Kyocera Finecam L3v Review

By Movable Type Admin

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Steve's Conclusion


The Finecam L3v is a pocketable 3-megapixel point-n-shoot. This camera comes with a 3X optical zoom lens, a durable stainless steel case and a large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor. Rounding-out its family-friendly feature set are macro and movie (with sound) capabilities.

The L3v is powered by a CR-V3 lithium battery or two standard AA batteries; alkaline type batteries are not recommended. Battery life is good, with a fresh CR-V3 battery yielding approx. 160 pictures with the LCD monitor ON and approx. 170 pictures with the LCD monitor OFF. The continuous playback time is about 200 minutes. Kyocera told us that the camera had really been optimized for use with the CR-V3 batteries. For economy we recommend using rechargeable NiMH batteries, although they don't last as long as a CR-V3, they are reuseable. CR-V3 type batteries are expensive but provide more power and have a very long shelf-life. NiMH type batteries will lose their charge over time even when not being used. Both the batteries and memory card are accessed via the same door; you'll appreciate the latching mechanism that keeps the batteries in place while you are changing the memory card.

You will enjoy using the 2.5-inch "DayFine" color LCD. Its size, anti-glare coating and brightness make it one of the most usable LCD viewfinders we have experienced in the bright Florida sun. And Kyocera makes use of a larger size text font and icons which makes the menu a pleasure to use, even for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. When the camera is powered up the color LCD comes on by default -- it's the only information display and shows what the current settings are. The placement of the optical viewfinder at the edge of the camera body prevents nose-smudging of the LCD viewfinder and allows the camera to rest on your cheek. The optical viewfinder is large and bright but only shows approx. 80% of the final captured image.

The L3v takes about five seconds to be ready to capture images from power on. The zoom lens is quick and smooth but is still quite noisy as it goes from wide angle to telephoto. The autofocus is good and in normal lighting conditions the shutter lag is about average at around 1.1 seconds including autofocus delay, and 4/10 second from pre-focus. Shot to shot time at Fine quality is about four seconds, another two to three seconds if you're using the flash. The L3v's shooting performance is more suitable for family/vacation snapshots than it is for sports photos.

The L3v produces consistently well-exposed images of average sharpness. You'll have no problem producing pleasing 8x10" prints from this camera. The L3v features Epson's Print Image Matching (PIM) technology, enabling the newest generation of Epson Stylus Photo Printer to more accurately reproduce the image captured by the camera. Indoors, the flash produced good results within its limited range; you'll be happy with portraits and shots of small groups at close range, but the flash is not powerful enough to illuminate large rooms. Good flesh tones were obtained both outdoors and indoors with flash. Your human subjects will appreciate a unique feature of the L3v, a blue "Picture Confirmation Light" on the front of the camera body. It lights for several seconds to warn your subjects that a photo is about to be taken.

If you're looking for a small, pocketable and durable camera but have been reluctant to buy because all the others had tiny little LCD viewfinders, the Kyocera L3v may be just what you've been waiting for. The combination of a small, durable and a lightweight body with a large, brilliant LCD viewfinder is unique in the marketplace and justifies its $399 MSRP. We will also be reviewing the higher resolution 4-megapixel L4v in the near future which is physically identical to the L3v.





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