Kyocera Finecam L3V review
This Kyocera Finecam L3v is my first digital camera. A sort of hobby re-entry into a profession I abandoned almost twenty years ago.
I chose this camera because it satisfied a list of feature requirements that I considered good engineering. It is very small but not so small that the optical quality or durability would be compromised. I carry it in a Quantaray leather belt pouch along with a pair of spare batteries. It is smaller than my older cell phone. It has a large viewfinder that is viewable in most conditions. This has real value for me, as I like to share the instant-picture experience with my family and friends. It is easy to compose with. The L3v uses standard batteries and memory - proprietary formats are a pet peeve of mine. I like the list of manual settings that are available for more precise pictures. I like the layout of the controls. And it has a durable metal body, which was another selling point. I don’t get to dispose of this much income very often.
Overall I am pleased with the camera for the snap-shots that I am taking. My sense is that many of the frustrations I have, are generally shared in one form or another by all users of small digital cameras. Shutter lag is one issue; camera shake is another. Why can’t they build a little gyro into these things? I sometimes use a small Quantaray slave flash as a supplement. It seems that I can auto-focus in lower but still ordinary light and I experience red-eye only on a few rare occasions. I am getting more comfortable with the manual features and my results are improving. This confidence is partially due to image rescue and editing software. My favorite so far is Ulead version 5 that I picked up at a discount. The camera was mail-ordered from DigitalFotoClub for about $400 including Power2000 rapid charge 2100 mAh batteries that seem to work quite well, tax, and shipping.
I have some processed samples at http://web.syr.edu/~rgrimsha/SyrWallpaper/index.html
It turns out that the weaknesses of this camera are in the programming. If I could offer constructive criticism to the non-responsive customer support staff, here is what I would say:
On cloudy days the AUTO white-balance is too blue. Getting this right would be a big win because where I live it is rarely sunny. Instead of reading the image at the CCD and guessing, I would install an independent white balance sensor on the front of the camera perhaps using and serving double duty with the flash sensor. Workarounds are selecting “cloudy” from the preset list, manual white balance, or post processing in software.
The edge-sharpening algorithm has a nasty habit of adding dark outlines to strong edges that I feel are too visible. To me this brings back memories of pages from a coloring book. While the edge sensitivity can be adjusted to -1, this feature cannot be turned off entirely. I suggest re-evaluating this treatment and offering the option of turning it off. Workarounds are to set the sensitivity to -1 and say 'smile' often, but avoid using this camera for commercial product shots. To the reader; I don't know if any normal people would ever notice or care - other than that this feature may also be responsible for some artifacts that are introduced when shooting sunsets.
Using the center of a game box style cursor as the enter key is convenient but has the unfortunate effect of making it very easy to accidentally delete the wrong image. This can be corrected in software by not allowing the advance of an image when the cursor is over the verification menu choice. Workarounds are to be diligent in setting the protect file (as read-only) mode or only deleting images when using the computer console while downloading.
ISO 320 isn’t very satisfying.
Think about the gyro idea.