As soon as I arrived at CES 2006, I set out in search of the latest two-lens camera from Samsung. Like a clumsy but earnest child, that hybrid creature with two separate sets of optics couldn't help but inspire affection in years past. You can imagine my disappointment when no successor to last year'swas to be found. Fortunately, however, Samsung has passed the baton to Kodak, which is proudly displaying the dual-lens EasyShare V570. Unlike Samsung's hand-filling photo/video hybrids, which clearly had a camcorder lineage, the V570 is a little pocket camera designed primarily to shoot stills. It uses two lenses to give you both an ultrawide 23mm perspective (35mm-camera equivalent) and the flexibility of a narrower 3X optical zoom.
Despite the optical profusion, this snapshot camera has a svelte design similar to that of the earlier. Among the V570's notable features are in-camera panorama stitching, built-in image stabilization, 22 automatic scene modes, and a tool that straightens out the curvature you'll get if you take pictures with the wide-angle lens up close. The V570 has some nice video functions too: It captures 30fps VGA MPEG-4 clips, and it can zoom and autofocus while shooting video--not always a given with pocket cameras. Like all Kodaks, this model is compatible with the EasyShare system of docks and software for simplified photo sharing and printing. It comes with Kodak's Photo Frame Dock 2. The Kodak EasyShare V570 will be available in late January 2006 for $399.