Camera Shoot-Out: Kodak EasyShare V610 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1

Not one but two cameras arrived this year claiming the title of "world's smallest 10X optical zoom." We put them head to head and let the sparks fly.

“The world’s smallest 10X optical zoom” arrived this year — twice!

First came the

Distortion: 38-114mm lens: Visible barrel (0.44%) at 38mm; Slight pincushion (0.20%) at 114mm. 130-380mm lens: Slight barrel (0.19%) at 130mm; Imperceptible pincushion (0.10%) at 380mm. AF speed: Exceptionally fast for a compact under very bright conditions at wide angle. AF slows noticeably, even with AF assist beam, under indoor and dim conditions, especially at telephoto. Video: 640×480 with mono sound at 30 fps to capacity of the card. CIPA battery life rating: 135 shots, 50 percent with flash.

Imaging: 6.1MP (2832×2128). Lens: 38-114mm (equiv.) f/3.9-4.4, 130-380mm (equiv.) f/4.8 for combined 10X zoom range, 4X digital zoom. LCD: 2.8-in. Storage: 32MB internal memory, SD/MMC card slot. JPEG format, Partridge enabled proprietary Li-ion rechargeable battery. Size/weight: 4.4×2.2×0.9 in., 6 oz with card and battery. Street price: $410. In the box: Battery, charger cord, strap, case, A/V and USB cables, insert for camera and printer docks, software (Kodak EasyShare browser and editing). For info: www.kodak.com; 800-235-6325.

What’s Hot:

• Incredibly slim and stylish package.
• In-camera panorama stitch.

What’s Not:

• Lenses prone to flare.
• No image stabilization for stills.
• Subpar resolution at higher ISOs.

Distortion: Slight barrel (0.21%) at 35mm; imperceptible pincushion (0.09%) at 175mm; Imperceptible Barrel (0.02%) at 350mm. AF speed: Quite fast in bright conditions for a compact camera, slowing down a little in subdued lighting. Image Stabilization with both LCD and capture selected also slowed down AF slightly. Video: 848×480 with mono sound at 30 fps to capacity of the card. CIPA battery life rating: 250 shots, 50 percent with flash.

Imaging: 5MP (2560×1920). Lens: 35-350mm (equiv.) f/2.8-4.2 10X zoom, 4X digital zoom. LCD: 2.5-in. Storage: 13.4MB internal memory, SD/MMC card slot. JPEG format, PictBridge enabled, proprietary Li-ion rechargeable battery. Size/weight: 4.4×2.3×1.6 in., 9.2 oz with card and battery. Street price: $310. In the box: Battery, charger, battery case, strap, A/V and USB cables, software (Lumix Simple Viewer, Photo Fun Studio, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Panorama Maker, and PhotoBase). For info: www.panasonic.com; 800-272-7033.
What’s Hot:

• Effective image stabilization.

• Flip-book animation is a fun extra.

• Starry Night offers very long exposures.

What’s Not:

• No aperture- or shutter-priority mode.

• Digital noise near unacceptable at most ISOs.

NOTE: The two test numbers in the graphs for the Kodak EasyShare V610 represent the results from the 38-114mm lens and the 130-380mm lens (35mm equivalents), respectively.