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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V570 Dual Lens

Kodak Digital Cameras


Kodak V570 Dual Lens Review

Review Date: Apr 2, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Kodak EasyShare V570 Dual Lens with included Photo Frame Dock 2 station


Friday, Mar 17, 2006 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • EasyShare V570 Dual Lens
  • No memory card included [but it has 32MB of Internal Memory]
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Docking Station
  • Custom Camera Insert for Docking Station
  • Wrist Strap
  • Soft Bag
  • Custom Printer Insert for optional Printer Dock Plus
  • Power Cable
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • Software CDs: EasyShare v5.2 software with printer driver
  • Instruction Manual: Start Here! Quick Guide, User's Guide
  • I also received the optional Printer Dock Plus Series 3 Printer to review

The Kodak EasyShare V570 Dual Lens digital camera has two features that set it apart from its competitors: the ultra-wide angle lens is perfect for group shots and wide landscape vistas; and, an innovative easy-to-use in-camera panorama stitch mode needs only 3 pictures to cover a full panoramic 180°. They don't seem like much just reading them on paper, but once you start taking pictures and seeing how easy it is to get great wide-angle and panoramic shots, the Kodak V570 might very well become your favourite ultra compact take-anywhere camera.

From Left to Right, Everyone Is Included In Group Shots

Friends and colleagues are always complaining to me that their digital cameras are not good with group shots. Most digital cameras do not cover a wide enough angle for group shots, and you have to back up to include everyone. However, if you back up too much, the faces of the poeple are too small to be recognizable. In addition, the onboard flash is usually not powerful enough to properly light up the whole group when it's too far away. This "Group Shot" feature alone would sell truck loads of digital cameras.

The Kodak V570 solves the first half of the "Group Shot" feature with its 23mm ultra-wide angle lens. However, its onboard flash is not powerful enough and does not provide full ultra-wide angle coverage. So, group shots in bright light are OK, but might be challenging when it gets too dark.

I remember at least one digital camera that had two flash, one for regular coverage, and the second one for ultra tele coverage. For the Kodak V570, we need either a second flash or an insert for ultra-wide angle coverage. Or, provide the possibility to attach an external flash to provide that extra ultra-wide angle coverage.

Great Panoramic Shots As Easy As 1-2-3

When I first started using digital cameras, the possibility to take real panoramic shots (not the pseudo "panorama" mode of APS film cameras that simply cropped the top and bottom portion of the picture to simulate a panorama shot) was a powerful attraction. As I dabbled into it, I found that the software you used mattered as well as how helpful the panorama mode of the camera was.

For example, did the camera display part of the previous shot as semi-transparent to allow easy alignment with the next shot? The more closely aligned your shots are, the more seamless your final resultant panorama shot will be.

Also, I found that the panorama software had to be good or I could spend hours trying to get the stitching right. There are some good ones out there, but who likes spending time stitching images?

That is why the Kodak V570's in-camera panorama stitching is such a convenience. It works well but does require that you align your shots carefully -- and that can be challenging using a relatively small LCD screen (compared to a 17-in. or larger computer screen). Our panorama image samples were handheld and so suffers from some misalignment, though you would not be able to see it unless you view it full size. Overall, if you choose your alignment points carefully, your panorama shots should come out very acceptable.

[See our tips on how to take great panorama shots with the Kodak V570.]

I don't believe Kodak has targeted those who love wide landscape vistas strongly enough. This is easily a new sub category that could take off in new printers, paper types, etc. catering to printing panoramas.

How To Take Great Panorama Shots With The Kodak V570

It is easy to take great panorama shots with the Kodak V570. There are three reasons for this:

1) The ultra-wide angle lens covers a wide field of view with only 2 shots and a full 180° with 3 shots.

2) The in-camera panorama stitching gives you a semi-transparent overlay of the previous shot that greatly helps in proper alignment.

3) The Panorama scene mode is divided into 2 scene modes: Left-Right and Right-Left. In case you're wondering what's the big deal, it is. Read Tip #1 to see why.

Here are 4 tips that will help you nail that panorama shot everytime:

Tip #1 - Select Your First Shot Carefully

When taking multiple images for a panorama shot, the first shot is used to meter the exposure. This is important to keep in mind if you want to have your panorama shots correctly exposed.

Let's take an example where you want to take a 3-shot panorama of a Family Room - Breakfast Area - Kitchen (say, from Left to Right in that order), as is currently the design for many new houses in the Toronto real-estate market. The Family Room usually includes a large porch door that allows lots of light in while the Kitchen is usually the area with less light. So depending on whether you take your first shot with the Family Room or the Kitchen, the exposure will be metered and set differently.

If you start with the Kitchen first (a Right-Left shot), the camera meters for the somwhat dark Kitchen and exposes it correctly. Next you move left to the Breakfast Area, and the exposure is still OK. But when you move to the Family Room, the porch door ends up being too over-exposed, resulting in a not-too-successful panorama shot.

Reverse the panning order and select the Panorama Left-Right scene mode instead. Now, on your first shot, the camera meters for the large porch door and correctly exposes the Family Room. Next you move right to the Breakfast Area and the exposure is still OK. When you move to the Kitchen, depending on how dark it is, you might either end up with an under-exposed Kitchen shot, or more probably (since the Kitchen also has a window), slightly under-exposed but OK exposure.

Overall, this Left-Right shot might come out better than the previous Right-Left shot.

For great panorama shots, always give it a dry run first, checking the 2 or 3 shots that you want to stitch together, and carefully selecting the one to make your first shot. A good rule of thumb is to start with the shot that has the most light that may come out way overexposed or the one with the least light that may come out way underexposed. If all 3 shots are lighted about the same, it does not make a difference which Panorama mode you choose. If in doubt, take two panorama shots, one Left-Right, then a second one Right-Left, then select to keep the best.

Tip #2 - Keep Camera Level

A second important thing to keep in mind is to keep your camera level. Keeping the camera level keeps your horizon level, so the ceiling does not slope up or down. It also allows alignment of the 3 shots to be as perfect as possible. Using a tripod here is highly recommended.

Tip #3 - Pivot Around Camera

The third tip is to pivot around the center of the camera, not your body. In other words, it's the camera that should pivot, not you. This is because we are not holding the camera close against our face, peering through the viewfinder. There is no viewfinder and we are holding our hands out and looking into the LCD monitor. So just pivot the camera (imagine it's on a tripod), and the wide viewing angle of the LCD monitor definitely helps here. Of course, as in the previous tip, placing the camera on a level surface or a tripod is highly recommended.

Take 3 shots and you have covered a full 180°. Don't have to stop there. After the stitching is complete, take another 3 shots, continuing to pivot so that you cover the next 180°, for a full 360°.

You do not need to pivot at all. If you are taking a picture of an essentially flat and wide subject, e.g. a mural, simply start at one end and walk across the mural, being careful to keep the camera level and the same distance from the wall. Too bad Kodak restricts panorama shots to 3 only; some murals may need more than 3 shots.

Tip #4 - Be Careful When Including People

The one thing to be careful of when including people in your panorama shots is if they are moving around, you may end up with one or more persons appearing more than once in your final panorama shot.

It's also quite difficult, even impossible, to align 2 shots if you are using a person as your alignment point. If the person walks away when you take the next shot, you may end up with a half-bodied "ghost."

[Editor's Note: A note of caution is necessary when you are taking only 2 shots. When you are taking 3 shots, the camera automatically stitches the shots together after the third shot is taken. Not so with 2-shot panoramas. You must press the mini Joystick in to start the stitching process. I lost a number of 2-shot panoramas when I simply turned off the camera after the 2nd shot. I wrongly assumed the camera would stitch the shots first and then power off. The camera just turned off and no warning were given that I would lose those shots. Not good, and definitely a design flaw that we hope Kodak fixes in a future firmware upgrade.]

Follow these 4 tips and your panorama shots should come out great. As usual, practice makes perfect.


Since the camera starts out at the ultra-wide angle 23mm focal length, and it is a fixed-focus lens, there are no AF frame on the LCD screen to indicate focus is achieved. Remember it is fixed focus, so there is no focusing to perform: objects within the distance range specified are always in focus. Similarly, AF-assist never needs to fire when using a fixed-focus lens. Also you can't do macro with the ultra-wide angle lens.

At first, all of this got me confused quite a bit. So, for a moment there, I was nonplussed and thought perhaps my review camera was defective. It took some poking around the User's Guide and reading other reviewers' comments before I figured out the above and slapped my forehead: it's a fixed-focus lens, duh!

Now, Shawn Barnett & Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource have suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea for the Kodak V570 to start out at the 39mm focal length when powered on. Users can then zoom out (to the ultra-wide angle) or zoom in (to the tele). I would like to second that suggestion.

Menu Structure

There are two aspects of Kodak's V570's menu that [might] need improvement. I say "might" because if you are a beginner, you probably will be very happy with the current menu structure and can safely skip reading this section. If you are more advanced, you will probably feel some frustration with the current menu structure.

1) As you can see from the LCD screen prints on the Handling & Feel page, the icons/options do not have a corresponding text beside them.

For example, when you are on the third SETUP page (SETUP 3 of 5, reproduced at the right), the highlighted option displays "Red Eye Preflash" at the top.

But you would not be able to tell just by looking at the two options above it that Distortion Compensation is set to ON and Orientation Sensor to OFF.

In other words, you basically have to scroll thru each option to figure things out. There are lots of space to include a text beside the icon/option, and even beginners would appreciate that extra help.

2) The MENU structure is just a long list of items, and again to reach an option, you have no choice but to patiently scroll thru each item. This probably makes it easy for first-time users, but more advanced users will soon tire of not being able to quickly jump to an item. Most menu structures I've seen use a couple of tabs or icons (like for the Scene Modes) to permit fast access.

Advanced Users

Though the Kodak V570 is targeted to beginners, more advanced photographers will find useful manual controls.

For example, its Auto mode is really a Programmed Auto mode, allowing changes to WB, ISO, Exposure Metering mode, Focus Zone.

One standard feature that I really appreciate with Kodak digital cameras is that the Left and Right arrow keys default to Exposure Compensation. No need to go into the Menu to do it or press an extra button. The danger is that you may inadvertently dial in an exposure compensation but it surprisingly does not happen easily here -- perhaps because the mini Joystick does require a conscious and definite push to dial in a change of setting.

Frustrated that the camera does not keep your MENU settings? Any changes you make in the MENU apply only to the current session. When next time you power on, the camera will default back to its factory-shipped settings.

There is a way to keep your settings, though: use the Custom scene mode. Just press SCN, select Custom (it's the last icon), and press OK. Then go into menu and set your favourite settings. When you turn off/on the camera, it will default back to Auto mode. Press SCN and select Custom again [if that's where you left it last time, the icon will still be selected] to retrieve your saved settings.

It would be great if Kodak could add a SETUP option for those of us who like our settings to stay [Menu Changes = Reset | Stay].

EasyShare Software

Kodak EasyShare Software 5

The EasyShare Software 5 is easy to install and use. Anyone [even if you do not own a Kodak digital camera] can download it for free. If you are running an older version, you can download the most recent one from Kodak's site.

The default transfer directory on Windows XP is the "My Pictures" directory on the C: drive in Documents and Settings. I much prefer to create a new directory under a name of my own choosing so I can easily find the pictures when I need to. You set this directory in: Tools - Preferences... - Transfer - Browse.

If you use the EasyShare Software to edit your photos, be aware that the default image compression is set to less than the highest quality possible. So the pictures you edit and save will be of less quality than the original one. [Always save using a different name so you don't muck up the original picture.] This is all right if that's what you want. But if you want the highest quality, go to: Tools - Preferences... - General tab - select Large File/High Quality JPEG compression.

The EDIT function allows you to Crop, Rotate, remove Red Eye, auto Enhance, Scene Balance (exposure, shadow, highlight), Color Balance (pseudo WB correction), apply various Scene Effects (B&W, Sepia Tone, Forest, Scenic, Portrait, Sunset), and apply Fun Effects (Spotlight, Coloring Book, Cartoon, Fisheye). Of the Fun Effects, Coloring Book removes all colours and make a black ink outline, and Cartoon is similar but retains the colours. I have put a Coloring Book image sample in the Kodak V570 Photo Gallery.

You can also burn selected images to a CD or DVD.

The one improvement suggestion I would have liked to see is more detailed EXIF info.

One-Touch Printing With The Printer Dock Plus Series 3

I also received the optional Printer Dock Plus Series 3 printer that prints borderless 4x6 in. prints. From unpacking the printer to printing your first photo, "It's so easy that even mom can do it.™" [Trademark, Photoxels ;o)]

If you have the Printer Dock Plus Series 3 printer, you do not need to use the Photo Frame Dock 2 station. You will need to use the printer insert that came with the Kodak V570 ad place that on top of the printer to act as a cradle for the camera. Placing the camera on the Printer Dock Plus will recharge your camera (same 3 battery charging LEDS), play a slide show and perform One-Touch transfer.

Printing is really a one-touch affair, printing either directly from the Kodak V570 or from the EasyShare software. If you think printing at home is messy and difficult, then the combination of a Kodak digital camera and the Printer Dock Plus Series 3 will quickly dispel that erroneous notion.

Everything you need to start printing immediately is included in the printer kit: the printer itself, color cartridge that slides in without any mess, 10 sheets of glossy photo paper, and paper tray. Slide the color cartridge in (there's only one way to slide it in, so you won't make a mistake); put the paper in the tray (glossy side up, and you'll need to first slide the cover out about half way) and insert tray in printer (slide the cover back except for a couple of inches); plug in power cable and USB cable (USB cable for printing from your PC); and place custom printer insert (that came with the Kodak V570) on top of the printer if you intend to print directly from the camera.

If you print directly from the camera, there is nothing to set up.

If you print from your PC, you should first click the "Print at Home" tab, then "Printer Setup" and select "KODAK printer dock plus s3" in the Printer Name drop down, and Orientation = Landscape. Click OK to accept the changes. [Note you cannot just go to your PC's "Printers and Faxes" (if running Win XP) and set the KODAK printer as the default printer. It doesn't work.]

Then select the picture, and press (or click) "Print" to send the image to the printer. [Or, select a photo, Right-Click and select "Quick Print".] In about 70 sec. (if printing from my PC, a Windows XP 1.6GHz 512MB) or 90 sec. (if priting directly from the camera), a beautiful 4x6 in. print is the result. The photo is printed in 4 passes: one each for yellow, red, blue, then a clear coat of lamination to make the print waterproof and durable.

The printer is also equipped with Bluetooth 1.1 wireless technology for wireless printing from compatible Bluetooth wireless technology enabled devices, including PDAs and wireless mobile phones. The printer will receive Bluetooth signals from within 10 m (30 ft).

If you have a Wi-Fi wireless network, you can purchase an optional Kodak Wi-Fi card and insert it into the card slot in the printer for wireless transfer and printing.

[Editor's Note: I have not tested the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology.]

Make sure you have enough clearance (about 5 in. / 12.7 cm) on the other side of the printer since that is where the paper will slide out temporarily before being run through the printer again. In all, you'd need a minimum real estate of 46 x 20 cm (or, 18 x 8 in.) desk space for the printer.

It is that simple and it beats waiting for the camera store to return your prints. It is also compact enough to bring with you to a party, family visit, or other social occasion. Purchase a kit containing a color cartridge and 40 photo paper, bring it all with you, and you can take pictures and immediately print and leave a copy with family and friends.


The Kodak EasyShare V570 Dual Lens is a one-of-a-kind digital camera that gives well exposed, good to very good quality images straight out of the camera. Its ultra-wide angle lens should be a major selling point for many who desire or require that wide coverage. It is very easy to use and, paired with the optional Printer Dock Plus Series 3 printer, you have One-Touch facility in transferring images to your PC and printing 4x6 in. prints in the convenience of your home.

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