Think small and slinky little cameras and the chances are that Kodak is not going to be the first name on the tip of your tongue. The company's EasyShare range of digital cameras might be top-sellers in the USA, especially in the women's market, but none of the models have won any beauty contests.
That could be about to change with the V550 and V530, the first releases in Kodak's 'Pocket Series' of cameras. The metal body of our V530 test sample was certainly solid enough but while styling is an improvement over older Kodak models, it's less sleek than the competition.
The slimline case holds the usual line-up of goodies, including a 5Mp sensor, 3x zoom lens and multi-function flash. Around the back, a 2.0-inch LCD is smaller than that fitted to many of the latest cameras in its class but it's clear and bright and generally up to the job, given the lack of a separate viewfinder.
A relatively large number of switches and buttons, both on the camera's top plate as well as on the back panel, make for simple operation, as there's little doubling-up on the functions of individual buttons.
Memory and Power
Like many EasyShare cameras, the V530 comes complete with a docking station, so it's a bit of a mystery why the SD/MMC card is exposed on the side of the camera, without even a cover plate for protection. For additional storage, the camera has 16MB of internal memory. The Li-ion battery last for an average of 150 shots.
We were pleasantly surprised by the sheer picture quality of the V530. Inside and out, the camera produced vibrant yet accurate colours, a good level of contrast without washing out highlights or submerging lowlights into the gloom.
The images were remarkably free of digital noise. The sharpness of the Schneider-Kreuznach 3x zoom lens was also exemplary, enabling excellent reproduction of fine detail.