The Kodak Easyshare V550 is a pocket sized digital camera. It has five megapixels and a three times optical zoom lens. Like the vast majority of similar digital cameras the Easyshare V550 is also easy to use. It is basically a stylish and well made point and shoot model. It is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a digital camera that can be taken anywhere and is ideal for no fuss photography.
94 x 56 x 22mm
This is the first Kodak digital camera I have reviewed and I am pleased to say the Easyshare V500 performed well in each of my tests. There were no photos where I thought the camera really struggled and most of the shots were very good.
Starting with the outdoor scenic shots this is an area where the camera performed well. I particularly like the colours. They have a lively, vibrant feel to them. Focusing is up to scratch without being razor sharp. As is so typical of many digital cameras there is a tendency for the focusing to lose some of its sharpness towards the edge of the picture. Again like a number of other cameras the Easyshare V550 finds it hard to bring out all the detail in very light and very dark areas. One further concern I had was that the second outdoor shot is a little darker than I am used to.
The outdoor portrait is bright, perhaps over bright despite the fact it was taken in the shade. This causes a slight loss of detail in the face. Again though the colour reproduction is better than I have seen from a number of other cameras recently.
The test for colour produces a strong result. This is not surprising given the colours already showing in other tests. This bodes well for all the different types of photos you are likely to take. None of the colours are overpowering.
Moving indoors I am very happy with the photos I have taken. The indoor portrait shows good detail and for a change there is not even the slightest hint of red eye. That is a very big plus point with this type of camera. It there was a way in which the photo could be improved I would like to have seen the picture a touch lighter.
The shot of beer bottles of taken in almost complete darkness. Considering the conditions the result is very pleasing. The image is sharply focused and the picture is bright as well.
Using macro mode for a close up shot I would say the photo I took is only average. It would be quite easy to improve the photo with a software package such as Adobe Photoshop, but if all you want is a point and shoot macro shot there are better digital cameras out there.
Finally my test for taking a picture at ISO 400 produces a picture that shows a clear loss of quality. This happens with the majority of digital cameras I test. Using higher ISO settings can help when you are taking photos in lowlight, but in this case the quality of the photo makes it unlikely you will use ISO 400 unless there really are no other options.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I was able to take a single photo in 0.18 seconds. Five photos took 6.05 seconds. These are both very fast times and shutter lag should not be a problem when taking photos with the Easyshare V550.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The three times optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 36 - 108mm in 35mm format. It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 wide and f/4.8 tele. There is also a 4x digital zoom feature. For close up photography the camera can focus from 5cms away from the subject.
Unlike most ultra compact digital cameras Kodak have managed to squeeze in a viewfinder. This can be very useful in bright, sunny conditions. There is also a 2.5 inch LCD screen.
As well as the purely automatic mode there are also a wide range of predefined scene modes to choose from. All you need to do is select the most appropriate scene. The scene modes are sport, landscape, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, snow, beach, text, fireworks, flower, manner/museum, self-portrait, party, children, backlight, panning shot, candle light, sunset and custom. There is also a special portrait mode to help you produce the best possible portrait shots.
To add something different to your photos you can select from a range of colour modes. These are high color, natural color, low color, sepia, black and white. For when you would like to appear in the photo there is a self timer. This has a ten second delay. For focusing you can choose between Multi-zone AF and Center Zone AF.
The built in flash unit has a maximum range of 3.2m. This falls to around 2.2m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes you can use are auto, fill, off, digital red-eye reduction.
Videos of up to 80 minutes can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480 and the top recording speed is 30 frames per second. This combination should record TV quality movies. Zoom is available while recording and you can also produce a print of a still image from the video. Sound is also recorded.
Among the more advanced features are a burst mode (3 fps, maximum 5 image in any quality mode), white balance (auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade), metering (multi-pattern, center-weighted, center spot) and exposure compensation (±2.0 EV with 0.3 EV step increments).
A nice touch allows you to select long shutter speeds yourself. These can be up to eight seconds. Sensitivity can be set to auto 80, 100, 200, 400 and 800. It should be noted that ISO 800 can only be used for shots where the resolution has been set to 1.8 megapixels. 1.8 megapixels is not large enough to produce a high quality 4x6" image.
Kodak supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Easyshare V550 to a printer, computer and PictBridge compatible printer. The camera also comes with its own printer dock. This can be used to connect the camera to a range of Kodak printers.
Ease of Use
There is nothing particularly daunting about this camera. Buttons on the back of the camera are kept to a minimum and the menu system is well designed too. This is a simple point and shoot camera and is well suited to anyone who is new to photography.
You can pick up a Kodak Easyshare 550 for around £195. This compares to around £180 for a Canon IXUS55, £190 for a Sony DSC T5 and £195 for a Fuji Finepix Z2.
As you can see there is a fair amount of competition around this price. The Easyshare V550 compares well against the competition and is well worth a closer look.
The Easyshare V550 is a pleasingly simple camera. It has dimensions of 94 × 56 × 22mm and weighs in at 143g. You should have no problems slipping it into a pocket or a small bag. It is a typical rectangular shape, with a small grip on the front to help you hold the camera steady while taking a shot.
Batteries and Memory Cards
A rechargeable lithium ion battery is used to power the camera. Kodak supplies both the battery and a charger with the Easyshare V550. I must admit the battery ran down on me more quickly than I am used with a lithium ion battery.
There are 32mb of memory built into the camera. Therefore it does not come with a memory card. The camera is compatible with SD cards and Multi Media Cards (MMC). I was able to take 40 shots before the internal memory became full. Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
No red eye shows in indoor portrait
Shutter lag times are low
Ease of use
Where it is not so hot:
Some photos are darker than I would like
There are a number of five megapixel, pocket sized digital cameras to choose from The Kodak Easyshare V550 should be included on your shortlist. I like the standard of photos the camera took. Shutter lag should not be an issue and all in all the camera is pretty straightforward.
Kodak Easyshare 550 Front View
Kodak Easyshare 550 Back View
Kodak Easyshare 550 Top View
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