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Review: Kodak V570 Digital Camera
Beyond a dual lens configuration, there are plenty of good things about the V570 including a gorgeous 2.5 inch LCD that's useful even in bright sunlight, quick boot-up and more.
January 18, 2006
3 Min Read
The Kodak V570, with its two lenses housed in the same camera, is a significant departure from the standard point-and-shoot digital camera. This arrangement allows the camera to achieve a good range of focal length without a protruding lens.
The camera is similar in shape to its predecessor, the V550 and is exceptionally pocketable at 4 x 2 x .75 inches. Where it differs from the V550 is its additional wide angle lens... and I mean wide. The optical zoom lens covers a rather standard focal range from 39mm to 117mm (35mm camera equivalent), while the second lens is fixed at 23mm. When both lenses are considered, this computes to a 5x zoom range. But since the wide angle lens has a fixed focal length, there is a gap between where the 23mm ends and the zoom lens picks up at 39mm. Normally, this would result in a visual jump when changing lenses, but Kodak decided to smooth the transition by digitally zooming the wide lens from 23mm to 39mm. I don't like digital zooms because they degrade image quality by cropping. The result is that taking pictures at the mid range focal lengths (24mm - 38mm) produces images of lower quality than the 5 megapixels you expected. I disabled the digital zoom feature, which can be done through the camera's menu.
Beyond the dual lens configuration, there are plenty of good things about the V570. It has a gorgeous 2.5 inch LCD useful even in bright sunlight. Boot-up time is less than 3 seconds, and there is virtually no shutter lag. The menu is easy to navigate with the 5-way joystick, and the zoom control is responsive. Because the lens doesn't expand from the body, it's a natural pocket stuffer you can take anywhere.
The V570 can take VGA video clips (640 x 320dpi) at 30 frames per second. I was able to use both the wide angle and zoom lens, and the camera kept up its auto focus during shooting. I noticed that since I wasn't recording any voice with the video, the sound of the auto focus mechanism was prominent in the playback.
Like most digicams, the V570 has a panorama mode. The panorama is limited to three shots, but because of the super-wide lens, this is enough for the majority of uses. What's even better about the panorama mode is that the camera stitches the images rather than having to use a computer. In my test shots, it was nearly impossible to tell where the images were joined. The panorama mode is one of 21 different scene modes that are easy to select.
Images were crisp and well balanced without any manual intervention or software tweaks, but the included Kodak EasyShare software made for quick cropping and color modification where necessary. While the V570 is definitely a point-and-shoot camera, it's possible to change the exposure on the fly using the joystick. For users wanting more control over their exposure, the on-screen exposure histogram provides real-time feedback which makes manual exposure changes more meaningful.
The EasyShare base, coupled with the in-camera controls and the included EasyShare software, really do make sharing pictures simple. It's possible to tag images in the camera for printing or emailing from the camera's menu, then when the camera is placed in its docking cradle, the selected images are selected for printing or emailing. The dock also doubles as a battery charger.
The V570 is a good choice as a take-everywhere camera, and possibly a perfect companion for real estate professionals who will appreciate the wide view and automatic panoramic function. At 5 megapixels, it isn't the highest resolution camera in its category, and its retail price of $400 is almost $100 higher than similar cameras. However, the dual lens configuration is unique and does a good job at both ends of its focal lengths.
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