The controls are well designed, with the main functions split between a row of buttons on the top and a simple circular arrangement on the back, consisting of a small joystick surrounded by four buttons. In shooting mode the joystick controls exposure compensation (left and right) as well as display mode and focusing mode (up and down). The four surrounding buttons activate the menu, playback mode, file deletion and the usual Kodak “share” mode, in which pictures can be marked for printing, emailing (with a built-in address book) or for inclusion in the Favourites album. The buttons on the top panel control flash mode, scene mode, movie mode and access the Favourites album. These buttons are illuminated, which helps when operating the camera in low light conditions. The zoom control is a rotary bezel around the shutter button. Overall the V1233 is very easy to use, and although I normally don’t like the word “intuitive” it really does apply in this case.
The LCD monitor screen is 2.5 inches with 230k pixels and a nice fast refresh rate of about 30fps, and although it is rather reflective the brightness is adjustable for use in bright sunlight. Thanks to the long, thin shape of the body there is plenty of room on the right of the screen for your thumb, and camera is comfortable and secure to hold. The V1233 is a point-and-shoot camera, and has a set of features that is about average for its class. The default shooting mode is full-auto, with a limited range of menu options. The menu is divided into three sections; the first offers only the basic options, including a two-speed self timer, a few colour options (high and low saturation, sepia or monochrome), single or continuous AF and image size. Like a lot of recent compacts there is no image quality (compression level) control. The second page of the menu offers more advanced controls, including focus area (multi-zone or centre), exposure metering mode (multi-zone, C/W or spot), white balance, ISO setting, sharpness setting and an option to turn off the red-eye pre-flash. As well as the main auto-exposure mode, the V1233 has 23 scene mode programs, including all the usual options such as portrait mode with face detection, panorama stitching, sports, macro, landscape and a variety of options to cope with unusual lighting conditions. It also includes a “digital image stabilisation” mode, but as far as I can tell this is just the usual ISO-boost function, providing a higher shutter speed in low light conditions, with the increased risk of image noise. The V1233 has a maximum ISO setting of 3200, but we’ll come back to that later.
One unusual feature of the V1233 is its High Definition video mode, which can shoot in 1280 x 720 (720p HD) resolution at 30 frames per second, with mono audio. It can also pay back both video and stills in HD format, and can be connected to a HD TV via an optional HDTV dock. HD seems to becoming the new buzzword in the digital camera world, but it’s worth remembering that while 720p HD video is higher than the usual resolution available to digital still cameras (most are VGA), 1280 x 720 resolution still images are only slightly more than one megapixel.
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