Kodak budget cameras seem to be a popular choice in India. It seems like the old reputation of Kodak cameras being the simplest to operate has piggy-backed their reputation through the digital era. Not that it's a bad thing, as Kodak does seem to pack in quite a number of good performers in their budget cameras, like the new 10.2 megapixel M340.

With an ultra-compact design, the M340 is sized at 96 x 59 x 19 mm and weighs just 115 g, making it tiny and light and light enough to pocket. The model is supposed to come in numerous color options, the one we received has a sober silver finish. The camera's body is entirely plastic, which helps keep the weight down, but it doesn't seem sturdy enough to take much manhandling.

The buttons didn't look too comfortably placed, and their sunk-in design was a bit discouraging as well. But thankfully, they worked a lot better than they looked. The back buttons hardly took any getting used to, and the jog dial was quite responsive. A dedicated button for flash was much appreciated. The 2.7-inch LCD display worked very well under just about all lighting conditions.

Along with the 10.2 megapixel image resolution, the M340 features a standard 3x optical zoom. There isn't any optical image stabilization, but there is an IS mode you can use to shoot during those difficult lighting conditions.

Among all the recent Kodak cameras we've tested, the M340 gave us the best image quality in the series. To begin with, our usual complaint with Kodak cameras is its over-saturation of colors, especially the reds. Here the colors in all our color tests seemed surprisingly natural. Sure there's always a bit of saturation, but that's not more than what you'd expect from a quality consumer camera.

Image sharpness left a bit to be desired, but in this category and price bracket, I doubt there are any other cameras that give clean and sharp images. In the case if M340 a bit of ISO noise usually interfered with the details. That said, the images produced were definitely good enough for standard 4 x 6-inch

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