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Kodak Easyshare V570 - Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 12/04/06
Rating: Above Average
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Introduction: Announced on the 3th of January 06, the Kodak Easyshare V570 is a new ultra compact 5 megapixel digital camera with two lenses - an ultra wide angle lens (equiv. 23mm), and a normal 3x optical zoom lens. It features a 2.5" screen, and an ultra compact silver and black metal body. The camera has two 5 megapixel sensors, one per lens, wide angle lens is equiv. to 23mm, and the 3x optical zoom lens is equiv. to 39 - 117mm on a 35mm camera. The Kodak Easyshare V570 is available from around £219, this makes it good value for money for an ultra compact ultra wide angle camera. The V570 records videos at 30fps and with a resolution of 640x480. The camera is very compact and thin - the body measures: 101 × 49.8 × 20.4 mm (without protruding parts), and weighs approx. 125g.

Kodak have this to say about the camera:

"The innovative EASYSHARE V570 camera’s ultra-wide angle lens coupled with its optical zoom lens produces a total 5X optical zoom range, providing more options to help today’s picture takers capture the perfect shot —group photos, scenic landscapes, dramatic portraits, and close-ups. No other consumer digital camera offers such a wide angle of view, nor the unique, sophisticated design of this model, whose all-glass, stacked SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH C-VARIOGON prism lenses never extend from the camera body."

You can find more information on their website.

The Camera: a visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Pentax *ist DL DSLR)


Front - Camera off, the dual lenses protected by a large and stylish metal cover.


Front - Camera on, showing the simple design of the front of the camera, with flash, very small hand grip, and the lenses, shown in more detail below.


Front - Camera on - Ultra wide angle lens above, 3x optical zoom lens below, the 3x optical zoom lens has a focus assist lamp next to it, whereas the ultra wide angle lens has the microphone holes next to it.


Back - from top left, speak, flash, delete, menu, review (playback button), share, 2.5" screen, zoom control, 4-way push "joypad" style controller.


Top: Favourites, Video mode, Photo / Scene mode, On/Off button, Shutter release.


Top / Right: DC in, SD memory card slot / cover, Hand strap hole.


Bottom - battery compartment, metal tripod mount, docking station connection, on the right, the memory card cover is open.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.


Size comparison.


Size comparison.


Size comparison, compared to the Olympus Mju 720SW.

Specifications / Features:

  • 5 Megapixels
  • Ultra Wide angle lens (23mm), fixed focus - for example, it will beep and show the green light even when the object is far too close to the camera to be in focus.
  • 3x optical zoom (39-117mm)
  • 2.5 in. (6.35 cm) high resolution (230K pixels) indoor/outdoor color display with wide viewing angle
  • 5cm macro mode (wide angle 3x optical zoom lens - macro not available using ultra wide angle lens)
  • Shutter speed: 8 – 1/1448 sec.
  • MPEG4 Video: 640x480 / 30fps Movie recording with sound, and digital image stabilisation.
  • ISO equivalent 64–160 (auto) and 64, 100, 200, 400, 800* (manual) *ISO 800 at 1.8mp
  • Blur warning - Green (OK), Yellow (some blur), Red (blurry) hand lets you know when images are blurry
  • 22 Scene modes, including one custom scene mode
  • 32mb Internal memory

Box Contents:

  • KODAK EASYSHARE V570 Dual Lens Digital Camera
  • KODAK EASYSHARE Photo Frame Dock 2 with insert
  • USB and AV cables
  • KODAK Rechargeable Li-Ion Digital Camera Battery
  • 5V AC adapter with power cord for in-camera battery charging
  • Carry strap
  • Camera case
  • KODAK EASYSHARE Software
  • Getting Started Kit
  • Custom camera insert for optional KODAK EASYSHARE Camera and Printer Docks


Docking station, small fabric case.

Better than average box contents - There is no memory card provided with the camera - instead there is only 32mb of memory built in. The basic case is a good addition as it provides protection for the camera, stopping it from getting scratched. The docking station should make it easier to transfer pictures to your computer.

Battery usage: Battery life is rated as 150 shots according to CIPA / Kodak testing. Battery life seemed average, lower than I would have liked, I managed to take over 130 pictures before the battery was flat and the camera switched off.

Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the top buttons, allowing you to choose between AUTO photo mode, Scene mode, Video mode or Favourites mode.

Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen(s) as shown below:

Photo mode (live histogram) Photo settings menu

Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown above) The screen resolution with 230,000 pixels is good. The screen is quite clear and the text and menus are easy to read. The camera displays a live histogram.

Photo / Camera menu options: Self-timer, Burst mode, Picture size, White Balance (Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open Shade), ISO (64 - 800), Colour mode (Natural Colour, Low Colour, Black and White, Sepia, High Colour), Sharpness (High, Normal, Low), Exposure metering (Multi-pattern, Center-weight, Center-spot), AF Control (still - continuous, single), Focus zone (Multi, Center), Long time exposure (None, 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 6.0, 8.0 seconds), Set album, Image storage (Auto - defaults to memory card, Internal).

Scene mode Setup menu

Scenes: Portrait, Panorama Left-Right, Panorama Right-Left, Sport, Landscape, Close up, Night portrait, Night landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Manner / Museum (sound, flash off), Self-portrait, Party, Children, Backlight, Panning shot, Candle light, Sunset, Custom.


The Panorama modes will take three 3.1 megapixel photos in sequence, showing you a portion of the earlier photo to enable you to line up the following image, the camera will then automatically stitch the pictures together to create the panoramic image - this works fairly well, however, it is quite difficult to line up the photos on screen, as the previous image is shown as a solid image - on some other cameras they overlay the previous image so you can see through the image thus helping you line the images up. If you take 2 photos and then the battery goes flat it doesn't save the two images you've just taken, nor does it save the three images that are used to make the panaroma, instead it only saves the completed panorama as one image file. This means you can't re-stitch the images later on your computer if you lined the photos up incorrectly on the camera. If you get this right, then this can be a fun and useful feature to use.

Setup menu options: Camera sounds, Sound volume, Digital zoom, LCD dimmer, Auto power off, Date and Time, Video out, Photo frame, Distortion compensation, Orientation sensor, Red eye preflash, Date stamp, Video date display, Blur warning, Language, Format, About.

Optical / Electronic Viewfinder: There is no optical or electronic viewfinder.

Playback (Review) mode/menu:

Playback mode (basic info) Playback mode (further info)

Playback mode: To access the additional view mode you have to enter the playback menu (detailed below). Without entering the menu, the information displayed is quite limited, there is a histogram, and further file information was available by pressing the display button - although there is very little in the way of actual information on photo settings used.

Playback menu Easyshare menu

Playback menu options: (left) View by (All, Date, Album), Album, Crop, Slide show, Mutli-up (9 thumb view), Copy (allows you to copy pictures from internal memory to memory card and vice versa depending where the pictures you are viewing currently are - this could be made easier by giving the option of copying from one to the other without having to change the current memory in use), Protect, Image storage.

Kodak Easyshare Menu options: (right) Print, Email, Favorite, Print all, Cancel prints.

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following amount will fit in the 32mb of provided memory:

Mode
Image Size
Number Stored
5mp
2,576 x 1932
17

4.4mp (3:2)

2,576 x 1716
19
4mp
2,304 x 1,728
21
3.1mp
2,048 x 1,536
26
1.8mp
1,552 x 1,164
43

As shown in the table above, higher quality images take a large amount of memory, so a high capacity memory card is definitely recommended, unless you're prepared to sacrifice image size to fit more pictures in memory. There is a fairly good choice of image sizes, although it would have been nice to have more choice regarding image compression, or perhaps a low-resolution VGA mode.

A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Kodak Easyshare V570:

Find the latest prices for SD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 256mb: £9.11, 512mb: £19.93, 1gb (1000mb): £29.99, 2gb (2000mb): £54.49
Need more help deciding what memory card to buy? Have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards or our article what size memory card should I buy?

Speed: The camera is quick to switch on and take photos, able to switch on and take a photo in roughly 1.4 seconds. Focusing seemed quick - very quick with the ultra wide angle lens as it is fixed focus (and therefore doesn't actually focus), and fairly quick as the 3x optical zoom lens took around 0.8 seconds to focus. The playback mode is a very quick, with photos displaying almost instantly when going from photo to photo - the zoom is also very quick. The camera shutter response seemed very quick when pre-focused, with a response time of under 0.1 seconds. Shot to shot time was quite quick, with a delay of around 1.5 seconds (ultra-wide) / 2.5 seconds (3x optical zoom) between shots with flash, and a delay of around 1.2 seconds (ultra wide) / 1.5 seconds (3x optical zoom) without flash. The cameras menus seemed quick. On the High Speed continuous shooting mode, shot time is quick, at roughly 2fps, with a shot taken every 0.5 seconds for upto 4 shots at the highest resolution.

Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, especially in the AUTO mode and the scene modes, every mode displays a quick explanation of the mode, for example the AUTO mode displays "AUTO mode, Use for general picture taking", which makes it even easier for beginners to use the camera. The controls on the back of the camera are quite straightforward - the menus are responsive and easy to read and navigate. The menus are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple, mainly thanks to the large screen which makes it easier to use. Ease of use continued below...

Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc.) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position, although the flash button is on the left side of the camera meaning two handed operation is required - if it was on the right hand side, near where the thumb rests, then it would be quicker and easier to use the flash button. There aren't too many buttons on the camera, which should make it simpler to master the cameras basic functions. The buttons feel okay, although some may find them small, especially the slightly fiddly zoom control. The shutter release is good.  The playback mode could be labelled better, as currently it's labelled as "Review" and doesn't stand out from any of the other buttons surrounding it - nearly every other digital camera labels this with a "Play" logo often using green to show it is different to all the other buttons. The (small) four-way controller is more like a joystick and allows you to scroll diagonally in playback mode, and is fairly easy to use. I thought the camera felt okay ergonomically, there is very little in the way of a handgrip, and a very small area to rest your thumb. You also have to be careful not to put your finger in the shot, especially when using the ultra-wide angle lens. The camera feels like a solid, robust and well built camera. I found the memory card cover difficult to open, and either had to ask someone with fingernails to open it (I keep my fingernails excessively short), or use some kind of pin to open the memory card cover.

Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Kodak Easyshare V570 Sample Photo Gallery!

Inside:

Heather and Flower (ISO125) Group photo (ISO200)

Inside: The camera has very good colour, with accurate skin tones, with good saturation and contrast - It took a good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is no red-eye in this photo. It has a average flash, generally overpowering when using the ultra-wide angle lens, especially if the subject is close, and occassionally under powered when using the telephoto zoom. Noise is generally quite high in indoor photos. The camera occassionally fails to focus indoors when using the telephoto end of the zoom, despite the focus assist lamp. Red-eye was a problem in a lot of photos, and none of the red-eye flash options seemed to improve the situation - occassionally I noticed the built in red-eye reduction would remove red-eye from one of the eyes in the photo, but this was generally very unsuccessful.

Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO: 64, 100, 200, 400, and 800 at 1.8mp) - below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings, compared with the 7 megapixel, 3x optical zoom lens Olympus Mju 720SW.

ISO Noise Test Photo - Flash off unless otherwise stated. Kodak Easyshare V570 on the left, Olympus Mju / Stylus 720SW on the right. The colour difference is due to automatic white balance.

Kodak Easyshare V570 Olympus Mju 720SW
ISO64 - Actual Pixels ISO64 - Actual Pixels
ISO100 - Actual Pixels ISO100 - Actual Pixels
ISO200 - Actual Pixels ISO200 - Actual Pixels
ISO400 - Actual Pixels ISO400 - Actual Pixels
ISO800 - Actual Pixels (1.8mp image) ISO800 - Actual Pixels

Noise at ISO64 and ISO100 with the V570 is quite low, however, after this noise increases quick quickly, and ISO200, 400, and 800 appear to have slightly more noise than the 7 megapixel Olympus Mju 720SW. The V570 noise is quite often dotted with small black dots, especially at ISO400. Indoors in low-light when using the flash, noise was particularly noticeable, perhaps due to the camera having a weak flash, and ideally it's best to keep the ISO setting below ISO200.

Outside:

Liverpool Shops (ISO64) Daffodils (ISO64)

Outside, the camera has rich saturated colour, with good contrast. There was good detail although some images seemed a little soft, especially in the corners of images using the ultra-wide angle lens.. Noise seemed low, especially on bright days. I did not notice any jpeg artefacts. Exposure seemed very good.

Zoom: The Kodak Easyshare V570 feature an ultra-wide angle lens equivalent to 23mm, plus a normal 3x optical zoom lens - Kodak are keen to call this a 5x optical zoom - however, it doesn't give you the same amount of telephoto reach as a more normal 5x optical zoom lens (for example a normal 5x optical zoom lens would provide 35mm - 175mm), the Kodak Easyshare V570 provides a 5x optical zoom lens starting at 23mm, giving you a range of 23mm to 117mm (23mm x 5). You also have the option of using digital zoom, however digital zoom simply degrades image quality and better results can often be obtained using software. I've included examples to show what is possible.

Ultra Wide Angle (23mm) Wide-angle (39mm) 3x optical zoom (117mm) Full optical and digital zoom

Exposure / Metering on the photos of the clock tower seems good, with the dark areas of the photo well exposed. There was some highlight clipping in the bright clouds in these photos

Lens noise and zoom: The lenses are very quiet. There is a big step between the two lenses, and 6 steps between wide and telephoto on the 3x optical zoom lens. This gives you fairly poor control over how you frame your subject compared to other cameras.

Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing seemed worse with the ultra-wide angle lens, and acceptable with the 3x optical zoom lens. However, it was only visible in extreme contrast situations and wasn't noticeable on the majority of photos.

Macro:

Macro Timex Watch Actual Pixels (ISO160)

The macro mode allows you to be 5cm away from the subject, using the 3x optical zoom lens (you can not use the ultra wide angle lens in macro mode) - this allows you to get good, close-up and fairly detailed macro photos. Auto white balance did a fairly good job here - there is no custom white balance feature

Video mode: The camera features a 640x480 video mode at 30fps with sound - this features digital anti-shake. This is slightly above average in frame rate and resolution. Videos are recorded as MPEG4 videos which allows you to fit more on your memory card. Video quality appeared good even indoors in fairly low-light. You can use the optical zoom whilst recording videos.

Conclusion

Image Quality: Image quality seemed to be much better outdoors, where images had low noise and high saturation, but indoors images had much higher and noticeable noise. Images were generally quite soft straight from the camera, especially using the ultra-wide angle lens, and could benefit from sharpening. Purple fringing was average, more noticeable with the ultra-wide angle lens, and red-eye was higher than average. The camera did a good job focusing the majority of the time, but struggled indoors, even with the focus assist lamp. The flash also caused some problems, mainly when using the ultra-wide angle lens, as the camera will tell you it's in focus, even when it's not. I did not notice vignetting in photos, however I did notice quite strong barrel distortion using the ultra wide angle lens (more when distortion compensation was off) and there was some pincushion distortion using the full zoom. There is a good range of image sizes, and some choice of aspect ratio, however there is no choice regarding image compression. Auto white balance, metering, and exposure seemed to be good to very good. The macro mode produced good macro photos. (6/10)

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The most noticeable feature of the camera is the two lenses on the front of the camera, one a normal 3x optical zoom lens, the other an ultra-wide angle lens. The camera's screen is a high resolution screen at 230,000 pixels, and worked well in low light as well as outdoors in the sun. The camera is very compact and very pocketable. The camera is very stylish with a black and silver metal body. The camera feels well built, although ergonomics could be better - for example there is very little room to place you thumb on the camera, and little in the way of a hand grip. The camera is easy to use, the menu system is easy to use and there is a fairly good layout of buttons and controls. The camera speed is good to very good, with a fast switch on time, fairly quick focusing time with the 3x optical zoom lens, and excellent speed when using the ultra-wide angle lens (due to the lens being fixed focus). The camera has excellent shutter response, good flash recharge time, quick playback mode, quick menus, and fast continuous shooting. The camera has a large range of features, such as panoramic mode, numerous scene modes, blur warning, high resolution video with digital anti-shake, but lacks custom white balance and an effective means of getting rid of red-eye. Battery life is below average. (8/10)

Value for Money: The Kodak Easyshare V570 at around £219, is average value for money for an ultra compact 5 megapixel digital camera - however, as one of the world's only dual lens digital cameras it makes it difficult to find a comparable model. It's also difficult to find a comparable digital camera with an ultra-wide angle lens, as most generally start at 28mm rather than the Kodak's 23mm. Ultra compact digital cameras with a wide angle lens worth having a look at include the wide-angle 7.1x optical zoom Ricoh Caplio R3/R4, the 3.6x optical zoom Panasonic Lumix FX01, the 4x optical zoom Panasonic Lumix LX1, and the high end wide angle Ricoh GR Digital (28mm standard, 21mm available with optional wide-angle adapter). (7/10) See more digital camera reviews sorted by megapixels here.

Summary: The Kodak Easyshare V570 is a unique ultra compact 5 megapixel digital camera - featuring two lenses: an ultra-wide angle lens, and a normal 3x optical zoom lens. If you want a fun. easy to use, ultra compact digital camera with an ultra-wide angle lens, and intend to take mainly outdoor photos, then this camera may be a good choice. The camera offers generally quick performance, and extremely quick focusing and shutter response when using the ultra-wide angle lens. Image quality indoors was one of the camera's weaknesses, as the camera had problems focusing in low-light when using the zoom, red-eye regularly occured, and noise was quite high. Outside image quality was better, as images had good colour, saturation, contrast and exposure, but images were generally soft. If an ultra-wide angle lens is a must, then your choice is definitely limited, however I'd recommend thinking carefully before purchasing this camera, especially if you take a lot of indoor photos of people, as the camera regularly failed to focus correctly. This is a unique digital camera, and as such, it's difficult to come to a clear conclusion, some people may love the idea of the ultra-wide angle lens and ultra compact body, whereas others may be disappointed by the image quality. Have a look at the sample photos and try the camera before making a decision!

Kodak Easyshare V570 Rating: Above Average (7/10)
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What I like:

  • Very quick switch on time
  • Very quick in use, using the ultra-wide angle lens
  • Ultra-compact, ultra-stylish metal body
  • Rich saturated colour, accurate skin tones
  • Ultra-wide angle lens (great for estate agents etc)
  • Good exposure and metering
  • Good Macro mode
  • World's only dual-lens digital camera
  • MPEG4 Video recording at 640x480, 30fps with sound and digital anti-shake.
  • Panaromic mode built into the camera

What I don't like:

  • Difficult to open memory card cover without fingernails
  • Disappointing ergonomics, lack of handgrip, flash button on left
  • Limited playback photo information
  • Flash overexposes image when subject is too close in ultra-wide angle mode, or if the normal mode doesn't focus correctly
  • Red-eye occurs regularly - and built in red-eye flash / reduction doesn't seem very effective
  • Below average battery life
  • Soft images (especially with the ultra-wide angle lens)
  • Camera often struggles to focus indoors
  • High noise

Additional Test Images are viewable in the Kodak Easyshare V570 Sample Photo Gallery.

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