The Kodak Easyshare Z650 is a super zoom digital camera. This is a six megapixel camera with a 10 times optical zoom lens. It does not have image stabilisation. As with other similar models the Easyshare Z650 has a range of manual features to give you full control over the photo. If you prefer you can use the camera as a simple point and shoot.
This is one of the cheaper super zoom cameras. It is likely to appeal to anyone who is interested in photography and needs a long lens, but does not want to break the bank. Typical uses for this type of camera include some sports and wildlife photography.
97.8 ? 77.5 ? 72.6 m
If you like very strong colours and bright, vivid photos then you are going to like the Kodak Easyshare Z650. Some people may find the colours a touch too strong while others may prefer to sacrifice a little of the colour and brightness to increase the overall sharpness of a photo.
Looking through the outdoor scenic shots there are a number of points to make. The brightness of the photos certainly comes to the fore. The good news though is that the brightness does not blast away all the level of detail. Areas where other digital cameras have struggled such as the white, wooden slats on the building show a good level of detail here. The glare of the sun is handled well too.
On the whole the sharpness of each image is good. In fact towards the centre of each image there is a crisp feel to the shot. Focusing does drift away slightly as you move away from the middle of a photo. This is especially true when the zoom lens is fully extended. One other criticism is that the sky is not quite as smooth as I would like to see.
Purple fringing is always a bugbear with this type of camera and routinely shows up in shots taken with maximum zoom. This is where a purple line is added to the edges of light and white coloured objects. The Easyshare Z650 handles this as well as any super zoom camera I have tested. It is true it still rears its head, but to a lot lesser degree than I have become accustomed to seeing.
Not surprisingly the test for colour shows just how strong the colours can be. Too be honest I thought I might need to put sunglasses on to look at it. This is probably the most vivid result I have seen. Blues in particular are very strong. Personally I like the effect, but some people may find the colours produced too strong.
The outdoor portrait works well. It was taken on a overcast day and I used the cloudy white balance setting. This helps to add colour to the shot and helps to produce a warmer overall feel.
Moving indoors the shot of bottles taken in almost complete darkness is very good indeed. The picture is very sharply focused and the level of light produced by the flash unit is spot on. It gives the correct brightness level to the shot without losing detail. This is one of the brighter shots I have produced with this test.
Likewise the indoor portrait works out well too. Again there is a pleasing level of detail in the shot. It is well lit and there is no evidence of red eye. This is undoubtedly helped by the pop up flash. This helps to move the flash light away from the lens and is one of the key factors in eliminating red eye.
The macro shot is an example where the camera's ability to create a very bright picture causes a problem. In this case the photo is a touch over exposed. This has lead to some of the detail on the watch face being lost.
The final test is for taking a photo using ISO 400. Higher ISO settings are often used in lowlight where the flash cannot be used or is unsuitable. Invariably there is a loss in picture quality. This happens with the Easyshare Z650. I would describe the photo as slightly below average when compared to other digital cameras.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I was able to take a single photo in 0/37 seconds and five photos in 13.93 seconds. Both of these times just squeeze into being reasonable, but I would like to have seen faster times recorded. After five photos the recording speed slows dramatically. This is probably due to the buffer being full.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 10x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 38 - 380mm in 35mm format. There is also a 5x digital zoom function. For close up shots the camera can focus from 12cms from the subject.
For composing images there is an electronic viewfinder or a 2 inch LCD screen. I found the screen to be more responsive than most in lowlight situations. The screen also displays useful information such as battery warning indicator, space left on the memory card and a histogram.
To help you take good pictures the Easyshare Z650 offers a number of scene modes. By selecting the most appropriate scene the camera is able to recognise the type of picture you are about to take and is able to use what it believes to be the optimum settings for the shot. The scene modes available are children, party, beach, flower, fireworks, snow, backlight, close up, night portrait, landscape, night landscape, museum/manner, text, self portrait, portrait, sport, and night.
The flash unit pops up on top of the camera. This is a big help when trying to avoid red eye. The flash modes you can use are auto, red-eye reduction, fill and off. The maximum range of the flash is 4.9m.
For when you would like to appear in the photo yourself there is a self timer mechanism. This can be set to a delay of either two or ten seconds.
To add different effects to your photographs there are a number of built in colour filters. These can help to add variety to your images. The filters are high color, low color, natural color, sepia, and black and white. You can also adjust the sharpness of your photos. To optimise the camera for 4 x 6 inch prints there is a 3:2 aspect ratio available.
In addition to automatic mode and the scene modes you can use manual, aperture priority and shutter priority modes. You can set the aperture of the lens in the range f/2.8-f/8 (wide) and f/3.7-f/8 (tele). Shutter speeds can be set to 8-1/1000 seconds. In automatic mode a slightly faster shutter speed is available.
Among the more advanced features are white balance (auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, and open shade), sensitivity (automatic, ISO 80,100, 200, 400, 800), exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)) and metering (Multi-pattern, centre weighted, spot).
There are two burst modes available. The first allows you to capture four images. The second records the last three images. This works by keeping the shutter button pressed down. The camera will continue to take photos until you release the button. At the point when the button is released the camera will store the last three images.
After a photo has been taken you can trim or crop the photo. You can also use the share button on the back of the camera to store photos you like in the favourites area in the camera's internal memory.
You can shoot videos of up to 80 minutes in length. The length of a video can also be curtailed by the capacity of the memory card you are using. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480 pixels. At this resolution the maximum frames per second rate is 11. You can also shoot at 320 x 240 pixels. At this setting you can shoot at 20 frames per second. Neither of these combinations gives you true TV quality movies. Zoom is not available in movie mode, but you can record sound.
Kodak supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Easyshare Z650 to a PictBridge compatible printer, computer and television set.
To increase the capabilities of the Easyshare Z650 Kodak sell a 0.7x wide angle lens converter and also a 1.4x telephoto lens converter.
Ease of Use
Compared to other compact digital cameras with a manual exposure mode I found the Easyshare Z650 very easy to use. Often I am left scratching my head trying to work out how to change the shutter speed or move from one mode to the next. With this camera it is all very easy. This is thanks to a toggle on the back of the camera. It makes changing key settings as easy as I have seen.
The toggle is supported by a control dial. This also helps to make the camera easy to use as it means switching between scene modes and shooting a movie etc. is very straightforward.
When you do need to dip into the menu system you will also find one of the most simple set ups I have come across.
You can pick up a Kodak Easyshare Z650 for around £180. This compares to around £195 for an Olympus SP-500, £235 for a Nikon Coolpix S4 and £180 for a Fuji Finepix S5600.
As you can see there is not too much to choose in terms of price between the Easyshare Z650 and other digital cameras with a similar specification. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and I would say this camera is fairly priced.
For a super zoom model the Easyshare Z650 is more compact than most. As with most models in this category the camera looks like a smaller version of a traditional SLR camera. There is a good sized grip on the right hand side of the camera and a pop up flash on the top. In terms of build quality I would not go as far as describing the camera as rugged, but it has a decent solid feel to it.
It has dimensions of 97.8 x 77.5 x 72.6mm and weighs 287g.
Batteries and Memory Cards
The camera runs on two AA batteries. If you are planning to use the camera on a regular basis I would recommend picking up a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger. To get the most out of a set of rechargeable batteries make sure they have a minimum mAh rating of 2000 and preferably higher.
Kodak have built 32mb of memory into the Easyshare Z650. I was able to take 24 photos before the memory became full. Although this is better than with the majority of digital cameras it is still worth picking up a high capacity card to go with the camera. The Easyshare Z650 is compatible with SD cards.
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Points I like:
No red eye shows in indoor portrait
Ease of use
Where it is not so hot:
No image stabilisation
If you are looking for a digital camera with a long zoom lens that does not cost a fortune then the Kodak Easyshare Z650 is well worth a close look. Photo quality is good and the camera also scores very highly for ease of use.
Kodak Easyshare Z650 Front View
Kodak Easyshare Z650 Back View
Kodak Easyshare Z650 Top View
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