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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Kodak Z612 Zoom

Kodak Digital Cameras

   

Kodak Z612 Zoom Review

Review Date: September 1, 2006

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Kodak EasyShare Z612 Zoom 

IMAGE QUALITY

The Kodak EasyShare Z612 Zoom is a digital camera targeted to beginner and serious amateur photographers. It has 6.1MP resolution on a 1/2.5 in. CCD image sensor, and an optically image stabilized Schneider KREUZNACH VARIOGON 35-420mm (35 mm equivalent) 12x optical zoom lens, with a maximum aperture of F2.8(W)-F4.8(T).

The Kodak Z612 is primarily a Point & Shoot digital camera, and its default settings produce images that are sharp and rich in colours straight out of the camera. If you do not want to post-process any images in an image editing software, then you will like the images that come out already sharpened and saturated in colours.

We find the overall image quality of the Kodak Z612 to be good to very good for this category of digital cameras.

12x Optical Ultra Zoom
Wide-angle 35mm Telephoto 420mm
Wide-angle 35mm
(35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 420mm
(35mm equivalent)

Bring far away subjects up close with the 12x optical zoom.

Macro
Macro
35mm, Program, Multi-Pattern, 1/8 sec., F2.8, ISO 80
Macro

The Kodak Z612 can focus as close as 12 cm (4.7 in.) which is not very close as far as macro goes, but the 6.1MP gives you plenty of cropping room. You can zoom in macro mode, and the closest distance at full telephoto is 1.2m (3.9 ft).

White Balance Indoors
AWB WB = Tungsten
AWB WB = Tungsten

As the above two pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial light gives a slight pinkish hue; dialing in Tungsten WB corrects the colours somewhat. The omission of Manual WB will be missed by more advanced photographers and is a bit of a mystery considering all the other manual settings are available. AWB works very well in natural light.

 

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 400 ISO 800 [1.1MP]

The Kodak Z612 has 4 (5) ISO settings going from ISO 80 to ISO 400 (800). The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds of 80, 100, 200 and 400. The noise reduction software seems to work pretty well for the images at all ISOs are pretty clean. ISO 800 is also available but only when 1.1MP resolution is selected; noise is also quite acceptable.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA

CA is present in everyday high contrast shots. It's not a problem if you only print 4x6 in., but at larger sizes or displayed full size on screen, you might want to clean it up first in post-processing. An example is above where the area delimited by the red square at middle left, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right, shows purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
Long Exposure
35mm, Manual, Multi-Pattern, 16 sec., F8.0, ISO 80
WB=Tungsten, Low Color, Macro, Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod Used

The Kodak Z612 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 16 sec. in Shutter-Priority AE and Manual modes, therefore allowing nice night photography. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.

I place Bamm-Bamm under my table in the shadows. I experiment a bit in Manual mode to obtain the optimum exposure, eventually settling on 16 sec. at F8.0. I use the 10 sec. self-timer to negate camera shake. The AF Illuminator light works well and focus lock is achieved instantly.

The Kodak Z612 allows you to dial in an exposure compensation from -2 EV to +2 EV, in 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV or 1.0 EV increments (set in MENU).

Other features that help you get that picture:

  • First Burst, 2fps, up to 8 pictures: allows you to take 8 images in rapid sequence. This is perfect when you are trying to catch a candid moment or just the right expression.
  • Last Burst, 2fps, up to 30 pictures, saves last 8: allows you to take up to 30 shots but keeps only the last 8. This is specially useful for action shots and it allows you to follow the action (keep the shutter button pressed down) until the peak moment when the action is over, you release the shutter release button, and the last 8 shots are kept. Chances are one of those 8 shots catches the peak moment.

Overall, the Kodak Z612 is capable of producing very good image quality for its category and the images are sharp enough right out of the camera, with rich and appealing colours. Beginner amateur photographers will find that they are getting much more than they've bargained for, with lots of room to learn and grow.

September 9, 2006 - Nichole W. wrote to point out that she "noticed a slight black shade in the upper left hand corners of some of my pictures" and thought other readers may want to know about this concerning the Kodak Z612.

Since this is a teaching site as well as a review site, it is a good opportunity to touch on the subject of "Vignetting."

The vignetting Nichole is referring to here is exhibited by a gradual darkening of the image towards the corners, in the case of the Kodak Z612, it is very slight and towards the top left corner only. Is vignetting bad? Certainly, if vignetting is excessive, it can be a problem in a picture. Take a look at our photo gallery and you will notice only very slight vignetting in some of the photos. In some photos, it's not there; in others, it is hidden by the subject matter.

Even the best digital camera and lens can cause vignetting. We do not think it is a problem on the Kodak Z612, but it is up to you to decide. Just bear in mind that just because you do not see vignetting in sample photos does not mean that the camera/lens does not produce vignetting: the reviewer may simply have chosen pictures that do not exhibit them. Only the very best (and expensive) lens will be completely free of vignetting (and pin cushion, and barrel distortion, and chromatic aberrations, and...). ;o)

Here are a few links from professional photographers on vignetting:

- Mike Johnston @ The Online Photographer

- Paul van Walree, on Vignetting

- Henning Wulff @ archiphoto.com

- On adding vignetting to your photograph!

- Wikipedia, on Vignetting

- DPReview Forum Discussion on Vignetting

The pictures in the Kodak EasyShare Z612 Zoom Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 2848 × 2144 pixels original size. Click on the image for the original version.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name (though the original sized image is, of course, not adjusted). The navigation images at the top are usually adjusted (levels and sharpening).

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

 

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