Kodak Easyshare V610 Review
Design and Handling
Gone are the days when Kodak only sold big, plastic (and dare I say ugly) digital cameras; the V610 is a real head-turner with beautiful detailing and a build quality to die for. The rear is dominated by a huge 2.8-inch screen, though there are a smattering of buttons down the left hand side - and the ubiquitous four-way controller on the right. The front of the camera is clean and simple, and looks a little unusual thanks to the twin lens arrangement (which when not in use is hidden under a brushed metal cover. At around 160g (5.6 oz) it is pretty heavy for such a small camera, adding to the impression the all-metal body gives of being built like a tank. The use of different surface textures and chrome accents gives the V610 a high quality 'designer' feel, and sitting with it in your hand it's hard to believe this little camera has the equivalent of a 38-380mm 10x zoom lens squeezed inside.
Key body elements
The V610 is unashamedly 'point and shoot' in both features and design, which means the external controls are basic, but user-friendly.
Controls & Menus
There was a time when Kodak's interpretation of 'user friendly' resulted in an interface with cartoon-style text and icons that was actually more difficult to comprehend than a simple text-based series of menus. Thankfully the latest models have a much more sober (and easy on the eye) interface, though there is still a tendency to use icons when a text description would be easier to understand. Niggles aside there's some unique features on offer, though they are mainly found in playback mode (the options available in record mode are fairly basic). My only complaint is that the menus seem very slightly unresponsive.
|The live view screen in record mode offers several options for the amount of information you have overlaid, from nothing but the focus brackets to a grid and (as here) histogram. Unfortunately there is no option to view exposure information (please Kodak... let me see the shutter speed... please!). The left and right arrows control the AE compensation setting for making the picture lighter or darker.||Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF) indicating the AF area used (in multi AF mode). Strangely there's no camera shake warning until after you've taken the shot, when a neat three color warning - from green (ok) through yellow to red (camera shake probable) appears on the instant review whilst the image is saved to the card. Why not tell me it's likely to be a problem before I take the picture?|
|Press the Scene button and you're presented with a grid of small icons representing the 22 subject modes, including a 'custom' mode, where you can save your favorite settings.||The record mode menu has options for self-timer, burst mode, image size (though not quality), white balance, ISO, color, AF modes, metering and storage options.|
|The final option takes you to a separate setup menu where basic camera options (sounds, BlueTooth settings etc) can be found.||In playback mode you can choose to view basic shooting information as an overlay (with histogram), though aperture and shutter speed information is still the V610's little secret.|
|You can magnify images to take a closer look, view thumbnails (3x3) or view images by date in a calendar view. As usual with EasyShare cameras you can also set up albums (using the supplied software) and save around a hundred low resolution 'favorites' on the internal memory for, erm, carrying with you at all times and sharing with everyone you meet.||The playback menu offers the usual array of options, including slideshows, copying (to and from the card/internal memory) and cropping.|
|There are several neat playback options, including 'Perfect Touch Technology', which offers a pretty effective image correction for those without access to a PC (though I'd advise using the 'save as copy' option as the 'correction' can sometimes be a little extreme). You can also stitch frames taken using the panorama mode in-camera, and remove red-eye.||The share menu (used for direct printing, marking images for email via the EasyShare software and designating images as 'favorites') is also home to the Bluetooth features. From here you can send images to (or receive them from) a Bluetooth-enabled computer or printer (or even a mobile phone). It's incredibly easy to use and works perfectly (if a little slowly). We were able to send files to a computer and phone effortlessley (with no setup at all), and receive files from a phone in seconds. Very impressive, even if you're only likely to use it infrequently.|