Cameras

Kodak EasyShare V530 Digital Camera Review

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Testing / Performance

**Color ***(5.94)*

Kodak prides itself in producing realistic colors with its Kodak Color Science Chip in its EasyShare digital cameras. Many times Kodak cameras perform well, but there are more factors that contribute to color accuracy than just the chip. To see how well the V530 can reproduce colors, we took several shots of a GretagMacbeth color chart, often used as a standardized reference for color elsewhere in the digital imaging industry. We uploaded the Kodak V530’s photos of the chart into Imatest imaging software, which analyzed the pictures and compared the colors of the original chart to the camera’s produced colors. The software output some figures and data to help us understand the accuracy of the colors. Below is a chart that has been modified by Imatest. The outer square shows the color that the Kodak EasyShare V530 produced. The inner square shows the exposure-corrected ideal. The inner vertical rectangle shows the original color of the GretagMacbeth chart.

Many of the colors don’t look quite right. To get a better view of the results, Imatest output the following graph. The circles show the Kodak V530’s produced colors while the squares show where those colors should be on the spectrum. The line between the two shapes shows the color error; the longer lines represent increasingly inaccurate colors.

Many compact digital cameras exaggerate the red portion of the spectrum the most; doing so usually enhances skin tones in digital photos. The Kodak EasyShare V530 went in the other direction. The blue part of the spectrum is completely inaccurate and terribly exaggerated. This will make the sky look gorgeous, but skin tones will look greenish. The testing was done with the automatic white balance setting and the tungsten setting because there is no option to manually white balance this model. The automatic setting performed horribly, so the tungsten results are what we have reported. Overall, the V530 received a color score of 5.94 with a high color error of 11.9. The camera over-saturated colors by a high 19.2 percent. The Kodak V530 performed worse than most of its EasyShare cousins in terms of color accuracy.

Still Life Scene

Below is a shot of our slice of life scene captured with the Kodak EasyShare V530.

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Click on the above image to view a full resolution version.](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=V530-StillLife-LG.jpg)

**Resolution / Sharpness ***(2.01)*

The Kodak EasyShare V530 has a 5.36 megapixel CCD with 5 effective megapixels. To see just how effective the pixels are at imaging, we took several images of an industry standard 12233 resolution chart and uploaded them into Imatest for analyzing. The results are reported in line widths per picture height (LW/PH), which is a unit of measurement that describes how many alternating black and white lines could theoretically fit in the V530’s frame before the camera starts blurring them together. Traditional measurements are reported in line pairs per picture height (LP/PH), but because that unit does not account for the various sizes of imaging sensors we use LW/PH.

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Click on the res chart above to view full size image](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=V530-ResCH-LG.jpg)

After taking shots at various focal lengths and apertures, the sharpest results came from a focal length of 18.6 mm and an aperture of f/4.8. Horizontally, the Kodak EasyShare V530 read 1225 LW/PH. It read 763.7 LW/PH vertically. These results returned a lackluster 2.01 overall resolution score. For comparison's sake, the 5 megapixel Canon PowerShot S2 IS read 1490 LW/PH horizontally and 1373 vertically. The 5.1 megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 read 1723 LW/PH horizontally and 1835 vertically. Granted, the Kodak EasyShare V530 doesn’t have the great lenses of the S2 or H1 – but it does advertise 5 effective megapixels and should have performed a bit better.

**

Noise - Auto ISO***(4.55)*

When the Kodak V530 is set to automatically select the ISO rating, its ISO range shortens to 80-160. We tested its noise levels in our brightly lit studio and the camera responded by producing about the same amount of noise found at the ISO 160 setting. While this wouldn’t be an acceptable behavior for many cameras, the Kodak EasyShare V530 happens to have fairly low noise levels – even at ISO 160. Therefore, the V530 returned a positive 4.55 overall automatic ISO noise score.

**Noise - Manual ISO ***(7.32)*

Many compact digital cameras produce exorbitant amounts of noise in their pictures. We tested the noise levels at each manual ISO setting to see how clear pictures are on the Kodak EasyShare V530. Below is a chart with the horizontal axis showing the manual ISO ratings of 80, 100, 200, and 400 (there is also an 800 setting but it is only available in the tiny 1.8 megapixel image size). The vertical axis shows the resulting amounts of noise.

The Kodak EasyShare V530 had a strong showing with its relatively clear photos. There is a steady increase in noise from 80 to 400 with a slight jump between 200 and 400, but for the most part this Kodak did very well. For such great results, the V530 received a 7.32 overall manual ISO noise score.

Low Light Performance*(1.5)*

To test the low light capabilities of the V530, we used the Night Landscape scene mode because it had the longest shutter speeds available and disabled the camera’s flash. We took pictures at decreasing light levels of 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux. The first two light tests mimic fairly common lighting situations. 60 lux is common in a living room after dusk where there are two soft lamps and a host of family to take pictures of. A single 40 watt bulb produces 30 lux. The 15 and 5 lux tests are done simply to assess the imaging sensor and see how it responds to long exposures and adverse conditions.

We tested the V530’s low light performance in the camera’s full Auto mode as well as its Night Scene preset. Images attained using the Auto mode exhibited far better color (using the Tungsten preset) and seemed cleaner overall (stemming from the camera’s truncated auto ISO range), although with the limited sensitivity, the drop to 30 lux and below garnered extremely underexposed images. The switch over to the V530’s Night Scene mode helped with exposure and general illumination in the images but resulted in far less accurate color reproduction and increased noise levels. Therefore, while the camera offers multiple means of shooting in low light conditions, neither yield acceptable results.

*The images displayed above were shot using the camera’s Night Scene preset to garner the longest exposures the camera was capable of recording. *

Noise levels remained fairly consistent through about six seconds, and then the camera's performance took a dive. Overall, the Kodak EasyShare V530 performed better than some of Kodak’s older models but could still use some work. This model does better in suppressing noise than most compact cameras and should do well as long as the shutter speeds are kept below ten seconds.

Speed/ Timing

Start-up to First Shot (8.33) 

The Kodak V530 doesn’t take long to get up and get going. In a relatively quick 1.67 seconds, the camera powers up, flashes a Kodak logo, extends its 3x optical zoom lens, and takes its first shot. This is equivalent to gulping down your cereal and getting to work ten minutes early.

Shot to Shot (9.28)

When the burst mode is off, the camera is slow moving. When the burst mode is activated, it speeds up to take 5 shots at a pace of 0.25 seconds per shot. After the little burst, it took 10 seconds to write to the memory card, but this is still impressive for a slim digital camera.

*Shutter to Shot (8.89)

*The focus was quite unreliable, but once the camera was focused it didn’t take long to grab the shot. There was a 0.1-second lag from the time the shutter release button was pressed to the time the picture was recorded. In low light and when the subject is moving, it can take up to 2 seconds to take the picture.

Physical Tour

Front*(7.5)

*The front plate of the Kodak EasyShare V530 is textured with tiny ribs that radiate outward from the lens. This slight texture helps users grip the camera and it also hides fingerprints and the usual grime that gets on digital cameras. The left side of the front has a silver bar with an iridescent highlight; this is where the middle finger rests and the bar provides a tiny bit more substance to grip. Below the bar are the Kodak logo and the boastful "5.0 Megapixels" that graces just about every compact digital camera. Above the silver bar and in the top left are five holes that serve as the built-in microphone. To its right is the flash. The right side of the V530’s front is dominated by a Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon 36-108mm lens – and yes, it is labeled just that way. The 3x optical zoom lens extends from the camera when it is turned on and the built-in plastic lens cover snaps open. The three segments of the lens barrel and the rim around the portion where the barrel connects with the camera body are silver colored. In the top right corner of the front are two LEDs. The smaller one on the left is actually the light meter, but pairs up with the other LED for a dual-powered green auto focus assist light. The larger LED on the right also lights up to indicate the self-timer and video recording.

Back* (7.0)*

The back of the V530 looks different than that of most compact digital cameras. The 2-inch LCD screen is placed in the center and the control buttons are placed on both sides of the screen. Below the screen is the make and model of this trendy camera: Kodak EasyShare V530. On the right side of the screen and at the top is a zoom toggle reminiscent of a see-saw; it is labeled with ‘W’ on the left for the wide angle lens and ‘T’ on the right for access to the telephoto end of the lens. Below this feature is the built-in speaker, which is larger than most speakers on compact digital cameras. In the bottom right corner are two buttons: Review on the top and the bejeweled Share on the bottom. The top left corner of the camera has three tiny LEDs with three icons beneath them to show which mode is in use. From the left, the icons are Favorites, Movie, and Auto. Below these LEDs is a square-shaped multi-selector. A blue tinted OK button sits in the center of the odd single-paneled selector. The square shape and flat surface makes navigation annoying. Below this are two buttons that match those on the right. The top button is used to delete photos and the bottom one brings up the menu on the LCD.

Left Side* (7.5)*

A silver band runs down the center of the left side with the camera’s metal panels on each side. The only feature on the left side of the Kodak V530 is an open hole for the DC in power adaptor. To a five-year-old, this looks like a great place to stick gum or lint.

Right Side*(7.5)*

The silver band from the left side runs across the top and over to the right side of the V530. In the center of the band is a slot with two felt curtains in it to keep dust out; this is where the SD card goes. Toward the back side is a small eyelet for attachment of the wrist strap.

Top*(8.0)*

A silver band runs through the center of the top and all along it are rectangular silver buttons. The buttons are all neatly lined up with their labels below them on the metal panel. The left three buttons activate different modes of the camera and take the place of a mode dial: Favorites, Movie, and Auto. To the right of these is the On/ Off button and the flash button, which both look like the other buttons. The shutter release button is all the way to the right side and is the width of about four of the other buttons on the top.

Bottom*(8.0)*

The bottom of the V530 has a battery door on the left that is opened by pushing down and sliding it toward the front of the camera. The battery door has small bumps on it to provide some traction. To the right of the battery door is the 1/4-inch standard tripod socket, which is centered on the camera but left of the lens. Below the socket is the port that connects to the included Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2.

Components

**Viewfinder ***(0.0)*

One of the biggest differences between the Kodak EasyShare V530 and the flagship V550 is that the V530 does not have an optical viewfinder. Instead, the Kodak V530 has a 2-inch LCD screen with a high resolution of 230,000 pixels. Optical viewfinders on point-and-shoots are famous for their inaccuracy, so one is certainly not missed on this model; the LCD is accurate and provides a smooth view.

LCD Screen*(7.75)

*The LCD screen on the Kodak V530 has a lot of resolution at 230,000 pixels and a smooth view. The resolution is the same as the V550, but the V530’s screen is a half-inch smaller. The 2-inch screen has an anti-reflection coating and a wide 170 degree viewing angle so the image pretty much always looks good. The brightness of the LCD screen can be adjusted in the setup menu with Auto, Power Save, and High Power options. The High Power setting keeps the LCD bright at all times and drains the battery more quickly. The Auto and Power Save options seemed quite similar to me. The screen was brightly lit when buttons were pushed, but the screen dimmed after a few seconds of inactivity. I looked in the user guide to try to find out the difference between Auto and Power Save and found that the manual omitted that section of the setup menu. Anyway, it is sufficient to say that there are battery-saving brightness modes for the LCD screen. Also in the setup menu is an LCD Dimmer option with options of 10, 20, and 30 seconds, as well as Off. 10 seconds seemed way too short for me. I’d frame a shot and before I could take the picture the screen would dim. Perhaps I’m slow, but I prefer the 20-30 second options. The actual intensity of the brightness of the screen cannot be adjusted, but it didn’t seem to be needed with the excellent resolution and anti-glare coating. Overall, the high-resolution LCD screen is one of the best features on the Kodak EasyShare V530.

Flash*(5.75)*

The Kodak V530 has a few features that are positioned differently than they are on the majority of compact cameras, the flash being one of them. Most compact models place the flash either directly above the lens (which is ideal) or to the top right of the lens. The V530’s built-in flash is placed to the far left of the lens. This keeps fingers from wandering into the way of the flash, but also makes the brightest point in the picture slightly right of center.

The tiny flash does not light the scene evenly. There is a bright spot right of the center and the lighting gradually decreases and fades into darker shades in all four corners. The flash is quite weak as well. When the lens is at its widest, the flash reaches from 2-9.2 ft. When the lens is zoomed in on a faraway subject, the flash only reaches 2-6.3 ft.

There aren’t many flash modes available: Auto, Fill, Off, and Digital Red-eye Reduction completes the V530’s selection. The red-eye reduction mode doesn’t send out a strobe of flashes (unless the pre-flash is selected in the setup menu), but only flashes once like the other modes. The difference is that the camera digitally removed the red eyes after the picture was taken and before it was recorded. It worked better than I’d expected; my subjects retained their normal eye color. Still, this mode is just one bright spot on a disappointingly weak flash (oh yes, pun intended).

Zoom Lens*(6.5)

**

v530_lens.jpg
*While most other slim models have tiny lenses that stay tucked within the camera body, the Kodak EasyShare V530 has a 3x optical zoom lens that extends from the camera in three segments. The lens is a branded Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon lens, but it does have some noticeable barrel distortion (close-ups of faces are not flattering at all!). The lens is equivalent to a 36-108mm zoom and users can tap the see-saw-like toggle on the back to control it. The toggle really only lets users zoom to five positions within the 36-108mm range, which is a little disappointing. When the zoom control is tapped, the camera seems to zoom more than intended sometimes. Just as a side note, the Kodak EasyShare V530 does have 4x digital zoom but I don’t recommend using it. Digital zoom makes pictures look like the blurred faces of victims on the news. Scary.

Design / Layout

 

Model Design / Appearance*(7.75)*

The Kodak EasyShare V530 is competing with the slim and trendy portion of the digital camera market. It is offered in four colors – midnight black, red shimmer, silver essence, and absolute pink – to appeal to trendsetters. The V530 is thin and flat so it can be stuffed in the pocket of a faux fur jacket and taken to a party. The design is sleek, but is still one of the bigger-boned models of the slim market. The appearance is enhanced by the cool color offerings and the simple-looking button setup.

Size / Portability*(7.5)*

While the V530 will fit into the pocket of a faux fur jacket, it’ll be a lot harder to stuff it into the pocket of those leather pants. With measurements of 3.6 x 2 x 0.9 inches, this EasyShare is thicker than most models in the ultra-compact market. The lens extends from the camera as well, differing from the many internal lenses slim cameras now have. The Kodak EasyShare V530 is proportionately light at 4.6 ounces without its battery (which is also quite light) and memory card. The V530 is not the smallest camera I’ve seen but is still compact and lightweight.

Handling Ability* (5.5)*

Having flat surfaces is great when it comes to sliding a camera into pockets, but a bit of a disadvantage for handling. There are hardly any ergonomic features on the Kodak V530. On the front, there is a polished silver highlight that gives the right middle finger something to grab onto, but that’s a stretch. The highlight is smooth, so it isn’t the best gripping material. Many compact models have subtle divots in the surface of the camera that allow for thumbs to rest easily around buttons and such, but there is nothing like that on the V530. The LCD screen is slightly raised, but other than that, this camera is as flat as Iowa. Handling is further complicated by the placement of the buttons on both sides of the LCD screen and the functionality of the single-paneled multi-selector.

Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size* (5.0)

**

v530_controls.jpg
*At first glance, the buttons on the Kodak EasyShare V530 look neat and nicely laid out in a linear fashion. The organization is easy on the eyes, but not on the hands. Control buttons are located on both sides of the LCD screen, so both hands have to be at attention at all times. The oft-used Menu button is in the bottom left corner – perhaps the most inconvenient location. When shooting, it is most comfortable to put the left index and middle fingers atop the camera and the ring and pinky finger on the front with the thumb at the bottom for support. If changes need to be made within the menu, the button is closest to the thumb – but then support is lost and the camera drops. Try reaching with the index finger, and you'll find it's not comfortable at all. So while the layout looks nice, it isn’t very functional.

The multi-selector is also placed to the left of the LCD screen. It is made of a single panel with an OK button in the center. The single panel is square shaped, which is a bit strange. Navigating just isn’t as simple with this setup. There is no mode dial; instead, there are three mode buttons atop the camera: Favorites, Movie, and Auto mode. To its credit, the Kodak V530’s buttons are nicely sized and kept to a minimum.

Menu*(8.5)*

The Menu button eliminates the live view and throws the EasyShare V530 into a blue-screened menu system with large font. As users scroll through the selected option titles (e.g. Tungsten), the names of the features (e.g.. White Balance) appear at the top of the screen.

*

Auto Mode Menu* - The Auto mode menu is longest as it is, ironically, the mode with the most manual functions available. The following options are available: Self-timer, Burst, Picture Size, White Balance, ISO Speed, Color Mode, Sharpness, Exposure Metering, AF Control, Focus Zone, Long Time Exposure, Set Album (still), and Image Storage. There is also an option to enter the setup menu. When the menu is entered from a scene mode, it has most of the same options from the previous list but leaves out a few. Most scene modes don’t let users choose white balance, ISO or metering.

Setup Menu - The setup menu has a lengthy list of options to customize the camera: Camera Sounds, Sound Volume, LCD Brightness, LCD Dimmer, Auto Power Off, Date & Time, Video Out, Photo Frame, Orientation Sensor, Red-eye Pre-flash, Date Stamp, Video Date Display, Video Print, Blur Warning, Language, Format and About.

Photo Frame - Most of the options are self-explanatory except for the ambiguous Photo Frame. Users can select this to change slide show settings for when the camera is docked in the included Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2.

*

Playback Menu* - The Playback menu is the shortest of the set with the following options: Album, Crop, Slide Show, Multi-up, Copy, Protect and Image Storage.

Share Menu - The Share menu is also short: Print, Email, Favorite, Print All and Cancel Prints. Menus are intuitive, but navigation isn’t as ergonomic with the square-shaped single-paneled multi-selector. I miss live views and easy navigation, but the large font and high screen resolution is especially nice.

Ease of Use*(8.0)*

The Kodak EasyShare V530 has both pros and cons for its ease of use; it doesn’t pass this with flying colors like many Kodak cameras do. First, the pros: The V530 has a ruby colored Share button that brings up a menu that allows users to choose email addresses for certain pictures (this works with the EasyShare Software), transfer images directly to a printer and play slide shows and such. Now for the cons: The physical handling of the V530 is complicated by the control button positioning on both sides of the LCD screen and the square-shaped dysfunctional multi-selector. Still, if ease of use simply means being able to pick up a camera and take great shots with it two seconds later, then the Kodak EasyShare V530 is still easy to use.

Modes

Auto Mode*(7.0)*

The auto mode is the most accessible shooting mode on the V530. When the digital camera powers up, the auto mode is activated as the default. While this mode doesn’t allow access to aperture or shutter speed adjustments (no mode does on this model), it does let users change settings such as metering, auto focus mode, white balance and ISO. The auto mode is easy to use but is ironically the most manual mode on the V530.

Movie Mode*(7.5)*

Kodak is heavily marketing the EasyShare V530 as a slim camera that has hybrid capabilities. This digital camera shoots MPEG-4 video clips at resolutions of 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixels. Both sizes shoot at a smooth 30 frame-per-second rate. The V530 records movies up to the capacity of the memory or 80 minutes - whichever comes first.

Users can also enter the menu and choose whether to make 5, 15 or 30-second clips if shooting indefinitely is not desired. The 3x optical zoom lens works while recording video and is complemented by a digital image stabilization system that works a lot better than I’d expected. The auto focus can be set to continuously focus or can be turned off. Unfortunately, the continuous focus seemed to get stuck occasionally in a blurred state. Even more unfortunate is the noise made by both the continuous auto focus and the optical zoom lens. However, these tendencies won’t distract anyone at, say, a piano recital unless there’s a dramatic rest in the song. The feature that may distract people is the useless green LED that lights up on the front of the camera when recording video. This is simply an indicator, but shows up as two green rings on subjects who wander close to the camera.

When a movie is recorded, the camera automatically saves a nine-frame index print of images from the movie. Users can also create photos from the movie footage as long as the resolution is at 640 x 480 pixels. Overall, the resolution and movie options are decent but the green light is haunting.

Drive / Burst Mode*(6.5)*

In any image size and quality, the Kodak EasyShare V530 can take 2.5 frames a second, which is quick for a slim model like this. The burst must be activated within the shooting menu and only lasts for five shots before writing to the card. Still, this is impressive. The flagship Kodak V550 has an even faster burst mode that takes 3 frames per second.

Playback Mode*(7.75)*

Once a picture is recorded, it automatically appears on the screen for a few seconds. Users can delete the photo at this time or choose to do so within the playback mode. A designated Review button sits to the right of the LCD screen. This accesses photos and videos and lets users scroll through them quickly in index print style or individually. Users can organize pictures into albums or stash them in their Favorites folder. There is on-camera cropping, but no other editing functions are available. Users can erase, protect and copy pictures. The Share button accesses a menu full of options for printing and emailing. Individual photos can be magnified 1-8x and an automatic picture rotation function can be activated in the setup menu.

The Kodak EasyShare V530 is designed to attract a gathering of onlookers and is prepared to flaunt its photos with its fancy slide show function. In fact, there are many features for the discerning slide show fanatic. Slide show intervals can be changed from 1-60 seconds, the show can be put on a loop to play continuously and the transitions can be set to the following: vertical blind, center to left/ right, left to right, right to left, center to top/ bottom, top to bottom, bottom to top, block, and off. When movies are played back, the volume is controlled by the up and down arrows of the multi-selector and fast-forwarding and rewinding can be done with the left and right arrows. Users can pause the movie with the OK button and scroll frame by frame if desired – and can then choose frames to make into still image files.

Overall, the playback mode on the Kodak EasyShare V530 is thorough and easy to access and use. Users can also review images with the Favorites mode, which has its own designated button atop the camera. This mode is simply an abbreviated playback mode that shows the user’s (previously designated) favorite photographs and options to view them in thumbnails or slide shows.

Custom Image Presets*(8.25)*

The V530’s 20 scene modes can be accessed by pushing the auto mode button twice. By doing so, a plethora of icons appears in the bottom left corner of the LCD screen. Users can scroll through the icons with the multi-selector to choose a mode. There is a live view of the lighting as the icons are scrolled through and the name of the scene mode appears in the center of the screen. The following modes are available: Portrait, 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. This is certainly a thorough list for point-and-shooters.

Control Options

Manual Control Options

While there is no traditional manual mode, some manual controls are still offered on the Kodak EasyShare V530. Users can select the metering mode, auto focus control, ISO speed, and exposure compensation value among other things. The Kodak V530 wasn’t really designed to have tons of manual control as it is mainly marketed for consumers who want the simple life with a point-and-shoot digital camera to match.

Focus

Auto Focus (6.5)

The camera’s through-the-lens auto focus system can be set to work continuously or only when the shutter release button is pressed. Most photographers will probably opt for the single auto focus control because the continuous option is audible and takes more battery power. The V530 has macro and landscape focus modes that are accessed by pushing the bottom of the multi-selector. The camera can focus from 2-28 inches in the wide angle of the macro mode and 15.7-28 inches in the telephoto end of the macro mode. In the normal focus mode, the camera focuses from 2 ft. to infinity. The landscape focus mode can only focus as close as 33 ft. The Kodak V530 can focus just on the center of the frame or in multiple zones, as selected in the shooting menu. Users cannot choose the zones, but must hope the camera finds their subjects instead. When the subject is in focus, a green light appears next to "AF" on the LCD screen. When the camera is not focused, a red light appears.

Manual Focus (0.0)

This feature is not available on the Kodak EasyShare V530.

Exposure* (6.5)

*Getting a proper exposure can be tricky on the Kodak V530 if the camera isn’t held just right. What does handling have to do with exposure? The light sensor on the front of the camera is placed in the top right corner, just where fingers tend to wander. So sometimes the camera meters a finger instead of a subject. When everything is just right, the exposure can be tweaked with the compensation scale. The EasyShare V530 has the typical range of +/- 2 with 1/3 steps.

ExposureCompensationAnimati.gif

Metering* (7.0)

*As was mentioned previously, the light sensor is placed where the left hand’s fingers easily wander. This makes metering the scene difficult, no matter which mode is chosen. Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, and Center Spot are available. The first option is the default of course. The latter two are best for backlit situations and display brackets and circles where the camera meters from in the frame. This is very intuitive and is a nice introduction to exposure metering for first-time photographers.

ExposureMeteringAnimation.gif

ISO*(7.0)

*The Kodak EasyShare V530 has an automatic ISO setting that selects the rating in a short – but typical – range of 80 to 160. For dimmer lighting, users can opt for the manual settings of 80, 100, 200 and 400. This is a common selection for compact digital cameras. As an added bonus, Kodak has an 800 ISO setting that is only available at a reduced resolution of 1.8 megapixels. Such pictures could be used for email, but wouldn’t be of a good enough quality to print.

White Balance*(3.5)

*There are slim pickings in the white balance arena. The menu doesn’t provide live views as users scroll through the Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Open Shade options. There aren’t many presets and a manual white balance option is completely nonexistent.

Shutter Speed* (1.0)

*While the Kodak EasyShare V530 does not have a traditional manual shutter speed control, it does let users select longer exposures from a half-second up to 8 seconds. The automatic range usually keeps exposures much shorter. The camera’s slowest shutter speed is 8 seconds and its fastest is an odd 1/1448th of a second. The V530 has a blur detection system that alerts users with a shaking hand icon on the LCD if a picture has the potential to blur.

Aperture* (0.0)*

With a 3x optical zoom lens, the Kodak V530 has maximum apertures of f/2.8 in the wide setting and f/4.8 in the telephoto setting. The aperture cannot be manually controlled in the Schneider-Kreuznach lens and users never really know what aperture is used on pictures because it doesn’t show up in the information section in playback.

Image Parameters

Picture Quality / Size Options* (6.5)*

With the EasyShare V530’s 5 megapixels, the camera can produce pictures at a maximum resolution of 2576 x 1932 pixels. Four other image sizes are available at 4.4, 4, 3.1 and 1.8-megapixel sizes. All of these sizes are 4:3 formatted except the 4.4 megapixel size. This is 3:2 formatted to make standard 4 x 6-inch prints. The specs claim that this camera can produce prints up to 20 x 30 inches, but I wouldn’t recommend such large prints unless blurring and stair-step lines are acceptable. At the V530’s maximum resolution, 8 x 10 inches is probably the largest I’d print.

Picture Effects Mode* (6.0)

*In the Color Mode section of the Kodak V530’s shooting menu, users can find all kinds of options to tweak colors. Color can be exaggerated with the High Color mode or toned down with the Low Color mode. Natural Color is the default of course. Colors can also be completely changed with the Sepia and Black & White options. These have plenty of contrast and make portraits look quite good. The color modes can only be added while recording and not in playback. It is recommended that users use natural colors and add special effects like Black & White in the editing software if possible. That way, there is an original file that can be preserved for other purposes and a colored file for printing a birthday card, for example.

Connectivity / Extras

Connectivity

*Software (7.0)

*The Kodak V530 comes with a Kodak EasyShare Software CD-ROM with both Win 4.0.4 and Mac 4.0.5 versions. Unlike most manufacturers, however, Kodak gives free software upgrades to its customers, so users can freely download the most recent software version available.

Kodak’s software is extremely easy to use and intuitive to navigate. A group of labeled tabs runs down the left side of the home screen, as well as a Help link and Edit button, which appear on every screen of the software. From the home screen users can choose from: My Collection, Print at Home, Order Online, Email, EasyShare Center and Camera Center, depending on their needs.

easysharecenter.jpg

My Collection is essentially the image collection manager from which one can view thumbnails and movies, organize and sort, make albums, transfer pictures, edit photos and make or play slide shows.

Print at Home allows editing of photos for print, as well as choosing printer setup, paper alignment, paper type, print quality, print layout and paper size.

The Order Online tab brings users to a Windows Wizard-like format where users can scroll options, add borders, and then order prints or various photo-enhanced novelties like calendars, poster and mugs. Prints ordered from the Kodak EasyShare Gallery are priced as follows: 4 x 6' prints $0.15, 5 x 7' prints $0.59 and 8 x 10' prints $2.39. Shipping is additional.

Kodak’s EasyShare program even has an Email tab that syncs with the owner’s computer email program – such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook – to send pictures easily at reduced sizes for online sharing.

The software has an EasyShare Center tab from which (with Internet access) users can sync with the online Kodak EasyShare Gallery, update software and read software and camera tips, and shop the Kodak store. The software automatically syncs with the Internet and a Kodak EasyShare Gallery account.

From the Camera Center, Kodak V530’s Favorites album and built-in address book can be accessed. While address changes can not be done in-camera, users can add or edit the profiled email addresses from the EasyShare Software.

EasyShare editing tools (zooming, rotating, saturation etc…) are adequate for brightening up and cropping an image to put in a frame for Grandpa, and the effects like Sepia, Fisheye, Cartoon and Coloring Book will be fun for the kids; but anyone who owns Photoshop may be insulted: these applications, such as the red-eye tool we tested, are poorly applied to the images by professional standards. The good news is that an Enhance button gives one a chance to preview a tweaked image before saving the changes.

One nice thing to mention about the Kodak EasyShare Software is that Editing and Help links abound; as mentioned, there is a link to them from every screen of the software.

Jacks, Ports, Plugs (6.5)

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The jacks, ports and plugs on this model are left out in the elements and open for business. Don’t dip the Kodak V530 in the lake because there are no rubber seals or covers to protect it. And don’t leave your five-year-old alone with a pack of gum and this camera; you’ll be picking gum out of the ports. The power adaptor plugs into the left side of the camera and the card slides into the right side. The bottom has a door that covers the battery – thank goodness – and an open jack that sits on the Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2’s connector. An A/V cable cannot plug directly into the V530 but plugs into the included camera dock instead. The A/V cable, which doubles as a USB cable, can be manipulated within the camera to use an NTSC or PAL signal for European or American power standards.

*Direct Print Options (8.0)

*The EasyShare digital cameras are fitted with Share buttons and in-camera cropping to streamline the direct printing process. The V530 is even more successful at this because of its included Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2. The camera is PictBridge and ImageLink compatible, but users must still have the dock handy to transfer pictures "directly" to the printer (because the A/V / USB cable only hooks up to the dock). That is, unless the photographer decides to also buy the Kodak EasyShare Series 3 Printer Dock. The Kodak-branded printer lets the camera sit directly on top. Within the V530, users can choose which pictures to print and how many of each print is desired. The Share button sends the print order to the connected printer and users can hold the pictures in their hands a few minutes later. That’s the beauty of digital photography.

Battery (5.5)

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The Kodak EasyShare V530 comes with a KLIC-7002 rechargeable lithium-ion battery that slides into the bottom of the camera. The battery charges within the camera body when the V530 is docked in the included Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2. An indicator on the dock lets users know when the battery is low, half full or fully charged. Unfortunately, there is nothing on the LCD screen to let users know how much power the battery has left. The V530 gives about five seconds of warning before it shuts down, so be sure you plug the V530 into its dock every few hours. If users feel so inclined, a second battery can be purchased for a retail price of $30; however, it shouldn’t be necessary if the camera is docked most of the time.

Memory (5.0)

The Kodak EasyShare V530 has 16 MB of internal memory and an open slot for SD or MMC memory cards. The internal memory is used mainly for the Favorites album, which saves users’ best photos and videos for spontaneous slide shows and such. In the Camera Center of the Kodak EasyShare Software, users can choose how much of the internal memory is to be used for the Favorites album.

**Other Features ***(2.0)*

Sounds – There are a wide variety of sound themes that will suffice for little kids’ birthday parties or more formal settings. The default sounds are like any other compact model: boring. There are more adventurous sound themes like Animal, Fun, Music and Sci-Fi. These sounds can be applied to the start-up, focus lock, shutter, self-timer and error sounds. The volume can also be controlled.

Self-Timer – This feature can be activated within the camera’s shooting menu and takes a picture 10 seconds after the photographer presses the shutter release button. If the sound is on, users will not only see the green flashing light but they’ll hear some sort of music or noise as well to indicate when the shutter is open.

Overall Impressions

**Value ***(6.0) *

The Kodak EasyShare V530 started out at $349 in the summer, and then the retail price was reduced to $299 in November 2005. This fifty dollar decrease goes a long way in making the V530 look better when compared to its ultra slim competitors. This Kodak doesn’t have manual control, but does offer automatic and 20 scene modes to users who want to keep things simple. And it does so at a cheaper price than most other comparable compact models. The V530 has some great features that are hard to find at this price range, such as its 2-inch screen with 230,000 pixels. This digital camera also comes with a Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2 to streamline printing and transferring pictures. Overall, this digital camera takes decent pictures so $299 is not asking too much.

Comparisons

Kodak EasyShare V550 This model is the flagship of the series, but doesn’t have any more megapixels or zoom than the V530. The EasyShare V550 does double the internal memory to 32 MB and speeds up the burst to a whole 3 fps instead of the V530’s 2.5 fps. The 5 megapixel Kodak V550 is slightly larger at 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches and slightly heavier at 5.1 ounces, but has a bigger 2.5-inch LCD screen on the back. Still, the screen has the same resolution as the V530’s at 230,000 pixels. The V550 has the same scene and movie modes and even the same exposure settings. The camera body comes in two colors: silver essence or midnight black. This Kodak also comes with the Photo Frame Dock 2 that charges the battery and transfers pictures to computers or printers. The Kodak V550’s flash reaches about a foot farther than the one on the V530 and adds an optical viewfinder, but both cameras have digital image stabilization. The Kodak EasyShare V550 retailed for $399 when it was first introduced in April, but now retails for $349.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 The T5 is taller and slimmer with 3.7 x 2.4 x 0.8-inch measurements. The 5 megapixel Cyber-shot has a 3x zoom lens that stays within the camera body at all times. A sliding door acts as a lens cover and doubles as a power control. There aren’t many manual controls but there is an auto mode, a movie mode and ten scene modes. The Sony T5 has a larger 2.5-inch LCD screen, but the cameras have the same amount of resolution on the screen at 230,000 pixels. Both the T5 and V530 have disappointingly weak flashes; the T5 only reached to 8 ft. 2 in. The T5 does have a decent start-up time of 1.33 seconds, but has a slow burst mode that takes a shot every 0.7 seconds. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 has a movie mode that records 640 x 480-pixel video, but it only does so at 30 fps with an optional Sony MemoryStick Pro. Still, the T5 has 32 MB of internal memory, a long lasting battery, and is very easy to use. The Sony T5 retails for $349.

Nikon Coolpix S1 This compact digital camera just got its retail price slashed by fifty bucks as well. It started out at $379 and now goes for $329. The 5.1 megapixel Nikon S1 has a 3x zoom lens that stays within the camera body. It has similar automatic offerings such as 16 scene modes, a movie mode, and an automatic mode. The S1 measures 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches, so it is a little skinnier. Nikon just started to include the COOLSTATION cradle with the camera body, so the Kodak Photo Frame Dock has its match here as well. This Coolpix has a larger 2.5-inch LCD screen, but it has less than half of the Kodak’s resolution at 110,000 pixels so the view isn’t nearly as smooth. The shutter speed range is a lot shorter at 2-1/350th of a second and the aperture can only open to f/3 or f/5.4. These cannot be manually controlled so users must rely on the judgment of the camera to properly choose settings. Nikon did include its innovative technology on the Coolpix S1. In-camera red-eye fix, D-Lighting compensation, and face-priority auto focus are all available on the S1. The movie mode records at full 640 x 480 resolution but only does so at a choppy 15 frames per second. The Nikon Coolpix S1 has 12 MB of internal memory, so it can take only five pictures at its maximum resolution.

Fujifilm FinePix Z1 This digital camera is offered in black and silver colors and is also extremely thin at 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.7 inches. The Z1 has a 3x zoom lens that stays within the camera body and 5 effective megapixels to image with. This FinePix has a monocoque design, which wraps a single sheet of metal around three sides of the camera to make it more durable. This model has a slot for an xD-Picture card and a large 2.5-inch LCD screen. The resolution on the screen isn’t nearly as nice as the Kodak’s; the Z1 has only 115,000 pixels. One of the Z1’s main selling points is its ISO range of 64 to 800. The top ISO rating enables the camera to take pictures in low light and powers the Natural Light scene mode that disables the flash. There are five scene modes, an automatic mode and a movie mode that shoots 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels at 30 frames per second but does not zoom in or out during recording. The Fujifilm Z1’s colors are horribly inaccurate and images are noisy unless the ISO is manually adjusted. There is no burst mode, but the camera has a quick start-up time of 1.17 seconds and hardly has any shutter lag. The Fujifilm FinePix Z1 originally retailed for $449, but its price has dropped and dropped and dropped. It can now be easily found for around $250 online.

Casio Exilim EX-Z57 This slim model has similar 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.9-inch measurements and a similar 3x zoom lens that extends from the camera body. The Z57 has 5 megapixels and a much larger 2.7-inch LCD screen. Size isn’t everything though. The big screen only has 115,200 pixels of resolution, so the view isn’t nearly as smooth as that of the Kodak V530. The concept for the two digital cameras is the same though. With little manual control, the Casio Z57 has 23 scene modes and a Favorites mode like the one on the V530. The Casio also adds a calendar function that organizes photographs by date. As far as performance, the Casio is a bit lacking. Its color reproduction is quite inaccurate and its pictures have substantial amounts of noise in them, especially when the automatic ISO setting is used. The Casio Z57 takes 3.66 seconds to start up and without a dedicated burst mode it takes more than two seconds between shots. The movie mode on this model only shoots 320 x 240 pixel video at a slow rate of 15 fps. The flash is just as weak as the Kodak with an 8.5 ft. reach. Still, this digital camera has some redeeming qualities. It hardly has any shutter lag, its battery lasts 400 shots between charges, it has a maximum aperture of f/2.6, and the body is sturdy enough to survive a few falls. The Casio Exilim EX-Z57 retails for $349.

Who It’s For

Point-and-Shooters – With an auto mode and lots of scene modes, the Kodak EasyShare V530 is designed for the beginners of digital photography. It is easy to use and essentially a point-and-shoot model.

Budget Consumers – This group of coupon-cutting penny pinchers will be excited to know that Kodak reduced the retail price of the V530 to $299.95. This camera is stylish and trim; while it is not as skinny as competing cameras, it is also not as expensive.

Gadget Freaks – At this price point, nothing is really high-tech. The Kodak EasyShare V530 won’t wow gadget freaks unless they’re into simple gadgets that are stylish as well.

Manual Control Freaks – While aperture and shutter speed are not manually controllable, the V530 does allow some manual selections to be made. Still, this won’t be enough to lure the manual control crowd.

Pros / Serious Hobbyists – The Kodak EasyShare V530 looks like a child’s toy next to a Hasselblad. Need I say more?

Conclusion

Conclusion

The Kodak EasyShare V530 aims to grab a share of the ultra slim market with its trendy colored housings, skinny 0.9-inch profile, and organized layout. The 5 megapixel V530 comes in red, silver, black, and pink – each to appeal to a slightly different audience. All of the cameras come with a green focus assist lamp on the front that proves to be quite annoying during movie recording. This compact model has a branded Schneider-Kreuznach 3x optical zoom lens that doesn’t quite live up to its name. The lens distorts the image in the corners of the frame and has only about five stops in its zoom range of 36-108 mm (equivalent).

The buttons on this Kodak EasyShare look organized, but are deceivingly difficult to handle. The positioning is not ergonomically pleasing so users’ hands are forced into strange poses to change settings. Changing settings shouldn’t be an overly frequent occurrence though because the Kodak EasyShare V530 is very automatically oriented. It has an auto mode, 20 scene modes and a movie mode. The breadth of the scene modes is extensive; the modes cover everything from Text and Children to the more common Portrait and Landscape.

The movie mode is pretty impressive for such a small digital camera. It shoots video at both 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixels and does so at a smooth 30 frame-per-second rate. The optical zoom can be used while recording, although it does produce some noise. The Kodak V530 has a digital image stabilization system that works surprisingly well during movie recording.

There are some settings that can be manually adjusted, but users can choose to completely ignore these if they wish. Kodak tries to streamline the shooting and sharing process by including in-camera color modes, cropping and even a sharpness adjustment – and by also including a Kodak EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2 with the camera. The dock charges the V530’s lithium-ion battery while allowing users to play slide shows and transfer images to printers or computers.

The Kodak EasyShare V530 was released at a retail price of $349 and then modified to a more affordable $299 price tag. The V530 is cheaper than most of its other competitors and has very similar features: 5 megapixels, a skinny body that can fit in a pocket, and automatic functionality. So while this camera can be tough to handle and has quirks like the eerie green light, it is still a bargain.

Specs / Ratings

**Specs Table

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