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The solid construction continues all around the chassis, with a metal tripod mount on the base – many compact cameras will compromise here and go with a plastic mount, but using plastic means that it only takes one miss-thread to put an end to your tripod using days; a metal mount on the other hand will be strong enough to last the lifetime of the camera. The battery/memory card door is spring loaded and flips open when slid to one side. Under the flap both the memory card and the battery are secured, so even if the door did open accidentally, nothing can fall out by accident.
Most of the rear is taken up by the superb LCD display. This is without a doubt, the best LCD monitor that I have seen on a compact digital camera – at 2.8in it’s huge, but unlike most large LCD monitors, the resolution (230,000 pixels) is high enough to create a very fine image. Despite the large physical size, there’s no perceivable lag when framing images, even when you move the camera around fast – ideal for catching fast moving subjects; the V610 even offers a continuous AF mode specifically for this type of use. The monitor proved to be usable in pretty much any lighting condition – many of the test shots for this review were taken in very bright sunlight and the monitor was still easily viewable.
Auto focusing is fast and very accurate, while the AF illuminator means that you’ll have no trouble zeroing in on a target in low light conditions. The camera starts up in auto mode, which is fine for grabbing most photo opportunities, but if you hit the Scene button you’re presented with 22 different modes. Here you’ll find pretty much every scene mode you’re likely to need from landscape, to portrait, to party, to night portrait etc. The V610 is even kind enough to give you a brief explanation of what each mode means, rather than leaving you to guess what the icon represents like so many other cameras.
Another impressive party trick that the V610 has up its sleeve is the ability to create panoramic images by stitching multiple shots together into a single photo. Now, in some ways this isn’t anything new, since many digital cameras have been able to create panoramic shots over the years. However, most of those cameras require the user to stitch all the images together using a PC application, but it’s a very different story with the V610.