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.

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

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

"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: 640x480 with mono sound at 30 fps to capacity of the card. CIPA battery life rating: 135 shots, 50 percent with flash.

Imaging: 6.1MP (2832x2128). 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: 4.4x2.2x0.9 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: 848x480 with mono sound at 30 fps to capacity of the card. CIPA battery life rating: 250 shots, 50 percent with flash.

Imaging: 5MP (2560x1920). 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: 4.4x2.3x1.6 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.

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