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Check out Kodak V570, it's different
Shubhabrata Marmar in Mumbai | July 05, 2006
Digital cameras, quite literally, have been the revolution they promised to be. More than ever, the average tourist is identified by the shiny, silver box hanging around his neck.
And before this becomes a world tour scale prelude to getting to the point, let's talk about the Kodak EasyShare V570 dual lens digital camera that is the subject of our discussion today.
To introduce the digicam, the V570 is a 5.0 megapixel camera that claims a 5X zoom (notice the missing 'digital' or 'optical' prefix; you'll see why shortly). It has two lenses, which is its biggest distinguishing feature. The lower lens is a wide 23 mm lens.
The top lens is a 39-117 mm lens (effectively a 3X optical zoom). It has 32 MB inbuilt memory, and you can add an SD card for more. On the software side, it has about six million scene modes. Okay, it has 22 scene modes, which are preset for a comprehensive variety of shooting situations a novice may find him/herself in.
To the stuff we really liked, then. The most impressive feature of this camera is a close tie between the wide angle lens and the panorama mode. Both produce spectacular results.
The wide lens allows you 'odd' shots, like a group six friends standing close together, shot with an outstretched arm - try that with your average 3X point and shoot.
Combined with the panorama, the camera stitches the photos together and then saves the composite image only, the ultra wide producing a superb 180 degree view that will drop jaws.
The stitching is impeccable when you get the overlaps right, and the only improvement we can think of is to make the overlap guide patches partly transparent to help you line them up right.
Unfortunately for the camera, those twin peaks alone are above the tree line. The rectangular, sharp-edged design severely divided opinion, and many thought rounded-edged cameras were easier to grip. The buttons, designed to slip easily into tight pockets, were also found to be less than perfect.
However, the biggest issue seemed to be that the image quality was never startlingly good, which is something we expect from current cameras. It ranged from okay (daylight) to highly grainy (night), which spoilt the fun a bit.
Also, the 5X zoom business got to us. You see, there is no optical zoom between the 23mm wide lens and the 39 mm normal lens. So the camera makes that up with digital zoom.
So if you are a novice and shooting in that range, you will always end with bafflingly grainy, noisy images. If you switch digital zoom off, you still have to hold the wide button down to come to 39 mm, and then release and press again to enter the wide mode, which is unnecessary and irritating.
The EasyShare software and the flying saucer dock were also niggles. The software, unfortunately, is proprietary in the old school way. So while Windows XP recognises the camera, once EasyShare enters the picture you can't access it outside the software.
We should at least have the option. The fact that the software is cumbersome to operate does not help. Similarly the saucer. What's wrong with a simple wired-in USB connection? Who docks a digital camera on his home/office desk and watches slideshows?
But criticism aside, there are two situations where this camera is unmatched. The first is in enclosed spaces. Take pictures of your house (we did) and they look outstanding.
The views looks much, much closer to what the human eye sees, rather than the 'blinkered' look that most cameras turn out. Real estate agents take note.
This could even work out as a get rich quick scheme. The other is for absolute novices. If you have never dealt with a digital camera before, the plethora of scene modes will allow you to get decent pictures out of this thing.
At Rs 19,999 (MRP, dealers might actually offer you a lower price), we expect Kodak to give you more camera for your money. More megapixels, or more zoom.In fact, we hear that Kodak is readying the 570's big brother, the 610 for launch. That mean machine will offer a 10X optical zoom in addition to the wide lens. For Rs 3,000-odd more, that would be a good deal. We can't wait.