The Kodak Easyshare Z612 is a super zoom digital camera. It has six megapixels and a 12x optical zoom lens. It has a range of features that are likely to appeal to someone who sees photography as a hobby. This includes fully manual exposure mode. The Easyshare Z612 also offers image stabilisation.
This camera is easier to use than many other super zoom models, despite the fact it is not short of features. I can see the camera appealing to someone who would like some extra functionality, but would still like a relatively straightforward camera.
104 x 74 x 69mm
Overall I was impressed by the quality of the images produced by the Easyshare Z612. This camera has a larger lens than the smaller, pocket sized compacts that seem to be so popular now. You can immediately see the difference in quality the larger lens offers in the outdoor scenic shots. The photos are that much crisper. The sharpness is also retained well towards the edges of each photo. For evidence of this look at the names of the boats. They stand out more clearly than I am use to seeing.
In fact I really like the first test shot showing boats. It has a very vivid feel to it. I put this down to a combination of factors including lighting levels, sharpness and also strong colours.
Another plus point is how well the Easyshare Z612 copes with reflective white areas. This is a tough test at this time of the year with the sun being lower in the sky. Again I was impressed with the results posted by the camera. The wooden beams under the roof of the building can be clearly made out.
There are a couple of areas where the camera is not quite as strong. When the zoom lens is not in use at all, as in the second test shot there is a clear darkening in the corners of the photo. When the zoom lens is fully extended as in the third test shot purple fringing can be clearly seen. There are above average levels of this problem. This is where a purple line attaches itself to the edge of light coloured objects where the light catches them. It is a common issue with super zoom models.
The dedicated test for colour highlights the strength of colour the camera is capable of. There should not be any washed out pictures with the Easyshare Z612.
I am also pleased with the outdoor portrait. This is another example where the camera is capable of handling light falling on lighter coloured areas. Recently I have reviewed a number of cameras where areas of the face have been somewhat washed out. This does not happen here. Skin tones look natural and again the photo is sharp.
Moving indoors into poorer light I have only a minor issue. This is with the picture of beer bottles. Again in the top left hand corner of the photo I can see darkness creeping into the photo. Otherwise the photo is well lit and sharply focused considering the conditions. The same positive comments can be made about the indoor portrait. This is another photo that works well and there is also no red eye at all showing in the shot. This is down to the positioning of the pop up flash.
The final two tests shots are not so hot. The first one is the macro shot. The fact that the camera can only get to within 12cm of the subject causes the first problem. This is you have to be a fair way away before you can take the shot making it difficult to get a real close up. This also contributes to possible lighting difficulties, as shown by the slight colour caste in my test photo.
The test photo taken at a higher ISO is quite poor. This is an area where many cameras struggle, but the Easyshare Z612 produced a below average test result.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
In terms of shutter lag I was able to take a single picture in 0.25 seconds and five photos in 6.8 seconds. These are slightly faster than average times.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 12x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 35 - 420mm in 35mm format. There is also a 4.2x digital zoom feature available.
When lining up photos you can choose between an electronic viewfinder and a 2.5" LCD screen. The screen is made up of around 230,000 pixels.
If you would like some assistance when taking a picture there are a number of preprogrammed scene modes you can choose from. When you select a scene the camera will use what it considers to be the most appropriate settings for the shot. The scene modes you can choose from are: sport, night portrait, portrait, landscape, night landscape, self portrait, flower, sunset, backlight, candlelight, manner/museum, text/document, beach, snow, fireworks and children.
The pop up flash unit has a maximum range of 4.7m. This falls to around 2.7m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes you can use are auto, off, fill and red-eye preflash. Flash compensation is also available.
For focusing you can select the zone (multi-zone, center zone, selectable zone) and control (single, continuous). Manual focusing is available too. For close up work the Easyshare Z612 can focus from 12 cm away from the subject.
For when you would like to appear in the picture there is a self timer. This can be set to a delay of either two or ten seconds. Other useful extras include a 3:2 aspect ratio. This is ideal for taking photos you intend to print at 6 x 4" size. There is also a histogram to help check exposure levels. In addition you can adjust sharpness levels and also select from a number of colour modes high color, natural color, low color, sepia, black and white.
Exposure modes include fully manual, aperture and shutter priority. Shutter speeds can be set in a range between 16 and 1/1000 seconds. Apertures work in the range f/2.8 - f/8 (wide) and f/4.8 - f8 (tele).
Up to 80 minutes of movie footage can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480 pixels and the top speed is thirty frames per second. You can zoom while recording is in progress and sound can be recorded as well. Be warned if you zoom while recording the sound of the camera zooming in and out is likely to obliterate any sound track!
Other advanced features include ISO sensitivity (auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800), white balance (auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade), metering (multi-pattern, center-weighted, center-spot), exposure compensation (±2.0 EV with 0.3 EV steps) and exposure bracketing (±1.0 EV with 0.3 EV steps, 3 images). A burst mode is also available. You can save up to eight photos taken at a rate of two photos per second. The clever bit is you can save either the first eight taken or the last eight.
Kodak supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Easyshare Z612 to a television set, PictBridge compatible printer and a computer.
Ease of Use
Although there are plenty of buttons and dials on the back and top of the Easyshare Z612 it is one of the simpler super zoom cameras. Once you have mastered the buttons and dials you should find the menu system is pretty simple to work through. With most of the key controls at your fingertips you should find delving into the menu system a fairly rare occurrence.
You can pick up a Kodak Easyshare Z612 for around £220. This compares to around £240 for a Canon Powershot S3 IS, £215 for a Sony DSC H2 and £195 for a Panasonic DMC FZ7.
As you can see there is a fair amount of competition when it comes to super zoom digital cameras with six megapixels. At these prices I feel the Easyshare Z612 is well priced. In terms of features I would say there is more packed in here than most of its competitors have managed.
As with the majority of super zoom digital cameras the Easyshare Z612 is modeled on a digital SLR camera, but is substantially smaller in size. This means that there is plenty to get to grips with. The camera felt good in the hand to me and I had no problem holding the camera steady when taking photos.
It weighs 300g and has dimensions of 104 × 74 × 69 mm.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied by a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Kodak supplies both a battery and charger as standard with the Easyshare Z612.
The camera is compatible with SD cards. A card is not supplied as standard with the camera as there are 32mb of storage built into the camera. I was able to take a respectable 28 photos before the internal memory was full. This is a good number to run a test on the camera, but before you can do any serious shooting I would recommend picking up a memory card with a decent capacity.
Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
Ease of use
Where it is not so hot:
Loss of detail in light areas of photos
I like the Kodak Easyshare Z612. The problem it has is that it is up against some stiff opposition in a tough market. It is one of the easier super zoom digital cameras to get to grips with and I have no real complaints about the picture quality. Well worth considering.
Kodak Easyshare Z612 Front View
Kodak Easyshare Z612 Back View
Kodak Easyshare Z612 Top View
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