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Kodak Easyshare V705 Digital Camera Review
by Ben Stafford -  10/16/2006

The Kodak Easyshare V705 is a pretty straightforward upgrade to the V570.  The most significant changes between the two is that the V705 captures 7.1 megapixels of resolution and the addition of an ISO 1000 setting.  Other than that, the V705 looks the same (except that it’s also available in silver and pink), and is about the same size.

kodak easyshare v705
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Since the V705 is so similar to its predecessor, I’ve reused parts of the V570 review that still apply. (No need to reinvent the wheel here).

In the Box

In the box, you’ll find the camera, an insert for a Photo Frame Dock 2 that matches the camera, USB cable, AV cable, lithium ion rechargeable battery, AC adapter, carry strap, camera pouch, Kodak EasyShare software, Getting Started kit, and printer dock insert for the camera.  The AC adapter can be plugged directly into the camera for charging.

Camera Design

The EasyShare V705 is an ultra slim camera, only 0.8 inches thick.  Kodak sent me the black model for review, but it’s also available in silver and pink (which sends a $25 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation).  The body is matte black with brushed steel back plate and lens cover.  A chrome metal band wraps around the entire edge of the camera.  The whole motif gives it a retro look.  The camera is very solid and sturdy.  All the shiny metal does make the camera prone to fingerprints.


Size comparison next to Nikon Coolpix S9 (view large image)

The lens cover slides away from the lens when the camera is powered on to reveal the vertically aligned dual lenses, focus assist light, and microphone.

Along the top of the camera, from left to right, you’ll find the Favorites button, a button to access the movie mode, button to activate capture mode or scene mode, the power button, and shutter release.

kodak easyshare v705
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On the right side of the camera is a silver plastic door to access the SD/MMC card and AC adapter jack.

kodak easyshare v705
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The bottom of the camera has a tripod mount, the battery access door, and jack to interface with the Photo Frame Dock 2 or Printer Dock Plus Series 3.

kodak easyshare v705
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There is vertical row of buttons on the back of the camera to the left of the LCD.  From these buttons, you can control the flash mode, delete images, access the camera menu, access review mode, and access the share functions.  To the right of the LCD is a zoom rocker switch and clicking joystick to navigate menus and confirm choices.

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Features

The top billing on this camera is the dual lens system, which Kodak has branded as the "Retina Dual Lens system".  Now, just to clear any misconceptions up, the two Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon lenses are not used at the same time.  One is used for ultra-wide angle shots (23mm equivalent), and the other lens provides the typical 3x optical zoom (39-117mm equivalent).  When you operate the zoom rocker switch, an illustration on the LCD shows where you are in the range, and which lens is in use.  To handle the two lenses, the camera also has two 7.1 megapixel sensors.  Please note, if digital zoom is turned on, the camera will provide digital zoom for the zoom range between the ultra-wide lens and the wide end of the regular lens.  Once digital zoom is turned off, there will be a “jump” between the two lenses.  Also, there are several scene modes where the ultra-wide lens is disabled.  When you choose a mode, it provides some explanation text where this is denoted.

The V705 also features a 2.5 inch LCD for viewing your new wide angle images.  A rechargeable lithium ion battery can be charged in-camera by either plugging in the AC adapter directly into the camera.  The camera also includes a live histogram so you can preview the exposure of your image before capturing it.

Kodak has also included a mode for panorama assistance.  In this mode, you can take 3 images from either left to right, or right to left.  After you’ve shot your third image in the series, the camera stitches them together automatically.  If you use the ultra-wide angle mode, you can get 180 degrees of horizon in one panorama shot.  Please note that your image resolution is bumped down to 5 megapixels while in the panorama assist modes.

Videos can be captured at VGA (640x480) and QVGA (320x240), both at 30 frames per second.  During video capture, there is some digital image stabilization and the zoom can be operated.

There are 22 scene modes included on the camera.  Kodak has also made it very easy to turn the scene modes on and pick the one you want.  Just push the SCN mode button on top of the camera and the camera enters the last scene mode that you’ve used.  If you need to change the scene mode, just click the joystick and navigate to the one you want.  The camera also has 5 color modes.

Kodak’s “EasyShare” features are also available on the camera.  You can designate an image as a Favorite by simply depressing the Favorite button.  A Share button allows the camera to print or email images the next time it’s docked.

Kodak has also provided “click to capture” times, more commonly referred to as shutter lag.  Using the ultra-wide lens, it takes 0.2 seconds from click to capture.  The shot to shot time between images will be around 1.2 seconds (while the camera writes to card and recharges the flash).

Images and movies can be stored on a SD/MMC card.  The camera does have 32MB of internal memory if you’re in a crunch.

Camera Performance and Image Quality


Overall, image quality was average to good.  On the good side, as is usually the case with Kodak digital cameras, the colors in images were accurate and bright (but not too bright).  The automatic white balance did a good job of providing neutral color casts.  My only complaint with the image quality was the softness that occurred, especially at longer telephoto ranges.  I noticed the most softness on full telephoto shots. When I zoomed back out by one step, I got an image with much better detail.  See the images below, with the full telephoto shot on the left, and one step back from full telephoto on the right (view a larger size to see the difference).

kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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The flash isn’t really capable of properly illuminating subjects further away than 8 feet, so keep that in mind when you shoot. For better results, increase the ISO, or try a scene mode that increases the sensitivity. Also, if you do take a shot that is under-exposed, try the in-camera Perfect Touch technology. When you apply this to an image that you've already taken, the camera gives you a preview of what the new image will look like. If you want to apply Perfect Touch, you can even tell the camera to save it as a new file and leave the original untouched. I've found Perfect Touch to be very effective.

Noise performance was about on par with other ultra-compact cameras. Normal sized prints will still look good up to ISO 200. At higher sensitivities, the noise reduction is evident as the "grain" gets smoothed out and details are lost.

I really did enjoy having the ultra-wide lens in the camera.  I know a lot of people like their huge optical zooms, but I would much rather have my lens go fairly wide-angle (less than 28mm equivalent).  You can take some great landscapes and group shots with a camera with a wide angle lens.  To handle the barrel distortion that occurs with wide angle lenses, Kodak includes a feature called distortion compensation to decrease this effect. 

A consistent gripe that I have with many Kodak cameras is their LCD screens.  They’re often grainy and noisy, which makes it hard to determine if the image you just captured is any good.  The colors are good and the screen on the V705 gains up and down, depending on lighting conditions, but I like being able to review my images on the LCD and be able to make decisions about how to fix my next shot.

Camera operation was quick.  Start-up time is under 2 seconds.  Auto focus times were quick as well (when focus was achieved).  A focus assist light helps in low-light conditions.  The ultra-wide angle lens is a fixed focus lens, so there is no focus time.  Shutter lag was minimal, so it was easy to capture the shot when you wanted. 

I did have some problems with the auto focus system.  There were times that the auto focus would be completely wrong, most often at the telephoto end of the zoom.  It also seemed that it happened when the camera was zoomed all the way from the wide angle lens and then zoomed to full telephoto.  If you took a couple zoom steps back, got a focus lock, and then zoomed in again, it would be just fine. Again, just pay attention to the prompts from your camera since it will tell you when it can't get a focus lock. If you have problems, just keep making minor adjustments until you get the shot that you want.

Battery life was very good.  I took over 200 shots and a few several-minute videos and the battery meter still showed two (of three) bars.  If you turn on Continuous auto focus, the camera will continuously adjust the focus, and you will burn through battery much faster than if you leave the camera on Single auto focus.

Additional Sample Images

kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
Indoor shot (view medium image) (view large image)
kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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kodak easyshare v705 sample image
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Specifications

Conclusion 

I like the Kodak EasyShare V705 for its size, looks, and ultra-wide lens.  The speed of camera operation was good and battery life was very good. The camera is quite capable of capturing good images, but "softness" may be an issue at times. As with all digital cameras, the better you know the strengths and weaknesses of your camera, the better your images will be.

The Kodak Easyshare V705 is a good camera for a snapshot type photographer who would like (or need) a wide angle lens (real estate agents, panorama afcionados).  The camera is a nice size, looks fun, and is easy to whip out of a pocket or purse to capture the spur of the moment shot. The ultra-wide angle lens is impressive and a great feature to have in a camera of this size.  By including the fun panorama assist feature, Kodak has given the photographer a lot of flexibility for fun landscape or cityscape shots.

Pros

Cons