Kodak Easyshare Z981

January 6, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras | 507 Comments |
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Kodak has quietly introduced a new superzoom camera, the Kodak EasyShare Z981, featuring a 26x Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom. The Kodak Z981 appeared in Kodak’s online store without much fanfare, and can also be pre-ordered from Amazon for $329.95. Apart from the 26x zoom lens that spans a focal range of 26-676mm in 35mm equivalency, the other main ingredient of the Z981 is a new, 14-megapixel imager. In most other respects, the Kodak Z981 is not really different from its predecessor the Z980. Just like that camera, the Z981 has a 3” rear screen, can shoot 720p HD video, features Kodak’s exclusive Smart Capture technology, and comes bundled with a detachable vertical grip. It also retains its forebear’s ability to capture raw image data, though Kodak warns that raw image editing is not supported on Mac OS. The flash hot shoe of the Z980 is, apparently, gone. Kodak claims a shutter lag of less than 0.2 seconds foir the Z981, though this is probably without focusing time. Like camera that preceded it, the Kodak EasyShare Z981 runs on AA batteries and comes bundled with four pre-charged Kodak Ni-MH rechargeables.

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#101 Gene

You know what folks, we may be making a little too much out of the type of IS we'll get in the z981. Fact is that any IS is better than no IS and to consider rejecting such a quality product as the z981, that you can get at such a magnificent price, due to a conflict over something over which we can have no control, but can mitigate to a certain extent by knowing a little more about what we're doing is out of order. IMHO, rejecting the z981 because of this difference would be tantamount to cutting off my tongue for saying less than the absolute optimal word when there are several choices none of which is all that much better than all the others. It would be my guess that the ability of the z981 just as Kodak has chosen to produce it will pretty much outstrip my ability and skill to max out its potential and I rather suspect that would be an appropriate statement for about anyone who might happen to read it here on this forum. I seriously doubt that many of us in here are in a position to improve all that much on the design of a piece of equipment as intricate as the z981 appears to be and keep it affordable. Do we each have personal preferences? Yes. Are they all the same? No. Does that make the z981 unworthy of helping us in what we're trying to do - TAKE PICTURES? No!!! If absolute precision is the objective, we're going to put the camera on a tripod, lock the mirror up, and use a remote trigger. Short of that, I'll take whatever IS goes with the rest of this camera at this price. I should think that anyone who demands more in a camera than this one offers should be prepared to pony up whatever amount of money it takes to get the equipment they want rather than picking this camera apart and scaring others away from buying it. This camera is well worth the money and ultimately it isn't about the camera anyway. Considering all of the history of photography and photographic equipment, to be frankly blunt about it, if you can't get the results you want it probably isn't the camera but rather a lack of a clear understanding of what it takes to get what I want.

5:55 pm - Saturday, April 10, 2010

#102 Michael

Ouch! That last line sounded a little personal -- but hey, you're preaching to the choir, my friend. You get what you pay for, right? My only complaint about the Z980, and its a legitimate one, is the fact that when using the full-extent of the zoom (or close to it) oftentimes my pics are blurry. After a lengthy discussion with a Kodak tech back in February about this problem, he noted that the Z981 would utilize an OIS and is "expected" to eliminate much of that problem. But through several discussions more recently with other Kodak techs (those conversations are posted on this blog but are extremely lengthy and I wouldn't expect you to read them) they apparently had no real idea whether it came with the OIS or not. Now, please extend me some grace -- back in 2004, I bought my first digital camera, a Z740, I now have the Z980 and my new Z981 is on its way. I've used Kodak exclusively this entire time. But opting to buy the Z981 when I already have the Z980 is kinda silly. Well, not if an OIS can alleviate some of that camera-shake-blurry-out-of-focus thingy I keep experiencing. In short, I wouldn't be buying the thing at all if it wasn't for the OIS. And well, if I get it and it turns out to make no difference at all, then I suppose the jokes on me. Suffice it to say, I'm no Ansel Adams -- but I would like to invite you to visit my galleries at http://www.michaelkristiephotography.com and please, let me know if I "lack a clear understanding of what it takes" blah, blah, blah!

3:43 am - Sunday, April 11, 2010

#103 Gene Essman

Michael, there's nothing personally insulting or degrading intended in my comments. That said, I do think there may be a couple of things you've overlooked. As you know, I've looked at your pics and as I said earlier, you have some really good material with which to work where you live, you have an excellent eye in your ability to recognize what makes a great pic, and the skill necessary to come away with wonderful results, as you do. That said, I'd remind you that I mentioned earlier that I have the Canon EOS 5D MkII, 21 mpixel, ($2500) and an EF 70-200L IS lens ($1700), and also an EF 400L non-zoom lens, ($1300) perhaps Canon's sharpest ever, and a 1.4 extender ($299) which gets me less zoom with the 400mm non-IS than the z980 or z981, and yet, I still need to spend another $1000 to get a lens that'll give me the 28mm end of it. Using the 400L without IS, I have to do what I said in my last post in order to keep the ISO low so I get quality shots and still not all of them are - I have to put it on a tripod, lock the mirror up, and use a remote release and still, due to any slight gust of wind or a car driving by, I'm subject to get bad shots out at the end of the range from shake.

As it is with my Kodak z712 (used pawn shop $35) and any other piece of equipment, all of it has limitations. Our role is to recognize what those limitations are and work within them so we come away with the results we're out there for in the first place. IMHO, a 600+mm zoom on a $350 camera that only shows some room for improvement at the extended end of the zoom is a stinkin' miracle and not something that should upset us. Like you, I've been disappointed in some discrepancies I've seen between what the Kodak site said earlier and then later. There are some inconsistencies. For instance, the z1015 was billed as permitting 1080p HD video but more recently, it says only 720p. A comparison I did on the Kodak site comparing the 980 v. 981 did indeed show that the IS type would change as well as some other stuff. I can't understand why they would not include a hot-shoe.

My Canon does 1080p HD and is one of the reasons I bought it. If it only cost me $350 I'd like it a lot more. It's like it was when the zoom range was what it was just a few brief years ago, if you couldn't get the shot you wanted from where you were, you moved your butt closer or farther away, hoped a lot, and then did your best to get the angle and perspective you first saw from closer or farther back where you couldn't get the shot from due to equipment limitations. We have no guarantee that we will ever be able to get a picture just because we want to. It's not a perfect world and to repeat, there is no intention on my part to personalize my comments but I feel your comments might be tempered by the fact that some of the people reading this blog may be watching before buying their first camera and in spite of their intellectual brilliance, or not, do not have any reason to realize that there isn't a camera out there at any price that will get every shot you might want just because you want it, especially without any special effort and adjustments on your part. As someone said earlier, praise be to the gods that we're not using film because digital gives each of us an economical means of learning the tricks to whatever skill level we desire without it costing us an arm and a leg. Again, with the newer printer work that is commercially available, a 4 mpixel pic will get you a huge enlargement which means that my z712 with a 7.1 mpixel will take me right up there to where a 4x5 film camera, that cost a lot of bucks and weighed a ton, did a few years ago. We're so fortunate to have these resources at our disposal. I smile a little every time I pull the z712 out of the glove compartment rather than getting out of the car to pull the nearly 10 pounds of Canon stuff out of the trunk which could cost me in excess of $4 grand to replace if I drop it - to say nothing of how beat up it can get in daily use. At 73 I can tell you that it's been a pretty long time since anything has tickled me as much as having a $350 camera that can compete, to any degree, with one costing over $5 grand. It makes me very happy to know that I can get almost any pic I want without it hurting my budget. I wish we could have enjoyed this mode long ago - I feel I'd be a much better picture shooter today. I'm hoping you keep up the good work and enjoy the hell out of your 981 when you get it. I'm not ready to make that leap just yet but I'll be watching to see what you do with yours and how you respond to it after a little use. Give it your best shot, keep us posted, and please don't get upset because not everyone agrees with everything you say and some are willing to step up and say that. I'm all for you and hope the 981 is more than you expect.

6:42 am - Sunday, April 11, 2010

#104 Michael

Oh, I dont think I was really THAT upset. Just a little knee-jerk reaction, that's all. I dont believe your original comment was intended to be personal, I believe it was inadvertantly personal. But your post suggested that some (including myself) might be chasing customers away with what we write. That of course was not my intention. Although some folks use online blogs and/or reviews to learn more about a product before buying it, they should never use them as a primary source for their ultimate decision-making. You and I are probably in closer agreement than one might have you think. For example, I never mentioned that when using the full-extent zoom, I habitually employ the full-resolution burst mode when taking a singular shot -- just so I can keep the best image(s) and discarding the rest. This has been working well for me. That, for example, is like you said -- I'm recognizing it's limitations and working within them. It's super nice that that 'burst-mode' option is available to me. And I also agree, for a $350 camera (actually I bought my Z980 for $289 on ebay!) is an incredible price for an incredible camera. Just dont tell Kodak I said that!

4:54 pm - Sunday, April 11, 2010

#105 James

This is what I'm talkin bout! I was standing on the lake shore with no tripod, and I zoomed this jet.

http://i42.tinypic.com/w98bq9.jpg

8:08 pm - Monday, April 12, 2010

#106 Gene Essman

James, where are you - what lake, and how far away would you estimate you were from the plane? I "saved" your shot and played with it a little in some of my editing software and it shows real well for a 44k jpg. It's pretty crisp not magnified. I'd like to manipulate the original to see how it comes up at full res. If you have no objection and would email it to me it would give me an opportunity to see just how crisp it is at full strength, either that shot or another with good distinct edges like the lines of the plane body. I give you my word to not use it for anything else. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

12:08 am - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#107 Gene Essman

Like most ol' geezers, some of us have a problem being brief. "Long-winded" it used to be called. Count me in, obviously. That recognized, I feel I need to add a little perspective to my previous comments. I currently own about 60 cameras that I have bought new and used as "my main camera" at one point or another over the past 50 years when they were new. I'm a user and neither a "pack rat" nor a "collector." I currently have 4 4x5's, 2 vintage & 2 newer, with several Schneider-Kreuznach lens, and other manufacturer's lens from Chinese plastic to the most highly rated ever made. Moving down the scale, I have several medium format cameras from 2 1/4 square, to 6 x 9 format, along with 7 or 8 each of Nikon and Canon film cameras, scads of lens, both auto-focus and not, proprietary and after-market lens for Nikon and Canon, some of which I have adapted to use with my digital cameras. I have even adapted lenses across platforms such as Nikon lens on Canon body, etc. I bought the first model of digital camera mass produced, and have not been without a good digital camera since, having owned such cameras as the Canon EOS 20D. I keep a camera with me at all times and others ready and close by. While I'm not trying to appear to be boasting about this, I say these so you will get the significance of the fact that my current upfront choice of a "go to" camera is a Kodak z712 from a pawn shop. Needless to say, as I said in an earlier post, the Kodak has limitations, and yes, I do have cameras that do much better at many of the things the Kodak can be used for, like faster ISO and shutter speeds in critical action situations, and greater depth of field in other situations, none of them do it so much better that I cannot use the z712 as my first choice given all the considerations. Some of the most valuable shots ever taken by anyone are technically not up to par but everything came together just at the right time so that lady luck smiled on the fortunate people who took the shots, like the blurry, out of focus, grainy shot of the passenger plane going down in smoke over Los Angeles a few years back. The most technically well executed shot done with the most expensive camera equipment of a "yawner" subject counts for nothing. I've read several hundred reviewwss of the z1015 and it either gets a 5-star rating or a "goose egg." That's enough confusion to make anyone walk away which would be a huge mistake. It sends you into a jungle of real confusion about an inexpensive digital camera that bewilders me just to think of all the variety that's available out there and the idea of having to sort through all of it gives me the "heebs." I guess the point of this is, if any of you are sitting on the fence about the "z-Kodak" line, my suggestions is "go for it." If you're disappointed, you might try honing your skills some. Each manufacturer is trying to "one up" the next one and I know the plethora of features are often arcane and confusing but just shoot it on "Auto" until you have time and energy to study up on it and try not to aim it at the sun when you're taking pictures. You will be richly rewarded if you enjoy nice pics and I don't have a connection to Kodak of any kind. If there is anyone who hasn't, I also want to urge everyone to go look at Michael's shots he has been kind enough to put online for us to enjoy. He has way too much cat hair in there for me but apart from that... ;-) Now I'm going to be quiet for a pretty long spell. You can Michael's site at:
http://www.michaelkristiephotography.com

1:18 am - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#108 Michael

^^^ Ya, everybody -- what Gene said !!!

2:29 am - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#109 Julie

While most of us here appreciate truly good pictures, I think that nature of photography in general and what constitutes a good photo is being changed by facebook. There are so many awful photos out there that really capture the moment, esp for the under 30s.

6:54 am - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#110 Albert

Dear Canadian,
Hurry, Kodak online store.ca now on 15% discount until Apr 26, 10. My Z981 only cost CAD280.46 before postage and tax.
Act now.

4:43 am - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#111 Julie

For some reason they won't let us Aussies buy from the northern hemisphere. The Z980 was retailing here at Au$699.00, but are now down to $435-$516.
I contacted Kodak Aust via their website and this is the answer I got.
Quote:
The KODAK EASYSHARE Z981 Digital Camera is still not available in Australia or New Zealand for the meantime. We still don't have an exact date on when it will be released. May we suggest checking our website at http:/www.kodak.com.au for updates.-unquote.
This is extremely frustrating, looks like they won't release the new one til the old ones are sold.

10:30 am - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#112 Gene Essman

Probably can't figure out how to program "oye, oye, oye" into the menu. Must be terribly frustrating for you. You mentioned Facebook - are you on there?

4:55 pm - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#113 James

Contrary to what some are saying elsewhere, I'm getting very good battery life from this camera. Over 300 pics, 4 videos at a few minutes each, and I still showed 1/4 charge left. I picked up another set of Kodak battery's for it to keep in my little Kodak Adventure bag, just in case. This little kodak camera bag is slick, and it's padded, fits my 981 perfectly.

I must mention that this camera has an incredible (macro+) mode, really pulls things up close and in your face.

5:35 pm - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#114 Gene

One more somewhat quick violation of my vow of silence, Reference Michael's earlier post about getting fuzz at the end of the zoom on his 980 and his later work-around explanation, being fairly lazy, I love the capability for LONG shots, the longer, the better, to broaden the potential that I can get almost any shot I want. That's also why I like more megapixels because I can zoom in even more when I edit it in the computer and crop real tight which effectively gives me many, many more magnifications of zoom allowing me to not have to zoom the lens to the end while shooting where it can get pretty shaky and fuzzy which is a problem with any camera and not just the Kodak, tripod or not. That is why I have the full sized 35mm sensor, 21 mpixel Canon EOS 5D MkII and that is why I will eventually opt for the 981 over the 980 as my "go to" carry-around camera - the extra two mpixels. On the Canon, a 400mm lens with a 2X adapter gets me 800mm and an image I can pull up and crop a couple of square inches out of the center and still have a fairly big, fairly sharp image with which to work, not to mention that it also gets me 1080p video with the variety of lens I now have. A "dedicated" HD video camera with the capability I have, while it offers a few more features, costs between $60k and $500k. About the worst of it is that I can't zoom while shooting but other than that, I can do about all I want to do. I can stop shooting, zoom, resume shooting, and join with a fade out and in when I edit a video. Life is good. For an old guy who grew up during WWII in a little town in Arkansas as the son of a dirt poor Baptist Preacher, with an outhouse, a wood stove, a crank phone with a two-digit number, and a well with a bucket from which to draw our water, and with the SiFi stories about a Dick Tracy wrist radio so heavy you couldn't raise your arm up, life is really REALLY good. ;-)

7:21 pm - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#115 GAURAV

Can somebody please suggest i am stuck up between P100 and Kodak Z981, Micheal i like to hear from you when you recieve your camera and compare the Z980 and the new Z981 in terms of OIS and Picture Noise.

8:35 am - Thursday, April 15, 2010

#116 Michael

well, i should be getting it tomorrow and that will be my first call to duty. I'll try some side-by-side shots with both cameras using the zoom and pics with blue sky in them. Although digital noise can be all around the image -- the sky seems to be the easiest place to find it. Interestingly, I recently shot some side-by-sides outside a camera store using my z980 and a Pentax dSLR that I borrowed from the store. Afterwards I notices that the Z980 displayed more noise but the dSLR displayed softer images. I didn't have time to learn all the functions of the dSLR, I simply used the 'auto' selections on both devices. But it begs the question though, "Are some cameras 'softening' up their images to hide digital noise"? Having said that, I'm not anticipating a great deal of difference in terms of noise reduction in the Z981. If it does decrease noise, then great -- but I would be happy if full-zoom pics came out clear 'most of the time' as opposed to 'some of the time'. I'll submit my report as soon as humanly possible!

5:36 pm - Thursday, April 15, 2010

#117 James

Some reasons I chose the Z981 over the other zooms are, color, sharper image, attachable grip really helps stabilize during high power zoom.

I agree with Mike, I think the others hide noise by softening the image. I personally do not like that, I find myself trying to constantly trying focus my eyes when looking at the pics. I also enjoy rich color in my photos, this camera provide nice rich color for me.

6:49 pm - Thursday, April 15, 2010

#118 Julie

Hi Gaurav - I too had been trying to decide between the Z981 and the Nikon P100. Main reason for wanting the P100 was the lithium ion battery. After reading many reviews, it seemed like a poor performer.

Like James I prefer the result from Kodak in colour and sharper image. Side by side shots with my Kodak Z710 (7mp) and my little Nikon point and shoot L15 (8mp, with a 3x zoom not worth using)always show the Kodak as reproducing the colour more accurately.

In the end for me, it will probably come down to a choice between the Z981, Olympus SP800 (lithium ion battery but no viewfinder big negative), and one of the Canons which also use AAs. I am just waiting til I can get a hands-on of a Z981 in Australia before I make a decision, but they are not available here (Australia) yet and Kodak is not letting on when. The Nikon is out of the picture after everything I've read, I think.

10:35 am - Friday, April 16, 2010

#119 Mike

I just got my Z981 and I have a major problem with the Quickview feature. On my prior P712 I could turn it off. But on the Z981 you cannot. When you take a shot it displays in the view for up to 5 seconds and that locks up the camera and prevents you from taking another shot immediately.

Now, Kodak did tell me there's a way to get rid of the Quickview, but you have to do it EACH time you take a shot. What you do is, once the Quickview displays, is press the shutter button again, just tap it quickly, and the view will go back to real time.

This is idiocy. Now I have to remember and get it to be a habit, that every time I take a picture I must press the button again. Think about it. You're tracking a runner, animal, train, car, plane. or other moving object. You shoot. The screen stops showing you your subject until you hit the button again. By now its moved out of the field, or to one side. When you hit the button you probably move the camera a bit. So now you have to re-find the object, center it, shoot again, and then quickly hit the button again. For the rest of your life.

This is the design of someone who probably has never done any serious photography.

I'll work with the camera for the next two weeks but I suspect this is going to get old and I'm going to be forced to just return it.

I would not recommend buying this until you think about what that flaw means to the way you shoot.

By the way, I called Kodak, wrote letters, used their online site, everyone told me to just use the menu to turn it off. It was only after talking to my fourth tech that he did some research and said that the manuals on line were wrong.

3:40 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#120 Michael

Can anyone whom already has the Z981 corroborate Mikes story above about not being able to turn off the quick-view???? I get mine today, so I guess I'll know soon enough. But, Mike, with the Z980 (which is supposed to function the same) you simply go into the MENU, scroll over to SETUP, scroll down to QUICKVIEW and select OFF. That simple. And you dont have to do it everytime. By the way -- I wouldnt believe anything those online Kodak techs say. I had 3 of them tell me the IS was 'optical', and I had 1 swear up and down it was still the 'CCD mech shift' type. 2 of those online chats are posted on page 1 of this very blog. If you have the time to read them, I think you will understand what I am talking about, and the frustration that ensued.

4:20 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#121 Mike

Michael (glad I used Mike for me),

Sad to say the Z981 does not function exactly like the Z980. There is NO menu item, under SETUP or anywhere, for turning Quickview off. Period.IN fact, in the Entended Manual, which is available only on the web, and can be downloaded as a PDF, it says this on page 10:

"After you take a picture/video, the LCD or EVF displays a quickview for several seconds. (To dismiss the quickview sooner, press the Shutter button halfway.)"

Even though on page 45 it shows a menu item to turn off Quickview. But there is no such menu item.

I'll be interested to see your reaction when you get your Z.

4:28 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#122 Mike

Forgot to ask this question. Michael, do you know now whether the IS is OIS or mechanical?

4:45 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#123 Michael

^ website says "optical" but according to several "chats" with Kodak techs, most also say its optical but one tech swears its CCD mechanical shift. I mentioned that in my last post, eh! So, still not sure really...

6:09 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#124 joey

I have had my 981 for 3 days now and not really impressed with some features the focus at times takes way to long to focus..the video indoors looks way to grainy even though i didnt buy for video but was hoping on getting some decent video...i dont know waitingthis weekend to take some stills we will have to see if i keep or return...

9:45 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#125 Michael

Joey, are you comparing it by chance with the Z980 or against other cameras? Just curious. I got mine today and have taken a number of side-by-sides with my Z980. I've used exclusively manual settings to ensure that both cameras are taking pics with the exact same settings. I've used wide-angle and various zoom lengths. The Z981 keeps giving me an "AE" error but not the Z980, I dont know why. Z981 only gives you up to 3 full-resoltion burst modes, Z980 up to 6 -- not happy about that. So far, the Z981 is displaying softer images. Noise is still an issue. Cannot turn off quick-view. Cannot turn off digital zoom. No hot-shoe which has been established. So far, I'm not thrilled. increase in megapixels seems useless if they are this soft. Extra zoom not that impressive. I'll keep trying, but I think my Z980 is actually a superior camera. I may change my mind. We'll see.

2:05 am - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#126 GAURAV

Micheal Will u please Confirm whether the IS system is Optical or is it the same as 980.

Because Z980 is still available in India and they havent still rolled out 981.

I have zeroed down on this particular model only.

You have both the cameras with you , please suggest which is better .

My main concern are Video, Indoor Family Get together Shots and Macro Shots.

12 Mp or 14 Mp doesnt makes a great difference and but if the IS system is Optical as the website says it will certainly help in taking better shots at long telephoto end.

Has the Noise level been reduced in this Model or is it the same as 980?

1:08 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#127 Mike

Michael,

Last night I also found out that you cannot turn off Digital Zoom, even though the manual says you can. I just wrote a long letter to Kodak about how poorly this camera is desgined and asked why they can't get the programming changed for Quickview and ADZ. After all none of these functions is a hardware issue. Everything in a digital camera is controlled by software. I'm leaning also to returning it. What alternative camera would you suggest? I want a large zoom, and any megapixels over 10 to 12 would be sufficient. Whoever designed this camera should be fired.

3:57 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#128 Gene

Yah! A firmware update can fix about anything like that. The question, and problem, is how long will it take them to make a firmware update available. Probably not too long judging from the things you folks are saying. On the other hand, it might already be available. Has anyone checked? I've seen one case where a firmware was available before the camera was released to the public.

4:07 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#129 Joey

Well it offical i just got my return request and will be sending back moday..my wife and i went out last night and took a bunch of pics indoor /outdoor and when i tell you the pics were horrible took shots in every mode not even using the zoom..grainy pics not as sharp as my my other z cameras i will be on the hunt for something different i hate to go through this but im not going to keep a camera i paid over 300 for ..well thats it for me....hope everybody has a better experience..

6:03 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#130 Mike

First thing I did when I unboxed was to look for any updates. None. I checked a day later, none. Haven't checked today. But, I used to manage a software development operation and even if they did get a project going to make the fixes it would tak at least a week of code review, systems testing and then live camera testing before they released it. I wouldn't expect anything in less than a month. If ever. This is looking more an more as a return item.

6:04 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#131 Michael

Gaurav,
You know, I'm not exactly sure how to tell physically about the OIS. Maybe Gene might know how to tell. Although the extended users-guide for the Z980 shows the type of IS (appendix), the extended users-guide for the Z981, has curiously omitted the type of IS, which someone had mentioned here earlier. Ironically, the users-guide also says you can turn on/off the IS in the menu, but clearly you cannot. I'm wondering if it has any IS at all. Please, everyone, keep in mind -- I am comparing this with the Z980 under a micro-scope, mind you -- It's still a good camera for the price. If you like it and is a step-up from your old camera, then keep it. But for me, I think I am understanding why it is $70 cheaper than the Z980. 14 megapixels and a 26x zoom looks good on paper, but it means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING if the image quality is substandard.

Mike,
I was considering the Olympus sp-800uz, 30x zoom (28mm - a whopping 840mm equivalent) DUAL IS (ccd mech shift and digital) for the same price, $329. Kinda toyish-looking, but hey! OR Fujifilm HS10, 30x zoom (24mm - 720mm equivalent) Only 10 megapixels BUT has triple IS [ccd mech shift, digital, and ISO (not OIS), whatever that means] -- uses CMOS sensor, has hot shoe, has a lense-reflex, believe it or not, manual zoom and focus, telescoping lense looks sweet. Gets great reviews, great-looking "bridge" camera, $500.

6:06 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#132 Mike

Found another error. Unbelieveable. There is no way to turn on or off Date Stamping. If you want to stamp the date on a picture you have to do it one by one, individually. Personally I don't ever date stamp because I think they ruin the picture. But those who do I would imagine want it on for the entire time. If not then as you take pictures over the course of a week you'll have a heck of a lot of work to do plus having to remember just which day it was taken (meaning at least you have to go into INFO mode to see what the date setting was.

Michael, thanks, I'll start looking at both cameras

7:07 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#133 Gene

While I've looked into it a little, I'm not all that technical about IS and the only OIS I have is in my Canon lenses and it may not work the same way in a Kodak. I think ultimately in order to be "OIS" there has to be a physical shift of a lens group inside the lens, or a physical shift of the sensor as was introduced by Minolta/Konica just before they went belly up. With my Canon SLR where I'm looking through the lens, by watching closely and being real still, I can see it, hear it, and feel it. I haven't heard if Kodak was planning on a lens shift or a sensor shift. Because of the physical shift, OIS is slower than digital/electronic IS but ultimately and consistently does a better job and is usually more expensive which raises the question of how Kodak can build a more costly camera and charge less for it. Frankly, I'm amazed at the feature-packed nature of the "z" line and I don't see how Kodak is making any money on it at current prices. They must be setting us up for something yet to come. From what I'm seeing here, the 981 sounds like a setback unless they get a firmware update out real quick. I feel a little disappointment for everyone who already made the leap but I'm sure they'll see the light.

7:56 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#134 Mike

Michael,

Just started looking at reviews on Amazon for the Fuji. Seems to be a lot of problems with battery consumption AND, unbelievable, also the same lag time issue, where it takes up to 5 seconds to store JPG or RAW files. I'm going to read some other reviews and have also asked on that board for someone to confirm the lag issue.

8:10 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#135 Michael

^ Hmm, everyone has different needs -- I'm less concerned about lag time than actual image quality. But I love that Fujifilm HS10 -- the zoom is a manual twist, so you can frame something perfectly -- electronic zooms dont give you that kind of choice. Oh, by the way, you can add more lenses to the end of it. I saw some images on flicker with extra lenses on the thing -- you can go over 1100mm equiv. with one of them. I'm thinking a tripod must be employed with that one. 10 megapixels? Dont care, I think I want it. Its going to be hard to convince my wife to let me spend the extra $150 though.

8:46 pm - Saturday, April 17, 2010

#136 James

Just my opinion folks, but I wouldn't be to quick to send this baby back, I think it's a great camera, and nobody beats it for the money. I'm having a blast with mine, look at this full zoom shot of a moving helicopter I took with this thing, and I'm just a hack. :)

http://i44.tinypic.com/22esrb.jpg

12:16 am - Sunday, April 18, 2010

#137 Michael

Ah, CBS! Well, you're right, James, it is a pretty good camera for the money. Like I said earlier, if its step up from your old camera, or your first camera and you're happy with it. Then awesome. But again, I'm comparing it very very closely to my Z980 and it is becoming more and more inferior. yesterday I took several side-by-sides using the same settings. EXACTLY the same, you all just gotta trust me on that, and everytime, the Z980 pics turned out sharper, more vibrant, and just simply more interesting to look at. Today, I took 5 side-by-sides using the smart-capture setting, wide-angles and zooms. I hate to say it again, but in every case, clearly the Z980 is superior. If you already own the Z980 and are looking to "upgrade" to the Z981, forget it. And I'm not being biased against Kodak either, folks, I've used now 4 different Kodak cameras in the last 5 years, EXCLUSIVELY -- I haven't owned any other brand. These are my observations -- unless for some reason MY z981 is somehow defective, but I doubt it.

2:36 am - Sunday, April 18, 2010

#138 James

Yes, I am upgrading from my z1015, the Z981 produces more vibrant and slightly cleaner outdoor photos. But in the house my z1015 is a touch less noisy, and a little sharper. Both my z1015 and z981 seem to have the same optical stabilization. I owe that to the fact I can catch moving air craft with good results.

Ive had my z981 now for a couple weeks, and im too hooked on it now to send it back.

3:07 am - Sunday, April 18, 2010

#139 Julie

The Z980 is starting to look the better buy, with all the glitches I don't think I'll be bothering with the Z981.
In my opinion Kodak has done nothing but go backwards since they stopped making the Z7590. If mine was still working I wouldn't even be considering a new camera even for extra megapixels. This camera could be operated with one hand only, without taking your eye from the viewfinder, nothing on the market comes near that.

4:27 am - Sunday, April 18, 2010

#140 albert

How to turn off the quick view?
a stay-at-home mom teach you this on her review on amazon.com

quote

Ok...first things first.
1. Turning off the Quickview: If you look at the back of your camera, above the top left corner of the screen is a little button that says EVF-LCD under it. When the camera is on, if you hit that button, the screen will go off, and you can take pictures using the Eye Viewfinder. Whenever you take a picture that way, it will NOT show up on the screen, since the screen is turned off. It it will allow you to take your following photos much quicker. Should you decide you want the screen back on, just push that little button again.

unquote

hope found it useful

12:08 am - Monday, April 19, 2010

#141 Julie

On my Z710 (and Z7590), in my impatience I discovered that depressing the shutter half way straight after taking the shot, would clear the Quickview - bit of a habit of mine these days and works with my Nikon L15 point'n'shoot. However I did notice that taking a few pics this way I ended up with a long waiting time whilst "processing", and thus missed more shots! Toss up between miss the shot now, or miss the shot later.
I am using Sandisk SD Ultras - does anyone use Sandisk SD Extreme, and do they have a seriously faster processing time?

1:17 am - Monday, April 19, 2010

#142 Mike

Julie,

In fact that is the recommendation Kodak gave me and, as you note, it works, but you still have to deal with the processing time. My problem with hitting the shutter a second time halfway is you add to camera shake plus the delay while clearing the view causes loss of tracking if you're following a target.

But I'm trying it out and waiting to see if I can learn to deal with it.

1:20 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#143 Mike

Albert,

That stay-at-home-mom was wrong. I traded some posts with her on the Amazon board about it. She had never actually tried to do that, to use the EVF instead of the LCD. Once she actually tried it she posted back to me that in fact it made no difference. If you go back to that board and read my response you'll see that all the EVF does is duplicate what you would see on the LCD. Using the EVF just saves battery power. I does not, in any way, eliminate the QUickview. It just let's you see the Quickview in the EVF.

Thanks for the heal try anyway.

1:24 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#144 Albert

Dear Mike (Plano),
Thanks for your correction to the post.
I think what we can do is get used to the camera behavior or wait for firmware update, however, I wonder Kodak will do it or not.
Anyway, I will keep this camera cause I like the picture outcome and it's zoom power.

8:46 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#145 Albert

To dear Canadian again,
Found more cheaper Z981 online.
Buy.com Canada on sale for CAD288.99 with 5% off for any order. So the net price is CAD274.54 before tax. Also this is entitled for free shipping too.
Oh, 20 bucks cheaper than I ordered from Kodak.ca. :(

8:51 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#146 Julie

Trouble with Kodak is that, IMHO, it has the best end result, so we put up with glitches because of that.

Yes, it is tedious waiting for processing time and missing shots, but from my reading lately, anything comparable is having the same problem.

We are all so used to getting things immediately that we want our cameras to be even more immediate! The old film cameras were fast enough to get the shot, but then we often had to wait a week or 2 or 3 til we got the film processed - and then pay for it on top of that.

So, I'm thinking that maybe I should be appreciating my *slow* digital camera a whole lot more than I do.

Just thinkin' out loud here....

12:42 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#147 James

I have compared pics from the hs10, z980, p100, and the canon sx20, to my z981, the only I see with a very slightly better, but softer pic is the canon sx20.

Now I had to hunt for pics that were not processed thru a photoshop program like Ive caught a few doing and claiming they were stock photos.

I'll keep waiting to see any stock P&S photo beat the z981?

1:25 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#148 Joey

Well i just returned My 981 today as it had one to many inconveninces for me i know there is no perfect camera out there but im picky and i will continue my search for the right one that suits my needs.....hope everyone is adjusting to this camera...

2:10 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#149 Gene

May I suggest again, for those of us who live where there is a camera store, that a good way to check a camera out before purchase is to focus on the camera you want, get a memory card for the camera you're interested in, go to a camera store where they actually have a working demo as opposed to something with no battery in it, take some pics with it, even outside which will usually be permitted, and take the card home with you to assess the pics. Most p&s cameras take SD so in most cases a single card will usually suffice and you can check out more than one camera per visit. Return postage costs on one camera will just about buy a 2 gig SD card and you can take your time and get what you think is best without all the effort of buying and returning.

4:54 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#150 Albert

Dear Gene,
I think you suggestion will work on most Jap brand DC but....seems not work on KODAK.
Can you see how many Kodak DC carry in the retail stores? Not that much especially in Canada.
OH, poor Kodak, who knows you????

5:30 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#151 Gene

You're probably right and it could be due to the fact that Kodak is keeping the price down so low as to not allow the merchants to make it worth their while to sell Kodak. I do see that Best Buy says they have the 981 for $329. I was thinking as much about alternatives to Kodak as of Kodak itself. Keep forgetting that we're "international" here and as much as I dislike saying it, I know very little about your lovely country and commerce there. Colorado, where I live, is sort of a photo mecca and I just went to the website of our most prolific local camera dealer only to discover that they do not currently offer any Kodak cameras. Let me just say that I freely withdraw my suggestion where it isn't a good fit. Pardon me please.

6:14 am - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#152 Mike

Gene,

I bought the camera from Sam's Club on line. Paid $279.87, $4 shipping and $23.42 in sales tax for a total of $307.29. No one was selling it any cheaper, not even Kodak or Amazon. In fact Amazon still had it as pre-order on the day I ordered it.By the way, I ordered it on 4/12 and it arrived Fed-Ex on the 16th.

1:33 pm - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#153 Gene

Mike, That's good information. Thanks for sharing it. Looks like you figured out the best deal yet. I used to do Sams & Costco but found that I couldn't justify the volume buying process, just the wife I, but hopefully that info will benefit several people who have a chance to read it. For members, that looks like a good way to go. Come to think of it, one of our kids is a member. hmmmmmm!

7:28 pm - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#154 frikkie

hi

can anybode tell me, the z980 and the z981 wich one takes the better makro pics? if you have to choose between them, wich one will u choose?

thanks

frikkie
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

7:53 pm - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#155 Latif

Can somebody who own this camera guide me? I am planning to buy it once it is available here in India. This will be my first digital camera.. I will mostly be taking snaps of birds sitting at a distant place...26X optical is fair enough but I will need some digital zoom as well at times. Does the digital zoom appear to much pixelated? Is there any image at full zoom (130X) available anywhere on the net?

6:56 am - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#156 Mike

The digital zoom adds another 5x. But, even if it didn't have any, digital zoom is nothing more than a magnifying glass on your existing pixels. You can do the same in any photo manipulation software, with the same problems. You're just magnifying the existing pixels. And if you do that enough you will get pixelation. If you truly need to get great pictures of objects far away you'll need to get a 1,000mm lens on a dSLR, very expensive.

1:26 pm - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#157 Michael

I tried the digital-so-called-'zoom' and please believe me when I say this -- IT'S CRAP!!!! None of them turned out worth crap. It's not a zoom at all. None of them are, mind you -- regardless of the camera. It merely crops your picture, lowering pixel count, lowering resolution, lowering image quality. It's actually better -- WAY BETTER -- to use OPTICAL zoom ONLY and then crop it later on your computer, because digital-zoom just adds more camera shake.

5:15 pm - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#158 Mike

Exactly. The only reason manufacturers quote the digital is so they can quote an even higher zoom. Like 130x on the z981. It's really so close to dishonest.

10:01 pm - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#159 ghacking2

i bought one and a sony h5v for real estate to replace my favorite kodak v705 $750 to do the job of a $225 original - i find it bulky and inconvienient after the v705 but the 14mp and 26mm are making some nice real estate photos and i use the stitching panoramic for virtual tours. I am just starting to shoot hdvideos so its a nice machine for work - i much prefer the h5v sony for its size and 25mm lens - there is a difference! 1080p video mode and the very slick sweep panoramic - pretty high end for point and shoot but both are capable realty workhorses _I like to wear my camera on my belt and that aint happening with the 981!! i tested the zoom for pelicans resting across the river - pretty impressive stability without a tripod -

3:30 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#160 Michael

I agree -- I think all digital camera manufacturers should get together and agree to do away with that "digital zoom" verbiage and simply provide a pre-syncing "cropping" tool if the user so chooses to do so. I believe the Z980 allows that -- not sure about the 981. I never use it, I prefer to crop it in Easyshare if I wish, that way the the original is preserved.

3:32 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#161 Gene

Agree about digital zoom. I have a digital video camera with a 25x zoom then on up to 100x digital zoom with IS. I've seen 600x and 800x on some cameras. At 45x mine pixelates and from there up it looks like I'm standing squarely in the middle of the St. Andreas fault during "the big one." At best it's very deceptive and probably should be outlawed. Still, if a pic is otherwise totally out of reach and is a consequential and still viable image like the shuttle blowing up, it's better than no pic at all. Again, purpose plays a big part.

4:00 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#162 James

I'm gonna pick up a Canon SX20 tomorrow or Friday and give one a test drive. I also like the IQ on that cam, plus they are threaded to accept filters and there are even a couple of telephoto lenses available for it, like 2x.

I will sell my z1015.

4:25 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#163 Latif

Thanks for all those valuable inputs...I do agree that the digital zoom does away with the image quality at higher zooms.

4:33 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#164 James

I find the digital zoom on my z981 to be acceptable to about 25% into digital mode, which I like and do use, past that it gets a bit blurry, but I still like having it. In certain types of light it can quite decent.

I took this pic at about 15% digital mode in dim evening light, even though I won't post it for show, I am keeping it for myself, I had a heck of a time getting close this bugger.
http://i42.tinypic.com/33cq8ft.jpg

4:50 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#165 Gene

James, nice bluebird shot. They're pretty skittish. Add a little edited "fill flash" to your shot and your bird comes right on out right nicely.

I saw someone the other day criticizing the editing of digital images. For what it's worth, I see nothing wrong with that. Labs have been "dodging and burning," adding more and less light during exposure of negatives, and otherwise retouching photos since long before I got involved. Now, I get to do it in my computer. Don't see any difference and don't see any reason to not do it. Taking multiple images and combining them for something entirely new and different may be a bit sketchy but that does seem to be part of the new reality. We're not bound to just what mother nature provides us. We can and maybe should be pretty creative especially if we intend to be competitive.

7:05 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#166 Latif

Nice snap James. Love to see that birdie..Had it been in bright light that would be just great...

7:15 am - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#167 Mike

Gene, you said: 'Still, if a pic is otherwise totally out of reach and is a consequential and still viable image like the shuttle blowing up, it's better than no pic at all. Again, purpose plays a big part.'

Unless I am way off in my understanding of digital zoom, all it does is take the image on the sensor and enlarge it electronically. It does not use the lens any more once you're at the optical zoom limit. So, rather than use digital zoom and permanently destroy the image by enlarging and blurring it, just take the picture at max optical zoom and enlarge it on your PC. That way to can vary the enlargement until it's no longer acceptable and back off. Once you let the camera do that there is no way ever to get back to the original max optical shot.

Imagine this. You take a shot of a newspaper picture and it looks good. Then you zoom in at 26x and take the same shot. What you'll now see is all the dots that made up the original picture (that's the way newspaper photos work). And now there is no way to get back to the origianl. Unless you stand 100' away:).

1:37 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#168 Gene

Mike, the theory is pretty sound, I'd say. Being neither scientific nor even very technical, I haven't fully tested the equation although back up, in my posts somewhere, I recall saying that with my z712 I don't use the digi zoom. New information and realizations are just beginning to come into focus about the digital world and it's almost more than a hack like me can keep up with, being a person with an ongoing lazy conscious mind. I might say, "yabut, yabut, when the shuttle is blowing up right in front of you, you may not think of everything you would like." ;-) I certainly don't think I get all the new information that surfaces although I do make an effort to do so. I think I said, "rather than use the digi zoom on my z712, I center the shot and then pull the image up in my computer and crop." I violate the cardinal rule of composition and go ahead and center my subject for later cropping because focus and metering are in the center of a "z" cameras vision. That's if I'm not too rushed and thinking right. To cater to my lack of mental agility and quickness at this stage of my life, and to otherwise max the potential to crop for final image in the computer, and while I know that this blog is not about this, I strained my budget, and marriage, and sprung for a 21 mpx full-sized 35mm sensor Canon. With that Canon 21 mpx and a sharp 400mm prime lens (non-zoom fixed focal lens)and a 2x, I am not faced with the question because I don't have digi zoom on that camera and I do have nine focus points to choose from so I don't have to center my subject. At my age I don't think as well "on my feet" as I may have in the past so I try to think out the questions in advance and equip myself with the best chance I have to get any shot I desire, at the risk of repeating myself. Frankly, when I'm out there shooting I try to have all the camera features set up as they need to be and then I tend to trust my sub-conscious and fire away like a loose cannon. I definitely bow to the "shotgun" theory in spite of the fact that I know there's perhaps a more precision way and in spite of anything else I may have said, more shots, more success, fully aware that about 100k shots is all a sensor is good for and I'll be sending the Canon in for a new sensor replacement. My mind is lazy, I suppose, but I just can't bring myself around to remembering everything I think I know during a hurried shot, and I do shoot a lot of action stuff, not all of it well. So I have idle time and I sit in front of the TV at night, thinking out and visualizing, almost rehearsing, taking certain shots, making my wife wonder what's going through my head when I have to tell her I didn't hear who won American Idol even though I was staring right at the TV. Of course, she starts seeing redheads, blonds, strippers, etc., without evidence, of course, while I'm seeing a dude sliding into 2nd base. Speaking of panic factor, while I know this blog is not about Canon and similar stuff, it is about getting the picture and when it comes to that, needless to say, all cameras have basic factors in common. The Canon goes up to 25,600 ISO and delivers a respectable image at that speed, but, talk about spreading out the pixels... Not going to win any resolution or noise contests but if you're careful and fairly steady you can hand-hold a non IS sharp prime lens at 800mm, aperture preferred and wide open in pretty low light and still get something that'll work for the newspapers or stand up in court. I haven't, but I may.

4:55 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#169 Mike

Gene, I remember when I used to shoot film, had multiple cameras and lenses, 35mm, 4x4, etc. I'd never go back, first because my needs are not the same and basically because I like not carrying that big case and the weight. That's what keeps me away from the dSLR's. I don't want to own another lens and have to always be changing it.

On another topic. The 981, like others, has a stitch feature. It's good but the downside is it only stitches 3 shots and, worse, only in 3MP mode, and usually produces a thin and wide shot. Too thin.

I've taken to using a FREE Microsoft program called ICE (Image Composite Editor). You take as many pictures as you want, just making sure some portion of each overlaps some portion of another. So you can take 10 or 12 pictures (whatever) that cover the entire view you want. Let's say your house. You take 5 pictures left to right. Then 5 more shifted up a bit to capture the tops of the trees. And 5 more to capture the sidewalks. You run ICE and it stitches them all together and allows you to frame the result to eliminate the areas where there was no picture, and to specify the file size of the image. The result is nothing short of incredible. I no longer use the in-camera stitch. I just shoot the area I want to cover and wait until I get to my PC to process them. Try it, Google Microsoft ICE.

5:25 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#170 Gene

Mike, you're sure right about the luggage issue and that's why I picked up the z712 which was fairly recently. Arms were stretching way too far out. ICE sounds nothing short of phenomenal. I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for that tip. I haven't done that much with pano since I sprung for a Canon EOS IX in '99, an APS camera that does pano. Never shot the first shot with it. I have stitched shots together before but it isn't a normal interest of mine because of why and what I shoot normally, and because of the inconsistent way the exposure of different shots can come out light and dark and irreconcilable. Worst all-time effort to do a pano was vertical shots of the ship "The Bounty" when it was moored in St. Pete, FL. Wanted the whole mast vertical and it was a booger. Never did get it quite right. Ice, if all shots are equal, sounds like a real good way to get a wall-size blow up of your fav subject out of 14 mpx from the 981, rendering 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 film cameras useless. What a concept. You're sure on your toes to come up with that. My hat is off and thanks again. I'm there. I can't imagine stitching a bunch of 21 mpx shots together but I'm betting that it'll choke my computer if I ever get around to doing that. I already have trouble processing 21 mpx already on my 3.2 ghz machine with 4 gig of ram. With the advent of the latest printers that can do a 30x20 print from 3 mpx, I'm beginning to think that 21 mpx is a bit of an overkill except when it comes to pulling up that distant image we've been discussing. Thanks again.

6:00 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#171 Mike

Gene, I just stitched 12 14MP shots together. Took less than 3 minutes including my time to tell it where the shots were, stitch, crop and save. It doesn't care about height or width. You'll love it.

6:20 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#172 Gene

Mike, I just downloaded ICE and had a look at it. Looks like my kind of software - simple and idiot-proof. I'm going to get out this afternoon and take some shots and put it through its paces. Thanks again.

6:59 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#173 Mike

Enjoy.

I just downloaded the new release too. It's 1.3. But I noticed, as have others, that some things that worked on 1.2 don't on 1.3. It sometimes screws up in stitching. But Microsoft is working on it. I tried it on other photos and it was OK, so it looks like a random item depending on the number of photos.

7:11 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#174 James

Im playing around with my new Canon sx 20, WOW! be back later with more!

7:44 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#175 James

I really like this canon sx20, it's twice as fast as my z981 from shot to shot, and burst mode, plus there is no 3 pic limit on the canon in burst mode. This is really the camera I want for air shows, car races, good beach scenery ;) or any event with movement. The video is awesome, much better than the z981 plus it zooms in digital mode.

The canon has a cleaner zoom image and a 2x mode, so you can actually go to 40x, image stabilization is much better in both still and video mode.

IMO the images on the canon are a touch sharper and less noisier, but just a little, the z981 has better color and little less glare in the images, so far I cannot say one is better for iq. They both take great pics, and I'll just say I would take the canon to the air plane show, and the z981 to the grand canyon.

For videos it's the canon hands down.

2:47 am - Saturday, April 24, 2010

#176 Gene

Nothing like the enthusiasm of the owner of a new camera. Thanks for the good info James. The first SX-20 I find in a pawn shop for $35, I'll be all ready to shoot some airplanes on the way to the Grand Canyon. ;-)

3:36 am - Saturday, April 24, 2010

#177 Albert

Finally! Finally! I received my Z981 today via UPS. But its after 16 days from I placed the order with Kodak.ca. What a long waiting?????? May be they shipped from moon????????

At first, I read from the machine label that this camera is produced in Vietnam. Is it the reason why the Z981 can be cheaper than Z980? If I not remember wrong, the Z980 was produced in Malaysia. Can any one confirm on this? What about the quality control? Will they have assurance?

I still not fully test drive the machine and play all around the setting menus. I still need read thorough the extended user manual.

But here I have 2 quick questions:
1. how to set on or off of Date Stamp?
2. how to set on or off of Image Stablilzer?

According to user manual, the setting can be find in setup menu. BUT I CANNOT. Can someone tell me under which function(s) can find this setting?

Sorry for the lazy man to ask silly Qs.

1:22 am - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#178 Mike

Albert,

See my prior posts. You cannot set the date stamp on. It is always off. The manual is wrong when it tells you there is a menu item to set it on/off. The only way date stamp works is on an individual picture, one at a time. 200 pictures means you have to get into the menu for each picture and set the date. You'll soon have a tired thumb. You bring up each picture to review it. Then you bring up the menu and go to the edit tab. Then go down to select date stamp. Then you date stamp. Then you go back and get the next picture.

The Image Stabilizer is on, always. You cannot set it off. Again the manual is wrong. There is no such menu option.

As for Vietnam versus Malaysia, maybe it's cheaper to source there. As for QA, I have to assume Kodak has a QA process, pulls a random camera to check it out, inspects the assembly process. Only time will tell.

Don't know why your camera took so long. But, maybe it was shipped from Banff and the dog sled ran into some rough ice? I ordered from Sam's and it took three days to get to me. Of course I live in Texas and they shipped from near Austin, about 100 miles from me.

So far I'm getting some good shots from it and the movies are looking good too.

Interesting side note, when you take a picture they name it something like 100_cccc.jpg where the xxxx is the number of pictures you took from the first time less 100. BUT, if you use the burst mode they name it 100Bxxxx.jpg. This is a problem when you want to use a program like I do where I say replace all 100_x with Trip to Mom-. I have to tell it that again for 100Bx but the numbers they use cause it not to put them all in sequence. Just and annoyance since I don't shoot much burst stuff. But the burst worked nice and took good sharp shots.

1:50 am - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#179 Albert

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your information / reminder. Now I remember you had told in your previous posts. I just read and forget. Sorry.

It's a silly way to stamp the date on photo one by one, but, I think I may not always need to do this. I believe the occasion to need a date stamp is when photo people in gathering. While we would not need to stamp when taking marco, landscape or portrait.
And I think this camera is designed for the latter usages ( I hope I could read their designer mind) :-)

By the way, I know the EXIF also bear the photo infos, there is another hidden way to check when the photo was taken.

Regarding the camera quality, I don't expect and don't want it will last forever, like the mechanical film one. I think 3 to 4 years is long enough as new technology will go on and electronic stuff will fade out so quick so soon.
By then better resolution, higher zoom power and better functions camera will be out to the market. More important, the price surely will be cheaper too.

Regarding the image stabilizer, I remember some post on Z980 said the manual advise turn off the IS when using tripod. What about Z981? Is that mean if I use tripod will make the shot bad?
May be this only apply to CCD-shift IS but not OIS.
Any idea?

Yeah, exactly I live in Calgary, only within one & half hours drive from Banff. Even though delivered by foot, within one day should arrived. 16 days may be already sufficient for Japanese to develop a new model and out for market. BUT Kodak still in transit. Ha Ha.

Anyway, you are welcome to see the Rocky Mountain. Banff and Jasper is must go for a visit and surely you will take lot of good shots. Then further cross the boarder to Montana - Yellowstone. Along the Rocky range, you will enjoy the scenes.

4:02 am - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#180 Julie

In Australia we still don't have any idea of when the Z981 will be on the market.
There are still some Z980s around.
In light of some of the glitches (couple of which would drive me mad) on the Z981, would anyone suggest I might be better off picking up one of the last Z980s instead? I'm not particularly concerned about the extra 2x megapixels or the extra 2x zoom. 24x zoom is still more than twice what I currently have, it will be an enormous step anyway.

5:52 am - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#181 Mike

Albert,

I think the reason for turning off IS when using a tripod is more related to saving the battery power. On a tripod the IS wouldn't do much anyway.

One thing I have noticed is at high zooms, even with IS, you really have to try to hold it still, or lean against something, if you don't have a tripod, else the IS won't be able to cope with a 26x and the attendant movement. I think the IS works great at normal and mid tele, but at 26x you really need to help it.

1:18 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#182 Gene

About IS and a tripod, I would like to respectfully refer you to the following url. Perhaps it will help answer this question:

http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00V3qB

VR as used in the article stands for "Vibration Reduction" and is the name that Nikon has given to its version of IS. The article I've referred you to above is about a test of this very question and the results are clear - it affects the pics. With my first Canon IS lens in '99, here I go again ;-), when I didn't turn it off while on a tripod, it fried my pics just enough to kill the sharpness, sometimes worse. Canon has not released a version two that avoids the problem. Apparently there is internal physical movement in the IS mechanism that occurs each time the mechanism is engaged. If bound down to a tripod, when the mechanism tries to engage it can't and a conflict is caused that makes the pics just a little bit blurry. Canon has found a way around that for their second generation IS lens.

5:08 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#183 Gene

I'm sorry - In that last post, I mistakenly said, "Canon has not released a version two that avoids..." and that should read, "Canon HAS released a version two..."

5:11 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#184 Jason

Although I am a little bit annoyed by the relatively slower speed, fewer burst pics, unable to turn off digital zooming and preview. I am still very satisfied with Z981, especially the zooming in video.

z981 focusing well with great macro and telephoto pictures. For 284 bucks I cannot expect more.

my next camera would be the upgraded version of Canon sx20is. I like the 2x lens...

5:14 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#185 Jason

Here is a picture taken this morning.

<img >

http://i40.tinypic.com/rt11g6.jpg

5:20 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#186 Gene

Nice shot Jason - doesn't get a lot better than that.

5:37 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#187 Jason

Thanks Gene. The speed of the camera is a little too slow for sports etc. It would be OK with me if Canon releases an upgraded version of XS20 in two year and maitains a reasonable price.

6:28 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#188 Gene

I will agree that using a "z" camera for action is not going to be as precise and positive an experience as with a SLR that'll fire 5 or 6 frames per second up to 40 or 50 shots but with the right techniques it doesn't have to be half bad either. You've got that actions setting you can use to help and, of course, panning with a slower moving or more distant subject helps, as you probably know, anticipating a little ahead of the desired subject, maybe shooting multiple shots.

For closer up and faster shots, we can rehearse a shot like a person sliding into 3rd, getting our meter reading on the neutral shade of the dirt in advance on the spot where we want our subject to be, put the z into manual mode and set those readings so they won't change on us when a light or dark uniform suddenly enters the picture, set manual focus on and pre-focus and zoom on the spot we want, framing so as to get the shot we want, and then either pan with the runner or anticipate when he/she will arrive and fire either one frame or a burst. Since the z cameras shift to a smaller megapixel size to allow the camera to speed up, you are forced to make a choice with action - if you want a high resolution shot, shoot it once. If you can use less resolution, shoot a burst. From there, it's all luck and you'll miss a lot and you'll hit some good ones, maybe great ones. It's the ones you hit that count.

There's a spot that is referred to as "the peak of the action." That's the precise moment that the basketball player is at the spot right at the top of his jump where there is a split second that he's stationary, neither going up or down. That's the sweet spot. With the hurdler it's when both legs are outstretched in opposite directions as he/she goes across the hurdle. Most all action shots have a peak point otherwise known as a sweet spot. We have to look for it, recognize when it is and time our actions so our sweet spot matches up with that of the action we're shooting. If the camera responds slowly, then we have to get better at anticipating. Think through the action you want to shoot in terms of analyzing for the peak point to fire the camera. A lot of people know this intuitively and the rest of us have to figure it out. I fall into that latter category but the more we do it, the better we become and that's what makes it all worthwhile.

11:28 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#189 Mike

Just to clarify. I would use manual focus to focus on a spot some fast moving object will be in. Once focused, whatever mode I'm in, PASM (I don't think it works in Smart Mode) will hold that setting and when I hit the button to take the shot, whether burst of single, that focus is what will be used. Is that correct?

12:05 am - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#190 Tom

I just received my Z981 today. It seems like it is a pretty popular camera right now since mine was backordered for a few days. Anyhow so far my first impressions are very positive. The lens seems to be of high quality for a P&S and the zoom and auto focus work very well. I went out and did a few shots this afternoon after work and so far I am pretty happy with the results. I also have a Kodak Z1485 which is a 14 MP 5x optical zoom and I can tell already that that Z981 has better image quality. I assume the higher quality lens makes a big difference. You can't really compare the Z981 to a DSLR when it comes to speed or action shots, but I'd say it is one of the best mega zoom point and shoots on the market right now for the price. I also find the new Share button application to be pretty handy if you want to send pictures to facebook or a photo sharing site or you want to post a video to YouTube right from the camera. I also own a Kodak Pulse digital frame and I can share my pictures to the frame with the button as well. Of course I usually like to preview my pictures on a computer before I share them, but the button is handy. I will post again after I get a chance to take some more pictures. I also have not had a chance to check the HD video quality. So far I am happy and it feels like a big step up compared to my last camera.

12:57 am - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#191 Latif

Cool pic, Jason.. I wonder when can I get my hands on the Z981....

4:29 am - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#192 Jason

The macro plus is also pretty impressive. You may think the picture comes from some beautiful settings. The truth is: it is the weeds in a lawn. smile...

http://i42.tinypic.com/2ugzzq1.jpg

Thanks to Gene to explain this. I am trying to do the manual focusing, it may take a while to get something. your suggestion are very helpful.



Thanks, Latif. The z981 did great jobs during most time.

4:55 am - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#193 Gregg

I am curious as to why Kodak canceled my order for the Z981 twice!...and it is curious to note that Best Buy(I said heck with Kodak LoL) has changed my order status from a "release date" to that of "back ordered"! It seems that the camera is back ordered every where I look(on the internet).Let's hope that means a firmware upgrade as mentioned earlier in this blog.Or whatever other changes can be made so that the Z981 doesn't become another Edsel! A bad rep at it's release could spell doom for the 981.

4:25 pm - Sunday, May 2, 2010

#194 amy

to michael with the z980 pictures, not only is the quality impressive from just a point and shoot but many of your pictures were very interesting. some people on this site need to realize that this is simply a point and shoot camera and anyone buying it is just interested in quality pictures for themselves were not openeing photography studios with them. i have just ordered a Z981 and cant wait for it!

8:55 pm - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

#195 Albert

Z981 Firmware update (version 1.01)
This firmware offers improved color fidelity in scenes captured under artificial lighting.

Dare to try? Go get it.
But beware it warn you that if power fail during upgrade, your camera will ----- death forever.

I still consider.

You can download from Kodak.com Z981 help center.

Thanks and good luck.

8:22 am - Thursday, May 6, 2010

#196 Mike

Albert,

I did it and had no problems. And the camera appears to be working normally.

But, how did you know there was an update available?

Do you have to visit the site every week to see if there's one or can you sign up for an email notification, like this board does?

2:24 pm - Thursday, May 6, 2010

#197 Mike

Though not on the Z981 topic itself I thought you all might be interested in a very handy portable tripod I just got. It's the GorillapodSLR by Joby. Kodak even sells them on it's site. They also make it without the SLR designation but the main difference is the weight it will hold. The SLR holds up to 800 grams. It weighs 6 ounces. Has a slick quick attachment that you can keep screwed into your camera's tripod socket and in about 2 seconds attach or release it to the tripod. And better, for example, if you want, you can wrap the tripod's legs around let's say a metal pole where it will hold the camera in whatever position you want. Google it for more info or go here:

http://joby.com/gorillapod/slr

I don't work for Joby, just really was impressed with this device. You can even wrap it's legs around your neck, or your arm, if you don't have pockets.

10:31 pm - Thursday, May 6, 2010

#198 Julie

Someone gave me a gorillapod, but I'm afraid I don't use it - just too impatient and too lazy I guess, and still get results that satisfy me well enough.

I was also given a little clip on unit at the same time - it clips onto the top of a drink bottle, so it's a lot more portable for those of us who don't want to cart too much around. I'm afraid I don't use that either, just sits in the glove compartment in the car.

Probably the day I start being organised enough to use a tripod will be the day I start using an slr again.

7:08 am - Saturday, May 8, 2010

#199 Gregg

My camera arrived yesterday and I have had time to take only a few pics, and they were spectacular!I had the great good luck to run across a Blue Heron and a Crane who put on quite the show for me as they fished a creek near my home in Tampa. I could not possibly be disappointed!!

4:55 am - Sunday, May 9, 2010

#200 Gregg

Do any of you dislike the neck strap that comes with the Z981 like I do? LoL And it was so difficult to install I'd hate to go through all that again. Any ideas? The photos the Z takes are phenominal however!

2:29 pm - Sunday, May 9, 2010