The Z1085’s overall performance is unfortunately rather disappointing. It starts up quickly enough in under two and a half seconds, and shuts down again in approximately three seconds, but it is the shot-to-shot cycle time that is the major problem. In single shot mode it can take three shots in approximately five seconds, which is a little slow but not too bad, but then the buffer fills up and it slows right down. For subsequent shots there is a delay of approximately seven seconds while the camera writes to the memory card. In continuous shooting mode it can take a burst of three shots in a little under two seconds, but then there is a nine-second delay before any more shots can be taken. Bear in mind that this was using a high-speed SanDisk Ultra II SD card. With a slower card the delay is even longer. This kind of performance is exceptionally slow for a modern camera.
Picture quality too is not massively impressive, although it does have its good points. As usual with Kodak cameras colour reproduction is very good, and the larger 1/1.63-inch sensor seems to produce somewhat higher dynamic range than most other 10MP compacts, with a good balance of shadow and highlight detail. However I found exposure metering to be a bit inconsistent, burning out highlights on some shots but not others. Under close examination the Z1085’s images have a slightly grainy look even at low ISO settings, possibly a result of over-sharpening and higher than average (and non-adjustable) image compression. While images at ISO speeds up to 200 are generally good, image noise is a problem at higher settings, and especially bad at 800 ISO and above. The normal maximum of 3200 ISO is best avoided. Surprisingly the normally excellent Schneider-Kreuznach lens also performed less well than expected. While corner sharpness is good, it produces significant barrel distortion at the wide-angle end, and some pincushion distortion at the telephoto end.
With its relatively low price and 10-megapixel resolution the EasyShare Z1085 may look like a bargain, but as usual you get what you pay for. Build quality and design are reasonably good, the image stabilisation system works well and the camera is certainly easy to use, but it has a limited range of features and its overall performance leaves a lot to be desired. Image quality too could be a lot better.
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