fresh no ads
Everyone's a paparazzo |

Sunday Lifestyle

Everyone's a paparazzo


When you buy a new gadget, do you read the manual? Do you consult the booklet to see which plug goes where and what the icons mean? Then you are a far more patient user than I. (Or else you are from my parents’ generation, when machines were intended to last a lifetime, and people lived in fear that hitting the wrong button would cause their appliances to explode. This is why a lot of older people are technophobes.)

True, I’ll read a manual if it’s in “Engrish”—like those mystifying booklets which accompanied VCRs in the 1980s. After half an hour of wrestling with the translator’s thought processes, one resorted to the primitive logic of color-coding. The red plug goes into the red port! What a brilliant idea! But most manuals don’t achieve that level of entertainment.

Over the years I’ve realized that a truly user-friendly gadget doesn’t need a manual. It is designed like those relationships where, within seconds of meeting each other, “you just know.” Yeah, I don’t have those, either. What I mean is intuitive design: you take the gadget, hit the “On” switch, and figure it out by “feel.” You learn it through trial and error. If the machine actually breaks down because of your trying and erring, it’s a piece of crap and you should sue the manufacturer. The Kodak M1033 Easy Share digital camera is so simple, a three-year-old could use it. Now go find me a three-year-old. Seriously, “easy” is accurate. You point, you shoot, you’re done; the manual is a formality. The camera is the size of a cellphone so you can put it in a pocket and forget about it until you see something (or someone) snap-worthy. Very useful if you have a blog, or aspire to be a paparazzo. Paparazzi tend to give themselves away while stalking celebrities because they have several cameras and telephoto lenses strapped around their necks. A much smaller camera would help conceal their foul intentions.

True, you can take pretty clear photos with cellphones these days, but the M1033 gives you a wide range of size options, from 2.4 to 10 megapixels. The Smart Capture technology decides when the flash is required, makes the necessary adjustments for lighting, and generally does all the work. In other words this camera doesn’t need you, you’re just a finger on the button. The Face Detection feature locks onto the subject’s face and ensures that he remains in focus even if he moves (or runs away). Remember when you had to stay still while having your picture taken? Those days are long gone.

I tried the M1033 on some of the least cooperative subjects I know: my cats. If you’ve taken pictures of cats, you know that they will hold that adorable pose long enough for you to grab your camera and aim it. A split-second before you snap the photo, they turn away. (Tip for cat photography: Let them think you’re having a staring contest.)

So my nine-year-old cat Koosi strikes her Cleopatra pose. I furtively take the camera, hit the Power button, and click. It takes 1.5 seconds for the camera to turn itself on.

The result?

Brilliant. No red eye, although Koosi’s eyes are more emerald in the photo than they are in real life.

However, if I wanted to take a second picture for safety, I had to wait five seconds before the camera was ready. In case I was missing some vital feature, I consulted the manual. It mentions a Burst function that allows you to take three quick pictures in a row. I tried Burst, but it’s not particularly quick: it takes longer than five seconds between shots, enough time for Koosi to drop the pose, have a drink of water and jump on top of a shelf. For now I’ll stick with my staring contest method to keep the subject from moving away.

The M1033 has 3x optical zoom which can be increased to 5x magnification, but not while taking videos. Yes, it takes videos.

There was a small problem when I tried transferring the photos. The camera comes with a CD for installing the software in your computer. It’s supposed to be compatible with Mac OSX, but the program refused to load on my MacBook. It turns out that I didn’t have to install the Easy Share software—Mac’s iPhoto or Image Capture does the work nicely.

Kermit tells me that the new digital camera models have face-capture features bordering on science fiction. There’s a camera that will not take the photo unless the subject is smiling, and another that will actually put a smile on the subject’s face. Hopefully not in the way The Joker means when he says, “Let’s put a smile on that face.” Yet another camera “stretches” the subject like those Sunday morning kung-fu movies of my childhood, so that the subject appears to lose 10 pounds.

I’ll settle for a camera that’s always in focus. Kodak Easy Share M1033 retails for P16,995 at camera shops everywhere.

* * *

E-mail your comments and questions to

vuukle comment









Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with