An easy-to-use long-zoom digicam with optical image stabilisation and functions to suit family snapshooters. Kodak's EasyShare Z812 IS sports an 8.2-megapixel imager and optically-stabilised Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 12x zoom lens, which covers angles of view equivalent to 36-432mm in 35mm format. A 2.5-inch 'indoor/outdoor' LCD cover much of the rear panel and the camera supports auto, P, A, S and M shooting modes plus a 'Smart Scene' mode that evaluates the scene and automatically selects the best scene mode and sensitivity setting. . . [more]
Kodak's EasyShare Z812 IS sports an 8.2-megapixel imager and optically-stabilised Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 12x zoom lens, which covers angles of view equivalent to 36-432mm in 35mm format. A 2.5-inch 'indoor/outdoor' LCD cover much of the rear panel and the camera supports auto, P, A, S and M shooting modes plus a 'Smart Scene' mode that evaluates the scene and automatically selects the best scene mode and sensitivity setting.
As part of Kodak's EasyShare Digital Photography System, the Z812 IS can be used with Kodak's camera and printer docks, software and online services. A dock insert and software disk are supplied with the camera. Body styling is similar to other long-zoom cameras we've tested, with a large grip, top-mounted mode dial and array of button controls. Build quality is good for a plastic camera body.
Buttons on the top panel behind the shutter release cover flash, focus and drive settings, while the rear panel carries a small zoom rocker, info and review buttons, an arrow pad and delete, menu and share buttons. On the camera base are a metal-lined tripod mount and separate compartments for SD card and CRV3 lithium battery (or 2x AA cells).
The mode dial on the top panel has settings for Smart Scene (full auto), P, A, S and M shooting modes plus a Favourites mode for viewing images saved in the Favourites album. Video and Scene modes, a High-ISO setting and a Panorama mode are also included. The High-ISO mode is designed to boost sensitivity to ISO 3200 - but only at image sizes of 2.2MP and lower. Users have no control over the actual sensitivity the camera selects and we were unable to force the test camera beyond ISO 1600 in our tests – even in very low light levels with the lowest resolution and quality setting.
Sixteen scene pre-sets are loaded in the camera, covering most shooting situations snapshooters could encounter. Five colour modes – High, Natural, Low, B&W and Sepia – are provided via the main menu and can be applied with any shooting mode. Shooting video clips was straightforward and quality was reasonably good.
It was also easy to adjust flash, focus and drive settings with the dedicated buttons. Flash and focus adjustments are pretty standard but three self-timer settings are provided, with delays of two and ten seconds as a '2X' setting that captures two shots after a 10- and 18-second delay. Continuous shooting capabilities are restricted to first and last burst modes, each saving five shots from a longer burst. Exposure bracketing covers three shots across a +/-1EV range.
Changing settings in any of the manual modes is fiddly as you must rotate a knurled ring on the top right corner of the rear panel to select the function requiring adjustment. Pushing the ring in allows you to adjust settings for that function. A second push locks in the setting and lets you move to another function. Icons on the LCD let you select which setting to adjust – but they are small and difficult to read.
Image files are saved as JPEGs with three compression levels, which are relatively high. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.
3264 x 2448
3264 x 2176
3264 x 1836
2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
1800 x 1200
1920 x 1080
1280 x 960
Video capabilities are include the ability to record HDTV quality (1280 × 720) video at 30 frames per second. VGA and QVGA quality video clips can also be recorded at 30 fps with sound and you can zoom while filming. The optical image stabilisation system can also be used for video capture.
Playback facilities are pretty standard and include up to 8x playback zoom, tagging pictures and videos for albums (you can set up and name albums when the camera is connected to a computer), copying, protecting and index and slideshow viewing. You can also crop pictures and trim video clips in playback mode and add sound bites to still pictures.
The camera comes with Kodak Perfect Touch Technology, an automatic adjustment that aims to bring out shadow detail and deliver more vibrant colors in still shots. Changes are previewed on a split screen on the camera's monitor, which is neither large nor colour accurate enough to make reliable assessments. Since you can't make further changes to pictures adjusted in this way, we suggest it's better to wait until you display your images on a larger screen.
The test camera's exposure metering system tended to over-expose by between 1/3 and 2/3 of a stop, particularly in bright conditions. However, when this was allowed for, the resulting shots were bright and punchy, with natural-looking colours when the default Natural colour mode was selected. Imatest showed most colours to be accurately reproduced but indicated boosted saturation in reds and some slight colour shifts in yellow and cyan. Lateral chromatic aberration was moderate and we observed some noticeable coloured fringes extending more than 30% into shots taken in bright outdoor conditions.
Resolution was slightly below expectations and Imatest revealed some edge softening, which was evident in normal test shots. Close-up performance was impressive and digital zoom shots were detailed and relatively artefact-free. No obvious distortion was observed throughout the camera's zoom range.
Auto white balance performance was outstanding; the test camera produced images with close-to-natural colours that would require only minor adjustment in editing software. The manual white balance pre-sets produced good results with incandescent lighting but over-corrected slightly under fluorescent lights.
Image noise became noticeable from ISO 400 on and by ISO 1600 noise was very obvious. We also found an increasing yellow-green cast in long exposures at night as ISO was increased. The flash proved capable of illuminating an average-sized room from ISO 100 on and exposures were even throughout the ISO range.
The test camera took approximately two seconds to power-up and shut down. Capture lag was never more than 0.25 seconds in our measurements, with or without pre-focusing. However, it took just over five seconds to process each shot and shot-to-shot times with flash averaged 8.5 seconds. The burst setting recorded shots at 0.55 second intervals and it took 4.9 seconds to process a burst of five shots.
Auto white balance with incandescent light.
Auto white balance with fluorescent light.
ISO 64 in normal lighting.
ISO 1600 in normal lighting.
16-second exposure at ISO 100.
10-second exposure at ISO 1600.
Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29mm CCD with 8.3 million photosites (8.2 megapixels effective)
Lens: 36-432mm equivalent f/2.8-4.8 Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens
Zoom ratio: 12x optical 4.2x digital
Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies – QuickTime MPEG-4
Image Sizes: Stills - 3264 x 2448, 3264 x 2176, 3264 x 1836, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1800 x 1600, 1920 x 1080 1280 x 960; Movies –1280 × 720 at 30 fps, 640 × 480 at 30 fps, 320 × 240 at 30 fps
Shutter speed range: 1/2–1/1000 second; 16–1/1000 sec. in Shutter priority and Manual mode
Image Stabilisation: optical
Exposure Compensation: +/- 1.0 EV in 1/3EV steps
Focus system/range: TTL AF; range 50 cm to infinity; macro to 12 cm
Exposure metering/control: Multi-pattern, centre-weighted, spot metering (zone tracks with 5 focus zones); Auto, P, A, S and M shooting modes plus Smart Scene, High ISO, 16 Scene modes and Panorama
ISO range: Auto, ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (with reduced resolution)
White balance: Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open Shade
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, off, fill, red-eye reduction; range 0.5 to 7.8 metres
Sequence shooting: 2 fps up to 5 frames
Storage Media: 27 MB internal memory, SD/MMC card expansion slot
Viewfinder: EVF with 230,000 pixels, 100% field of view
LCD monitor: 2.5-inch indoor/outdoor colour TFT display with 230,000 pixels
Power supply: CRV3 Lithium Digital Camera Battery
Dimensions (wxhxd): 108.4 × 74.2 × 76.1 mm
Weight: 300 grams
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Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8.5
- Ease of use: 8.5
- Image quality: 8
- OVERALL: 8.5