Kodak V530 is the picture of beauty

Having previously been convinced that digital cameras should only be bought from camera companies that have developed digital technology, rather than digital technology companies that have developed cameras, we were pleasantly surprised by the Kodak V530.

Having previously been convinced that digital cameras should only be bought from camera companies that have developed digital technology, rather than digital technology companies that have developed cameras, we were pleasantly surprised by the Kodak V530.

Not only is the camera gorgeous to look at - Toy Box's shiny red version actually attracted a handful of curious locals at the Sydney Opera House - but the pictures it takes are stunning. The numerous light settings take a while to get used to, but it's well worth it, as the nighttime shots in particular had phenomenal clarity.

As with most digital devices, the memory it comes with was pitiful - at a 5MP resolution, we got about 10 pictures before the card was full. Replacing it with a 1GB SD card fixed that, though.

The biggest problem, however, is the lack of a viewfinder. Having only an LCD display to look through both creates stability problems - especially in low light - and very bright light makes it impossible to see the image on the screen.

We admit we didn't test the free EasyShare software, using Mac's iPhoto instead, but it looked suitably full-featured. The best part was the quality of the printed pics - even at 8.5" x 10", they were good enough to frame and put on the wall.

Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to toybox@prweek.com

Price $349
Available at Most electronics retailers
Specs 5 megapixels. 3x optical zoom. 2" LCD display

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