When Kodak introduced the V570 at CES last January, some editors were confused by Kodak's decision to include a fixed-focal-length 23mm lens, along with a 3x optical 39mm-to-117mm zoom lens, in the company's first dual-lens camera.
Then, when Kodak announced the V610, with its 10x optical zoom (combined) dual-lens design, the V570 seemed like the proof-of-concept for the dual-lens genre. Kodak's newest design in this space, the V705, goes back to the V570's lens combo, upping the sensor to a 7.1-megapixel CCD, adding a few features and offering three colours -- Silver Essence, Midnight Black and Absolute Pink.
Aside from the colours, the V705's body is almost identical to the V570's, complete with the automatic sliding lens cover emblazoned with 'Ultrawide' and '5X'. The 5x part is actually a bit of marketing hype, since it includes the gap between the 23mm lens and the start of the 3x zoom at 39mm. Kodak employs digital zoom to fill the gap, but remember, it'll rob you of a bit of resolution, though not all that much, since it's only about 1.7x worth of digital zoom.
Since there are two separate lenses, there is some parallax error when switching between the two, much like when you close one of your eyes, then switch back and forth between your left and right eyes. It is most noticeable when doing close-up and macro photography.
With casual photographers in mind, the V705's features include 22 scene modes, red-eye reduction, exposure compensation of as much as plus or minus 2EV in 0.3EV stops, 640x480-pixel video recording at 30fps and 32MB of internal memory, so you have a little extra in case your card runs out of space.
Kodak also includes in-camera editing options, including cropping, digital frames and the company's Perfect Touch auto image fix. This displays your original image next to a processed version of it to let you decide if you like the autofixed version -- you then have the choice of saving it as a new image or replacing the original. Like the V570, the V705 includes a panorama shooting mode, and since the 23mm lens is so wide, you can make a 180-degree panorama with as few as three shots.
The camera's sensitivity range exceeds that of the V570. While the auto ISO feature goes only from ISO 50 to ISO 200, you can manually select from ISO 50 to as high as ISO 1,000.
While the V705 doesn't come with a dock, it does come with a custom insert for use with a dock, and it's compatible with Kodak's EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2 and Camera Dock Series 3, as well as their current Printer Docks. Kodak also includes a small plug, similar in size to a travel mobile phone plug, which fits a small hole on the right side of the camera to let you charge the 720mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
In our lab tests, the Kodak EasyShare V705 took a while to get going but gave adequately speedy performance after that. The time from pressing the power button to capturing its first image measured 3.6 seconds, and time between subsequent shots was 1.2 seconds without flash and 2.1 seconds with flash turned on. Shutter lag was barely there, measuring 0.3 seconds in our high-contrast test and 0.6 seconds in low-contrast. In continuous-shooting mode, we got seven VGA-size JPEGs in 3 seconds for about 2.3fps and seven 7.1-megapixel JPEGs in 3.4 seconds for about 2.1fps.
Image quality from the V705 is decent for a camera of its class. As usual with Kodak, colours looked very accurate and were well saturated. Though while the camera is capable of capturing an admirable amount of detail, we did see some JPEG artefacts in the form of jaggy diagonal lines and curves as well as other off-colour speckles along edges of high contrast.
Also, there was more noise than we would've expected at lower ISOs. At ISO 50, noise is almost nonexistent, but even at ISO 100 it begins to become visible, mostly in darker colours and shadows. At ISO 200, it becomes slightly more noticeable and seems to exacerbate the JPEG artefacting. At ISO 400, noise becomes very noticeable and robs images of significant amounts of detail. The face of the dark, plush ape in our test scene became an indistinct, dark blob, while you can clearly see the ape's eyes at ISO 50.
ISO 800 eats up loads of detail, blanketing the image in a sea of off-colour pixels and mottled colour. Image quality at ISO 1,000 was similar to that of ISO 800, but with slightly more off-colour noise, in addition to more noise overall. Though images at these top ISO settings are useful to capture an image you might not otherwise be able to get, you probably want to stay below ISO 800 if you plan to print the images at larger than 100x150mm (4x6 inches).
With its fast performance and decent feature set, the Kodak EasyShare V705 is, without a doubt, a casual photographer's camera. The one problem is that the dual-lens/dual-sensor design comes with a price tag that makes this camera compete with cameras such as Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-T9, which has one fewer megapixel but offers slightly less noise at comparable ISOs. The Sony doesn't offer the V705's ultrawide lens, but its 3x optical zoom is similar to the V705's zoom lens.
Canon's Digital IXUS 65, another 6-megapixel with speedy performance, can be found for about the same price as the V705. It didn't exhibit the JPEG artefacts we saw in this Kodak, and it has equivalent, if not less, noise than the V705. Again, if you value the wide angle of the extra lens, you'll probably want to stick with the Kodak EasyShare V705.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
||Typical shot-to-shot time||
||Time to first shot||
||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
||Typical continuous-shooting speed|
Edited by Jim Hoffman
Additional editing by Kate Macefield