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Having had my old Kodak EasyShare CX6330 for over 3 years it was starting to look really battered and bruised and call me greedy, but I wanted more than 3.1 mega pixels for my photos!
My dear husband (hes in my good books right now) thought an early Christmas present was in order so we went camera shopping and I picked out the Kodak V603 (also from the EasyShare range). The original price was £169.99, it was on offer for £159.99 and when the sales assistant rang up the sale on the till it came up with a further £10 off so we got it for just under £150. Seeing as hubby was prepared to spend considerably more, he got off fairly lightly!
The V603 is a small sexy black number, about the same size as my mobile phone and it fits so much more easily into my various handbags than my old faithful but chunky CX6330. Oh but it wasnt its sleek looks alone that made me go for this Kodak model. Read on
A bit about the spec:
* For starters we have 6.1 mega pixels
* 3X Optical Zoom Lens (Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon)
* Superior video options (much better than the CX6330) which includes zoom and digital image stabilisation
* 2.5inch screen
* 22 different scene modes, that is just so cool!
* Single auto focus or continuous auto focus
* Digital red eye reduction
* Dimensions: approx 9cm long by 2cm deep by 5 cm high
* Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (fast charging - takes just 2 hours)
I could go on for ages about the various specs of this dinky little camera but youd be bored silly and really you could quite easily look up the full specification by just going to Google and typing in Kodak V603 specification and itll return you over 65,000 results! IMHO the whole point of reading a consumer review on a camera is to find out how the user finds it and any pros and cons theyve discovered since theyve owned it.
Ive owned the camera since November 2006 and have been practising like crazy shooting people and places wherever I can. I basically dont go anywhere without it and its starting to annoy friends and co-workers. Oops, too bad, it was my Christmas pressie and Ill play if I want to.
WHAT DO YOU GET IN THE BOX?
When I opened my box of goodies (ok the camera box) it contained my camera (the most important item of course), a Kodak Li-ion rechargeable battery, a USB A/V connector, USB and AV cables, a silver/grey carry strap (long enough to hang the camera around your neck), a 5V AC adapter which allows you to charge straight to the battery whilst still in the camera (now this feature is really handy), Kodak EasyShare software, a Getting Started kit and some custom inserts for camera and printer docks.
HOW MANY PHOTOS CAN I TAKE?
One thing I wanted to be sure of when I got this camera was that it could use a standard SD card as I already had a couple I used with my old camera. Although theyre 64Mb and 128Mb respectively, Ive used both cards at different times and have been able to take quite a few pictures during an evening out. The internal memory of the camera is 32Mb, using internal memory alone you can take 14 photos at 6.0Mp or up to 42 at 1.8Mp.
A while back I took 48 photos at a party on the 4.0MP setting and they came out at about 0.5Mb in size each. I have to say I was completely satisfied with the clarity of the photos and when I ordered some photos to be printed I was very happy with the end result.
At 6MP I can take 65 photos with the 128Mb SD card, at 5.3MP I can take 73 photos, at 4.0MP I can 96, at 3.1MP I can take 119 and at 1.8mp I can take 192. Ive just received a new SD card with 1Gb capacity so I can take loads more photos at the highest resolution. E.g. at 6.0Mp it offers me 532 photos, at 3.1Mp I can take 967 photos and at 1.8Mp I can take over 1500, how amazing is that? Even if I go on holiday for 3 weeks I doubt Id be able to take over 500 photos but now that I know I can, I cant wait to try when I go on holiday later this year!
HOW DOES IT LOOK?
One of the things that attracted me to the V603 was its size; its just slightly smaller than my mobile phone and is less than half the size of my previous digital camera. Its got a sleek black and silver exterior and when you switch it on the lens comes out about 1.5 inches very elegantly and it makes a subtle welcome sound.
The screen is about 2.5 X 1.5 inches and is very convenient for pointing and clicking.
To the left of the screen and 4 small silver buttons labelled delete, menu, review and share from top to bottom. On the right of the screen is easy to use navigation button which lets you move up, down, left or right with an OK button in the middle. To the top right of the screen is the zoom in/out button which again is very easy to press and use.
CHARGING THE BATTERY
The camera comes with a rechargeable battery and charger. Unlike my old CX6330 where I had to remove the batteries to charge them, on the V603 all I need to do is plug the charger into the socket on the left side of the camera and leave it to charge. In less than two hours the camera is fully charged. So far Ive been out of an evening and taken over 100 photos and reviewed many of them (as you do when youre taking photos of friends - people will keep asking to see what they look like, rather than wait till you email them the next day or upload the photos to online albums)! With this constant photo taking and reviewing of photos, Ive so far only experienced a low battery once - this was when Id taken over 100 photos one weekend, forgot to charge the camera and went somewhere the following weekend and after taking about 20 photos it started indicating that the battery power was low. Funnily enough I took about 60 photos that evening and the battery didnt give up on me, so I was VERY impressed (and pretty relieved).
When it comes to actually taking photos, it couldnt be easier to work the camera out without having to read the instructions. If youve ever used a digital camera before its so easy to get the hang of the V603, literally point at your target and click. Except to get the perfect auto focus you need to slightly depress the capture button (its fairly obvious which button this is as its the largest button on the top of the camera positioned on the right hand side), release it for a moment and then fully depress the button and hey presto, youve got your snap. It takes 0.3 seconds from clicking to capture for photos and you have to allow 1 second between shots (although this is slightly longer when you have the picture preview on). In Burst Mode you can take up to 3 frames per second and up to a maximum of 4 images in one burst session. Ive not found the zoom to be particularly great when it comes to picture clarity and this is something that slightly lets the performance down. Ive found to easiest to get close to my subject if I want to take a clear close up photo.
Getting the photos from the camera to your PC couldnt be easier, especially if you use an SD card and have an SD card slot on your PC (which I have). I just extract the SD card, insert it in my PC and hey presto, a directory of the SD card appears for me to move/copy the photos straight to my PC. If you want to use the USB cable, this is just as easy to load your photos to your PC.
QUALITY OF PHOTOS
The worst photos that have come out on this camera have been when Ive been out with friends and theyve insisted I get in the picture and someone else has snapped me/us. This is usually due to someone not being used to using a digital camera or just pointing and clicking without holding their hands steady. Having using digital cameras for 3 or 4 years now Ive got the hang of holding the camera steady to take a shot. Ive printed loads of photos on my own home printer and given them to people whove been amazed at the clarity, most assuming they were printed at a professional printers. Ive also ordered photos online to be printed from Kodak and Truprint and have been more than satisfied with how the photos look. Im by no means a professional photographer but I am a very keen amateur and have managed to accumulate some really good clear memories with the V603 to date.
STILL SCENE MODES
The V603 can take a plethora of scene modes including: auto, sport, landscape, close-up, night portrait or landscape, fireworks, sunset, backlight and many more. Ive not even got around to using half of the modes tending to stick with auto mode generally - the camera is clever enough to work most modes out by itself which is great for me and most users who dont want to keep changing settings. In total there are over 20 scene modes to choose from.
This is something I dont use very often as Im more a fan of still photos. Using the internal memory available I can take up to 52 seconds worth of video footage - not very much and this doesnt leave room for anything much else! Using the 1Gb SD card I can take up 30 minutes of footage which is considerably better. The format of video footage is QuickTime movie. A quick test showed me that 20 seconds of video footage took up 10Mb. It also showed that you have to hold the camera very steadily to get clear footage. You can also link the link camera to your TV to view your video footage.
As mentioned previously I got my V603 for just under £150. This was from Currys Digital, Amazon are offering it for the same price currently. You can save a further £10 if you buy it from purelygadgets.co.uk
Overall Id give the V603 a strong 8 out of 10. It loses points somewhat on the clarity of the zoom feature. If I had the choice again though, Id still buy this camera. Its already become one of my favourite possessions. I hope Ive covered most of the areas of relevance to help you make a decision as to whether or not this would be the camera for you