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As I mentioned, the video mode is very poor. The Z650 could only manage 11 frames a second at VGA resolution, which was bad enough, but the Z710 is even slower, with a maximum of 10.5 frames a second. The result is incredibly jerky and looks terrible. Even at QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels) it can only manage 20fps. Needless to say the zoom lens cannot be used in video mode.
So, about that picture quality. I was fairly impressed by the results from the Z650, so I was hoping that it would be the saving grace of the Z710 too. Sadly this is not the case. Colours, especially yellows, were over saturated, the lens suffered from major chromatic aberration at the telephoto end and barrel distortion at the wide end and images generally lacked contrast, although to be fair the weather wasn’t very good when I did most of my test shots. Noise control at 64 ISO was, it has to be said, very good, and wasn’t too bad at higher settings, although with a maximum ISO of only 400 that’s not saying much. However the lack of fine detail when images were examined at full size was damning. I’ve seen 4-megapixel cameras that were better at discriminating fine lines.
The images were noticeably less sharp than those produced by the 6-megapixel Z650. Add to this the lack of image stabilisation or high-ISO performance, making the telephoto end of the zoom range useless without a tripod and I’m afraid I cannot recommend the Z710 on any count.
The EasyShare Z710 is easy to use and has fairly good handling, but very slow performance, limited features, annoying habits, inferior image quality, lack of image stabilisation, low maximum ISO, indifferent build quality, horrible viewfinder and useless video mode make this one to avoid, especially at nearly £200.
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