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Kodak EasyShare Z980 review

Ben Pitt
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
268
inc VAT

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Specifications

1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 24.0x zoom (26-624mm equivalent), 415g

Kodak's latest ultra-zoom camera is nothing if not competitive.

Its 24x zoom is the biggest we've ever seen, and there's a 3in LCD screen and 720p HD video mode with stereo audio. We're pleased to see an accessory shoe for an external flash, and pleasantly surprised by the second shutter release button, which makes taking portrait-oriented shots more comfortable. A detachable handgrip screws into the base to make it easier to hold in this position, but it blocks the battery and SDHC compartments. Four rechargeable AA batteries and a charger are included, but they're clumsy and heavy compared with a Li-ion battery and charger. Frustratingly, the camera's clock must be set each time the batteries are changed.

There's a generous smattering of dedicated buttons. A dial makes light work of adjusting exposure settings - rotate to switch between settings, push to select one and rotate again to adjust the value. An exposure value (EV) readout helps when choosing manual exposure settings, as does the preview image's brightness when the shutter button is half-pressed. A momentary digital zoom makes manual focus reasonably easy, too.

Kodak has resolved the terrible performance of previous models, but the Z980 is still slow compared with Panasonic's DMC-FZ28 (see page 36). We measured 3.1 seconds between shots during normal shooting. Continuous mode started at 1.2fps but slowed to 0.6fps after nine shots.

The Z980's strengths are compromised by its image quality. The lens suffers from heavy barrel distortion at the wide-angle end of the zoom, chromatic aberrations at the telephoto end and poor focus towards the edges of frames. Noise is just as bad, with blotchy colours and grainy details at ISO 200, let alone 400 and higher. Even in sunlight at ISO 64, subtle detail was glossed over and sharp edges looked scrappy. It can't compete with Panasonic's cheaper FZ28.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfinderelectronic
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution201,000 pixels
Optical zoom24.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent26-624mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (AVC)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied64MB internal
Battery type4x AA
Battery Life (tested)400 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, DC in
Body materialplastic
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables, vertical handgrip
Weight415g
Size124x91x105mm

Buying Information

Price£268
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Detailswww.kodak.com

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed16 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8 to f/5
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 4 presets
Additional image controlscontrast, sharpness
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket

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