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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V610 Dual Lens

Kodak Digital Cameras


Kodak V610 Dual Lens Review

Review Date: Aug 1, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Kodak EasyShare V610 Dual Lens with optional Photo Frame Dock 2
The Kodak EasyShare V610 shown here with the optional Photo Frame Dock 2


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 Internal Memory]
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Wrist Strap
  • Soft Bag
  • Custom Camera Insert for Docking Station
  • Custom Printer Insert for optional Printer Dock Plus
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • USB / A/V connector
  • 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

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 digital camera.

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.

Dual Lens

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 is missed.

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 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 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.]

How To Take Great Panorama Shots With The Kodak V610

It is easy to take great panorama shots with the Kodak V610. There are three reasons for this:

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 shot anymore!

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.

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 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 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 firmware upgrade.]

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


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.

Advanced Users

Though the Kodak V610 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 and Exposure Metering mode.

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?

Saving Settings

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

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.

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 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 One-Touch transfer.

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 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 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 devices.

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.

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