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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak V803

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Kodak EasyShare V803 Review

Review Date: Mar 5, 2007

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Kodak EasyShare V803
Kodak EasyShare V803 in Cosmic Blue


The Kodak EasyShare V803 is a digital camera targeted to Point-and-Shoot (P&S) photographers. It has 8.0 MP resolution on a 1/1.8 in. CCD and a KODAK RETINAR 36-108mm (35 mm equivalent) 3x optical zoom lens.

We find the overall image quality of the Kodak V803 to be good with low noise at ISO 80, but we would have preferred images to retain more details. Image compression is quite high producing file sizes that are about 2MB. The Kodak V803 produces images that are saturated in colours straight out of the camera. More advanced photographers might object to the high colour saturation.

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

The Kodak V803 provides 3x optical zoom. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 36mm and then 108mm (35mm equivalent).

The Kodak V803 has Auto (really, Programmed Auto) mode and 22 easy-to-use Scene Modes. This includes the on-camera panorama stitching popularized by the Dual Lens V Series: you take up to 3 shots and the camera stitches them together into a panorama. A slice of each previous shot is presented semi-transparent to allow precise alignment of the shots. I love this feature and this makes group shots and wide landscape shots fun and easy.

The camera also provides exposure compensation (though, no Auto Bracketing) but no Manual White Balance. Advanced photographers will welcome the live Histogram which can also be displayed in Playback mode.

Shutter speed ranges from 1/8-1/1,448 sec. in Auto mode. Slow shutter speeds from 0.5 to 8 sec. can be manually selected (MENU - Long Time Exposure). When using Long Time Exposure, you can set WB but not ISO. What this all means in practical terms is that you will be hard pressed to use this camera in low-light situations without resorting to the flash. Otherwise be prepared to use a tripod and erxperiment to obtain the correct exposure.

36mm, Long Time Exposure 0.5 sec., Multi-Pattern, F2.8
ISO 160, Macro, Tripod used

The Kodak V803 can focus as close as 5cm (2 in.) at wide-angle. Short of using a light tent or studio lights, in practice you will not be able to move in that close unless you can get light in there somehow to illuminate your subject. The above picture was taken at about 5 in. away using natural room lighting. The camera was placed on a tripod and I experimented with Long Time Exposure (LTE) to find the best shutter time to use. When using LTE, ISO is automatically set to AUTO (and seems to default to, or prefer, ISO 160).

There is no AF Area, i.e. you cannot manually move the AF Frame around on the screen to where you want it to focus.

There are three metering modes: Multi-Pattern, Center Weight and Center-Spot. Exposure and focus lock are achieved thru a half-press of the shutter release button.

White Balance Indoors
AWB Tungsten WB
AWB WB = Tungsten

As the above pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) can sometimes be quite accurate indoors under artificial tungsten light, better than using WB=Tungsten. Often, though, the AWB will behave quite mysteriously and return inconsistent results. It is not possible to set the WB manually. Outdoors, under natural light, the AWB works quite well.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800 (1.8MP)
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 1600  
ISO 1600  

You can set the ISO on the Kodak V803 from 80 to 1600. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate that noise at ISO 80 and 100 are under control. Noise starts to be slightly visible at ISO 200 but is usable. At ISO 400 to 1600, the presence of noise takes the form of coloured splotches.

[Editor's Note: Since we are most interested in ISO when using high ISOs in low-light situations, the above images are therefore usually taken in a low-light situation where long shutter speeds are necessary to correctly expose the images. However, on the Kodak V803, Long Time Exposure is only possible when ISO is set to Auto. Therefore, we have used flash to obtain the above images. If you look at the EXIF info, you'll notice that though the ISO changes, the exposure settings do not (1/100 s at f/4.9) -- it seems that the Kodak V803 varies the flash output instead to obtain correct exposure.]

The above images (taken at normal room lighting using two tungsten bulbs on the ceiling) tell us a lot about why not too many digital cameras are good for low-light situations -- in spite of the availability of a high ISO 1600. The use of flash can also sometimes results in stark images. Compare these pictures with another more natural looking one I took using a long exposure of 1.3 sec., f/4.9 at ISO 160 (automatically chosen by the camera):

ISO 160
108mm, Long Time Exposure 1.3 sec., Multi-Pattern, F4.9
ISO 160, Tripod used

Chromatic Aberrations

We were not able to find much CA in everyday shots. An example is above where the area delimited by the red square at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom left, shows slight purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
36mm, Long Time Exposure 4 sec., Spot, F2.8, ISO 160
Self-timer, Tripod Used

The Kodak V803 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 8 sec. in Manual mode, therefore allowing some limited night photography. It seems to use ISO 160 most (if not all) of the time, probably to keep noise levels in check. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds. The kodak V803 has noise reduction (NR) algorithm that automatically kicks in at shutter speeds slower than 0.5 sec. and you'll notice a longer processing time (approx. twice the exposure time) before the next picture can be taken.

To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take a low-light indoors shot using a long shutter speed of 4 sec. The NR works well, though the presence of noise is slightly apparent.

Long Shutter Speed - PERFECT TOUCH Technology
36mm, Auto, 1/8 sec., F2.8, ISO 160
PERFECT TOUCH Technology applied in-camera

To correct underexposed images as the one above, the PERFECT TOUCH Technology feature is a life saver. It brightens the image in-camera and allows you to save the enhanced image as a separate picture. It's not too apparent at small sizes, but noise is increased and there seems to be some artefacts such as the halo around the black hair. A similar Enhance feature is also available in the EasyShare software.

Overall, I am quite impressed with the overall image quality of the Kodak V803. For a US $199.95 digital camera, it's a bargain. A first-time user will find this digital camera point-and-shoot easy to use and easy to obtain good results.

The pictures in the Kodak EasyShare V803 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 3264× 2448 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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