A new 10x entry to Kodak’s superzoom Z series...
The Z650 is one of a trio of fresh new entries to Kodak’s Z series of budget superzoom cameras. Sitting at the top of the range, its suggested retail price of £230 may not make it everyone’s idea of a budget purchase, but a quick glance under the bonnet reveals a surprisingly healthy set of specifications.
The Z650’s headline feature is of course its 10x optical zoom lens. Fashioned by glass master Schneider-Kreuznach, this Variogon lens dominates the camera, providing f2.8-3.7 (38-380mm equivalent) optics. The lens is complemented by a two-inch LCD and electronic viewfinder, while a pop-up flash, 17 scene modes and PASM manual controls offer users the capacity to yield enhanced creative control when shooting.
Sculpted in silver plastic, the Z650 provides palm-sized bulk through its mini-SLR styling. While it may not offer the pocket-sized convenience of a traditional compact, a rubber handgrip and sturdy build favourably offset the weight and size of the lens. Control layout is excellent, providing clear, on-body access to the most commonly called for shooting commands.
Meandering to life in about two seconds, its write times are equally leisurely, leaving frustrating delays during blink-and-you’ll-miss-it photo opportunities. Operation is clunky in this respect, extending to the performance of the far-from-simultaneous electronic viewfinder. Despite this, the Z650 offers a commendable imaging performance. Its shooting controls bring precise results and a good degree of accuracy when it comes to exposure and focusing. PASM modes are simply accessed and controlled, making the camera well suited to users beginning to break away from automatic operation.
The level of detail picked up by the Z650 is generally impressive, and proves the worth of Kodak’s relationship with Schneider-Kreuznach. For the most part, finer details are sharp and well defined, and this clarity is enhanced further by bright, punchy exposures. Image quality degrades at either extreme of the camera’s focal range, bringing about a degree of softness to some edge details. Noise is well controlled but some purple fringing is noticeable, along with a slight tendency to overexpose.
Value For Money
The Z650 offers healthy prosumer specs in exchange for a more widely accessible price tag than similar specified models. A few jagged operational edges belie its budget heritage, but the fact that it can already be found online priced less than £200 means it can be easily forgiven.
Despite a general lack of true style and panache both inside and out, the Z650 offers some impressive specs and an extremely favourable level of imaging prowess