Kodak EasyShare V610 6Mp camera
Review The twin-lens V610 follows on from Kodak's wide-angle lensed V570, which provided ultra-wide angle dual-zoom optics. Here, the V610 provides two lenses in a single, slimline body. Both lenses provide a 38-380mm, 10x optical zoom range...
The Kodak Retina Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon lens design means the optics don't protrude from the body in use, which ensures the camera retains its svelte looks but makes its handling characteristics problematic. With such a long optical zoom range, keeping the camera steady at the longer focal lengths can be a problem as the small size makes it quite hard to keep the camera steady without a tripod.
The camera also lacks image stabilisation. It does offer a high sensitivity setting of ISO 800, but noise can become intrusive at this setting in low light and you still have to contend with camera shake. A set of six buttons adorn the top plate and include the shutter release, the flash, the on/off switch and three shooting-mode buttons. On the back plate, the large screen is joined by a row of buttons to the left, and the the two-step zoom rocker and four-way jog control to the right.
The camera is nice to use. Its large, 2.8in colour screen is OK to use in all but the brightest of conditions. While there's no real manual intervention on show, there are plenty of comprehensive scene modes that provide the meat of the camera's shooting controls. You do get exposure compensation control, however, available in only some of those 22-scene modes, which include a panoramic setting, night scene, portrait, macro, plus plenty of others.
Another neat function is Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can offload images directly to any other Bluetooth-enabled device, be it a phone, PC or printer. I found setting up Bluetooth easy and quick - and much better, in fact, than most mobile phone Bluetooth options.
Other neat kit includes Kodak's Perfect Touch technology that can enhance and correct images in the camera at, well, the touch of a button. A Favourites mode allows you to quickly switch to - yes, you guessed it - your favourite shooting settings, and you get 28MB of internal storage to complement the SD/MMC card storage capability.
The camera's six-megapixel resolution provides plenty of image detail, enough for printing at up to and over A3 and the dual optics help to retain plenty of detail barring some odd edge softness at around the 200mm mark.
The first lens provides a 38-114mm focal range and performs admirably, while the second lens covers the 130-380mm telephoto range. This lens suffered a lot more from lens flare - there's no lens thread to add a lens hood, either - on several of my shots and is softer than the wider zoom lens.
Overall, however, performance is very good. A 0.3s click-to-capture time makes the camera fast, but the 1.1a shot-to-shot timing - without flash and at lower compression settings - isn't particularly remarkable.
My worries about this camera revolve around the issue of image blur from camera shake. The camera's noise control is good but not good enough at ISO 800, which is a shame because it's the only option open to you to get faster shutter speeds at those longer focal lengths.
Despite this, the Kodak EasyShare V610 is a remarkably compact camera with an impressive zoom range and produces the sort of shots most snappers will be more than delighted with. The addition of Bluetooth is well worth having in these days of share, share, share.
Given its target market and its price-point, the "world's smallest 10X optical zoom digital camera" is just about perfect.