The video mode at least is good, shooting at 640×480 resolution and 30fps with decent quality sound. Movie playback offers frame-by-frame advance, simple editing, and the option to take still frames from video clips.
Battery life seems to be reasonably good. The V803 is powered by a surprisingly compact 1050mAh Li-ion rechargeable, and I was able to use the camera for several days, shooting about 150 shots, many with flash, without making much of a dent in the charge meter.
Fortunately the V803 makes up for its performance deficiencies in picture quality. As with most Kodak cameras, colour rendition is fantastic, with superbly rich natural colour. Exposure is also excellent, with very good dynamic range providing plenty of shadow detail without losing the highlights. The 8MP sensor captures plenty of fine detail without the purple highlight fringing that affects some high-resolution CCDs. Noise control is also good. Although there is some image noise as low as 100 ISO it remains well controlled up to the maximum of 1600, and shots at that speed are usable.
Surprisingly the picture files average only around 2.1MB, which is very small for an 8MP camera, but despite this there was little evidence of compression artefacts, and it does mean that a 1GB SD card is enough for a massive 439 shots.
The Kodak Retinar lens performs brilliantly, providing perfect corner-to-corner sharpness with no trace of chromatic aberration. There is some barrel distortion at wide angle, but no more than most zoom compacts, and anyway it vanishes completely with just a touch of zoom. The zoom range of 36-108mm equivalent is wider than most other 3x zoom compacts, making the V803 a good choice for holiday snapshots with wide landscapes and large groups of people.
If you can forgive its sluggish start-up time and underpowered flash, the Kodak Easyshare V803 is a well made and stylish camera with a good range of user options, long battery life and easy handling, and which can provide excellent picture quality at a very reasonable price.
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