* May 17, 2005* - In the past few weeks Kodak has surged to the lead in domestic digital camera sales, just as it released four new digital cameras to the market. Today Kodak kept this momentum going, adding a highly stylized V-series to its EasyShare line of digital cameras. The EasyShare V-series looks to compete in the popular ultra-slim segment of the market, featuring large LCD monitors, strong video recording capabilities and compact dimensions. Kodak introduced the series with the 5.0 megapixel EasyShare V530 and V550.
"The new EASYSHARE V-Series cameras make it incredibly simple to take and share videos and pictures, while being chic, fashionable and small enough to slip into the newest designer handbag" said Mary-Irene Marek, worldwide marketing manager at Kodak.
The fashionable V-line will feature large LCD screens composed of 230,000 pixels resolution and movie recording capabilities that capture video at full resolution at 30 fps. The models will rely on Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon 3x optical zoom lenses and will both offer additional SD card expansion slots when the internal storage is not sufficient. The cameras also include a Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2, which will grant users one-touch image transferring alternatives while restoring battery life.
The EasyShare V550 packs a 2.5-inch LCD screen onto its slender 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.9 body, while maintaining a slight weight of 5.1 oz. without media or batteries. The screen is advertised by Kodak as being visible up to 170 degrees. A key distinction for these cameras will not be the size of the LCD screens, but the resolution used to compose them; the V550 offers a 230,000 pixel screen as well as an optical viewfinder.
Shooters will also find that Kodak provided 32 MB of internal memory in the V550. The 32 MB will come in handy when shooting in the variety of modes offered by Kodak in the V550. Along with a number of automatic and manual shooting options, movies can be shot with audio at 30 fps at 640 x 480 pixels in the Kodak EasyShare V550. Designed for the fashionable point-and-shooter, the V550 will also include 19 preset scene modes for automatic orientation to a variety of settings.
Potential EasyShare V550 buyers will have the choice of two distinct body colors, shipping in either "Midnight Black" or "Silver Essence."
The EasyShare V550 is set to ship worldwide next month, retailing for $399.
Performance wise, the EasyShare V530 is much like the V550, except slightly smaller and lighter, with half the internal memory at 16 MB. In an odd gender-direct advertising campaign, Kodak is loosely marketing the V530 towards female shooters; Marek stated, "Kodak is designing new products that particularly appeal not only to women’s sense of style, but also a desire to simplify their lives."
The 2-inch LCD fixed to the back of the sleek V530 is a bit smaller than the V550, although it offers the same 230,000 pixel resolution. The reduced screen size allows for a slightly smaller and lighter camera body, extending 3.6 x 2.0 x 0.9 inches and carrying an empty weight of 4.6 oz. The V530 also omits a small optical viewfinder that is included on the larger V550. Movies, with audio, can also be captured with the V530 at 30 fps with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.
Fashion-conscious consumers will have a choice of four body colors for the V530, coming in "Midnight Black," "Silver Essence," "Red Shimmer", or "Absolute Pink" frames.
The EasyShare V530 will take a bit longer to make its way to stores, expected to ship in July, selling for $349 (USD).
Some other noteworthy differences between the V550 and V530 involve flash range and burst mode; the EasyShare V550 is said to capture 3 frames per second in burst mode, while the V530 is slightly behind at 2.5 fps. In terms of illumination, the V550’s flash will extend 10½ feet, while the V530 is a bit shortened at 9.2 feet.