The Kodak Easyshare V803 is a point and shoot digital camera with eight megapixels and a three times zoom lens. It is just about small enough to fit into most pockets. It is easy to use and is available in a wide variety of colours too. The Easyshare V803 is likely to suit someone who is looking for a camera that can handle standard snap shots and is easy to pick up and get used to in a short space of time.
103 x 54.5 x 25 mm
At first glance I was impressed by the quality of the photos I took with the Easyshare V803. When I looked closer I found some issues that concerned me. These include noise levels and general soft focusing.
Colours are a touch stronger than normal, especially blues. This is noticeable in my dedicated test for colours and also the skies are a stronger shade of blue than with other cameras I tested on the same day. Colour strength is really a matter of personal taste as to how you like photos to look.
Focusing is sharp in the centre for the outdoor scenic shots. There is though a fairly sudden and pronounced fall off in sharpness as you move towards the edges of each shot. In the second test shot where the camera's lens is not zoomed in at all the photo is softer than I would like to see in general. Aside from this, contrast is handled quite well with the Easyshare V803 coping with the glare from the sun.
Another area that concerns me slightly is that I can see some noise levels creeping into the skies. This causes a loss of overall picture quality.
There is plenty of pink in the skin tones showing in the outdoor portrait. This is a fairly standard type of shot, but I would like to have seen the light falling on the face toned down a bit.
The indoor portrait shot is one of the brightest I have ever managed to produce. This suggests to me that the Easyshare V803 has a strong flash unit. Despite this there is no red eye showing in the shot. Looking at the design of the camera this may be attributable to the fact the flash unit is further away from the lens than with the majority of other compact digital cameras.
My other indoor, lowlight test shot is also handled well. Taking the conditions into account the camera manages to focus sharply. Taking the two lowlight tests together I would say the Easyshare V803 outperforms many cameras in this area.
One test I was very impressed with is the macro shot. My test photo is again brighter than I am used to seeing. Whilst this type of camera is not recommended for people who wish to specialise in macro photography my test suggests this camera will not let you down in this area.
Checking for higher ISO settings the camera delivers a fairly standard performance. There are levels of noise showing at ISO 400. By the time you push the camera up to ISO 1600 picture quality is really suffering.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
The most telling point when it comes to shutter lag is the difference in delay times caused by turning on the flash unit. I was able to take a single photo in 0.35 seconds and five photos in 9.35 seconds. When the flash unit was turned on the time for a single photo rose steeply to 1.65 seconds. It took 12.48 seconds to take five photos with the flash on.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 36 - 108mm in 35mm format. The lens aperture is f/2.8 - 4.9. There is also a 4x digital zoom. For close up work the camera can focus from 6cm away from the subject.
For composing shots there is a 2.5" LCD screen. The screen is made up of around 154,000 pixels.
The range of the flash unit is 3m, falling to 2m when the zoom is being used. Flash modes are: auto, fill, off and red eye.
To help improve your photos there is the usual selection of predefined scene modes. These are: 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 and panorama.
Although the Easyshare V803 is primarily a point and shoot camera you do have access to set ISO (80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600), metering (multi-pattern, center-weighted, center spot), exposure compensation (±2.0 EV with 0.3 EV steps), white balance (auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade) and burst shooting (1 fps up to 4 frames). Shutter speeds are set automatically in the range 8 - 1/2000 seconds, although you can select the long shutter mode to give a degree of extra control.
Other features you may wish to use include being able to adjust sharpness levels, a self timer and using different colours (high color, natural color (default), low color, sepia, black and white). There is also a special setting allowing you to take photos suitable for printing on 6 x 4" paper without the need for the photo to be trimmed.
You can shoot movies with sound. Movies have a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 and a top speed of 30 frames per second. Zoom is also available to use while the movie is being captured.
All the cables and software you need are included in the box to attach the Easyshare V803 to a computer, television set and compatible printer.
Ease of Use
The menu system is easy enough to get used to and understand. The buttons on the camera are also straightforward. I did find the buttons on the small side for my size of hands. There is also a small joystick to select settings with. Again I found this a bit fiddly and did not always end up making the section I was looking for.
Price wise the Easyshare V803 is one of the cheaper eight megapixel, pocket sized digital cameras. You can pick one up for around £130. Other models you may wish to consider include Olympus FE-250 (£165), Pentax Optio A30 (£170) and Sony DSC W90 (£195).
This camera has a different design to those made by other brands. For a relatively small digital camera it does have quite a chunky feel. This may or may not be something you like. It is also longer than many of the smaller digital compacts.
When it comes to colour you have a wide choice with ten different colours available. These include silver, gold, blue, red, white and black.
The camera has dimensions of 103 x 55 x 25mm and weighs 185g.
A lithium ion battery is used for power. Both a battery and charger are supplied with the camera.
Memory Cards and Storage
There are 32mb of memory built into the camera. It is compatible with SD cards. I was able to take 11 shots before the internal memory was full.
Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
Lack of red eye
Bright macro shot
Where it is not so hot:
Soft focusing away from centre
Noise levels can be high
Shutter delay with flash
Often when reviewing digital cameras it is difficult to come up with compelling reasons why a digital camera should be bought or why it should be avoided. This is true of the Kodak Easyshare V803. It does some things very well, such as producing a bright indoor portrait and also a bright macro shot. There are though one or two significant areas where it didn't perform as I would have liked it to.
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