printer-friendly reviews are for non-commercial use only
DCRP Review: Kodak
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: March 30, 2007
Last Updated: February 25, 2008
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:
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:
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.