Kodak EasyShare V570

The Kodak EasyShare V570 is the first point-and-shoot camera to include two separate lenses and CCD sensors: one set for wide-angle shots and the other for telephoto. But this interesting approach has drawbacks as well as benefits.

On the positive side, the two lenses enable the camera to offer a long zoom range without having a lens protruding from the front. The two lenses (a fixed 23mm lens and a 32mm-to-117mm zoom lens) give a combined zoom range of 5x, while most compact cameras provide only a 3x zoom. The camera’s wide-angle lens can be a big plus if you are taking group shots.

On the downside, the camera must switch from one lens to the other while zooming, and this results in an annoying pause of a half-second or so. Since it pauses the zoom while making the switch, going all the way in from a wide-angle shot requires you to zoom, pause, and then zoom again.

Another annoyance is that the two separate lenses and sensors take up space, which may be why the camera captures images at a resolution of just 5 megapixels when most other compact cameras shoot at 6-megapixels or higher. Of course, resolution is not the be-all and end-all of image quality, but having the ability to enlarge images is nice, and the 5-megapixel resolution is a limitation.

Despite those disadvantages, the Kodak V570’s image quality is impressive. It produces sharp images that exhibit bright colours and accurate exposures. The small built-in flash is a little weak, though, penetrating no more than a few feet in a dark room.

The camera’s 2.5in LCD screen, which dominates the back, is clear and bright; with its 230,000 pixels, image previews look sharp. The camera’s controls reside around the screen, and are generally easily accessible. While most other cameras use a left-right control for zooming, the V570 uses an up-down control, which works well. It enables you to keep your thumb firmly on the camera for a tight grip -– a good thing since there is no grip on the front for your fingers. The smooth surface on the front and sides means a loose grip if your hands are damp.

A small joystick below the Zoom control lets you navigate the on-screen menus. Although you can operate the camera with one hand, using it with both hands feels more natural, and that’s probably why Kodak put the flash control button on the left side, above the buttons for deleting images, accessing the on-screen menu, reviewing images, and sharing (which lets you mark images for printing or emailing through the Kodak EasyShare software).

Battery life was fairly disappointing: the V570’s rechargeable Lithium-ion battery ran out after 200 shots.
Another interesting feature of the V570 is its panorama stitcher. Most cameras enable you to take several shots and then use image-editing software to join them together, but the V570 handles the task itself, joining up to three images together. It does a reasonably good job, but you can still get better results using a separate program dedicated to this purpose.

When it comes to video recording, the V570 records TV-quality video, at up to 30 frames per second (fps) using MPEG-4 compression, while built-in image stabilisation technology reduces on-screen shaking from unintentional hand and camera movement. It also has an optical zoom feature for video including auto focus.

OUR VERDICT

The Kodak EasySHare V570 delivers high image quality and provides a wide zoom range in a compact package, but short battery life and a few quirks reduce its appeal.

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