Kodak Easyshare Z980 digital camera Arlington VA

If you don’t mind the additional weight and size, and you can overlook the slight shortcomings in imaging, the EasyShare Z980 is a decent buy.

Glebe Electronics Incorporated
(703) 538-4474
5062 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA
 
Maden Technologies
(703) 769-4440
2110 Washington Blvd Ste 200
Arlington, VA
 
Presentation Services
(703) 351-9719
1325 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
 
Electronics Boutique
(703) 415-3535
1100 S Hayes St Ste M154
Arlington, VA
 
Fh Tv Service Incorporated
(703) 528-0900
5102 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
 
Flir Systems
(703) 416-6666
2345 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA
 
Arlington Community Television
(703) 524-2388
2707 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
 
Radio Free Europe
(703) 524-6530
1501 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
 
Caci International Incorporated
(703) 841-7800
1100 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA
 
OK Tv & Stereo
(703) 536-7400
5175 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA
 

Kodak Easyshare Z980 digital camera

by Danny Palmerlee , Macworld.com

As manufacturers produce more megazoom cameras with similarly astounding capabilities, pinpointing the features that make a camera unique becomes more difficult. For the Kodak EasyShare Z980 , the standouts are ergonomics and battery life.

  • Recent From the Lab Posts
  • Review: Kodak Easyshare Z980 digital camera
  • Review: HP MediaSmart Server LX195
  • Review: Canon PowerShot SX200 IS digital camera
From the Lab home View all Macworld blogs

My first thought on seeing the Z980: “Yikes, this is bulky.” When I loaded the four AA-type rechargeable batteries, I felt the same apprehension about the weight. But once I started using the camera, I came to appreciate the solidness and comfort that the extra heft gives this 12-megapixel point-and-shoot.

It gets a lot of mileage out of the AAs, as well. In our lab’s battery tests, the Z980 fired off a stunning 500 shots on four fresh batteries. It may have kept going too; that 500-shot count is the maximum number we test for.

I really liked the Z980’s vertical shutter release button, a secondary button that’s easily accessible when you’re holding the camera sideways (the LCD screen also switches orientation in that scenario). Coupled with the detachable vertical grip, the design element makes portraits and other vertical shots a pleasure to shoot. The camera’s lens barrel is also larger than that of many of its megazoom siblings, which gives the Z980 the in-hand comfort of a digital SLR.


Kodak Easyshare Z980 Digital Camera

The Z980 is noticeably fast at starting up and at achieving focus lock, a huge bonus. Even at the telephoto end of the spectrum, where many megazooms lag, the camera is surprisingly quick to focus. Although the LCD has a slightly lower resolution than the displays of similarly priced competitors, I hardly noticed it. Even in bright sunlight I had no problem viewing images, despite the shiny surface.

As for auto and manual capabilities, the Z980 is right on a par with its competitors, featuring the usual auto-scene modes, Program AE, aperture priority, shutter priority, and fully manual shooting. All are easily accessible via a top-of-camera thumb dial. Although I often find Kodak’s unique on-screen menus jarring at first, the Z980’s menus were easy to use once I got the hang of them. I particularly liked selecting aperture and shutter settings via one dial, which you press and rotate.

Jury tests

Image qualityGood
Color qualityFair
Flash qualityFair

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

How we tested: To gauge picture quality, we take a series of shots, with and without flash, at the camera's highest resolution. We photograph a complex still life, a target resolution chart, and a mannequin to see how well each camera captures details and subtle coloring such as skin tones. A panel of judges reviews on-screen and printed photos and assigns image-quality scores; we then average those scores.—Lab testing performed by Tony Leung

In overall image quality, the Z980 scored a bit below average in our lab’s jury evaluations. Its overall image score was Good, and it received above-average marks in sharpness, but it took its knocks in the color and overall exposure categories. The fact that the Z980 shoots in RAW, however, allows the camera to one-up nearly all of its competitors, giving users greater post-production control over the image.

To nitpick, I disliked the feel of the spring-return on-off switch. It’s placed too close to the mode dial, and I often found myself having to slide the switch twice before the camera would turn on. Another issue was my inability to turn the flash back on in shutter priority and manual modes once I’d turned it off; I had to switch to aperture priority or P mode, turn on the flash, and then switch back into shutter or manual mode. Finally, considering that this is a heavy camera, I felt slightly cheated by the flimsy shoulder strap.

Specifications

Resolution (in megapixels)12
Optical zoom/focal length (35mm equivalent)24x/26mm-624mm
Battery type4 AA
Media Slots1 (SD card)
Size (width x height x depth, in inches)3.5 x 4.9 x 4.1
Weight (in ounces)14.6

Macworld’s buying advice

If you don’t mind the additional weight and size, and you can overlook the slight shortcomings in imaging, the EasyShare Z980 is a decent buy. Its speed makes it a winner of a camera, even if Kodak isn’t as sexy as other brands.

[ Danny Palmerlee is a freelance writer and photographer.]

Click here to read article at MacWorld