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Kodak Easyshare V603 Digital Camera Review
by  -  6/6/2006

The Kodak Easyshare V603 is a recent addition to their ultra compact and stylish V series. It captures images at 6.1 megapixels with a 3x optical zoom. Check out your images on the 2.5 inch, 230K pixel LCD. The V603 provides good image quality, easy, quick operation in a stylish, solid body that's under an inch thick.

kodak easyshare V603
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NUTS & BOLTS

Image Sensor

The V603 shoots at an effective resolution of 6.1 megapixels (2832x2128) with a 1/2.5 inch Super HAD CCD. You can also capture images at 5.3MP, 4MP, 3.1MP, and 1.8MP.

Viewfinder/LCD

There is no optical viewfinder on the V603, but you get a large 2.5 inch LCD. The LCD has 230K pixels of resolution, enough to show a sharp picture and fine detail. The LCD performs very well in bright, sunlit conditions. It also represents colors well and refreshes frequently enough for a fluid image.

kodak easyshare V603
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Zoom

The Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon lens features a 35mm equivalent focal length of 36-108mm for a 3x optical zoom. The lens also features an aperture range of f/2.8 at wide angle and f/4.8 at the telephoto end.

Focus Modes and Focus Ranges

The V603, by default, uses a multi-zone auto focus, but you can also choose to use center auto focus. You can focus on subjects as close as 24 inches in Normal mode and 2 inches in Macro mode (at wide angle).

While shooting, you can cycle through normal, macro, and landscape focus modes with successive pushes on the down direction of the directional pad. You also have the option of using Single AF or Continuous AF. When set on Single AF, the camera achieves focus lock when you partially depress the shutter release. During Continuous AF, the camera always stays in focus. As you can imagine, Continuous mode will drain your battery a lot faster.

A focus assist light helps out during low light conditions to illuminate your subject.

Flash

The built-in flash has a claimed range of 2 feet to 8.5 feet at wide angle and 2 feet to 5.9 feet at full telephoto. The range actually seems to be pretty realistic. For flash modes, you get Auto, Forced On, Forced Off, and red eye reduction.

Memory Media

You can store images on 32MB of internal memory with about 27MB for picture storage. An SD/MMC slot on the side of the camera allows for more storage.


SD slot

Image and Movie File Format(s)

Images are stored as JPEG and movies are recorded as Quicktime MOV files.

Connectivity

A/V output, USB connector, and Kodak camera dock/printer connector

Power

The V603 is powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack (KLIC-7002).

Battery life was average, good for a couple hundred shots. Since it's a proprietary battery, you may want to get a spare if you have a couple days of heavy shooting without access to the charger.

kodak easyshare v603
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EXPOSURE

If you've used a Kodak before, their shooting modes haven't changed too much recently. To keep things easy, you can shoot in Auto mode, or in any one of their scene modes. For scene modes, you get: Portrait, Panorama, Sports, Landscape, Close Up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Museum, Self Portrait, Party, Children, Backlight, Panning, Candlelight, Sunset, and Custom.

There is a Long Exposure mode, accessible in the Setup menu that lets you set exposure "manually" for the following shutter speeds: 0.5, 0.7, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 seconds.

Movie Mode

The V603 lets you capture movies at resolutions of 640x480 and 320x240. Both resolutions are captured at 30 frames per second with audio.

Metering

Multi-pattern, center-weighted, and center spot metering.

White Balance

The Automatic white balance does a good job in a lot of lighting conditions. However, if you want to play around with it, you can also choose daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, and shade.

Sensitivity

This camera can shoot at ISO values of 80, 100, 200, 400, and 800 (only at 1.8MP). During Auto mode, the camera adjusts the ISO between 80 and 160.

Noise performance was pretty good. It was well controlled up to ISO 200 and would probably not be noticeable in smaller (4x6) prints at ISO 400.



In-Camera Image Adjustment

During image capture, you can adjust the colors. Choose from high color, natural color, low color, sepia, and black and white. You can also adjust the contrast and sharpness.

CONTROLS, DESIGN, ENGINEERING, & ERGONOMICS

The Kodak V603, like the rest of its V-series brethren, is slim and stylish. A mostly black body has some chrome and other metal accents. At 3.6 inches wide, by 2 inches high, by 0.9 inches thick, it has a pretty small footprint. The lens is protected by a cover when the lens is folded into the body of the camera. The camera has a nice solid feel in hand and the camera is built with high quality in mind.

kodak easyshare V603
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When I reviewed the Kodak EasyShare V570 dual lens camera, I wasn't pleased with the controls on the back of the camera. I was happy to see that, with the V603, things are greatly improved. The buttons along the left side of the LCD are easier to push and they've also improved the directional pad mechanism as well. With the V570, a joystick provided the control and it was a bit difficult to operate. Using more of a standard rocker style directional pad, the V603 is much easier to use.

Along the top of the camera, there are buttons that let you access the Favorites mode, movie mode, and scene modes. Another button lets you cycle through the flash modes and you'll find the power button and shutter release as well.

kodak easyshare v603
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On the back of the camera, to the left of the LCD are a set of buttons that are pretty standard on Kodak cameras. The Delete, Menu, Review, and Share buttons are pretty self-explanatory. To the right of the LCD is the directional pad, which lets you cycle through normal, macro, and landscape modes. Also, it provides easy access to the exposure compensation adjustment and cycling through the amount of information that is displayed on the screen.

kodak easyshare v603             kodak easyshare v603


Full information display

Technical Specifications


Included

In the box, you'll find the camera, USB cable, AV cable, lithium ion rechargeable battery, AC adapter, carry strap, camera case, Kodak EasyShare software, Getting Started kit, camera dock insert to match the camera, and printer dock insert for the camera. The AC adapter can be plugged directly into the camera for charging or into the optional Photo Frame Dock.

PERFORMANCE

Image Quality

Overall, I was impressed with the image quality. They generally showed good colors, good contrast and good detail. The white balance handled various lighting conditions well. Noise performance was average to good. ISO 80 and 100 will produce good larger prints (8x10) and maybe even ISO 200. In shots taken at ISO 400, you can probably still get away with smaller prints without noticeable graininess.

The camera did have a tendency to overexpose some images. If you do notice things overexposed a bit, you can easily adjust the exposure compensation or play around with different metering methods to see what works best.

Timing/Shutter Lag

The V603 is one of the fastest operating Kodak cameras that I've used recently. Shutter lag was very good (almost instantaneous when focus lock already achieved). Cycle time was also very good, even with the flash enabled. In fact, this led to some odd behavior -- after repeated quick shots, the camera was "allowed" to capture the shot before the flash had a chance to recharge. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but definitely interesting.

Sample Images

 
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 kodak easyshare v603 sample
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 kodak easyshare v603 sample
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Natural color (view medium image) (view large image)
 
High color (view medium image) (view large image)
 
Macro (view medium image) (view large image)
 
Indoor with flash (view medium image) (view large image)


Conclusion

The Kodak Easyshare V603 is a stylish, capable camera. Kodak has a done a good job of improving the usability of the controls while keeping the camera's style. Also improved is the operation speed of the camera -- with minimal shutter lag and good cycle time.

The image quality of the camera is good, with a slight tendency to overexpose. Kodak works pretty hard to make it easy to take pictures, so along with the easy camera operation, it can also plug right into their Easyshare printers to print out your Kodak moments.

Pros

Cons