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Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V570
Kodak V570 Dual Lens Review
Date: Apr 2, 2006
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
- Li-ion rechargeable battery
- Docking Station
- Custom Camera Insert for Docking Station
- Wrist Strap
- Soft Bag
- Custom Printer Insert for optional Printer
- Power Cable
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- Software CDs: EasyShare v5.2 software with
- Instruction Manual: Start Here! Quick 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
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
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
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
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
To Take Great Panorama Shots With The Kodak
It is easy to take great panorama shots
with the Kodak V570. There are three reasons
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
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
Overall, this Left-Right shot might come
out better than the previous Right-Left
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
As you can see from the LCD screen prints on the
& 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
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.
Though the Kodak V570 is targeted to beginners,
more advanced photographers will find useful manual
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
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 22.214.171.124
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.