Kodak V570 dual lens digital camera - EXCLUSIVE review

4 out of 5
£269

For

Two lenses, small, compact, easy to use

Against

Looks like a bit of a gimmick

Kodak’s latest camera doesn’t promise a huge optical lens that is capable of zooming in on the action, but two SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH C-VARIOGON lenses. But are two lenses better than one? Pocket-lint was given exclusive access 1 month before the launch of the camera to have a look.

Being able to brag that your latest digital camera is the world’s first dual lens camera may sound impressive, but for the most part you can’t help but think why?

Our first thought was that one lens had perhaps been optimised for shooting moving rather than still images following manufacturers' constant push for cameras to be used for movies.

However, Kodak didn’t go down that route. Instead, the idea behind the camera is that you have two lenses, one for wide angle shots and the second for regular landscape and portrait shots.

The first lens offers a wide-angle 23mm lens, while the second offers 39-117mm equivalent in a 35mm camera. The ultra-wide angle lens coupled with its 3X optical zoom lens produces a total 5X optical zoom range.

Kodak believes this is the key to success in the digital camera market, and has worked hard at seamlessly integrating the two lenses together for the user to use. Get behind the camera and you wouldn’t know any difference. There isn’t two optical viewfinders and Kodak has created software that seamlessly switches between the two lenses as you zoom in and out using the standard zoom button.

The front of the camera is a little more telling with the two lenses sitting on top of one another. Like the V550 the lenses remain in the cameras shell and overall the V570 has the same looks and feel as Kodak’s previous camera outing.

Get past the double lens talking point and the camera is your average 5 megapixel camera that features a large 2.5 inch LCD screen on the rear, 22 scene modes for finding the perfect mode for the shot at hand and a rather disappointing 32Mb of internal memory and an SD card slot for additional storage.

Like the V550 the docking station doesn’t look that robust and we get the feeling that after a couple of months you may be having to buy another as the camera connects to a socket that is raised above the main base.

Similar to HP’s R807 model, the V570 includes in-camera panorama stitching and as long as you aren’t a complete fool when it comes to matching up the images the results are good.

Using the ultra-wide view in panorama scene mode, you can take in a 180-degree vista with just three shots compared to the R807's five. Like the HP model, in-camera stitching means that you can print panoramas directly from the camera to a compatible printer, although Kodak hasn’t gone as far as producing specialised printing paper to print on. It is still a case of print on A4 and get the scissors out.

Back to that movie mode and the camera can also record movies up to 30 frames per second using MPEG-4 compression for those who want it.

Rather strangely, considering its put the wide-angle lens in the camera, Kodak has fitted it with an in-camera distortion correction device to compensate for the ultra-wide angle fish-eye effects which can be turned on or off.

Image quality from both lenses is very good and comparable to the V550’s performance.

Like the V550 the flash had a tendency to over-bleach the subject, but this can be easily fixed by either not using the flash or reducing the exposure setting to compensate. However images reproduced skin tones and colours well.

Verdict

The V570 is a strange kettle of fish. On the one hand the addition of the second lens comes across as a gimmick that is nothing more than a headline grabber to get some interest in the Kodak brand, but on the other, the photographer in me says that the addition of the new lens is something that is too valuable to mock.

In practice using the camera for the past month in a variety of different situations I’ve found that while I initially felt the concept was a gimmick, the inclusion of the wide angle lens has been very useful indeed.

Whether it was taking a picture of a room in a house or making sure I could get everyone in to a picture at a Christmas party it's amazing how much more you can get in the picture with the wide angle lens, while the inclusion of the standard 39-113mm lens means that you can get in close if you wish.

Which leaves us rather confused as to whether or not we think the V570 is a good thing or not. Either way, you will be asked to pay a premium for the extra benefit, and you’ll have to ask yourself whether the extra cost is justified.

The V570 is good, but it does seem like the long way around solving the problem of creating a lens that can cope with both wide-angle and close up shots.