Recently, we had an opportunity to get our hands on two of Kodak's most stylish and interesting cameras, the EasyShare V705 and the EasyShare V610. These cameras are sleek, compact, and both have a rather stunning dual-lens configuration that really makes them stand out from the rest of the pack. The extra lens gives these a unique, special power; the V705 is capable of taking 28mm wide-angle photographs while the V610 packs a long, 10x optical zoom in its tiny frame.
We put these cameras through the wringer, taking photos with all different settings and in a variety of environments, and in the end, came to a very solid conclusion: while these cameras claim to offer a lot of nifty new features, they really don't live up to the hype.
The V705 Has Control Issues
The V705 set off red flags as soon as we took it out of the box. In the midst of the relatively straightforward back panel, which contained only a few simple buttons, Kodak placed a tiny little nub of a joystick which is used to navigate the menus and change settings. It was so difficult to use, so utterly impossible to control, we went out to get another V705 just to make sure we didn't receive a dud. The joystick on the second V705 was much better, and didn't insist on randomly selecting and modifying settings, but it was still small and could present a problem if you have large fingers or get frustrated easily. Also, there's the danger that over time, the V705 joystick will become worn and hypersensitive, ending up like the first camera we played with. In contrast to this miserable experience, the V610's navigation was controlled by a simple, flat directional pad which was a pleasure to use.
Taking Photos is a Mixed Bag
The V705's special feature, the 28mm wide-angle lens, worked very well, resulting in excellent shots that captured the totality of the scene. Check out our sample photos to see the significant effect a wide-angle lens can have on a photo. Unfortunately, the camera was a failure when it came to standard photos, especially up close. It was difficult to get a photo out of the V705 that wasn't blurry or distorted. The camera just couldn't handle low-light, mid-light, indoor, and up-close photos. On the flip side, the V610 took very good photos with its standard lens, but once we kicked it up to test the 10x optical zoom, things got very blurry. The V610 lacks image stabilization, which is a must have for a small camera with a big zoom. If you're looking for an ultracompact extended zoom camera, you'd be better off with the Panasonic TZ3. Click here to see the V610's extended zoom in action.
Don't Waste Your Time or Money
It's hard to recommend either of these cameras. They've got good points, but the bad certainly outweighs them, and if you're going to invest several hundred dollars in a new digital camera, you're going to want something that satisfies on every level. Kodak gets points for trying new things and pushing boundaries but without the quality to back it up, we'll pass and wait for future models to do it better.
Kodak EasyShare V705
Kodak EasyShare V610
Kodak V705: Wide-Angle Lens Test
Kodak V610: Extended Zoom Test