Ever have that problem where you want to take a nice group picture of your friends, say at the Grand Canyon, and you just can’t get ‘em all in the frame? So you ask them to keep backing up a step and before you know it… oops!
Well, this camera will help make your next vacation a bit safer. The V570 packs two lenses into its sleek body: an ultra-wide angle (23mm) and a 5x optical zoom (39mm-to-117mm). This amounts to all the standard capabilities of a point-and-shoot, plus the ability to go to wide-angle for group portraits and the like.
Of course, with dual lenses you’re talking about dual 5-megapixel image-sensors, which translates into a higher price compared with competing single-lens cameras. We think the added functionality of the dual-lenses is worth it, especially when you take into account the camera’s overall solid image quality, particularly indoors. There is, however, a noticeable hitch in the LCD viewfinder image when the camera makes the jump from 39mm to 23mm—you must depress and re-press the zoom controls to make the viewfinder register the switch.
Call us old-school but we miss having the optical viewfinder in addition to the LCD, for composing shots. That said, the 2.5-inch LCD is crisp and performs well in all but the brightest outdoor settings, and the camera’s controls, including automatic scene modes, are easy and comfortable to use. A 30fps MPEG-4 movie mode is offered, but the video suffers from severe grain, rendering it an afterthought at best.
An included panoramic picture mode guides you through the process of snapping up to three pictures, providing image overlays on the LCD and then stitching them together in-camera. This is pretty cool, as you can immediately view the results—which were quite good in our tests—and determine whether you need to retake the shots.
If you’re looking for simplicity and flexibility, the V570 is well worth consideration. (Note: Kodak has already released an updated 6-megapixel version, the V610, with integrated Bluetooth capabilities and a 10x optical zoom, for $50 more.)
Month Reviewed: September 2006