Not so long ago Kodak looked like it might be in a lot of trouble, as its traditional core market in film-based photography shrank to almost nothing in just a few years and its attempt to hold on to a corner of the professional digital SLR market failed. However the company now seems to be thriving and is producing a wide and varied range of digital compact cameras, now standing at a slightly astonishing 34 models. This total includes the ten models in the long-zoom Z-series, to which this Z8612 IS is one of the more recent additions.
Launched in January of this year, the Z8612 IS is a low-cost super-zoom camera offering a 12x zoom Schneider-Kreuznach f/2.8-4.8 lens, 8.1-megapixel resolution, a 2.5-inch 230k monitor and optical image stabilisation, an ambitious specification for a camera currently selling for £129.99 direct from Kodak’s website, or even less from several different retailers. There aren’t many cameras on the market that can match that specification for the price, but one obvious contender is from Kodak’s traditional rivals Fujifilm, with the 10-megapixel, 12x zoom FinePix S1000fd currently selling for just under £129.98, and the excellent 8.1MP, 10x zoom S5800 selling for under £100.
Looking at the Z8612, you can see that the Taiwanese company that made it for Kodak didn’t waste any money on superfluous design. It’s not a small camera, measuring 104 × 65.6 × 70.5 mm, but it is quite light for its size at 290g. The body is made of plastic and to be honest it does feel cheaply made. Some of the panels give a bit and creak when squeezed, and the controls and hatches feel flimsy. The body shape is a utilitarian rectangular black box, with a simple cylinder on the front for the lens barrel, square black buttons for the controls and a small rubberised handgrip. You could call it “minimalist” if you were so inclined, but I’m afraid I’m going to go with “dull”.