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Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS - Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The control layout is also well considered, with all the external buttons comfortably positioned for one-handed operation. The power switch is a spring-loaded slider and easy to reach with the forefinger, as are the three top panel buttons for flash mode, focusing mode and self-timer/drive mode. The shutter button is large and prominently positioned, which is fine, but it is also raised up on the top edge of the grip and quite sensitive, making it easy to trip accidentally. The circular D-pad is the exact opposite, since it is slightly recessed and needs to be pressed with the edge of the thumbnail, which is a bit fiddly. However these are nit-picks; the overall handling is very good.

The Z712 has a good selection of shooting options, with full auto, program, aperture and shutter priority and full manual exposure, as well as a sports program mode, a high-ISO mode and 16 scene modes. It has the usual metering options of multi-pattern, centre-weighted and spot metering, as well as multi-zone, centre-zone or selectable zone autofocus. Kodak usually likes to leave colour control firmly in the hands of its Colour Science processor, so it’s no surprise that manual colour adjustment options are a bit limited, with only three saturation settings and monochrome. There are three sharpness levels, but no contrast control. Other adjustments, including exposure settings, exposure compensation, flash level and ISO are controlled on-screen via the small command dial, positioned just above the thumbgrip. This has a press-and-turn action, and with a minimum of practice controlling manual exposure is extremely quick and easy.

The zoom control is a simple rocker switch located near the thumb grip, and is about as pleasant to use as such items usually are. The zoom is stepped, but there are a lot of increments between the wide-angle and telephoto settings. One thing that did bug me slightly was that while the lens was moving the view on the screen went totally out of focus, making framing a bit hit-or-miss. The LCD screen itself could be a bit better too. It is certainly bright enough, and has a fairly good anti-glare coating, but with only 115k pixels it is a bit low-res. Fortunately the electronic viewfinder is made of sharper stuff, with a resolution of 230k pixels. The camera does have optional manual focus, but this is controlled via the fiddly D-pad. Although the view on the screen or viewfinder does automatically magnify when adjusting focus, it zips from one end of the focus range to the other so quickly that achieving accurate focus is all but impossible.

The Z712’s general performance is very good. It starts up in just over 1.5 seconds, which is remarkably fast for a super-zoom camera, and it shuts down again even more quickly. The AF system is also very fast, almost up to DSLR standards, and also works extremely well in low light; in fact I’d say that the Z712 has about the fastest low light focusing ability I’ve seen on a non-SLR camera. It has a very bright AF illuminator, and had no trouble focusing quickly in total darkness at a range of several metres. Shot to shot times are also fairly quick, although it really could do with a much larger and faster image buffer. In single-shot mode it can take a shot roughly once every two seconds, although with slower memory cards it is possible to fill up the buffer faster than the camera can save the pictures, usually after about six shots. In continuous shooting mode it can take a burst of six shots in just under four seconds, but it then has to pause for a couple of seconds to write them to the card.


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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