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V570 - Digital Camera Review
Kodak have this to say about the camera:
"The innovative EASYSHARE V570 cameras ultra-wide angle lens coupled with its optical zoom lens produces a total 5X optical zoom range, providing more options to help todays 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)
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Specifications / Features:
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:
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
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.
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: 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 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:
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,
1gb (1000mb): £29.99,
2gb (2000mb): £54.49
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: 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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!
What I like:
What I don't like:
Additional Test Images are viewable in the Kodak Easyshare V570 Sample Photo Gallery.