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Unfortunately this lower price means that the Z1275 is lacking a couple of features that I would have expected to see. It has a longer-than-average 5x zoom lens with a telephoto end equivalent to 175mm, but unlike most recent cameras with longer lenses it has no mechanical image stabilisation, only a so-called "digital image stabilisation" system, which basically means it bumps up the ISO setting to 1600, with all the image noise problems that usually entails. Almost uniquely for a recent camera it also has no face detection system. I have frequently stated that I don't consider this feature to be particularly useful anyway, but I'm so used to seeing it that it's significant that the Z1275 doesn't have it.
Other features reflect the cost-cutting that has taken place in the design of this camera. The 2.5-inch monitor screen has a resolution of only 115k pixels, which is pretty low, and the usefulness of the extended zoom range is restricted by the fact that it is stepped in six fairly large increments, so you'll be doing a lot of moving backwards and forwards if you like to frame your shots accurately. The Z1275 does have a degree of manual control, but the manual exposure mode allows only three possible aperture settings (minimum, maximum and a mid-point) and the shutter has a maximum speed of only 1/1000th of a second. It also has optional manual focus with automatic monitor magnification, but with such a low-res monitor it is a rather hit-or-miss affair.
One feature that does set the Z1275 apart from most other digital compacts is its video mode, which can shoot 1280 x 768 resolution at 30 frames a second, compatible with the high definition (HD) television standard. Unusually the zoom lens can be used during video shooting, but the zoom motor can be clearly heard on the soundtrack. In this setting a 1 gigabyte memory card will only provide 14.5 minutes of video shooting, so you'd better buy a few larger cards. I did notice something a bit odd however. I tried the camera with a 4GB SDHC card, but the shooting timer only seemed to think it was a 2GB card, providing just over 29 minutes of shooting.
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