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For over 100 years it has been the stated mission of the Kodak company to bring photography to the masses. One of its earliest advertising slogans was "You press the button, we do the rest." This philosophy of making photography as simple and accessible as possible is continued today in the company's extensive range of digital compact cameras, currently comprising 28 models spread over four series. Most feature simplified controls, easy-to-use automatic functions and user-friendly features such as direct printing and downloading docks. Even Kodak's more sophisticated models in the high-zoom Z-series are relatively simple; today's camera, the EasyShare Z1085 IS is an excellent case in point.
The Z1085 is a 10.0-megapixel compact camera featuring a 5x zoom optically stabilised lens, a 2.5-inch 230k LCD monitor and manual exposure options, and is currently available direct from Kodak's website for £149.99, although it is so new that few other shops are offering it yet. There are surprisingly few cameras that match this specification. Given its plastic body, AA batteries and longer zoom a tempting comparison would be something from Canon's PowerShot A-series, such as the 8-megapixel, 6x zoom A720 IS (£155), however a better match would be the Panasonic DMC-LZ10 (£170), or the Samsung S1050 (£150).
The Z1085 is a fairly small camera, but it is certainly no ultra-compact. To accommodate the pair of AA batteries and the 5x zoom lens, the plastic body measures 89.5 × 64.3 × 39 mm, and weighs a substantial 164g empty, or over 210g including batteries and card. The overall shape is tall and thick, with a substantial handgrip on the right that is bigger than it needs to be to hold the batteries. The Schneider-Kreuznach lens also protrudes from the camera body, and the result is a size and shape that is a bit to bulky to sit comfortably in your pocket.
Despite the plastic construction, the build quality is good. There are a few spots on the body that feel a bit flexible, but it generally feels fairly robust. The battery hatch can pop open with a little encouragement, dropping your batteries on the floor, but the separate card hatch has a strong metal hinge. The control buttons are well mounted, but they feel rather squishy and unresponsive, lacking the positive click that I prefer.