The dual lensed V610 follows on from Kodak’s wide-angle lensed V570, which provided an ultra-wide-angle dual zoom optic; here the V610 provides two lenses in a single, slim line body that together provide a 38-380mm, 10x optical zoom range (and I’ve included two images at both extremes of the two lenses range; a distant tree and one very close up, to illustrate what the focal range can achieve).
The dual lens Kodak Retina, Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon design means the optics do not protrude from the body at any stage in use, retaining its svelte looks and making its handling characteristics a bit of an anachronism. 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 steady the camera without a tripod.
The camera also lacks image stabilisation, but does offer a high sensitivity setting of ISO 800, but noise can become intrusive at this setting and 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 and on/off buttons and three shooting mode buttons. On the back plate, the large screen is joined by a row of buttons to the left; the two-step zoom control and four way jog buttons to the right.
However, the camera is nice to use but its large 2.8-inch colour screen – even with its 230,000-pixels – seems a tad low resolution for my liking, but is okay 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 included is Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can offload images directly to any other Bluetooth enabled device, be it a phone, PC or printer. I found the Bluetooth set up easy and quick and much better in fact than most mobile phone Bluetooth set up options.
Other neat kit includes Kodak’s Perfect Touch technology that can enhance and correct images in camera at the touch of, well, a button. A Favourites mode allows you to quickly switch to, yep you guessed it, your favourite shooting settings and you get 28MB’s of internal storage to complement the SD/MMC external storage capability.
The camera’s 6MP 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 optic gives the 130-380mm telephoto range. On the down side, 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 0.3-second click to capture time makes the camera fast, but the 1.1-second shot to shot timing (without flash and at lower compression settings) is not particularly remarkable.
My worries for this camera revolve around the issue of image blur from camera shake. Noise control is good but not good enough at ISO 800, which is a shame because it is the only option open to you to get faster shutter speeds at those longer focal lengths.
Despite this, the Kodak EasyShare V610 provides an remarkably compact camera with a remarkable zoom range and provides the sort of shots most snappers will be more than delighted with.
So, have compromises had to be made to achieve that long focal length range? Well plenty of subject programs mean there’s scope for playing about, while the addition of Bluetooth is well worth having in these days of share, share, share!
For the target market and the kit on show and its price, the "World’s Smallest" 10x zoom compact is just about right.
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