Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A low-priced long-zoom digicam that can also record high-definition video clips.Kodak’s EasyShare Z1015 IS is the flagship model of the Z-series digicams, offering both the longest zoom range, the largest LCD monitor and raw file capture as well as P, A, S and M shooting modes. Featuring a 10-megapixel image sensor and 15x optical zoom lens plus sensor-shift stabilisation, it is competitively priced at $399 and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. . . [more]

      Full review


      Kodak’s EasyShare Z1015 IS is the flagship model of the Z-series digicams, offering both the longest zoom range, the largest LCD monitor and raw file capture as well as P, A, S and M shooting modes. Featuring a 10-megapixel image sensor and 15x optical zoom lens plus sensor-shift stabilisation, it is competitively priced at $399 and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
      The battery is charged in the camera via the mini-USB port and a USB-connected charger (supplied) that plugs into the mains via a supplied adaptor. It’s CIPA rated for 270 shots/charge when the camera is used in Smart Capture (i.e. point-and-shoot) mode. This mode includes automatic face detection and scene analysis, along with Kodak Perfect Touch automatic picture correction. Users can also choose between 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios in this mode.


      Front view of the EasyShare Z1015 IS.
      Physically, the EasyShare Z1015 IS can best be described as ‘chunky’, although it’s smaller and lighter than some competing products. Contributing to its relatively large size is the 15x zoom lens, which dominates the front panel. Although the lens barrel has an external diameter of 60mm, the optical components are smaller and this lens isn’t particularly fast.
      Maximum apertures range from f/3.5 at the widest focal length (28mm equivalent) to f/5.4 when zoomed out to the 420mm (equivalent) position. However, since only two aperture settings are available at each focal length, the potential for using the A mode creatively (such as for differential focusing) is very limited.
      The front of the lens extends approximately 18 mm when the camera is switched on and a further 4 mm when you zoom from the wide to the tele position. Above the lens is the flash, which pops up automatically when the camera thinks you need it – unless you’ve set the flash mode to off. Left of the lens is the AF-assist lamp and dual microphones for stereo sound recording.
      The grip is a little small for users with average-sized hands, thanks largely to the positioning of the raised moulding for your thumb on the rear panel. Most of the rear panel is covered by the 3-inch LCD screen, which has relatively low (230,000 dots) resolution. Above the LCD is the electronic viewfinder, which is also fairly low-res. On the review camera it was seriously affected by coloured fringing.


      Back view.
      Ranged along the right side of the LCD are four buttons that access the Info, Playback, Delete and Menu settings. The zoom rocker is located just above the Info button, while the Share button sits to the right of the Playback button. Below it is the arrow pad. Just above the top left corner of the LCD is a button for switching between the LCD and EVF.
      The top panel carries the mode dial, which has settings for the Auto, P, A, S, M, Video, Panorama, Scene, High ISO and Sport modes. Just in front of the mode dial is the on/off switch while, ranged to its right are three buttons that set the flash, focus (close-up, infinity and manual) and drive/self-timer modes. A jog dial for adjusting settings in the P, A, S and M modes is semi-recessed into the top panel left of the flash. The shutter button is a large silver panel on top of the grip moulding.


      Top view.
      Loops for a camera strap are located at the top of each side panel. On the left side, a lift-up rubber panel covers the DC-in and mini-USB ports. The base plate carries a tripod socket, which is centrally mounted and close to a connector for Kodak’s camera and printer docks. The battery and memory card slot into a dual-purpose compartment with a lift-up lid that occupies most of the grip. The EasyShare Z1015 IS supports both SD and SDHC memory cards and comes with 64MB of internal memory of which 49MB is available for image storage.
      Photo Review found the build quality of the review camera to be much as you’d expect from its price point. The black matte plastic body makes no pretence of being other than it is and, although the grip has a rubberised coating, it’s smooth and slightly slippery to the touch. The multi-lingual printed user manual supplied with the camera isn’t particularly informative (it doesn’t even provide camera specifications) but an ‘Extended user guide’ in PDF format can be downloaded from Kodak’s website. It’s a 1.7MB file.

      Most of the EasyShare Z1015 IS’s manual controls can only be accessed in the P, A, S and M modes, with the jog dial on the top panel providing both selection of parameter and setting adjustments. Five parameters are displayed along the bottom of the LCD screen, covering (from left): lens aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, flash compensation and ISO. To change a setting, rotate the jog dial until the setting is highlighted and then press it in and turn it again to adjust the parameter. Press in again to lock the setting.
      Although all settings are displayed in all of the above modes, not all of them are adjustable in each. In P mode, you can’t change the aperture or shutter speed settings. In A mode, shutter speeds aren’t adjustable, while in S mode you can’t change aperture settings and in M mode, exposure compensation can’t be used. Not surprisingly, the EasyShare Z1015 IS only provides two aperture settings, so your options for fine-tuning depth-of-field are limited.
      Pressing the Flash button allows you to toggle through four settings, using the icons ranged along the top of the display. Only four are available: auto, off, fill-in and red-eye reduction. The Focus button provides a choice of three settings: Close-up/Macro, Landscape (infinity) and Manual.
      In manual focus mode a small linear icon pops up on the LCD (see illustration below). Due to the small size of the bar, it’s not easy to focus precisely with this control. However, the inherent wide depth-of-field of the camera’s small sensor means near enough will usually be good enough.


      Manual focus mode; the focusing distance icon is circled in red.
      The Drive button accesses both the self-timer and the continuous shooting modes. The former has two options, providing a two or 10-second delay. Continuous shooting is supported in most shooting modes with two options: First Burst and Last Burst. In First Burst mode the camera will record up to three shots at 2.1 frames/second when the shutter button is pressed. In Last Burst mode, the camera will record up to 30 frames when the shutter button is pressed but only the last three frames are saved when the shutter button is released.
      The first mode is useful for predictable events like golf or tennis swings (although three shots at 2.1 fps doesn’t provide much scope for motion analysis). The second is for capturing an event when precise timing is uncertain, such as a child blowing out birthday candles.
      The camera’s menu system is generally simple and straightforward to use, depending on the shooting mode you have selected. The settings you see when you press the menu button differ with different modes. In the Smart Capture mode, the first page of the menu only allows you to adjust image capture size, although you can toggle through the flash and drive modes. However, focusing is set automatically, depending on the subject distance detected by the camera (the icon changes as you point the camera at close or distant subjects).


      The first page of the menu in Smart Capture mode.
      More controls become available in the Scene, High-ISO and Panorama modes, where you can set picture quality, the colour mode and the AF mode and switch face detection on and off. A second page of shooting controls containing white balance, face detection, metering, AF zone selection and exposure bracketing become available in these modes – and also in the P, A, S and M modes.


      The first and second pages of the shooting menu.
      The final page of the menu, which is accessible in all shooting modes, contains a page of camera settings.


      The Settings page in the EasyShare Z1015 IS’s menu.
      Although three ‘scene’ modes – High ISO, Sport and Panorama – are available directly through the mode dial, the majority are located in the dedicated Scene menu. Choices include Portrait, Night Portrait, Landscape, Night Landscape, Flower, Sunset, Backlight, Candlelight, Manner/Museum (i.e. without flash), Text, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Children, Self-portrait and Stage.


      The Scene menu options.
      The Panorama mode allows users to ‘stitch’ up to three sequential shots together to form a panoramic photograph. However, only the panorama is saved; individual shots will be lost, even if panorama capture is cancelled before stitching occurs. This means you can’t create panoramas by sticking shots on your computer unless you take the sequence of shots in another mode (which means forgoing the stitch assist view on the LCD when you compose the shots).
      Image size settings vary with different shooting modes, although all modes support three aspect ratios. JPEG capture is universally supported but only one compression ratio is offered in the Smart Capture mode.
      Raw file capture is only supported in the P, A, S and M modes but RAW+JPEG is not offered. However, you can ‘develop’ raw files into JPEGs in the camera and adjust the image size, quality, exposure compensation, colour mode, sharpness and white balance in the process. (Fortunately, for those who prefer editing TIFF images, raw files from the EasyShare Z1015 IS can be opened in the latest versions of Adobe Camera Raw.)
      JPEG compression levels are relatively high with the Fine setting but not quite as high for the Standard and Basic quality settings as some of the other cameras Photo Review has looked at. Typical image sizes for the various shooting modes are outlined in the table below.

      Aspect ratio







      3648 x 2736


      10.0 MP

      3648 x 2736




      5.0 MP

      2592 ø— 1944




      3.1 MP

      2048 x 1536




      1.2 MP

      1280 ø— 960





      8.9 MP

      3648 ø— 2432




      4.5 MP*

      2592 ø— 1728




      2.8 MP*

      2048 ø— 1360




      2.2 MP

      1800 ø— 1200





      7.5 MP

      3648 x 2064




      3.8 MP*

      3072 x 1728




      2.4 MP*

      2048 ø— 1152




      2.1 MP

      1920 ø— 1080




      * Smart Capture mode only.

      Movie capture is largely point-and shoot. The only settings you can change are the frame size and focusing, the latter involving choosing between single and continuous AF. Video clips can be recorded in either widescreen or 4:3 aspect ratio and all clips are captured at 30 frames/second.
      Up to 29 minutes of continuous video recording is possible with the HDV (1280 ø— 720 pixel) mode and up to 80 minutes with the VGA and QVGA settings. Kodak provides no information about typical recording times for the EasyShare Z1015 IS so we can’t provide details of how much ‘footage’ you can fit on a typical memory card.

      Pressing the Playback button displays the last shot taken and you can toggle from shot to shot with the horizontal buttons on the arrow pad. Pressing the Info button in playback mode gives you a choice of three displays: with basic or detailed shooting information or without shooting data. You can zoom in and magnify shots by up to 8x by pressing the zoom rocker and, if you press the W button on the zoom rocker while at full-frame view, the display changes from a single picture to an index view with 12 thumbnails.
      Pressing the menu button in playback mode opens two pages of settings. On the first page are selection, search and tagging settings, the latter including subject tags, tagging as favourites and protection tagging. You can also copy images, use the Perfect Touch adjustments, crop images and add sound tags up to one minute long to images in playback mode.
      The EasyShare Z1015 IS supports direct printing with PictBridge technology and is compatible with several of Kodak’s printer docks. The supplied software disk also provides a link to the Kodak Gallery, which offers online printing services and enables users to share images online.

      The LCD on the review camera was one of the worst we’ve seen, largely because the views it provided were flat-looking and slightly unsharp. This monitor was difficult to use in bright lighting because the on-screen icons are very small and the user interface was slightly flaky. We found some controls difficult to reach and adjust while other adjustments were too sensitive and required us to toggle back and forth to select the settings we required.
      The zoom control was also very touchy and it was difficult to set positions between the wide and tele ends of the scale with any degree of precision. We often ended up moving the camera to compose a shot precisely. Hunting was common at low light levels and with low-contrast subjects and the camera could take a second or more to find focus in such situations.
      In contrast, the image stabiliser was surprisingly effective, enabling us to use shutter speeds as slow as 1/4 second for handheld shots with the wide-angle setting. However, it’s less effective with full tele and digital zoom. Examples are shown below


      Hand-held shot at 5mm focal length: 1/4 second at f/3.5, ISO 1600.


      Hand-held shot at 75mm focal length with full digital zoom: 1/160 second at f/5.4.
      Subjective evaluation of pictures taken with the test camera showed them to be usually correctly exposed and most shots taken in bright conditions contained a better-than-average dynamic range. Close-ups were influenced by the small size of the camera’s sensor, which made it difficult to obtain out-of-focus backgrounds, even at full optical zoom. Most digital zoom shots were sharper and less artefact-affected than many other cameras we’ve reviewed.
      Overall saturation levels were slightly elevated in test shots, a feature confirmed with our Imatest tests. Interestingly, there was little difference in the Imatest results from JPEG and raw files converted in Adobe Camera Raw without further adjustment. We’ve presented the JPEG results at the end of this review because they contain the shooting data.
      These tests showed the camera to be capable of high resolution at the wider focal length settings, although resolution declined noticeably at longer focal lengths. Edge softening was also confirmed by our Imatest tests. The graph below shows the results we obtained across a range of focal length settings with both apertures.


      The review camera had problems producing correct colour reproduction with long exposure times. Most exposures over a second long had a strong blue/cyan bias (although shorter exposure times delivered natural-looking colours). Little image noise was visible in test shots up to (and including) the ISO 400 level but shots taken at ISO 800 and 1600 contained detectable image noise. Both colour and pattern noise were quite visible at ISO 1600.
      Not unexpectedly, resolution fell with increasing sensitivity, with a distinct drop between ISO 100 and ISO 200 and another between ISO 800 and ISO 1600. The graph below showns the results of our Imatest tests.


      Imatest also showed the test camera’s lens suffered from moderate-to-serious lateral chromatic aberration (CA) throughout the zoom range. The graph below shows the results of our tests. Note: the purple line indicates the boundary between low and moderate CA, while the green line separates moderate from severe CA.


      On our standard test shots, CA was much more visible towards the edges of the frame than in the centre and there appeared to be similar levels of fringing at the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom range. Crops from sample images enlarged to 100% are reproduced below.


      Wide focal length setting, crop from edge of frame.


      Tele focal length setting, crop from edge of frame.


      Wide focal length setting, crop from centre of frame.
      The flash had sufficient power to illuminate an average-sized room at ISO settings of 100 and above and exposures were even throughout the ISO range. Flash close-ups also showed a good exposure balance at each ISO setting, from ISO 80 to ISO 1600.
      Video quality was good at the highest resolution (1280 ø— 720 pixels) but less impressive with the VGA and QVGA settings. With each resolution, the associated sound was clear enough for voices and bird songs to be readily identifiable but the stereo effect was barely detectable. A 30-second clip was just over 40MB in size. Playback on the camera’s LCD was good, although the audio was very quiet, even with the volume cranked right up.
      The review camera took just under three seconds to power up and we measured an average capture lag of 0.4 seconds, regardless of whether we recorded JPEG or raw image files. This reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing.
      It took 6.1 seconds to process each JPEG file and 6.8 seconds for each raw file. Both burst modes recorded at the same capture rates: one shot every 0.61 seconds.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You’re looking for a cheap, long-zoom digicam that can record HD video.
      – You want an affordably-priced gift for a teen or just pre-teen photo enthusiast.
      – You want a cheap camera that will allow you to learn about manual controls and raw file capture before you move on to a more sophisticated, better-built camera.
      – You would like to participate in an online community like the Kodak Gallery and are prepared to accept the conditions it imposes on sharing your images.

      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You want a full range of aperture adjustments (the EasyShare Z1015 IS has only two settings).
      – You’re serious about raw file capture (the EasyShare Z1015 IS’s facilities are very limited).
      – You require a pocketable camera (the EasyShare Z1015 IS isn’t).





      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      Wide angle (5mm) setting: P shooting mode; ISO 80, 1/250 second at f/3.5.


      Telephoto (75mm) setting from the same position: P shooting mode; ISO 80, 1/250 second at f/5.5.


      Close-up: 5.9mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/315 second at f/3.6


      An example of the limited differential focus control the small sensor provides. 5mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/158 second at f/3.5.


      Digital zoom: 75mm focal length + digital zoom; 1/100 second at f/5.5; ISO 100.


      An example of the camera’s inherent wide dynamic range: 33.1mm focal length, 1/200 second at f/5.1; ISO 100.


      Flash exposure, ISO 80, 26.8mm focal length, 1/39 second at f/4.9.


      Flash exposure, ISO 1600, 26.8mm focal length, 1/39 second at f/4.9.


      M shooting mode; ISO 200, 25mm focal length, 15 seconds at f/3.5.


      M shooting mode; ISO 1600, 25mm focal length, 4 seconds at f/7.




      Image sensor: 6.13 x 4.60 mm CCD with 10 megapixels effective
      Lens: 5-75mm f/3.5-5.4 Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom (28-420mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 15x optical, 5x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (EXIF v2.21), KDC RAW image file format; Movies – QuickTime, MPEG 4
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 4:3 aspect ratio: 3648 x 2736, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960; 3:2 aspect ratio: 3648 x 2432, 2592 x 1728, 2048 x 1360, 1800 x 1200; 16:9 aspect ratio: 3648 x 2064, 2592 x 1456, 2048 x 1152, 1920 x 1080; Movies – HDV (1280 x 720) at 30 fps, VGA (640 x 480) at 30 fps, QVGA (320 x 240) at 30 fps
      Shutter speed range: 16-1/1000 second
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 second delay
      Image Stabilisation: Sensor-shift type
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV with 1/3 EV steps
      Focus system/range: TTL imager AF with TTL multi-zone, centre zone, selectable zone AF (5 zones); range 70 cm to infinity, macro to 10 cm
      Exposure metering/control: multi-pattern, centre-weighted, spot metering
      Shooting modes: Smart Capture, high ISO, sport, P (program mode), A (aperture priority mode), S (shutter priority mode), M (manual mode), panorama (left”“right, right”“left), video, SCN (scene modes: portrait, night portrait, landscape, night landscape, flower, sunset, backlight, candlelight, manner/museum, text, beach, snow, fireworks, children, self-portrait, stage)
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80 to 1600 (ISO 3200 and 6400 available at 3.1MP resolution or lower in PASM modes)
      White balance: Auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade
      Flash modes/range (ISO 400): Auto, off, fill, red-eye reduction; range up to 5 m at wide setting
      Sequence shooting: 2.1 fps, up to 3 images
      Storage Media: 64MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: EVF with 230,000 pixels, 100% field of view
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch TFT LCD with 230,000 dots, 5-level brightness adjustment
      Power supply: Kodak Lithium Digital Camera Battery CRV3 (CIPA rated for approx 300 shots/charge); Kodak Li-Ion Rechargeable Digital Camera Battery KLIC-8000 (270 shots/charge); optional AC adapter; optional Kodak EasyShare Docks
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 118.2 x 83.2 x 77.6 mm
      Weight: 391 g (without SD card and battery)






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