. Their Digital Elph line has consistently met with my compact, point-and-shoot needs. Before I switched to Canon, I owned a Kodak digicam (can't remember the model name, sorry) which did its job fairly well, but one of my biggest gripes was with its shot-to-shot lag. I missed so many candid moments because it seemed like eons before the camera was ready to take its next photo.

Recently I got the chance to test out Kodak's M340. Granted, some years have passed and technology has vastly improved, so my original gripe has all but disappeared. Improved shot-to-shot speed isn't the only thinh the 10 MP cam has going for it though. My review below...

For the past month I've been bringing the Kodak M340 everywhere with me in order to snap shots in all kinds of conditions. As you can see from the flower photos above, the color capture is absolutely stunning. One of my fave shots is of my mom, in her loud orange coat, posing in front what I think is an Arnold Promise bush.

Like with all cameras, photos taken outdoors don't even compare to those taken indoors. The color variety, detail, and brightness of the outdoors are hard to beat, but when I did experiment in the house I was pretty impressed. The photos of my cats were all taken indoors in varying amounts of light. Dim Sum, the big white face, was taken by the window sill on a particularly sunny day. Gizmo on the other hand, was taken under my dining table towards the evening. I really love how despite how dark he is and the room was, his stunny silvery fur and bright eyes still show through. And then there's Snarf, the foster, who likes to sleep under my credenza. As you can imagine, it's pretty dark under there, no matter how bright and sunny it is outside, but I was still able to capture her sweet face. I really hate using the flash feature on any camera, so the M340's low light abilities are a real plus.

Action shots were also a pleasant surprise. The M340 has quite a few settings to choose from, including a children setting for those shots where everyone is fidgeting. I used this when taking a picture of my BF on our walk back from the farmer's market. If you can believe it, that shot was taken as we were both in motion, walking at a steady pace down the street. I simply aimed the camera at him and snapped and lo and behold, this cute (and very sharp and steady) picture developed!

One of the coolest features, which made all of my friends swoon, is the camera's panoramic assist feature. When in the panoramic mode, you can take wide shots of landscapes, up to three photos wide. After you take your first photo, the right section of the snapshot shows up on your screen so you can line it up with your next shot. This cheat sheet continues until you're ready to patch all the images together into one shot. The last photo above is a panoramic of my apartment.

This feature could prove really useful for those of you submitting your apartments to Apartment Therapy's next Small Cool contest or when taking photos for home sales or rentals.

As I mentioned before, I hate flash and the Kodak didn't change my mind about that. It's just so hard not to take a blown out shot when you use flash. The 3x optical zoom is decent, but I would have been happier with more. The M380, which is about $30 more, has a 5x optical zoom. Also, when you're outside, the screen washes out in bright light. Without a viewfinder is close to impossible to frame up your shot without using a hand to shade the screen.

You can score the M340 for about $140, which I think is a pretty decent price for a camera that does so much.

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