The Z915’s overall performance is exceptionally good, remarkably so in fact for such a low cost camera. It starts up in approximately 3.5 seconds, and shuts down again in about 3 seconds, which isn’t too quick, but in single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time, including focusing, of a consistent 1.2 seconds, which very quick indeed. It also has a three-shot 1fps burst mode.
The silly part is that it could be even faster, but it is held back by the autofocus system, which is actually quite slow. Even in good light it takes almost a second to focus, and it’s slower in lower lighting conditions. The Z915 does have a very bright white AF lamp, but even so its low light focussing is very hit-or-miss at any range longer than about a metre.
The Z915’s image quality follows this same Curate’s Egg pattern. I’ve already mentioned the detail-crushing compression, but it is good in parts. For example the lens quality is excellent, with a minimum of barrel distortion and excellent edge to edge sharpness. Dynamic range is also surprisingly good, although it is rather prone to image noise in the shadow areas. Image noise is well controlled, with good image quality at 800 ISO and grainy but usable images even at 1600 ISO. However despite all these qualities the resulting images still look over-processed and over compressed. I wonder if Kodak would consider a firmware upgrade to reduce the default compression ratio? The Z915 is that close to being a much better camera.
The Kodak EasyShare Z915 offers a lot more than its price would lead you to expect, with good design and easy handling, outstanding performance and a useful range of manual exposure options, but it is let down by over-compressed image files and mediocre low-light performance.