Other external features have good and bad points. The LCD monitor is excellent, with sharp 230k resolution, a fast refresh rate, a very wide angle of view and an effective glare-reducing finish. The built-in flash however is mounted directly above and quite close to the lens, inviting red-eye in flash portraits.
Internally the most significant feature is the optical image stabilisation, something that is becoming more common even on relatively cheap cameras like this one. It uses sensitive movement sensors and a moveable element within the lens to counteract camera shake at slow shutter speeds, especially useful with longer zoom lenses. Kodak’s system is reasonably effective, producing sharp images most of the time at full zoom and a shutter speed of 1/25th of a second, although slower speeds defeated it.
As I mentioned, the Z1085’s controls are very simple. The camera has five main shooting modes. The simplest is a fully automatic option in which all menu options except picture size and basic setup are disabled. Slightly more useful is a program mode with more options including exposure compensation, adjustable ISO, metering and focus modes, auto-bracketing, and a limited range of colour options. As well as this the camera has a manual exposure mode, although this is also a bit limited, with only three aperture settings and shutter speeds of 8 seconds to 1/1000th of a second. The other shooting modes are a high-ISO setting with a theoretical maximum of 8000 ISO, although the picture quality in this mode is extremely poor. There is also a scene mode with 16 scene programs. Basic camera control is via a row of on-screen icons adjusted via the small square D-pad.
I did notice one very unusual thing about the Z1085, and that is a noise. I don’t mean image noise, but an actual sound. While the camera is switched on it makes a quiet but distinct whirring sound all the time, and I really don’t know why it should do this. It’s not the AF motor, because you can hear that as well when you half-press the shutter, and it’s not the zoom motor because that too has its own distinct sound. The camera just sits there quietly muttering away to itself. Unfortunately whatever it’s doing is bound to be placing a small but unnecessary drain on the battery.
One feature still unusual enough to be worthy of note is the video mode, which can shoot at full HD resolution (1280 × 720) at 30fps, with mono sound. Clip length is limited to 29 mins as long as you have enough space on your memory card.
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