Kodak Easyshare V705 Review
Review Date: October 24th 2006
Ease of Use
The Kodak Easyshare V705 is one of the most stylish digital cameras that you are ever likely to see. With its ultra-slim, black and silver all-metal body, impressive LCD screen and solid build quality, the V705 will certainly gain admiring glances from your friends. It has a pleasingly minimalist design, with a row of buttons across the top, a column of buttons down the rear, and the zoom and navigation buttons. At 10cm it's quite wide for a compact digital camera, but at the same time it's also a very light camera at just 125g without the battery and memory card fitted. Kodak have obviously put a lot of thought into one of the main selling points of the V705, its design, and come up with a very distinctive looking camera that is quite unlike anything else on the market.
Then you have to remind yourself that Kodak have also fitted two lenses and two 7 megapixel sensors into the V705, a pretty amazing feat of engineering given that it is only 2cms thick. Other models of this size typically have a 3x zoom lens. Kodak have used their unique dual-lens technology to achieve a zoom range of 23-117mm, although there is obviously a gap between 23mm and 39mm. Even when set to 117mm telephoto, the lens doesn't extend at all from the front of the camera, which means that the Kodak V705 is always 2cms deep. Having a 23mm focal length at your disposal is literally a real eye-opener, and thankfully there isn't too much distortion in the resulting images (although it is evident). In combination with the very effective 180 degree Panorama mode, it can produce some fantastic images.
There is one main drawback of the dual-lens system as it's implemented on the V705, and that's the jump between the two lenses from 23mm to 39mm. You really have to treat the V705 as a camera with a standard 3x zoom lens that also has the added bonus of a 23mm setting when you need to go that wide, rather than a camera that covers a 5x focal range, as the gap is very noticeable in use. You can turn the digital zoom on so that the camera provides the missing 24-38mm setting digitally, but this comes at the expense of reduced image quality. 39mm for the beginning of the standard focal length is also not very wide - I'd have liked to see it start at 35mm if possible. The Kodak V705 always starts with the 23mm wide-angle selected, and a small icon appears on-screen to show you which lens is selected as you zoom. The transfer from one lens to the other is instantaneous, so you won't miss the action.
|Flash / Delete / Menu / Review / Share Buttons||Zoom Button / Navigation Joystick|
The Kodak Easyshare V705 is a very well-built camera, with a high quality metal body and controls. The camera's design is dominated by the two lenses on the front and the 2.5 inch LCD screen on the rear. As this is purely a point and shoot camera with no manual controls, the Kodak Easyshare V705 is not overly complex in terms of the number of external controls that it has. I counted 13 in total. The majority of the controls are clearly labeled and common to most cameras, although a few, such as the Review, Share and Favorites buttons, are not very common. Instead of a more traditional navigation pad, Kodak have used a small joystick to control the display mode, macro and landscape modes, and to change the exposure compensation. It's also used for things like zooming and selecting pictures during playback, and overall works very well. There are a couple of external controls that don't instill so much confidence. The cover for the SD card slot is completely out of keeping with the rest of the camera. Positioned on the right side, you have to prise it open with a fingernail, and it then hangs on a fragile looking plastic hinge. The printer docking port and power socket are exposed to the elements, but mostly the Kodak Easyshare V705 has a very substantial, quality feel about it.
If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the excellent manual before you start is a good idea. Thankfully Kodak have chosen to supply it in printed format, rather than as a PDF on a CD, so you can also carry it with you. The large 2.5 inch LCD screen is the only way of framing your shots, so if you have to have an optical viewfinder, look elsewhere now. It's not too much of a loss, however, as the V705's screen is one of the better ones around, with 230,00 pixels and a bright, vibrant display. The various icons used to represent the camera settings on the LCD screen are clear and legible, and there is a handy warning icon which indicates if the photo is blurred or not (although it's only shown after the shot has been taken). The main menu system on the Kodak Easyshare V705 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu button on the left of the rear of the camera. There is a single main menu, with the Setup submenu at the bottom of the list of 14 options. Most of the camera's main options, such as white balance, image quality, auto-focus mode and ISO speed, are accessed here. It would have been good to see the more commonly used options, such as ISO speed, available via the press of a button, rather than having to go into the menu system. Due to the large LCD screen and restricting the number of on-screen choices to four, the various options and icons are clear and legible.
|Battery Compartment||Memory Card Slot|
The start-up time from turning the Kodak Easyshare V705 on to being ready to take a photo is quite quick at around 2 seconds. Zooming from the widest focal length to the longest is very slow at over 5 seconds, and there are only 5 zoom steps from 39mm-117mm. Focusing is quick in good light and the camera achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations, helped by the focus-assist lamp, even at the tele-photo end of the lens. The visibility and refresh rate of the 2.5 inch LCD screen is excellent. It takes about 1 second to store an image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card - there is a brief 0.25 second LCD blackout after taking each image. The Kodak Easyshare V705 has a fairly poor Continuous mode which enables you to take 2 frames per second at the highest JPEG image quality, up to a maximum of 7 images. Overall the Kodak Easyshare V705 is average in terms of operational speed, with the zooming speed (or lack-of) being the most annoying factor.
Once you have captured a photo, the Kodak Easyshare V705 has an excellent range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. Press the Review button and you can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view by date or album, sort images into albums, view thumbnails, zoom in and out up to 8x magnification, watch a slideshow with transition effects, delete, protect, crop and copy an image. Press the Share button to print and email and to make an image one of your favourites, which can then be viewed via the Favourites button on top of the camera. Pressing up on the joystick toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the filename and date, and there is a small histogram available during both shooting and playback. When taking a photo, pressing up toggles between the information view, no icons, the histogram and gridlines to aid composition.
The Kodak Easyshare V705 is an extremely easy-to-use, eye-catching and well built digital camera that offers both an ultra wide-angle and standard zoom range, with a range of options to suit the point and shoot photographer.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Kodak Easyshare V705 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.