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DCRP Review: Kodak EasyShare V803  
   

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: March 30, 2007
Last Updated: February 25, 2008

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The EasyShare V803 ($199) is the latest model in Kodak's stylish V-series of digital cameras. Most of the features are pretty pedestrian: an 8 Megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom, 2.5" LCD, tons of point-and-shoot features, and a VGA movie mode. What has garnered more attention (perhaps unfortunately) is the fact that the V803 comes in NINE different colors. If you've been wanting a purple camera... well, now's your chance.

There is a lot of good competition in the compact camera field. How does the EasyShare V803 compare? Keep reading, our review starts now.

I apologize in advance for the quality of the menu and screen captures from the camera -- the video output was very poor for some reason.

What's in the Box?

The EasyShare V803 has a good bundle. Inside the box you'll find:

  • The 8.0 effective Megapixel EasyShare V803 camera
  • KLIC-7003 rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • AC adapter / battery charger
  • Insert for optional camera and printer docks
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Kodak EasyShare software
  • 27 page Getting Started Guide

As is the case with many cameras these days, the EasyShare V803 has built-in memory instead of a bundled memory card. The V803 has 32MB of built-in memory (of which only 24MB can be used for photo storage), which holds just ten photos at the highest quality setting. Therefore, you'll want to buy a memory card right away, and I'd recommend a 1GB card as a good place to start. The camera supports both SD and MMC memory cards (SDHC cards are not supported, apparently). A high speed card is not a necessary purchase.

One glaring omission from the bundle is an A/V output cable. It's not that the camera doesn't support one -- it does. Instead, Kodak wants you to pay $25 to get the same cable that everyone else includes in the box at no charge. Poor form, Kodak.

The EasyShare V803 uses the KLIC-7003 lithium-ion rechargeable battery for power. This battery packs 3.9 Wh of energy, which isn't much. How does that translate into battery life? Have a look:

Camera Battery life, LCD on
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot SD900 230 shots NB-5L
Casio Exilim EX-Z1050 370 shots NP-40
Fuji FinePix F40fd 300 shots NP-70
GE E1030 210 shots GB-40
Kodak EasyShare V803 200 shots KLIC-7003
Nikon Coolpix S500 180 shots EN-EL10
Olympus Stylus 760 200 shots LI-42B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12 350 shots CGA-S005
Pentax Optio A30 150 shots D-LI8
Samsung L700 170 shots ** SLB-0837
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 340 shots NP-BG1

** Number not obtained using the CIPA standard

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

While better than some cameras in this class, the EasyShare V803's battery life still falls below average. Thus, buying a spare battery is probably a good idea. Be warned that they're a bit pricey (though nowhere near as bad as some), at $25 a pop. Also, you can't use an "off-the-shelf" battery when your rechargeable one dies.

Kodak includes an AC adapter, which plugs directly into the camera to charge the battery. It takes around about two hours to fully charge the battery. Blue lights on the top of the camera indicate the charging status.

There are a couple of other ways you charge the camera's battery. You can pick up the Photo Frame Dock 2 (around $40), which can also be used to transfer photos to your computer. Another option is to pick up the K7500 Universal Battery Charger (priced from $32), which is an external charger that can plug into the wall or your car.

As is the case with all compact cameras, the V803 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clumsy lens cap to worry about.

The V803 is pretty light in the accessory department. In fact, I mentioned most of them already. In addition to those, there's also the G600 Printer Dock (priced from $122), which can crank out a 4 x 6 print in a little over a minute. It can also be used to charge the V803's battery. Otherwise there are a few camera bags and "fashion accessory kits" which include feminine camera bags and neck straps.


EasyShare 6.0 for Mac OS X


EasyShare 6.2 for Windows lets you view your Online Photo Gallery right in the software

The V803 comes with Kodak's EasyShare 6 software for both Mac and Windows. Windows users can go to Kodak's website to download a newer version (v6.2) which offers full integration with Kodak EasyShare Gallery. As you might expect (and Mac users know what I'm talking about), the Windows version is superior to the Mac version of the software.

The main screen in EasyShare is where you'll organize your photos after they've been imported from the camera. You can view your photos by date taken, and you can create both regular and "smart" albums as well.

On this screen you can also view your photos in a slideshow, edit or rotate them (see below), get exposure data, burn them to a CD or DVD, or even upload them to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery for printing and sharing. You can also e-mail them (directly or via a website) and print them in numerous ways.


EasyShare 6.0 for Mac OS X


EasyShare 6.2 for Windows

On the edit screen you've got a bunch of nice tools for fixing up your photos. They include rotation, cropping, "instant enhancement", redeye reduction, brightness and contrast, color, exposure, and instant black & white or sepia conversion. For some edits, you can split the screen (see above) so you can see a "before and after" view of your proposed changes. The Windows version adds a few other "fun effects" as well.


EasyShare 6.2 for Windows

Something else that the Windows version lets you do is create greeting cards. The software includes templates, and Kodak sells packs of templates for around $10. Just plug in your photo and you're ready to print your card either yourself or via Kodak's EasyShare Gallery service.

All-in-all the EasyShare package is pretty darn good for bundled software, especially if you've seen the stuff that some other companies give you.

On their recent cameras Kodak has taken a step backwards in the documentation department. In the "old days" (meaning a year ago), you used to get a nice thick manual in the box with the camera. Now you get a thin "getting started guide" which has just 22 pages of actual content. Want the full manual? You'll have to go to Kodak's website and either view it there, or download it as a PDF. Consumers -- especially those new to cameras -- shouldn't have to do this.

Look and Feel

When I first took my glossy white EasyShare V803 out of the box, I had to check for an Apple logo on it. Yes, it kind of resembles an iPod. The V803 is sleek, stylish, and compact. The camera is made of a mixture of metal and plastic, and the whole thing feels very solid in your hand. In terms of ergonomics the V803 is a bit of a letdown. While there aren't many buttons on the camera, the ones on the top al feel the same (including the power button), and the zoom and four-way controllers on the back of the camera are way too small.


Images courtesy of Kodak

In the last few years camera companies have begun offering cameras in a multitude of colors. Kodak has gone way beyond that on the EasyShare V803, offering the camera in eight different colors. Colors include white glaze, midnight black, cosmic blue, silver essence, pink bliss, golden dream, red shimmer, and mystic purple.

Enough about that -- let's talk about how the V803 compares to the competition in terms of size and weight now.

Camera Dimensions (W x H x D, excluding protrusions) Volume (bulk) Mass (empty)
Canon PowerShot SD900 3.6 x 2.4 x 1.1 in. 9.5 cu in. 165 g
Casio Exilim EX-Z1050 3.6 x 2.3 x 1.0 in. 8.3 cu in. 125 g
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 7.9 cu in. 153 g
GE E1030 4.0 x 2.2 x 1.0 in. 8.8 cu in. 145 g
Kodak EasyShare V803 4.1 x 2.1 x 1.0 in. 8.6 cu in. 142 g
Nikon Coolpix S500 3.5 x 2.0 x 0.9 in. 6.3 cu in. 125 g
Olympus Stylus 760 3.9 x 2.1 x 1.0 in. 8.2 cu in. 120 g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12 3.7 x 2.0 x 1.0 in. 7.4 cu in. 125 g
Pentax Optio A30 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 7.2 cu in. 130 g
Samsung L700 3.8 x 2.2 x 0.8 in. 6.7 cu in. 130 g
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 7.5 cu in. 124 g

The V803 is right in the middle of the pack in terms of size and weight. It's not a super-thin camera that you can stuff into your jeans pocket, but it's still small and light enough to put in a jacket pocket or purse.

Let's start our tour of the camera now, shall we?

The EasyShare V803 has a fairly run-of-the-mill F2.8-4.8, 3X optical zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is 7.5 - 22.5 mm, which is equivalent to 36 - 108 mm. The lens is not threaded, and conversion lenses are not supported.

The microphone can be found to the lower-right of the lens. To the upper-right of it you'll find the AF-assist lamp, which also serves as the visual countdown for the self-timer. The AF-assist lamp is used by the camera as a focusing aid in low light situations.

Next to that is the built-in flash. Kodak gives some non-standard flash range numbers, using ISO settings other than 'Auto'. They give a range of 0.6 - 3.0 m at wide-angle and ISO 140, and 0.6 - 2.0 m at telephoto and ISO 200. Those numbers are on the weak side. You cannot attach an external flash to the V803.

The main thing to see on the back of the EasyShare V803 is its large 2.5" LCD display. The resolution isn't terribly impressive (there are 154,000 pixels), but then again, this is a $200 camera. Outdoor visibility was just okay -- the screen seemed washed out and not very sharp compared to the Canon PowerShot SD1000 that I had with me. Low light visibility was good, but not great. The screen brightens in those situations, just not as much as I would've liked.

As you can probably tell, there's no optical viewfinder on the V803. Whether this is a problem sort of depends on you. Some people (like me) like optical viewfinders, while others could care less.

To the upper-right of the LCD is the zoom controller, which I found to be way too small. It moves the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in about 1.5 seconds. I counted seven steps in the camera's 3X zoom range.

Below that is the four-way controller, which too is on the small side. It's also easy to accidentally push it in a direction that you did not intend. You'll use this for navigating the menus, adjusting exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments), and also for:

  • Up - Toggles what is shown on LCD
  • Down - Focus mode (Auto, macro, infinity)

Jumping now to the opposite side of the LCD, we find these five buttons:

  • Flash setting (Auto, fill flash, auto w/redeye reduction, flash off)
  • Delete photo
  • Menu
  • Review (playback mode)
  • Share - see below

Press the Share button and the camera goes into playback mode and opens the menu you see above. Here you can:

  • Tag a picture for printing
  • Tag a picture for e-mailing
  • Tag a picture as a "favorite" for easy reviewing later on the camera or computer

Let's say you want to mark an image for e-mail. Here's what you'll see:

You can select a person or persons to whom you want to e-mail this picture. Once you connect to your computer, the EasyShare software will send the pictures to the chosen recipients.

Selecting photos to print later is just as easy. Just select the photo and the number of copies, and the next time you dock with a printer, it'll prompt you to make those prints. This works with both the Kodak Printer Dock as well as the scores of PictBridge-enabled photo printers on the market.

And that's it for the back of the EasyShare V803!

On the top of the camera you'll find five more buttons. They include:

  • Favorites mode - shows the photos you've tagged as favorites
  • Movie mode - more on this later
  • Shooting mode (Auto, scene) - see below
  • Power on/off
  • Shutter release


Scene menu

As you'd expect on a Kodak camera, there are plenty of scene modes available for your use. Available scenes include portrait, panorama, anti-blur, sports, landscape, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, snow, beach, text, fireworks, flower, manner/museum, self-portrait, high ISO, children, backlight, panning shot, candlelight, sunset, and custom.

Let's talk about a few of those scene modes before we continue. The panorama mode helps you line up three photos side by side (either left-to-right or right-to-left), and the camera automatically stitches them into a single photo for you. The individual images are not saved, though. The anti-blur and high ISO modes seem to be about the same -- both boost the ISO in order to obtain a sharp photo. However, I would avoid using those settings if I were you, as they can produce some pretty noisy photos. The custom option just stores your camera settings in memory for the next time you turn on the camera.

On this side of the camera you'll find the DC-in port, which is where you'll plug in the bundled AC adapter.

On the other side of the camera you'll find the USB + A/V port, which is under a plastic cover at the top of the camera. Unfortunately, the V803 only supports the USB 2.0 Full Speed protocol, which is just as slow as USB 1.1. The one we want is USB 2.0 High Speed.

The lens is at the full telephoto position in this shot.

On the bottom of the V803 you'll find the memory card and battery compartment, a plastic tripod mount, the dock connector, and the speaker. The door over the memory/battery compartment is fairly sturdy, keeping with the quality feel of the rest of the camera. The dock connector is what mounts the camera to Kodak's various camera and printer docks.

As you can probably tell, you will not be able to swap memory cards while the V803 is on a tripod.

The included KLIC-7003 lithium-ion battery is shown at right.

Using the Kodak EasyShare V803

Record Mode

It takes the EasyShare V803 about three seconds to extend its lens and "warm up" before you can start taking photos. That's quite slow.


If you turn on the composition grid (by pressing up on the four-way controller) you'll also get a live histogram

Focus speeds were on the slow side as well. At the wide end of the lens it took the camera between 0.4 and 0.6 seconds to lock focus. At the telephoto end things got worse, with focus times almost always exceeding one second. Low light focusing was equally sluggish, and accuracy was hit-and-miss, even with an AF-assist lamp.

There's tiny amount of shutter lag before a photo is taken -- nothing horrible, but there's just enough of a delay to notice it.

Shot-to-shot delays were minimal, with a one second delay between shots. The post-shot review has a "blur detection" feature: a green hand means that the photo is sharp, yellow is questionable, and red is blurry. You can see the same information in playback mode.

You can delete a photo immediately after taking it by pressing the delete button on the back of the camera.

There are just a few image quality choices on the EasyShare V803. And here they are:

Resolution # images on 32MB*
on-board memory
# images on 1GB memory card (optional)
8.0 MP
3264 x 2448
10 465
7.1 MP (3:2)
3264 x 2176
12 528
4.9 MP
2560 x 1920
17 748
3.1 MP
2048 x 1536
24 1083
2.5MP (3:2)
1920 x 1280
32 1396
2.1 MP (16:9)
1920 x 1080
37 1611
1.2 MP
1280 x 960
55 2417
* Only 24MB is actually used for image storage

There's no support for the RAW or TIFF formats on the EasyShare V803, nor would I expect it.

The camera names files as 100_####.JPG (where # = 0001 - 9999), and remembers the numbering even if you switch cards or delete photos.

 

The EasyShare V803 has a fairly straightforward menu system. For any of the options shown you can press the "zoom in" button to get a description of that feature (see screenshots). And now, here is the full record menu:

  • Self-timer (Off, 2 or 10 sec, 2 shots)
  • Burst (on/off) - see below
  • Picture size (see above chart)
  • Video size (640 x 480, 640 x 480 long, 320 x 240)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade) - no custom white balance to be found
  • ISO speed (Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600) - more on this later
  • Color mode (High color, natural color, low color, black & white, sepia)
  • Sharpness (Low, normal, high)
  • Exposure metering (Multi-pattern, center-weight, center-spot)
  • AF control (Single AF, Continuous AF) - see below
  • Focus zone (Multi-zone, center-zone)
  • Long time exposure (None, 0.5 - 8 secs) - see below
  • Maintain settings (Flash, white balance, ISO, color mode, sharpness, metering, focus zone) - what settings are saved when the camera is turned off
  • Reset to Default
  • Set Album (on/off) - pre-select an album for your photos to be put into; more on this later
  • Date stamp (on/off)
  • Image stabilizer (on/off) - an electronic stabilization feature for movie mode only
  • Image Storage (Auto, internal memory) - where photos are stored
  • Setup menu - see below

As you can see, the V803 is basically a completely point-and-shoot camera. The only manual control is the long shutter speed option, which lets you select shutter speed slower than 1/2 second. The downside is that the ISO is locked at Auto in this mode, and you know what that can mean. More on this in a bit.

The V803's burst mode is nothing to write home about. The camera takes four shots in a row at about 1.7 frames/second. The LCD lags a bit behind "reality", so tracking a moving subject may be a challenge.

There are two AF control modes on the camera. The first, single, is the normal "push the button halfway to lock focus" mode that everyone's used to. The continuous mode is always trying to focus, which can reduce focus times at the expense of battery life.

Now, here's a look at the setup menu, which you can get to from the record or playback menus.

  • Camera Sounds (Theme, individual) - choose all the blips and beeps that the camera makes
  • Sound volume (Off, low, medium, high)
  • Digital zoom (on/off) - best to keep this off
  • LCD brightness (High power, power save)
  • LCD dimmer (Off, 10, 20, 30 secs)
  • Auto power off (1, 3, 5, 10 mins)
  • Date & Time
  • Video out (NTSC, PAL)
  • Photo frame (Interval, loop, transition, source, run time) - for showing slideshows when using the Photo Frame 2 dock
  • Redeye preflash (on/off) - this is an addition to the software-based redeye reduction system that's always on
  • Blur warning (on/off) - described earlier
  • Language
  • Format (Memory card, internal memory)
  • About - shows current firmware version

Alright, that's enough about menus -- let's talk about photo quality now.

The EasyShare V803 did a pretty nice job with our macro test shot. Since the camera lacks a custom white balance option, I used the tungsten setting, which worked quite well -- there's just a slight greenish cast. Our subject is nice and sharp, though some noise is visible in the red cloak.

In macro mode you can get as close to your subject as 5 cm at wide-angle (average) and 40 cm at telephoto (not great).

As I mentioned in the menu discussion, if you use the long time exposure feature (required for a shot like the one above), then the ISO will be fixed at Auto ISO. That means that there will be noise -- and sure enough, there is some in our night test scene. The noise isn't terrible, but the should would sure look at lot better at ISO 80 than it does here (the camera chose ISO 160). That said, the buildings are sharp, and purple fringing is well controlled.

Since I can't adjust the ISO for long exposures, I cannot do the low light ISO test in this review. Look for the studio ISO test below.

There's fairly mild barrel distortion at the wide end of the EasyShare V803's 3X zoom lens. Corner softness and vignetting (dark corners) were not major issues, either.

The V803 has a double redeye reduction system which, unfortunately, did not perform well in my tests. Firs,t the camera uses a series of preflashes to shrink the subject's pupils. After the photo is taken, if the camera detects redeye, it removes it digitally. While your results may vary, I would say that most folks will have at least some problems with redeye on this camera.

Now it's time for that studio ISO test that I promised. You can compare this shot with those in other reviews on this site. The green cast caused by the not-quite-accurate white balance can be seen here, but we're looking more and noise than color, so let's move on.


ISO 80

ISO 100

ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800

ISO 1600

Both the ISO 80 and 100 shots are totally clear of noise. At ISO 200 we pick up a minute amount of grain, but this won't stop you from making large-sized prints. The noise really kicks in at ISO 400 -- it's a little worse than average here -- so this is best for small prints. The ISO 800 and 1600 shots have both noise and noise reduction artifacting, and are quite soft as a result. I would avoid these if possible, which means stay away from the anti-blur and high ISO scene modes as well.

Overall, the EasyShare V803's photo quality was good, but not great. On the positive side, photos were well-exposed, with very saturated colors (perhaps too much so), pleasing sharpness, and minimal purple fringing. While noise isn't present at lower ISOs, you will see the effects of noise reduction. These effects include a mottled sky or fuzzy details on trees and grass. As I showed you in the preceding tests, high ISO photo quality did not impress, and here are two photos that show you how this looks in the real world. These should not be major issue for the typical V803 buyer, as they will mostly be making small prints or downsizing photos on their computer.

Don't just take my word for all this, though. Have a look at our photo gallery, printing the photos if you can. Then decide if the V803's photo quality meets your expectations!

Movie Mode

The EasyShare V803 has a pretty good movie mode. You can record video at 640 x 480 (30 frames/second) with sound until the memory card is full. Since the camera uses the efficient MPEG-4 format, you can fit 45 seconds of video onto the internal memory, or 33 minutes onto a 1GB SD card.

For longer movies you can select a VGA "long" mode, which doubles recording time, at the expense of video quality (which isn't great to begin with). You can also lower the resolution to 320 x 240 (still 30 fps), which allows for even longer clips.

The V803 is one of the rare cameras that actually lets you use the optical zoom while recording a movie clip. Naturally, the sound of the zoom motor will be picked up by the microphone. Another sound that may be picked up is the focusing motor, if you're using the continuous AF mode. To avoid that, just change the focus mode to single AF. A digital image stabilization feature helps smooth out your movies a bit.

The camera lets you trim videos right in playback mode. You can also make a frame grab (of mediocre quality), or create what Kodak calls an action print (which the rest of us call a collage).

And now, here's a sample movie for you. I was disappointed with the video quality -- I think Kodak is compressing these movies too much. Oh, and you may want to turn down the volume on your speakers -- this one's kind of loud.


Click to play movie (3.1 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, MPEG-4 format)
Can't view them? Download QuickTime
.

Playback Mode

The EasyShare V803 has a fully equipped playback mode. Basic features are all here, like slideshows, image protection, DPOF print marking, thumbnail view, and zoom and scroll. This last feature lets you enlarge your image by as much as 8 times, and then move around in the zoomed-in area.

The camera lets you view photos by date, or by album. And speak of albums. you can put photos into one or more albums that you've previously set up on your computer. When you transfer the photos to your Mac or PC, they'll automatically be sorted into albums in the EasyShare software.

Another neat feature is the "undo" function after you delete a photo. If you hit the wrong button and deleted a photo, you can bring it back to life, as long as you don't do anything else first (especially turn off the camera).

While you can crop (trim) photos right on the camera, you cannot rotate or downsize them.


The PerfectTouch feature lets you see before and after views of a photo you're enhancing

The EasyShare V803 has Kodak's PerfectTouch technology built in, which is an "auto enhance" feature that has been on Kodak's retail photo printing kiosks for some time. Press a button and a few seconds later the photo is looking a lot nicer (and noisier, which is the trade-off). Here's a quick example of what it can do:


Straight out of the camera


After PerfectTouch

I'd call that a pretty nice feature!

If you like to see lots of information about a photo you've taken then you'll love the EasyShare V803. Just press the up direction on the four way controller and you'll get the screen you see above, which tells you everything you could ever want to know.

The EasyShare V803 moves from one photo to another instantly -- nice.

How Does it Compare?

The Kodak EasyShare V803 is a camera that's average in almost all respects. About the only thing that distinguishes it from the rest of the compact camera crowd is its stylish and choice of eight different colors. While the V803 is fairly capable and quite a value for the money, ultimately there are better options out there.

The EasyShare V803 is a compact (but not tiny) and stylish camera that comes in a whopping eight different colors. If you've had a hankering for a purple camera, Kodak has one for you. The body is made of a mix of plastic and metal, and it's very well put together for a $200 camera. The camera has an 8 Megapixel CCD and a standard issue 3X zoom lens, with a focal range of 36 - 108 mm. While large and fairly sharp, the 2.5" LCD display washes out in bright light (there is no optical viewfinder on the V803). The zoom and four-way controllers are quite small, and the latter is easy to accidentally bump in the wrong direction. The flash is on the weak side, as well.

The V803 is a point-and-shoot camera with lots of scene modes and one pseudo-manual control. One nice scene mode is the panorama feature, which not only helps you line up photos side-by-side -- it even stitches them together for you. Two scene modes to avoid are the anti-blur and high ISO modes, which produce some very noisy photos (set the ISO manually instead). The only manual control is for slow shutter speeds, but even then the ISO is locked on the Auto setting (which makes low light photos noisier than they could be). The EasyShare V803 has best-in-class photo sharing features, with tightly integrated software on both the camera and your computer. Two other features I liked include the image enhancing PerfectTouch function, and the ability to undelete a photo. While the V803's movie mode has nice specs, the video quality left something to be desired.

Camera performance was mediocre. The V803 is slow to start up, slow to focus, and there is some shutter lag (but not much). Shot-to-shot delays were minimal, though, and battery life was average. The camera's burst mode was unremarkable, taking just four photos in a row at 1.7 frames/second. The V803 does not support the USB 2.0 High Speed standard.

Photo quality was a mixed bag. The EasyShare V803 produced photos with good exposures and plenty of saturation (too much in my opinion), pleasing sharpness, and minimal purple fringing. While there isn't much noise at lower ISO settings, there are some noise reduction artifacts to be found, most notably in the sky. At higher ISOs (400 and above) the image quality drops rapidly, with ISO 800 and 1600 worth avoiding. Redeye was also a problem, and the camera's dual redeye removal system didn't seem to help.

There are a few other negatives worth mentioning. Kodak deserves a scolding for not only omitting a video cable from the camera box, but also having the nerve to charge $25 for one on their website. On a related note, they don't even include a full manual with the camera -- you have to download it from Kodak.com. And last, but certainly not least, I must mention that you cannot swap memory cards while the camera is on a tripod.

As you may have gathered by reading this conclusion, I'm not terribly "big" on the EasyShare V803. Would I recommend it? Hesitantly. While it's a good value and quite stylish, there are better cameras out there, and I've listed some of them below.

What I liked:

  • Good photo quality in most situations
  • Considerably cheaper than the competition
  • Stylish, well built, comes in an unbelievable eight colors
  • Large 2.5" LCD display (but see issues below)
  • Tons of scene modes, including in-camera panorama stitching; just be sure to avoid the two high ISO scenes
  • PerfectTouch feature improves photo quality at the push of a button
  • EasyShare system makes it easy to "tag" photos for e-mailing and printing
  • Zoom lens can be used while recording movies
  • Very good software bundle

What I didn't care for:

  • Sluggish performance
  • Unimpressive high ISO image quality; long exposures are noisier than they need be due to ISO setting locked on Auto
  • Redeye, despite dual reduction system
  • Flash is on the weak side
  • LCD washes out in bright light; not terribly sharp either; no optical viewfinder
  • No manual controls
  • Movie quality leaves much to be desired
  • Small zoom and four-way controllers; the latter is especially clumsy
  • No USB 2.0 High Speed support
  • Can't swap memory cards while camera is on a tripod; plastic tripod mount
  • Video cable not included; Kodak charges $25 for a part that usually comes with the camera
  • Full manual only on Kodak's website

Some other cameras worth looking at include the Canon PowerShot SD900, Casio Exilim EX-Z1050, Fuji FinePix F40fd, GE E1030, Nikon Coolpix S500, Olympus Stylus 760, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12, Pentax Optio A30, Samsung L700, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80.

As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the EasyShare V803 and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

Want to see how the photo quality looks? Check out our gallery!

Want a second opinion?

You'll find another review of this camera at CNET.com.

Feedback & Discussion

If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal recommendation.

To discuss this review with other DCRP readers, please visit our forums.