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Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V610
Kodak V610 Dual Lens Review
Date: Aug 1, 2006
The Kodak EasyShare V610 shown
here with the optional Photo Frame Dock
Wednesday, Jul 19, 2006 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- EasyShare V610 Dual Lens
- No memory card included [but it has 32MB of
- Li-ion rechargeable battery
- AC Adapter
- Wrist Strap
- Soft Bag
- Custom Camera Insert for Docking Station
- Custom Printer Insert for optional Printer
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- USB / A/V connector
- 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
Unconventional thinking can create innovative
products, and the Kodak EasyShare V610 Dual
Lens digital camera is one of them, billed
by Kodak as the "world's smallest 10x optical
zoom camera." And they ain't kidding. I call
it the wireless ultra-zoom ultra-compact panorama
I love ultra zoom digital cameras. The maximum
telephoto reach (usually anywhere from 300 to
400mm) is stupendous, something that previously
required spending lots of money to get a long
zoom lens to attach to your 35mm SLR camera.
Then along came the long zoom digital cameras.
Because of their tiny image sensors, their lenses
could also be much smaller. Though light and compact
by SLR standards, the long zoom digicams were
not pocketable. Enter the Kodak V610 Dual Lens.
Here's the unconventional thinking: use 2 lenses
instead of one, and what you end up with is one
compact camera with a tele reach not available
on any other compact digicam.
The Kodak V610 has three features that set it
apart from its competitors: 1) the incredible
380mm reach in a compact body is perfect for those
who desire that kind of telephoto power without
carrying around a bulky camera; 2) an innovative
easy-to-use panorama stitch mode does it in-camera
so you don't need to be bothered to do it later
in software; and, 3) BLUETOOTH wireless technology
for no hassle transfer and printing of images
to a BLUETOOTH-enabled PC and printer.
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 tele and
panoramic shots, the Kodak V610 is hard not to
become your favourite take-anywhere digital camera.
The dual lens setup works very well. There's
just a pause when the first lens reaches the 114mm
mark. You release the zoom lever and press again
to switch to the second lens (at 130mm) and zoom
all the way up to 380mm.
All of this with no protruding lenses. Incredible.
Note that the gap between 114mm and 130mm is
not filled up by digital zoom. Digital zoom, if
activated in SETUP, engages only after the 380mm
mark is reached.
The lack of image stabilization at the high end
of the zoom is not a problem if it's bright and
a fast shutter speed is used. At slower shutter
speeds, hand holding shots is challenging.
Street Photography, Redefined
One of the most difficult thing to do for photographers
doing street photography is to point their camera
"in-your-face" at a subject.
You attention is usually caught by something
they are doing and you want to move in close,
but that alerts them to your presence... and the
spell is broken, the moment is passed, the shot
Never mind the dirty looks some might give you.
[Someone in a forum said that if you intend to
do street photography to wear a good pair of sneakers
or running shoes. Some subjects have been known
to get irate you are taking their pictures and
will literally run after you. Hence, the need
for a good pair of sneakers.]
Well, no more. The Kodak V610 Dual Lens, with
its black body, compact design and non-protruding
lenses looks just like a 3x optical zoom
compact digital camera. But looks can be deceiving,
because inside that elegant body lies a second
lens that will take you from 130 up to 380mm reach.
As, I said, perfect for street photography. Where
another ultrazoom is obviously so, the Kodak V610
is unobstrusive and will allow you to catch candids.
Great Panoramic (& Wide-Angle) 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 V610'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 V610.]
To Take Great Panorama Shots With The Kodak
It is easy to take great panorama shots
with the Kodak V610. There are three reasons
1) The panorama feature stitches 2 or 3
shots. So, pining for a wide-angle coverage
on this camera? Just take 2 quick panarama
shots, and you'll never miss a wide-angle
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.
Want a 360° coverage? Take 3 shots
and let the camera stitch them together.
When that's done, you don't have to stop
there. Take another 3 shots, and continue
in this way until you have covered a full
360°. You will then have to stitch the
"panorama" shots together in software.
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. In this
case, take the next 3 shots, and so on,
until you have covered the mural completely.
You will then have to stitch the "panorama"
shots together in software.
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 OK button to start the stitching
process. Also don't assume that if you press
power off right after taking your shots
that the camera is smart enough to finish
stitching the shots together and then power
off. No, the camera just turns off and no
warning is given that you will lose those
shots. Not good, and definitely a design
flaw that we hope Kodak fixes in a future
Follow these 4 tips and your panorama shots
should come out great. As usual, practice
As you start using the camera a lot at the 380mm
focal length, you realize that zooming to the
380mm mark and focusing takes some time to achieve
and the moment might be gone before you get a
chance to snap the shot.
Fortunately, the Kodak V610 has an "Infinity"
focus (DOWN ARROW). Leave the lens parked at the
380mm mark, the focus set at infinity, and when
you see a shot you like, compose and snap with
confidence that anything from 10m (32.9 ft) will
be in focus.
Though the Kodak V610 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 and Exposure
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 4-Way Arrows Controller does require a conscious
and definite push to dial in a change of setting.
Another feature is the ability to display a live
Histogram so you can judge exposure before you
take the picture. Why aren't more high-end digital
cameras so equipped?
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 the Scene
button, 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 Scene 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].
The battery is good for approx. 135 shots on
a full charge, which is very short compared to
what the competition is now offering. I strongly
recommend carrying a fully-charged spare with
you on a shooting session.
Photo Frame Docking Station
Note that, unlike for the EasyShare V570,
the Photo Frame Dock 2 (see picture
above) is now optional.
It's a convenient accessory to have if
you are like me and like to just plunk your
digital camera in a prescribed docking station
and leave it to start recharging the battery
automatically. A 3-part indicator (3 battery
charging LED lights) on the docking station
gives an approximation of how much the battery
is currently charged. When fully charged,
all three battery charging lights on the
docking station light solid green and the
Favorites, Movie and AUTO/SCN buttons on
the camera light solid blue.
A cool feature of the Photo Frame Dock
2 is the Slide Show button: press the Slide
Show button on the docking station, and
your camera becomes a hands-free display
unit running a slide show of your pictures
(10 sec. interval). The camera sits on the
docking station at a slight angle for comfortable
viewing. The high resolution of the LCD
plus a wide viewing angle makes reviewing
pictures with others easier.
Press the Transfer button and your images
are immediately transferred to your PC using
the EasyShare software.
Again, the Photo Frame Dock 2 is optional
at about US $59.99, but worth it if you
like the convenience factor.
EasyShare Software 184.108.40.206
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.
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 V610 and 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 V610 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 V610) 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 V610 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 at ISO 64. At higher ISOs, the
image quality is only average. Its 10x optical
zoom and 380mm tele lens should be a major selling
point for many who desire or require that reach:
it gives you a new perspective and opens up many
new opportunities for great pictures. 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. Wirelessly, if you have BLUETOOTH-enabled
If you are one who must have the best image quality,
fastest zoom, etc. etc., the Kodak V610 is not
for you. But, if you want a camera that will allow
you to take pictures unobstrusively [thanks to
the 380mm reach], I believe you will find the
Kodak V610 a very capable digital camera. Take
a look at the Photo Gallery and download a couple
of the images at full original size. If you like
what you see, forget about what others say and
get yourself one of the most fun camera I have
used in years.