The Kodak EasyShare V570 is the first point-and-shoot camera in the United States 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 lenses and sensors take up space, which may be why the camera captures images at a 5-megapixel resolution when most other compact cameras shoot at 6 megapixels or higher. Of course, resolution is not the end-all and be-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 was impressive. It produced sharp images that exhibited bright colors and accurate exposures. The small built-in flash was a little weak, though, penetrating no more than a few feet in a dark room.
The camera’s 2.5-inch 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 allows 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 can mean 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 e-mailing through the Kodak EasyShare software).
Another interesting feature of the V570 is its panorama stitcher. Most cameras allow you to take several shots and then use 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.
The V570 requires the included dock to connect to your Mac, as it has no USB port. The dock holds the camera above the surface at a slight angle, so you can use it to display photos. Several lights on the dock show the battery status, and a button enables the USB connection. It’s a pity, though, that you can’t connect the USB cable to the camera itself; if you go on a trip and want to transfer your images to a laptop, you have to take the dock with you. Battery life was disappointing as well: the V570’s rechargeable LiIon battery ran out after 200 shots.
|Image Quality||Very Good|
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
|Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent)||3x optical/5x combined (32-117mm)|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium ion|
|Media Slots||SD Card (1)|
|Size (wxhxd)||4.0 x 2.0 x 0.8 inches|
|Weight (oz.)||5.1 oz.|
Macworld’s buying advice
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.
[ Richard Baguley is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in PC World, Wired, and JIWire.com. He also maintains a Camcorder blog.]Kodak EasyShare V570