Announced as recently as January this year, the EasyShare V803 occupies the second-from-top position in Kodak’s popular V-series of pocket-sized compact digital cameras, just behind the 10-megapixel V1003. The V803 features an 8-megapixel CCD, a compact 3x optical zoom, a 2.5in LCD monitor, and comes in a range of no less than eight different colours, including red, blue, yellow, purple, white, silver, pink and the sexy matt black version I’m testing today.
The 3x zoom compact digital camera market is rather crowded to say the least, so a camera has to be either very cheap or very good to stand much chance of success. With its 8MP sensor and auto-only controls the V803 is competing against the likes of the new Fujifilm FinePix A800 (£120), HP Photosmart R927 (£150), Nikon Coolpix P3 (£170), Olympus FE-250 (£190) and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100 (£200). The V803 has a list price of £149.99, and is available online from around £130 including delivery, so it’s got the first qualification covered, but what about the second?
Initial impressions are extremely favourable. The camera is sleek and stylish, with an aluminium body that is smoothly rounded with no protruding controls, and build quality is excellent. The lens retracts back into the body, and the whole package is designed to slip into a pocket for a night out. It has a long thin shape, measuring 103 × 54.5 × 25 mm and weighing 141.5 g, so while it’s not quite in the ultra-compact category, it is one of the smaller and lighter cameras I’ve seen recently. The LCD monitor is positioned centrally on the back panel, with the main control buttons on the top and left, leaving plenty of room on the right to hold the camera, and despite the lack of any sort of thumb or finger grip it fits securely and comfortably in the hand, and can easily be operated one-handed. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the zoom control, which is a bit small and fiddly and only provides five steps between the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom range.