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Although you’re not going to have full manual control on a compact camera, the V610 does offer a reasonable amount of creative control. You can set a long exposure up to eight seconds, so there will be no problem capturing night scenes. There’s also a live histogram function, and ISO ratings from 64 up to 800. There’s also two steps of exposure compensation either way in 0.3 EV steps. Even the burst mode is pretty good for a compact camera with a total of eight frames fired off at 1.6fps.
Even the self timer does everything you could want it to, offering a 10 second clock so that you can get into the picture, or a two second clock allowing you to take long exposure shots without fear of introducing camera shake by pressing the shutter release button. You can even set the self timer to take two consecutive pictures automatically.
Image quality is surprisingly good for a compact camera with such a long lens (or more accurately lenses). With a focal length of 38 – 380mm I thought I’d compare it to my Canon EOS 350D and a 28 – 200mm lens; with the 350D’s 1.6x multiplier the effective focal length is 44 – 360mm, pretty close to the V610. Taking both sets of shots on full auto, the V610 managed to put in a good performance compared to a digital SLR equipped with a lens that cost more this entire camera. Obviously with the 350D I could have spent some time composing the pictures manually, but as far as point and shoot duties go, the V610 is a more than capable tool.
Image noise is also kept under control at 64 and 100 ISO settings, with 200 ISO shots usable in the right conditions. Pushing up to 400 and 800 ISO is a bit too much for the V610 though, and I wouldn't really suggest using these settings. Flash coverage is good and the red eye reduction works better than in some cameras I’ve used. You can even achieve some decent depth of field effects with the V610, although it falls short of a true aperture priority feature.