Friday, January 26, 2007

Kodak EasyShare Z612 Digital Camera Review


The Kodak Easyshare Z612 is a chunky, silver camera that has a great whopping lens on the front and many other characteristics of the digital SLR. The silver finish does appear very plastic, but with a few shiny chrome sections and strips, it retains a sophisticated and stylish look. The front of the camera has the 12x optical superzoom lens and the flash hood is above it. The flash hood will automatically open when the flash is set to Auto, Fill or Red-eye and the shutter button is pressed. It will remain open until it is manually closed. There is a self-timer light above the lens too, along with two microphone holes. To the right side is the handgrip, which feels very comfortable in your hand and has the necessary buttons on top of it. The shutter release button is a square section of the top of the grip and is flush with the camera body making it difficult to find unless you tilt the camera towards you to have a look (we’re sure after a lot of use, you would get used to where it is, but it wouldn’t have hurt for Kodak to raise it slightly from the camera body). On the top is the power switch, mode dial and there is also three shortcut buttons, which are flash, focus and drive buttons. There are two strap posts on either side of the camera which will come in handy with the camera weighing around 300g, so it is not mega heavy, but it is on the large side and the support of straps will help. On the back of the Kodak Z612 is a 2.5” high resolution LCD screen with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) just above and an EVF/LCD button to the right. On the left side there is a jog dial and zoom rocker with and information button underneath. Just below is a review button, 4-way controller, delete, menu and share buttons, which are all of decent size and easy to use whilst in action. The battery and memory card component is on the bottom under a slide door and the USB port is on the right side panel.
The features of the Kodak Z612 go on and on and on, but we will start with the most significant being the 12x optical superzoom lens, which has got to be the selling point for this monster. This zoom will ensure amazing sharpness and creative performance and along with the superb Image Stabilisation feature, blurry photos will be a thing of the past and you will be delivered with spectacular results every time. The 6.1-mega pixels will allow you to print large images with clarity as you can also choose from 5 different resolution settings, which also gives you the freedom to manually decide how many images you can store on your memory card. There are loads of scene modes to choose from to ensure your pictures receive the best attention and there is the useful Text option so you can take images of text or documents and they will have exceptional clarity. There are also 5 colour modes so you can choose from low colour, high colour, natural colour, black & white or sepia depending on which suits your image the best. The editing possibilities have come such a long way that PC editing software will probably become extinct one of these days as you can also crop your images whilst still on the camera so we must salute Kodak for including their famous Kodak Perfect Touch technology. The creative control stretches even further with the Kodak Z612 as the Movie mode enables you to capture amazing video footage with the Image Stabilisation kicking in to ensure that shaky hand doesn’t spoil things. There is a 4-MPEG compression facility so that you can squash more footage onto the memory card. Kodak have also furnished us with the Kodak Colour Science Image Processing Chip which to you and me means that there is a little chip inside the camera that acts as a ‘brain’ in the way that it will assess each image and produce the most accurate colours, details and focus regardless of the lighting conditions. What an amazing piece of technology that sure takes some beating. Well done, Kodak!
With no intention of making the Kodak Z612 feel big headed (if a camera can?), the speed of this little beauty is just as impressive as the features list. We started this bad boy up and within a second and a half we had taken our first shot. The next shots came with only 1.5 seconds between them too. The shutter lag was extremely efficient with only a 0.4 second delay, which knocked our socks off. The Kodak Z612 is highly competitive and so far through this review we are struggling to think of an alternative. Kodak really do seem to have the knack of producing cameras that deliver amazing colour reproduction and clarity and the Z612 is no exception as our images showed. Although all of our images were great, we did notice image noise creeping in at ISO 400, but they were still printable and were by no means useless. The share button on the camera is a great function and enables you to upload your images quickly to a compatible printer or email to friends and family at the touch of a button. There are a number of optional accessories that create further possibilities, such as a photo printer and camera dock.

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