Reviewer: Byer Gair
With the convincing SLR styling of this compact digicam, the Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS is a fully-featured camera. And now that the street price is hovering around $300, to say it’s a bargain would be an understatement.
If you are searching for a camera with the long reach of a super zoom, this is for you!
The SLR style is a positive, with a prominent hand grip that allows single handed shooting — if you need to!
The optically stabilised zoom is an ideal way to go — thanks Kodak! — and it’s a revelation to capture a shot with the lens extended out to a film SLR equivalent of 432 mm! Some zoom!
The optical stabiliser can be used for continuous shooting, when you’re shooting single shots — or can be switched off when the camera is used on a tripod. It also operates in movie mode and when zooming.
All external controls are placed at the right edge of the camera, with the most important located right next to the power switch and zoom toggle.
There are two electronic viewfinders: the camcorder style finder set into the top of the camera and a generous 6.4 cm LCD screen at the camera’s rear.
The camera’s maximum image size of 3072×2304 pixels will produce a sharp 35×26 cm print, while wide screen television fans can enjoy true 1920×1080 pixel still images on their 16:9 TVs. Movies can be shot at full screen 640×480 pixels and at 30 fps — but not in wide screen format.
Beginners and more advanced photographers will enjoy the wide exposure options: you can shoot in auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority as well as select manual settings. Exposure metering can be made with multi pattern, centre weighted and spot readings.
There are 16 scene modes to optimise shooting on the beach, capturing fireworks, shots made by candlelight and more. Auto focus is similarly well served.
Spec-wise, the camera boasts an impressive maximum ISO speed of 3200 — but beware! For normal daylight shooting you should select an ISO setting of between 64 and 400 for acceptable images with little visual noise and only use the higher ISO figures of 3200 when you have to, such as taking shots in near total darkness situations or when you need to capture ultra fast action with a high shutter speed.
The EasyShare Z712 IS is a camera that will please all but the most fastidious — there is some noise evident in dark areas of some images.
The Z712 IS is a reasonably quick performer, shooting its first shot after 2-3 seconds from power up; follow on shots can be taken about 1-2 seconds apart.
The zoom is a good performer with little sign of any optical distortion. The camera is small enough to fit into most pockets, although it does have an SLR form factor.
With reasonable picture quality, the camera has the ability to grab some magic shots. And oh boy! That zoom!