Kodak held a swank event at the Top of
the Rock club in Rockefeller Center yesterday to show off a bunch of new products
and technologies. The new technologies are described in an article I wrote for
But I want to say more about one item, the new 6.1-megapixel EasyShare V610 (pictured above). It’s a swank-looking cam with a few very interesting features. One, it continues the two-lens concept begun with the V570. Using two sets of lenses and sensors (it hands off half-way through zooming) it provides a 10X zoom: 38mm-380mm in 35 millimeter equivalent. These photos taken from atop Rockefeller Center illustrate the awesome zoom power. (Click for larger pics.)
The only competitor I know of is the new Panasonic TZ1, which has a single 10X zoom lens group that makes it a lot fatter: 1.5 inches with the lens retracted vs. a little over an inch for the Kodak. And the Kodak’s lenses don’t protrude: It remains just as skinny no matter how much you zoom. One odd thing, though, is the handoff from one set of lenses to the other. As you told down the zoom rocker, the lens seems to stop mid-way. You must then release and press it again to get it to shift over to the other lenses. But the image onscreen is never interrupted. Pretty slick!
Another cool thing on the V610 is Bluetooth. It’s Kodak’s first cam with the short-range wireless capability and maybe the first cam with it. (I’m not sure.) You can use it to send photos to a PC or printer that is Bluetooth enabled. Though I’m not sure how helpful this is. If you do it in lieu of using a USB cable, OK, I see the convenience. But I think it’s pretty easy to just pop out the SD memory card and slip it into a card reader on a PC or printer. (Many of both items now have card slots built in -- and certainly more than have Bluetooth built in).
A nice thing, though, is that you can also use it to send photos to a Bluetooth-enabled phone. From there, you can upload photos to the Web. But beware the caveats: Most phones can only accept tiny, thumbnail-size pics via Bluetooth, so the V610 gives you upload options: QVGA (for most phones), XGA (for 4x6 prints and the phones that accept them), or full-res (6.1MP) for the very few phones that don’t limit he size of photo uploads. A Kodak rep told me that a few Nokia phones can accept full-res pictures over Bluetooth.
Whatever phone you have, you’re out of luck if it’s from Verizon, since they cripple Bluetooth and won’t allow any uploads. (Yet another reason why I chose not to sign up with Verizon.)
But how do the photos look? Fine for small display, but don’t go ordering giant prints from Kodak Easy Share Gallery (nee oFoto). We’re talking lots of pixel noise here, even with the flash turned on. For a somewhat cruel comparison, click on the images to the left comparing the Kodak (left) and the very high-performing Panasonic TZ1. (Top one is in auto mode with flash; bottom is ISO 800, without flash. Click for larger pics.)
I think there is some justice in this, since the TZ1 is the only other 10X zoom compact model out there. (In addition to having less noise, the Panasonic also has optical image stabilization to provide crisper shots in low light.)
Would I buy the V610. Eh, no. But then, I’m an image snob. It’s definitely suitable for little online photos. And packing all the zoom into such a slim model is pretty darn cool.