The 6.1-megapixel Kodak EasyShare Z612 is a 12x superzoom compact with optical image stabilisation and the full range of PASM shooting modes.
The latest addition to Kodak’s Z-Series claims to help everyday picture-takers get “closer, better and more creative shots”. Following up the likes of the Z650 model, the camera offers an extended zoom and manual exposure controls, all cast in the familiar EasyShare mould.
Topping the spec list is a mammoth 12x optical zoom, provided courtesy of a 35-420mm equivalent Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens. Kodak’s own optical image-stabilisation technology is on hand to rein in blurring, while a live histogram feature can be viewed on the 2.5in LCD. For creative control the Z612 features aperture and shutter priority modes, manual exposure controls, plus 16 Scene and five colour modes.
There are few surprises to be had taking in the Z612’s shiny good looks. Displaying the traditional Z-Series profile, the camera presents a cheerfully plastic demeanour, consisting of a comfortable hand grip built around the large zoom lens. A flat shutter-release button is tucked away on the handgrip, which often proves tricky to locate by touch alone.
A prompt performance recommends the Z612, yielding respectable – if not instantaneous – speeds during start-up and focusing. Continuous focusing and a reliable focus lock also speed up shooting, adding reliability to the Z612’s list of accomplishments. The Z612’s zoom action is heavily mechanical but generally smooth, although it can take some seconds for the AF to adapt to sudden leaps in focal length.
The Z612 produces clean and punchy exposures that are awash with precise details and edges. The zoom lens is capable of generating some impressively sharp results and, thanks to integral image stabilisation technology, blur is kept to an absolute minimum. Minor fringing in high-contrast scenes occasionally presents itself, as does noise over ISO 400, but on the whole the Z612 offers a commendable standard of image.
Value For Money
You certainly get a lot of camera for your money at this price point. The Kodak EasyShare Z612 may demonstrate cheerfully clunky operation at times and be on the bulky side, but its user-friendliness, full complement of PASM modes and effective automatic features recommend it to inexperienced snappers, plus those looking for some extra creative functionality over and above fully automatic point-and-shoot compacts.
A pleasing camera that lives up to its "superzoom" tag. Some image quality and operational quirks detract, but it gives an all-round performance that will ably suit the needs of everyday enthusiasts looking for that little bit extra from a compact.