Kodak EasyShare V1003 Overview
by Mike Pasini
Review Date: 11/1/2007
The 10-megapixel Kodak EasyShare V1003 features a Kodak Retinar-branded 3x optical zoom lens, 2.5-inch 150,000 pixel LCD display, a high ISO mode that offers a maximum sensitivity of ISO 1,600 equivalent, and a whopping 22 Scene modes (Portrait, Sport, Landscape, Close up, Night portrait, Night landscape, Snow, Beach, Text/document, Fireworks, Flower, Museum/manner, Self-portrait, High ISO, Children, Backlight, Panning, Candlelight, Sunset, Custom, Panorama, and Anti-blur).
The Kodak V1003 includes user-friendly functions such as in-camera digital red-eye removal, a blurry picture warning, and a new "Maintain Settings" menu that lets the user store their preferred settings such as flash, white balance, ISO, and resolution for use each time the camera is powered on.
Other Kodak V1003 features include 4x digital zoom, three metering modes (multi-pattern, center-weighted or center-spot), +/- 2.0 EV exposure compensation, 2- or 10-second self-timer, and a movie mode that produces QuickTime MOV (MPEG4) files with audio at 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixel resolution at a rate of up to 30 frames per second.
Like other Kodak EasyShare models, the V1003 uses SD/MMC memory cards and comes with 24MB of internal memory available for image storage. V1003 interfaces include USB 2.0, A/V (NTSC or PAL), and Kodak Camera Dock/Printer Dock connections. Power is provided to the EasyShare V1003 via a Kodak KLIC-7003 lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
The Kodak EasyShare V1003 is available in a variety of colors including pink bliss, red shimmer, cosmic blue, mystic purple, golden dream, white glaze, silver essence, slate gray, and java black, and hit the market priced at U.S.$229.95.
Kodak EasyShare V1003
by Mike Pasini
Intro. Kodak's attractive V-Series cameras are all about the price. The 8-megapixel V803, which we previously reviewed, is yours for under $200 and the 10-megapixel V1003, which is the subject of this review, is not much more at $229.95. Not only can you pick your color, but you get 10-megapixel sensor with Kodak's Color Science image processor, a 3x optical zoom, Kodak's Perfect Touch technology for in-camera image editing and an anti-blur mode.
Look and feel. The V-Series is an attractive design, smaller in the hand than it appears in photos, and so smooth it slips easily into a pocket or purse.
I also like the weight. It's average among digicams of its class, but heftier than the featherweights that are just impossible to steady as you press their unusually stiff shutter buttons.
The Shutter button on the V1003 is just right, large enough to find and easy to half-press and fully press, too. What's not just right is the Power button. That has to be held down for a count before the camera takes you seriously. I found myself powering the camera on twice a lot. The first time just didn't do the trick.
The other problem control for me is the joystick. But it was very easy to accidentally engage this one. It's very easy to take pictures that are underexposed because you inadvertently pressed the joystick to the left, setting EV to -1.3. You can just as easily find yourself in Macro mode from pressing the joystick down. The cure is to rest your thumb on the Zoom lever, not the joystick. The joystick means business.
I do like the control layout, though. The top buttons are mode buttons and the side buttons are shortcuts. Easy to get familiar with, all of them.
What's missing, though, is a Playback mode button. Instead, there's a Review button that switches to Playback mode or the Favorites mode button that shows you what's stored in the Favorites album on internal memory (32MB, of which 24MB is available for images). But to see your new images without extending the lens, you have to press Favorites and then Review, waiting while the card is read. I'd prefer a Review mode button with a Favorites shortcut to switch to my permanent collection because mostly I want to see what's new.
The instant review is as good as a mirror for that, of course.
Display/Viewfinder. Keeping the price below $200 means restricting the LCD to 2.5 inches, but that's not really too small. It just isn't huge like those 3.0-inch LCDs everybody loves (and that cost twice as much).
There's no optical viewfinder, but that's not unusual. And this camera's owner is likely to be engaged with the subject, part of the party, in the game, rather than a detached observer.
Although it's just a 154K pixel display like the V803, the LCD does show off your images nicely in Playback mode. The angle of view isn't, however, very generous. Even slightly askew, the colors shift and the image disappears. There will be a lot of looking over the shoulder during playback.
And there will be a lot of wrist twisting, too. The V1003 doesn't have an orientation sensor, so images aren't rotated by the camera. You'll have to do that yourself.
I had a hard time composing images in sunlight with the V1003 LCD just as I did with the V803 LCD. It just wasn't bright enough and the shiny surface reflected my gold chains and sunburnt chest. You can kick the brightness up at the expense of battery life, but you have to be able to see the screen to find the menu option.
Performance. You don't expect great performance from an inexpensive camera, but it's nice to know just what shortcuts Kodak took. Our main performance figures all come in on the low side of average at best and often below average.
Power on, for example is slow at 3.4 seconds, 0.1 second better than below average. It's not so much because it takes the 3x optical zoom time to extend from the camera shell as it is the extra time you wait for the screen to display the scene.
Shutdown, at two seconds, ranks as average, but this is one camera I'd just leave on and wake from sleep. It's too hard to guess what's going to happen in 3.4 seconds.
One of the more surprising performance issues was the very slow autofocus lag at telephoto. The V1003 really thinks about focus when you crank the lens all the way out. At wide angle, performance is more typical, but the combination only ranks as below average.
Prefocus lag isn't a solution either. That's faster at 0.332 second (and apparently the measurement Kodak uses for its Click to Capture specification), but still below average these days.
Scene modes are plentiful. The V1003 offers Portrait, Sport, Landscape, Close up, Night portrait, Night landscape, Snow, Beach, Text/document, Fireworks, Flower, Museum/manner, Self-portrait, High ISO, Children, Backlight, Panning, Candlelight, Sunset, Custom, Panorama, and Anti-blur.
What sets the V1003 apart from its competitors (besides the accessories) is what sets Kodak digicams apart in general: EasyShare. It starts with the camera with Favorites and easy docking to make 4x6 prints, but it extends to Kodak's free EasyShare software that can import your images when you attach the camera to your computer with a USB cable. And it goes even further to Kodak Gallery where you can share your images and turn them into prints and all sorts of gifts. EasyShare is the really valuable accessory that comes with every Kodak digicam.
The V1003 does include some in-camera editing functions like Kodak's Perfect Touch, which displays the automatic enhancement in a split screen view so you can decide whether to keep it or not. You can also crop pictures in the camera. And you can edit video, too, saving a frame as a still or trimming the video of unwanted segments. You can add video bookmarks to skip to interesting places in a movie and you can make a 4-, 9-, or 16-up image from video frames.
The lithium-ion battery charged quickly and kept its charge, so we were never without power, although it did seem to drop that first bar fast. It's the same KLIC-7003 battery the V803 uses. Kodak only rates it for 200 shots, which is surprisingly below average.
Shooting. My experience shooting with this camera wasn't any better than my experience shooting with the V803, but that doesn't mean it can't take pictures. Thanks to the Kodak Color Science chip that processes the raw sensor data into credible JPEGs, I did get some nice shots.
The problem I had was using the V1003. Startup was very slow, so I just didn't take any action shots and I left the camera powered on most of the time (in case something came into view).
Shutter lag was always noticeable, too. I do half-press the Shutter button to set focus, but even that took a good while in telephoto as the lens ratcheted back and forth to find focus. At wide angle it doesn't have to ratchet at all, but it isn't quick. You'll miss a lot of candid shots with the V1003.
I did like the 16:9 aspect ratio option, though. It's not a great choice for frameable pictures, but it works great on HDTVs. In fact, I'm looking forward to the V1253, which adds HD video to the attractive V-Series package.
Kodak does indulge the desire for unnatural saturation. Here in San Francisco, where it is often overcast, that doesn't play well. It's more a watercolor palette than an oil paint one. So what punches up in bright sunlight comes across to me as fluorescing.
More disappointing was the lack of detail in the images. With 10 megapixels, I was hoping to see some detail in the distance shots of downtown from Twin Peaks. The V803 seemed to do better, although in fairness, the V1003 shots suffered from particulates in the air from recent fires and a bit more haze than on the day I shot the V803 pictures.
There was quite a bit of noise in the images, too, I thought. Even the sunlit shots at ISO 80, where you wouldn't expect to see any noise at all, showed grainy skies and shadows.
So we could hardly complain about noise at ISO 1,600. My shots of the stick shift knob in subdued light were both high ISO and Macro shots. The thumbnails are practically identical, but take a closer look. The first, at ISO 400, is slightly blurred at 1/8 second (with plenty of noise, too). The second was taken at ISO 800 using a shutter speed of 1/20 second. Noise, yes, but the detail and color holds up very well. That was even true of the ISO 1,600 shot (note the blues, green and red of the Alfa emblem).
To Kodak's credit, the V1003 doesn't resize the 10-megapixel captures at high ISO down to something a little less noisy but big enough for a 4x6 print. They're honest high ISO images. But they are noisy. And you can average the pixels, reducing the noise, by resizing them. ISO 800 looks like the safest choice, but I'd do that with ISO 1,600 images, too.
My favorite shots in the gallery were on the beach. I shot toward the sun (if not quite into it) for one scene and away from it on the other one.
On the first, the ocean sparkles without blowing out. There's green in the one wave breaking. If you look at the high resolution image, you can even see a guy in the surf. But nothing in that shot is subject to oversaturation.
The second beach scene captures some detail in the foreground grass. The shadows, which are the subject of the image, are pretty noisy and there are some spectral highlights in the same that come off as artifacts. But the V1003 captured the scene accurately (if the ocean is a little too blue).
The movie sequence we shot for this camera was of two kites on the beach. They were clearly visible with the naked eye, but the V1003 had trouble finding them for all its 10 megapixels resized to 640x480.
I was happier with close range shots than long range ones but only of static objects, not moving ones (like people), because of the shutter lag.
The Kodak V1003 is priced for casual use and that's something it just isn't cut out for with a very slow startup time and sub-par shutter lag. It looks good, but it doesn't know how to behave.
- 10.16 megapixel sensor
- Kodak Retinar 3x optical zoom lens (36-108mm 35mm equivalent) with 4x digital zoom
- 2.5-inch LCD with 154,000 pixels
- ISO 80-1,600
- Shutter 8 second to 1/1,448 second
- Max aperture f/2.8
- SD/SDHC/MMC memory card compatible
- Lithium-ion battery
- Weight: 5.0 ounces (142 grams)
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.1 x 1.0 inches (103 x 55 x 25mm)
- 32MB internal memory of which 24MB is available for picture storage
- Anti-blur mode
- 22 Scene modes
- MPEG4 VGA movies at 30-fps with sound and video bookmarking
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Kodak Perfect Touch Technology
- Kodak Color Science image processing
- Accessories include bags, skins, beaded straps, and fashion bags
- On-camera Share button
- EasyShare Software
In the Box
The Kodak EasyShare V1003 ships with the following items in the box:
- V1003 Zoom Digital Camera
- Li-ion Rechargeable Digital Camera Battery KLIC-7003
- Carry strap
- USB cable
- 5V AC adapter with power cord(s) for in-camera battery charging
- Getting Started Guide with Kodak EasyShare Software
- Custom camera insert for optional docks
- Large capacity SD/MMC memory card. These days, 2GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity.
- Small camera case for outdoor and in-bag protection. Take a look at Kodak's color coordinated slim camera cases, the Fashion Pac 2 camera purse and the matching Fashion Jewelry Neck and Wrist straps on Kodak's website.
Despite the attractiveness of the Kodak EasyShare V1003, I was disappointed in its performance. It was hard to read the LCD and "catch the moment" with this camera. Focus was very slow and shutter lag really got in the way. It got even worse when I added flash to the equation. When I looked over the images, they were far too saturated with too much contrast in sunlight.
The Kodak V1003 did manage to capture a few things well. I liked the Macro shots I took, and I liked the ISO 1,600 captures, too, despite the usual noise; with the V1003, it was not nearly as objectionable as it can be. Most folks, however, would do better to keep it under ISO 400, and ISO 800 if all they're reproducing are 4x6-inch prints. Neither of those pluses, though, are likely to be appreciated by the target Kodak V1003 user when they keep missing the moment while the V1003 tries to focus. If you do a lot of shooting on tripods when indoors, and the rest of your shooting outdoors, and you don't mind heavily saturated colors, the Kodak V1003 takes a pretty good image overall, and it's very stylish, smooth, and pocket-friendly. But if you're trying to photograph pets or children, especially indoors, you should really look elsewhere, as the Kodak EasyShare V1003 is just a little too slow, even in the Children Scene mode.