You can shoot HD video on the Kodak EasyShare V1253 compact camera and, with an optional HDTV docking station, display the footage on your television.

Kodak clearly understands the new breed of photographers who want to show off their handiwork on the big screen in their living rooms, and its Kodak EasyShare V1253 is a great digital camera for shooting photos and video to display on your HDTV.

You get the benefit of the Kodak EasyShare V1253's full 12Mp resolution when you take 4:3-aspect-ratio photos. However, we found ourselves more likely to shoot in its 16:9 wide-screen mode, which records at a still ample 9Mp, because we could display those shots full-screen, without cropping, on an HDTV.

The Kodak EasyShare V1253's gorgeous 3.1in LCD accommodates a full 16:9 image for composing and reviewing your shots. The tiny joystick to the right of the screen is a little fiddly, but the other controls are clearly labeled and easy to use. The menus are attractive and intuitive. You can get a brief help message on any menu item by flicking the zoom button.

The plastic case seems tough enough to survive most knocks and looks attractive in either the black or white version.

You get a host of easily accessible scene modes - we counted 22, including two panoramic stitch modes. The antishake mode works electronically by raising the sensitivity for a shorter exposure, which can make shots susceptible to noise. The Kodak EasyShare V1253 has no shutter- or aperture-priority mode, but adjusting the exposure compensation is easy.

The Kodak EasyShare V1253's automatic face detection is especially important for taking wide-screen portraits, which usually look better when you place the subject off-center and reveal more of the background.

In my informal testing, the Kodak EasyShare V1253 did a good job setting the focus and exposure correctly for a single face, but we found locking in on more than one person at a time harder. The Kodak EasyShare V1253 is also somewhat slow to focus.

The Kodak EasyShare V1253 shoots HDTV video too. It can capture 1280x720-pixel footage at 30 frames per second and record stereo sound from two small microphones on the front.

The Kodak EasyShare V1253 is already a little pricey, but if you buy it, you should seriously consider doling out an additional £50 or so on the optional EasyShare HDTV Dock.

It comes with audio and component video cables to connect to your television, which will then display photos and video from the Kodak EasyShare V1253 at 720p resolution. (Unfortunately, it doesn't support an HDMI connection.)

Also present are an SD Card slot and two USB ports, which let you display images directly from a media card or USB drive and upload shots to your PC. And since the dock includes a remote control, you can browse your images on screen from the comfort of the couch.

NEXT PAGE: image quality and verdict > >

The Kodak EasyShare V1253's image quality impressed our panel of judges. We saw excellent daylight exposure accuracy, bright colour fidelity, and razor-sharp details. Only a flash exposure left significant room for improvement.

Out of the box, the Kodak EasyShare V1253's lithium ion battery is rechargable only via the included USB cable (yet another reason to buy the HDTV Dock). In our tests, we were able to take 240 shots on a single charge, which was about 17 percent below the average in our latest digital camera round-up.

Kodak EasyShare V1253: Specs

  • 1/1.72in CCD
  • 12.4Mp (4088 × 3040) resolution
  • 37–111 mm (35 mm equiv.) f/3.4–5.3 lens
  • 3X optical, 5X digital, total zoom range 15X
  • digital image stabiliser
  • 8–1/1200 sec shutter speed
  • 3.1in (78mm) LCD
  • 32 MB internal memory available, SD/MMC card expansion slot
  • 101.9×54.6×23.4mm
  • 155g
  • 1/1.72in CCD
  • 12.4Mp (4088 × 3040) resolution
  • 37–111 mm (35 mm equiv.) f/3.4–5.3 lens
  • 3X optical, 5X digital, total zoom range 15X
  • digital image stabiliser
  • 8–1/1200 sec shutter speed
  • 3.1in (78mm) LCD
  • 32 MB internal memory available, SD/MMC card expansion slot
  • 101.9×54.6×23.4mm
  • 155g

OUR VERDICT

Anyone who has been itching for an easy way to shoot photos for display on their HDTV will love the Kodak EasyShare V1253. It looks smart, is a breeze to use, and takes top-notch photos.

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