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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V550

Kodak Digital Cameras


Kodak V550 Zoom Review

Review Date: Aug 15, 2005

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Kodak EasyShare V550 Zoom with optional Printer Dock Series 3 


The Kodak EasyShare V550 Zoom is a digital camera strictly targeted to Point-and-Shoot (P&S) photographers. It has 5.0 megapixel resolution and a Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon 36-108mm (35 mm equivalent) 3x optical zoom lens, with a maximum aperture of F2.8(W)-F4.8(T).

The Kodak V550 produces images that are sharp and rich in colours straight out of the camera. If you do not want to post-process any images in an image editing software, then you will like the images that come out already sharpened and saturated in colours.

3x Optical Zoom
Wide-angle 36mm
(35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 108mm
(35mm equivalent)

In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 6mm (36mm), and 18mm (108mm).

36mm, Auto, Multi-Pattern, 1/20 sec., F2.8, ISO 80
Macro, Tripod used

The Kodak V550 can focus as close as 5cm at wide-angle and 40cm at full telephoto.

White Balance Indoors
AWB WB = Tungsten

As the above two pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial light gives a slight pinkish hue; dialing in Tungsten WB corrects the colours really well. AWB works very well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800 (1.8MP)
ISO 400 ISO 800 (1.8 MP)

The Kodak V550 has 5 ISO settings going from ISO 80 to ISO 800. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds of 80, 100, 200, 400 and 800. At ISO 80 and ISO 100, noise is quite clean and under control. At higher ISOs up to 400, noise is visible, but the images are still very usable. At ISO 800, noise is quite visible as blotches of colour and the resolution is fixed to 1.8MP.

Interestingly, though the Kodak V550 defaults to ISO Auto mode everytime you switch it on, it smartly also defaults to ISO 80 as long as there is enough light to correctly expose the picture. Many of the photos in the gallery were taken in ISO Auto mode which the camera defaulted to ISO 80.

Chromatic Aberrations

We were not able to find much CA in everyday shots. A rare example is the picture above where the corner delimited by the red square at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right, shows minimal purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
70mm, Auto, Multi-Pattern, 8 sec., F3.8, ISO 80
Tungsten, Self-timer, Tripod Used

The Kodak V550 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 8 sec., therefore allowing night photography. Note that with Long Exposure set ON, ISO is defaulted to 80. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.

I place Bamm-Bamm under my table in the shadows. Since the camera selects the ISO automatically, I choose 8 sec. and let the camera adjust the aperture (f/3.8) and ISO (80) for correct exposure. I use the 10 sec. self-timer to negate camera shake.

Though the Kodak V550 is meant for P&S shooting, advanced photographers can use the exposure compensation to influence the exposure and use the Long Exposure setting to access shutter speeds from 0.5 to 8 sec.

Overall, the Kodak V550 is capable of producing good to very good image quality for its category and the images are sharp enough right out of the camera, with rich and appealing colours. The only area needing improvement is that highlights tend to be easily blown.

The pictures in the Kodak EasyShare V550 Zoom Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 5MP 2576 × 1932 pixels original size. Click on the image for the original version.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name (though the original sized image is, of course, not adjusted). The navigation images at the top are usually adjusted (levels and sharpening).

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!


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