Most other zoom compacts are relatively simple fully automatic cameras, but the Z915 breaks from this mould by offering a range of manual exposure options, including aperture and shutter priority as well as full manual exposure. The range of shutter speeds is rather limited at 16 seconds to 1/1000th of a second, and the aperture settings even more so, with only three choices, but it does at least offer some creative potential.
Kodak cameras are traditionally designed to be easy to use, and the Z915’s manual exposure settings and other general shooting options are controlled via a very simple on-screen interface, while other functions have clearly labelled single-function buttons. The menu is also clear and concise, although it’s not exactly overburdened with options. It has the usual features such as spot metering, wide or centre-spot AF, face detection and even adjustable sharpness, but it offers only the most rudimentary colour options, and lacks some other desirable features such as saturation or contrast control.
One thing the Z915 does offer is a reasonably competent video mode. It can shoot at 640 x 480 (VGA) resolution at 30fps with mono audio, so there’s no fancy HD here, but film clips can be up to four gigabytes, and the optical zoom can be used while recording. The zoom motor is virtually silent and cannot be heard on the recoded soundtrack.
One noticeable omission is any control over image compression, which is a pity because this is the Z915’s biggest problem. Most other 10 megapixel digital cameras generate image files averaging around 4.0 to 4.5 megabytes in size. The Z915 produces files averaging around 2.0MB, with some as small as 1.0MB, and as a result picture quality suffers from unnecessary over-compression.