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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

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Tuesday, August 11, 2006 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • EasyShare Z612 Zoom
  • No memory card [though I received a 256MB High Speed SD card for review]
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Lens Cap and retainer string
  • Li-ion Kodak Rechargeable Battery KLIC-8000 3.7V 1600 mAh
  • Li-ion Rapid Battery Charger K8500
  • Custom Camera Insert for optional printer dock
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • Instruction Manuals: Basic Manual; Quick Start Guide
  • Software CD: EasyShare software 5.2

I also received for review:

  • the optional EasyShare Photo Printer 500
  • Kodak color cartridge and photo paper sample pack (10 sheets)

Coming right after reviewing a rather large Digital SLR camera, the Kodak EasyShare Z612 Zoom looks positively small for a 12x optical zoom digital camera. It is also quite light.

The Kodak Z612 looks cool, both figuratively and literally. Its design looks out of the ordinary, even somewhat futuristic. If you love silver as a colour, you might love this camera because it is basically all-silver (even to the lens cap!) with chrome accents.

The exciting feature this camera sports that other Kodak ultrazoom digital cameras in the EasyShare High Zoom Series do not is, of course, the optical image stabilizer that accompanies the 12x optical zoom. This allows you to handhold the camera at the long end of the zoom with more confidence that camera shake will be reduced or eliminated. It also helps reduce or eliminate camera shake when handholding the camera and using slow shutter speeds.

I always like to see a digital camera with full exposure flexibility. This allows the whole family to use the camera. The beginner can use the AUTO and Scene modes, while the more advanced phorographer can select from Program AE, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and full Manual modes [PASM]. I also like the PASM implementation using the Jog Dial, but you'll have to try it yourself. One feature inexplicably missing is Manual White Balance.

A small petpeeve of mine with most cameras that have a lens cap is that the eyelet on the lens cap is invariably on the left side [viewed from the front] so that the retainer string has to go around the lens to attach to the right side of the neck strap [again, viewing the camera from the front]. Attaching on the left side gets the hanging lens cap irritatingly in the way of your fingers holding the handgrip. Well, the Kodak lens cap is one of the few that gets it right: the eyelet is on the right side. Zero irritation.

We usually complain of tiny control buttons on ultracompact digital cameras that are difficult to press in. On the Kodak Z612, they are tiny, but because they are high enough outside the body, it is quite easy to push them.

I was at first a bit concerned to see that the handgrip did not include a non-slip rubber texture. Instead, there is a shiny chrome strip into which you can literally see your reflection! That strip goes from the top of the handgrip, all the way down the handgrip, and a bit underneath. It looks cool as far as the design goes. Fortunately, in normal use, I have not felt the handgrip to be slippery.

The Drive Mode allows you to take 8 pictures at 2fps [First Burst] or take 30 pictures at 2fps but saves only the last 8 [Last Burst].

You would use First Burst if you know what to expect in the action sequence (e.g. a golfer swinging his/her golf club).

The Last Burst is interesting because it allows you to start taking pictures as the action gets close to what you really want to catch, say, a basket ball going through the hoop, a soccer player shooting at the goal, or a diver entering the water. When you press the shutter button, the camera will start recording up to 30 images at 2fps and when you release the shutter button [because the action is completed], the last 8 images are saved. This allows you to catch the precise moment of the most interesting part of the action.

The shutter speed range is 16 sec. - 1/1000 sec. which allows you to take nice night shots as well as freeze action shots. Note that in AUTO, Program AE and Aperture-Priority modes, the shutter speed range is only 1/8-1/1000 sec. The full range is available only in Shutter-Priority and Manual modes. Noise reduction works very well even at the long shutter speeds.

I also received an optional Photo Printer 500 for this review. One word describes the Kodak EasyShare Z612 and Photo Printer 500 combo: SIMPLE (as in easy to use). Together, you get a complete camera and printer system with One-Touch printing and One-Touch transfer. Read the Kodak Photo Printer 500 Review.

EasyShare Software 5.2.1.0

Kodak EasyShare Software 5

The EasyShare Software 5 is easy to install and use. Anyone [even if you do not own a Kodak digital camera] can download it for free. If you are running an older version, you can download the most recent one from Kodak's site.

The default transfer directory on Windows XP is the "My Pictures" directory on the C: drive in Documents and Settings. I much prefer to create a new directory under a name of my own choosing so I can easily find the pictures when I need to. You set this directory in: Tools - Preferences... - Transfer - Browse.

If you use the EasyShare Software to edit your photos, be aware that the default image compression is set to less than the highest quality possible. So the pictures you edit and save will be of less quality than the original one. [Always save using a different name so you don't muck up the original picture.] This is all right if that's what you want. But if you want the highest quality, go to: Tools - Preferences... - General tab - select Large File/High Quality JPEG compression.

The EDIT function allows you to Crop, Rotate, remove Red Eye, auto Enhance, Scene Balance (exposure, shadow, highlight), Color Balance (pseudo WB correction), apply various Scene Effects (B&W, Sepia Tone, Forest, Scenic, Portrait, Sunset), and apply Fun Effects (Spotlight, Coloring Book, Cartoon, Fisheye). Of the Fun Effects, Coloring Book removes all colours and make a black ink outline, and Cartoon is similar but retains the colours.

You can also burn selected images to a CD or DVD.

The one improvement suggestion I would have liked to see is more detailed EXIF info.

The Kodak EasyShare Z612 Zoom bundled with the Photo Printer 500 makes for an easy to use camera and printer combo. The Kodak Z612 is a true P&S digital camera that gives well exposed, vivid and sharpened images straight out of the camera. The Photo Printer 500 printer is really One-Touch easy to operate, and will allow you to print beautiful 4x6 in. prints in the convenience of your home.

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