|The Kodak EasyShare V550 designers succeeded back to front. The V550 digital camera looks extremely stunning and neat, personally I do like a neat camera. I received a black model for this review, but the EasyShare V550 is also available in silver. The camera looks smart and stylish at the same time, a particularly successful concept. The surface of the V550 is not smooth but contains ribs. It gives you a better grip on the camera without the need for a rubber coating. The EasyShare V550 also feels very solid. Additionally a lot of attention is paid to the finishing touch and that's why we find such a high level we don't usually see on digital cameras in this price class. The Kodak EasyShare V550 wants to be seen with you! A lot of space is taken up by the huge monitor, which doesn't leave much room for the buttons, consequentially they are carried out rather small. Too small as far as I'm concerned.|
|Kodak V550 - Schneider-Kreuznach lens
Right from the start Kodak uses Schneider-Kreuznach lenses for their digital cameras, a legendary brand, renowned for its high quality glass. The Kodak EasyShare V550 is no exception in this respect and also features a lens of this German brand. It is the C-Variogon with a range of 38-105mm (equivalent of 35mm camera). The lens is reasonably bright, f/2.8 in wide and f/4.8 in telephoto. In wide angle some barrel distortion is visible, which in fact is quite usual for a lens in this class. Zooming in makes the distortion disappear. After activating the camera the lens extends. The extended lens now does not show any signs of play. It fully proves the high reputation of the brand. A green led assists the auto focus in dimly lit situations.
Kodak EasyShare V550 - Flash and Self-timer
The front side of the EasyShare V550 camera carries a small flash next to the lens. The range of this flash is average, but in wide angle some corners stay somewhat in the dark. Left from the flash the microphone is found for video clips. The AF assistance lamp, also serving as the indicator of the self-timer is found on the right side from the flash. Completely on the right a tiny optical viewfinder is placed. And next to it a light sensor. The latter one is not used for light metering, for that happens through the sensor. A metal coloured strip should serve as grip, but it is hardly functional. It does add a nice finishing touch to the camera though.
Kodak Easy-Share V550 - Main buttons
The main buttons for operating the Kodak EasyShare V550 are found on top of the camera. Completely on the right the release button is placed, it is nice and large and has a fine pressing point. Next to it a small button for operating the flash is positioned. This button is carried out extremely small, you are almost forced to operate it with your nail, and this is not handy at all. Nor is it handy that this button is placed next to the on/off switch of the camera. This one is also carried out rather small which prevents you from accidentally turning the camera on or off. But because of the fact that these two buttons are placed extremely close to each other, you will find yourself turning off the camera more than once in stead of operating the flash. The Kodak designers ought to change this rapidly on the next generation. The other four buttons on top of the EasyShare V550 may be called original. At first glance you wouldn't think that they are buttons, they look more like a touch screen. The buttons contain a blue light that lights up depending on which button you've pressed. The buttons let you choose auto mode, portrait mode, scene modes and movie modes. This is rather convenient, because you know immediately what mode the camera is set to.
|Kodak V550 - Interfaces
The external power adaptor can be connected to the camera's left side, the interface is not covered. Some caution is recommended with humidity! The USB connection however is covered with a rubber lid and is placed on the right side of the camera. A little bit more to the top of the camera we find the eyelet for a wrist strap and a switch to choose between recording mode and reviewing the favourite photos. These favourites are stored on the internal memory in a smaller size. If you remove the original you can still show your most favourite pictures. A handy function and Kodak proves to take the wishes of its users seriously.
Kodak Easy Share V550 - Four-way controller
The back of the Kodak EasyShare V550 is mainly taken by the huge 2.5 inch sized LCD monitor. On the left we find an optical viewfinder, though not a very useful one. It is too small and merely shows a small part of the actual image. Underneath the viewfinder there are buttons for deleting images, accessing the menu, viewing the images and the Share button. This button lets you send photos quickly to a computer, e-mail or printer. You don't have to dig into the menu to share photos with your friends. That indeed is the power of the Easy Share system! The distance between the buttons is just right in order to operate them easily. On the right next to the monitor the zoom button is positioned. It's also carried out rather small but still easy to operate. Two lights underneath show whether the camera is in the normal mode or whether you are reviewing your favourite photos. Completely bottom right the four-way controller is found that lets you quickly adjust the exposure, change the information on the monitor and adjust macro or hyper focus functions. In the center of this controller an OK button is placed to confirm the various functions. Everything is well organised and clear, even without a manual you'll find out where to go and what to do.
Kodak EasyShare V 550 - Battery and Memory compartment
The battery and the Secure Digital memory card have to be inserted in the compartment at the bottom side of the camera and are covered with a neatly finished cover. It fits perfectly and it's equipped with rubber knobs which makes it easy to open the lid and the camera won't slide away when it is put down on a table or else. Very well done! Next to the lid, the connections for the docking station and the tripod are placed. Lastly there is a loud speaker positioned at the bottom of the camera. In practise this is not a handy place; for example, when the camera is placed on a table, it covers up the loud speaker. This of course doesn't benefit recording the sound. The Kodak EasyShare V550 is a neatly arranged digital camera that can generally be operated in a user-friendly way. The large monitor takes up a dominant position and is clearly the core of the photographic joy. Certainly for a camera in this class it's excellently finished. Although various buttons could have been a tiny bit bigger.