Kodak EasyShare Z1275

      Photo Review 7

      In summary

      A keenly-priced ultra-compact high-resolution digicam for point-and-shoot photographers.Packing more than 12 million photosites onto an imager chip with an area of 7.6 x 5.2 mm places huge demands on a camera’s image processor to extract even adequate quality. Kodak’s EasyShare Z1275 isn’t the first 12-megapixel digicam with a tiny sensor – and it probably won’t be the last, since consumers continue to be seduced by high megapixel counts. With an RRP of $399, the Z1275 is priced to appeal to cost-conscious buyers but its price reflects its comparatively low level of functionality. . . [more]

      Full review


      Packing more than 12 million photosites onto an imager chip with an area of 7.6 x 5.2 mm places huge demands on a camera’s image processor to extract even adequate quality. Kodak’s EasyShare Z1275 isn’t the first 12-megapixel digicam with a tiny sensor – and it probably won’t be the last, since consumers continue to be seduced by high megapixel counts. With an RRP of $399, the Z1275 is priced to appeal to cost-conscious buyers but its price reflects its comparatively low level of functionality.
      In essence, the Z1275 is a higher-resolution version of the 8-megapixel Z885, which was released earlier this year (but which we haven’t reviewed). It has a similar plastic body, which is well-built for its type, although the tripod socket is plastic lined and some buttons are small and awkward to use. Separate compartments are provided for the SD memory card and AA batteries and the camera boast an internal memory of 58.5MB. Size-wise the Z1275 is jacket-pocketable, rather than shirt-pocketable.


      Unlike many point-and-shoot digicams, the EasyShare Z1275 comes with a 5x optical zoom lens, supplied by Schneider-Kreuznach. It covers a range equivalent to 35-175mm in 35mm format, which is long for a snapshooter’s camera. Zooming is stepped in six fairly large incorements, making it difficult to frame shots precisely. A tiny bar is displayed on the LCD to show the zoom position (but it’s too small to provide more than a rough estimate).


      Manual mode settings with focus bar displayed.

      Kodak has included digital image stabilisation, which appears to combine ISO-boosting with image processing, to reduce the incidence of blurred shots. It appeared to work satisfactorily in the test camera but visibly reduced picture quality. ISO settings range from 64 to 1600 but adjustments are only supported in the Program/Manual mode (see below).

      The top panel sports a mode dial with settings for Smart Scene (full auto), Program/Manual, High ISO, Digital Image Stabilisation, Scene, Video and Favourites. Selecting a particular mode blocks access to functions associated with other mode settings. For example, the digital image stabilisation is only when that mode is selected. Also on the top panel are a tiny on/off button and slightly larger buttons for setting the flash and drive/self-timer modes. Unusually, this camera does not include face detection.

      Even the ‘manual’ modes are limited and, because the on-screen icons are very small, difficult to use – so point-and-shooters would probably avoid them. In Program/Manual mode you toggle between P and M using the arrow pad’s up and down buttons, while aperture, shutter speed, ISO and AF settings are selected via the horizontal buttons and adjusted with the vertical ones. Only three lens apertures settings are provided (f/2.8, f/4.8 and f/8.0 with the lens at the wide setting and f/5.1, f/8.9 and f/14.8 with full tele extension). The slowest shutter speed setting in M mode is eight seconds.

      The AF mode has the standard landscape and close-up settings plus a MF setting. Pressing the OK button in MF mode calls up a tiny scale covering a distance range from about 10 cm to infinity. Distances on this scale are set with the arrow pad buttons but, since the scale is so small, it’s impossible to achieve any degree of precision.

      The 2.5-inch monitor places a further limitation on visibility as its low (115,000 pixels) resolution produces a grainy-looking display. In bright outdoor conditions, the display’s readability was only average. You can call up a live histogram via the Display/Info button, but it’s too small to be of much use in judging exposure positioning and the camera limits the range of fine adjustments available to +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps.

      Still images are saved as JPEGs, with eight size options but only one compression level, which is fairly savage. Compression artefacts were observed in many of our test shots at all image size settings. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.


      Image Size

      File Size

      12.0MP [4:3]

      4000 x 3000


      10.7MP [3:2]

      4000 x 2664


      9.0MP [16:9]

      4000 x 2256


      6.0MP [4:3]

      2832 x 2128


      3.1MP [4:3]

      2048 x 1536


      2.2MP [3:2]

      1800 x 1200


      2.1MP [16:9]

      1920 x 1080


      1.2MP [4:3]

      1280 x 960


      Video capabilities are somewhat better than average. The Z1275 can record video clips at 30 frames/second in three resolutions: 1280 ø— 720 pixels (for HD TV sets) plus the standard 640 ø— 480 and 320 ø— 240 pixel sizes. With the HD setting, you can record up to 14 minutes and 30 seconds on a 1GB card. The optical zoom can be used while shooting video but the sound of the zoom motor is picked up by the camera’s microphone and audible in quiet sections of the soundtrack.

      Playback functions are similar to other Kodak cameras, with single and index displays, tagging for albums or DPOF printing, protecting, copying and cropping. In-camera red-eye correction is also provided and you can recover shots that were inadvertently deleted via the Undo-Delete function. (This works as long as you act quickly after the files were deleted.) Panorama stitching is also provided.

      Users can add sound bites of up to 60 seconds to shots. Video clips can also be trimmed in playback mode. The Z1275 also comes with Kodak Perfect Touch Technology for automatically ‘enhancing’ still pictures but the LCD makes a poor viewing platform for using this function with any degree of reliability.
      The test camera’s exposure metering system was idiosyncratic, tending to over-expose in bright conditions and under-expose when skies were cloudy. It was actually quite difficult to predict how exposures would end up at times as three sequential test shots we took varied by approximately two f-stops. Colour saturation was visibly elevated, resulting in shots that looked bright and very punchy.

      Imatest confirmed our subjective colour assessments and showed strongly elevated saturation in reds and purples, with some colour shifts in yellows and greens. Light skin tones were closer to the mark than dark ones. Imatest also revealed moderate lateral chromatic aberration, which showed up as noticeable coloured fringes in outdoor shots when images were magnified.


      Coloured fringing.
      However, resolution was only slightly below expectations in our Imatest evaluations – and very similar in horizontal and vertical directions, and remained quite consistent throughout the ISO range. We found very little distortion throughout the zoom range of the lens and only a trace of edge softening in test shots. Digital zoom shots were better than average and only slightly artefact-affected. Close-ups were competently handled but some subjects didn’t benefit from the high saturation levels the camera applied.

      Auto white balance performance was average since, unlike the Z812 IS, the test camera failed to correct the orange cast of incandescent lighting, although it came close under fluorescent lights. The manual tungsten pre-set produced close-to-neutral colours with incandescent lights but the fluorescent pre-set over-corrected, giving a strong blue/cyan cast.

      Our test shots were visibly noise affected at ISO settings of 400 and above and shots taken at ISO 1600 were quite blotchy. Long exposures at ISO 400 and above showed a strong yellow/green cast, while a magenta cast was seen at lower ISO settings. The flash was fairly weak and only capable of illuminating an average-sized room at ISO 400 sensitivity or higher.


      Long exposure at ISO 200.


      Long exposure at ISO 1600.

      The test camera took approximately three seconds to power up and a little less to shut down. We measured an average capture lag of 0.8 seconds, which reduced to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. Shot-to-shot times averaged two seconds and it took just under six seconds to process and store a single shot. Both continuous shooting modes recorded three shots at 0.5 second intervals. It took just over six seconds to process a burst of three continuous shots.





      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.




      Digital zoom.


      ISO 64.


      ISO 1600.




      Image sensor: Approx. 7.5 x 5.6 mm CCD with 12.4 million photosites (12.1 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 35-175mm equivalent f/2.8-5.1 Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens
      Zoom ratio: 5x optical, 5x continuous advanced digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies ““ QuickTime MPEG-4
      Image Sizes: Stills – 4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2664, 4000 x 2256, 2832 x 2128, 2048 x 1536, 1800 x 1600, 1920 x 1080 1280 x 960; Movies ““ 1280 ø— 720, 640 ø— 480, 320 ø— 240 at 30 fps
      Shutter speed range: 1/2″“1/2000 sec. in smart scene mode and 8″“1/1000 in manual mode
      Image Stabilisation: Digital
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps
      Focus system/range: TTL AF; range 60 cm to infinity; macro to 20 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi-pattern, centre-weighted, spot metering; Smart Scene, SCN (19 pre-sets), Program, Manual, Video Capture, High ISO, Digital Image Stabilisation
      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 0.6 to 5.9 metres at ISO 400
      Sequence shooting: 1.7 fps, 3 frames
      Storage Media: 58.5MB internal memory, SDHC/SD/MMC card expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch indoor/outdoor colour TFT display with 115,000 pixels
      Power supply: 2x AA batteries (Ni-MH, Lithium or Oxy-Alkaline)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 89.5 ø— 64.5 ø— 31.6 mm
      Weight: 161 grams






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