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Considering that it's a relatively new type of camera, the high-zoom compact has taken off in a big way. Just a couple of years ago the choice was limited to the Ricoh R7 or the Panasonic TZ3, but now almost every manufacturer has at least one such camera in its range, with cameras like the Ricoh CX1 (£240), Canon SX200 IS (£290), Olympus mju 9000 (£240) and of course the Panasonic TZ7 (£290) taking an ever larger share of the camera market. As one of the most prolific camera manufacturers it should be no surprise that Kodak has a couple of model in this category. I looked at the EasyShare Z8612 IS some time ago, but today I have Kodak's latest, the 10-megapixel, 10x zoom Z915. Launched in January this year, the Z915 is currently selling for £179.99 direct from Kodak's website. Compared to its main rivals it looks like good value for money, so what's it really like?
It certainly has all the hallmarks of the modern high-zoom compact. The body measures 107 × 72.4 × 35.7 mm, so it will fit into a coat pocket or handbag but is really too big for a shirt pocket. Weighing 220g body-only it's the same weight as the Canon SX200 and is slightly heavier than the Panasonic TZ7, but then you have to add the weight of a pair of AA batteries, so you can add 50g to that, making the Z915 a heavy camera for its size.
The body is made of plastic, and is available in red, blue, black or the grey shown here. The style of the body is obviously supposed to emulate that of a digital SLR, with a raised turret for the fixed built-in flash, a small handgrip on the right and a knurled mode dial on the top panel. The overall build quality is very good, and with its relatively high weight the Z915 does feel a lot more solid and competent than its price tag would suggest.
The LCD monitor is 2.5 inches and 230,000 dots, so it's decently sharp, and it has adjustable brightness and a good anti-glare surface so it's usable outdoors. The angle of view is good from side to side and from above, but unfortunately terrible from below, such as when holding the camera overhead to shoot over a crowd.