The following article is a review by FreshDV guest contributor Eugenia Loli-Queru.

REVIEW: 720p HD with the Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS Digicam
Geeks.com, known for their cheap digital camera catalog, sent us over the Kodak Z1012 IS, a 10.1 MP, 12x zoom camera that is able to shoot 720/30p HD video. We present here some information about the still camera capabilities, but mostly its video ones.

The Z1012 IS is an image stabilized camera with a 12x varifocus zoom. It uses a 1/2.33″ CCD sensor, a 2.5″ screen, 32 MB internal memory, SDHC support for up to 16 GBs, a pretty powerful flash, and full manual control. In the box we found the refurbished camera in perfect condition, a USB cable, a camera strap, two AA CRV3 batteries, CD and manual, a lens cover (that tends to popout a bit too easily for our taste), and a dock for the Kodak printers. As most consumer zoomers, this is a hefty camera, but still much smaller than a DSLR.

Still photography overview
This affordable model actually shoots much better pictures than most of the other Kodak models that have fallen into my hands the last few months. It’s got a more serious lens, optical image stabilization, and obviously more attention to detail by Kodak. There is some fringing, and the small pixel size doesn’t account for many details, but for a sub-$200 zoomer is not a bad deal.

San Mateo Coyote Point

The Z1012 IS is also much faster to snapshoot at 1.3 secs between pictures, compared to the Kodak M883′s 4 seconds! The camera has full manual control for shutter speed, aperture, gain, exposure, in addition to automatic modes, Program mode, ISO mode, A/S modes and scene mode. Its face detection works as advertised and so the camera is able to focus easily on people in your shot. The focus support also includes normal, macro, infinity AF, and manual modes.

My favorite feature is of course the exposure bracketing at 2 EV steps, that can help create some impressive HDR photography. The only important feature missing from the still camera’s controls is manual white balance in my opinion.

San Mateo bridge zoom out San Mateo bridge zoom in
Zoomed out, and zoomed in at 12x

Video support
The HD video is another interesting aspect of this camera (camera also records VGA and QVGA resolutions). According to Quicktime, the camera shoots MPEG4-SP video at VBR quality, ranging from 6 mbps to 15 mbps. Quality is overall better than the V1233 model that’s supposed to be a more targetted “media HD” Kodak model, possibly because this Z-series camera has a better lens. Unfortunately, in video mode we get none of the manual controls found in the still photography mode.

San Mateo bridge
Pseudo-HDR

We have no white balance, no exposure compensation or locking, no manual focus (only normal, infinity and macro works making it difficult to fake some shallow DoF), no shutter/aperture/gain support. If I had to choose just one of these features to be added I would probably choose exposure compensation, as it seems that over half of my shots were over exposed and there was nothing I could do about it. Fear not though, I hear that Kodak’s new model has a “sunshine” exposure setting under the video mode, that while might not provide any actual control, it means that Kodak is aware of the problem.

But to add to the injury, the camera does not shoot at 29.97 fps, but at a variable 30-something frame rate (each clip has a different frame rate), and this can create ghosting under some video editors because of resampling. Finally, you can shoot up to 29 minutes of video in HD, as this is the FAT32′s 4 GB filesize limitation. If you have more SDHC storage to use, you can initiate another capture for up to 29 more minutes each time.

Conclusion
On the upside, battery life was actually very good. I shot almost 250 pictures during my tests and the battery was still kicking.

Overall, if you need some pretty good picture quality, this camera is not a bad deal. Its video, with all its shortcomings, it still better than most other VGA digicam videos anyway. I recently saw a quick capture by such a Kodak HD camera at one of Madonna’s live concerts, and the video looked so much better than the rest of the VGA/QVGA digicam and cellphone videos people usually shoot with and upload online. So the point is, while you aren’t going to get an Oscar by shooting some video with this camera, your video snapshots are already better than the next guy’s. And this counts for something.

Rating: 7/10

FreshDV guest-contributor Eugenia Loli-Queru is a Senior News Editor at www.OSNews.com. You can catch up with her online at eugenia.gnomefiles.org.


One Response to “Kodak EasyShare Z1012 720p HD Review”  

  1. 1 Peter-frame capture

    There are many new products entering into market. We need to choose the right product while purchasing. We need to look at the pixel rate,picture clarity, battery life and other things while purchasing a product.VGA cameras are poor in clarity. So its better to go for pixel camera phones.