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I have to admit to being something of a snob when it comes to cameras. While I have often recommended the likes of Canon, Nikon, Pentax and even the odd Sony to friends and colleagues that have asked me for advice, it would never have occurred to me to suggest a Kodak. I’m not 100 per cent sure why this is, since I can vividly remember testing the Kodak DC120 back in 1997 and raving about its performance – it was the first consumer digital camera to sport a megapixel resolution. More recently though, I haven’t given much thought to Kodak digital cameras, but that all changed when I got my paws on the new EasyShare V610.
Of course if I took any notice of my resident camera expert Cliff, I would realise that Kodak is producing very high quality digital cameras – Cliff’s review of the Kodak EasyShare V550 was glowing, with the camera grabbing a Recommended award. As the name would suggest, the V610 is a direct descendant of the V550, but it has evolved into a far more feature rich beast.
The V610 really does have features galore, but one of its best party pieces is the 10x optical zoom lens. Actually that’s not entirely accurate – the V610 doesn’t have a 10x optical zoom lens, it has two lenses that combine for a 10x zoom range. In 35mm terms you’re looking at a focal length from 38 – 380mm, which really is phenomenal for such a slim compact camera.
It is worth mentioning though that you don’t actually have that entire focal length at your disposal – the first lens has a focal length of 38 – 114mm, while the second lens sports a 130 – 380mm range. Therefore there’s a jump between 114 and 130mm. Whether this is an issue for you really depends on whether the exact shot you want lies in the missing area of focal length, and even if it does, you could always just take a couple of steps forward or backwards to compensate.
On the plus side, splitting the focal length across two lenses means that the V610 won’t suffer from some of the optical aberrations that can affect compact lenses with very long focal lengths. And looking at the test shots I took with this camera, I’d say that Kodak has made the right decision.
The V610 isn’t as small as some compacts, measuring 111 x 55.5 x 23.2mm (WxHxD) and weighing 160g. That said, it does look and feel great, with solid metal construction and an attractive two tone black and silver finish. There’s a round metal lens protector that slides aside as soon as the power button is pressed – you’re ready to shoot in under two seconds.