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Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS review




Our Score:


Anyone looking for a super-zoom camera is rather spoilt for choice at the moment. There are so many good ones that it’s very difficult to choose between them. When there are cameras like the Fuji FInePix S5700, Panasonic Lumix FZ8, Olympus 550UZ and the new Canon S5 IS (review coming soon) available, the choice is difficult enough, but now Kodak has gone and launched another new superzoom camera with a specification that makes the problem even trickier.

Of course with all those high quality cameras out there, any new product is going to have to be something a bit special if its going to have any chance at all, so for the EasyShare Z712 IS Kodak has piled on the features. It has a top-quality Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon f/2.8–4.8 12x zoom lens with built-in optical image stabilisation, a 2.5-LCD monitor, an electronic viewfinder, maximum ISO of 1600 and a full range of manual exposure modes with easy command dial operation. To make it even more competitive Kodak has managed to put all this together for just £177, which compares favourably with all of the competition except the Fuji S5700, although of course that camera doesn’t have image stabilisation.

The Z712 is a surprisingly compact and lightweight camera, measuring just 103.6 × 74.2 × 69.7 mm and weighing 300g, which is smaller and lighter than any of its immediate competitors. It has a plastic body, but it is very solidly put together, with no creaks or rattles. It has a large handgrip for its size, with a textured thumbgrip area on the back, and despite the rather confined space available beside the lens barrel it is very comfortable to hold, although the finish is quite smooth and can be slippery especially if your hands are a bit sweaty. A rubberised texture on the handgrip would have been a good idea.


August 16, 2009, 5:34 pm

The rope on the boat photo clearly shows the quality of this camera's lens. In the review comment is made about the "puny" sensor yet it seems comparable with other similar cameras where no comment is made?


November 30, 2012, 1:36 am

I've had this camera for a few years. Now, some 15,000 shots later still works great. I disabled the digital zoom, but I really like the 12X optical zoom, and on occasion I add a 1.6X telephoto lens which gives me ... well, you know, but since there is no way to attach anything to the camera itself, I need to hold both nice and steady.

The Image Stabilizer is good, but under low-er lighting conditions I need to do 'tactical breathing' aided by a hand-grip attachment.

The 'flash' pops up automatically and often quite unexpectedly, so one must keep in mind to turn it off when in borderline lighting conditions.

The lens motor is loud, but I hope that is synonymous with 'sturdy'.
On my first attempt at photographing 'wildlife' at the cottage, in the 2 seconds the lens finished deploying, all the chipmunks were gone.
Maybe because since I was sporting such an impressive looking camera, they must have thought I was one of the 'paparazzi'?

As you can see, it isn't a very portable camera that you can carry in a pouch clipped to your belt, and it's nearly impossible to use it single-handed.
The 'autofocus' is pretty quick but needs a lot of contrast to focus on something, so on a hazy day it is a challenge.

The videos are pretty good too. At 640x480 with Single Autofocus, they are great for the web.

The batteries are expensive but last a looong time. However, when I smartened up, as a much cheaper alternative I bought rechargeables online. One set of 2 Li-Ion lasted me nearly 2 years.

The rubber hinge on the card slot cover has lasted well.

My only complaint is that I can't replace the internal battery which keeps the clock running. Since the time this little battery 'died', I need to reset the time and date every-time I replace the batteries.


January 8, 2014, 3:21 pm

I'm aware that this camera is no longer available and has been rendered largely obselete by more advanced compact camera offerings; however, I thought I would add to Lasserman's comment below. I have had this camera since early 2008 and shot approximately 43500 images using it. I've used it in a lot of very harsh environments, including in extremely cold and wet conditions, and it has help up brilliantly.

The body, whilst being quite plasticky, is extremely tough, and the layout of the major buttons, in particular the dedicated focus, exposure and flash controls is very good indeed, something a lot of other manufacturers could learn from.

Autofocus and colour reproduction are both very good, and the built in metering does a perfectly acceptable job of dealing with even quite extreme lighting. That Schneider lens is really very good and provides huge versatility. The built in image stabilisation deserves a particular mention, I often use the full 12x (432mm equiv) in cold or precarious (or low-light) environments, and the camera normally does a very good job of sorting things out, however, at nearly 6 years old and a lot of abuse later this was also the things that finally developed a fault serious enough to render the camera unusable for some of the things I ask of it - though it is still only a problem for slower shutter speeds.

There are, inevitably, a couple of things that are less impressive. The Electronic viewfinder is frankly pretty poor, and there is no facility to add filters and other attachments without having a large piece of plastic stuck on the front of the camera. The onboard backup-battery also died after 3 years or so, causing time and date to be lost at a battery change - but given that its survived having a new screen fitted and the zoom motor gear-train rebuilt (both by me), that seems like a relatively small foible.

For a relatively cheap superzoom compact, this camera has performed extremely well, and a used example with less miles on it than mine could prove a very canny investment for someone searching for a camera that is light, compact, versatile, rugged, and capable of producing some really nice images if you ask it to.

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