As is so often the case with Kodak cameras, it is the Z1012’s overall shooting performance that really lets it down. Although the autofocus system is nice and quick, and tracks moving subjects reliably, the shot-to-shot times are simply terrible. In single-shot mode and maximum image quality, it starts off looking promising, shooting three frames in just under five seconds, but then if you try to take a fourth shot all you get is an annoying “Processing…” screen, which lasts for nearly ten seconds. Continuous shooting is equally disappointing, since all it offers is a basic three-shot burst mode, or a “last three” capture. When similarly-priced and similarly-specified cameras can typically manage at least a two-second shot cycle, one has to wonder what’s taking the Kodak so long.
All that processing time unfortunately doesn’t translate into superior picture quality. Exposure metering is inconsistent, under or over-exposing by as much as three stops seemingly at random. This really doesn’t help the camera’s limited dynamic range, which produces burned-out highlights. This in turn affects colour reproduction, with very saturated colours, especially red and yellows, showing almost no detail.
Image noise is also a major issue. There is some colour mottling even at 64 ISO, and the effects of aggressive noise reduction are visible at 200 ISO. At 400 ISO and beyond fine detail is progressively smeared out by the NR, and the 3200 ISO shots are among the worst I’ve seen, looking like they were taken on a low-grade webcam. I didn’t even bother with the 3MP-only 6400 ISO setting.
To add to the Z1012’s woes, the normally excellent Schneider-Kreuznach lens also has some problems, with significant and uneven barrel distortion, and also quite severe chromatic aberration toward the corners of the frame.
Although only a year old, the Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS has not aged well, and looks very weak by comparison to rival models, especially more recent ones. One can forgive the utilitarian design and slightly limited range of features, but the extremely slow performance and shoddy image quality are damning faults. It is also quite expensive for its specification. There are much better cameras for not much more money.