Kodak Z1275 Review
The Kodak EasyShare Z1275 is on of several "Z" series models for 2007. It features a 5x Schneider - Kreuznach Variogon optical zoom lens, digital image stabilization, 20 pre-programmed scene modes as well as the fully automatic Smart Scene, Program, and full Manual exposure modes. Other feature include a 2.5" LCD screen, Face Detection and Kodak Perfect Touch technologies, 64MB internal of memory and Kodak's EasyShare button for one-touch emailing and printing.
While compact, this camera is a little thicker than most other cameras in this class. It does make it a little harder to fit into a pocket, but it is very comfortable to hold and operate with one hand. The front right side is shaped to allow you to grip it easily and tightly. It has a very solid, sturdy feel to go along with a stylish design. There is an easy to use mode dial located around the shutter release button along with the power, flash and drive mode controls on top of the camera. On the back, the buttons are well- organized and labeled, making it easy to navigate the menus and change settings. The 2.5-inch LCD screen only has a resolution of 115k pixels, which is about half of what you see on most new models. However, the display was easy to see indoors and out as it handles bright lights very well and gains up in low light conditions, making it easier for you to frame your shots. The only issue I saw, was the picture can get a bit grainy in low lighting.
Shooting performance was pretty good. It was a little slow on the start up, taking 3.6 seconds to capture its first image after power up. Shutter lag was just 1/10 of a second when prefocused and 6/10 of a second when you include the focusing system. When shooting in single drive mode, the shot to shot delay average 1.5 - 1.7 seconds between frames without the flash and 1.7 - 2.5 seconds with the flash. After about 3-4 images, a "Processing" warning pops up, which slows the timing down as the camera write images to the memory card. There are also two burst modes, each of which will capture 3, 12MP images either at the beginning or end of your shooting. At the beginning I captured 3 images in just 1.2 seconds, and the last 3 images in just 1 second! All tests where done in program mode, flash off, 12 megapixel image size, and all other settings at the factory defaults, unless otherwise noted. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
Image quality was very good, producing sharp images through out the zoom range, with only slight edge softness. We also saw noticeable barrel distortion on the wide end of the 35mm - 175mm equivalent zoom lens. The colors are very vibrant and the exposure system did well. There is slight noise that is noticeable in some of the blue skies when viewing the images at 100%, but I don't think it would be noticeable in prints unless you were to get bigger than an 8x10. The wide end of the 5x optical zoom works well with landscape shots and group portraits, while the zoom end will get you closer to distant objects and allow you to single out a person from across a room or yard. There is also a digital image stabilization setting that will help capture blur free images when using the telephoto end of the zoom, however, it will also raise the ISO and add more noise to your photos.
As with the outdoor shots, our indoor portraits where very nice. Skin tones are excellent, and the details and skin textures are very detailed. The flash has an excellent range of 20ft. at wide end to 10ft. (ISO 400) with the full zoom. I found that shooting with a partial zoom worked very well in a medium sized room, with the flash easily covering a distance of 12 feet. I did notice that there are some traces of red in the eyes, even though I used the red-eye reduction flash mode. The only other problem that I noticed is that some of my indoor portraits were out of focus, which I think is due to lack of an AF-assist illuminator.
A completely new feature to the "Z" series is the addition of a 1280 x 720 (30fps) recording mode. This is not found on most digicams, but is a great option giving you the ability to record high definition videos. There are also the standard 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 recording modes. There is no image stabilization when shooting in movie mode so a tripod or monopod is very helpful in reducing camera shake, especially when using the full zoom. The 5x optical zoom is fully operational during recording, making the video mode even more versatile. The only thing is you might hear a slight hum from the motor of the zoom.
Power is supplied from two AA type batteries. We recommend using rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. Using a set of 2500 mAh rechargeable batteries I was able to run all of our tests, taking around 100 pictures and 10 videos without worrying about changing the batteries. As always we do recommend having at least one extra set of batteries charged and ready as a backup.
Bottom line - Featuring a 5x optical Schneider - Kreuznach Variogon zoom lens, a 12-megapixel imaging sensor, and user friendly design, this is a great camera for home or the office. It is easy enough for anyone to use with the fully automatic "Smart Scene" and pre-programmed scene modes, but also features a fully functional manual shooting mode for more experienced users. With a street price of US$229 or less, the Kodak Easyshare Z1275 Zoom offers a great combination of quality, performance and versatility, all without making a huge dent in your wallet this holiday season.
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