Kodak EasyShare Z950 Review

4.0
September 17, 2009 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 2Mb.

Although the Kodak EasyShare Z950 performed well under most conditions, we'd be remiss not to be picky in our assessment. Therefore we'll point out that we had some occasional issues with the Z950's grasp of white balance – or rather its slender grasp, being somewhat inconsistent from shot to shot, and daylight images at times being imbued with a blue-ish/turquoise colour cast like a faded postcard from the 1970s. This appeared to reach its nadir when implementing the 'High Colour' option amongst the camera's shooting settings – the alternatives being the default of 'Natural Colour', plus 'Low Colour', black and white or sepia. That said it's easy enough to delete duff images, recompose the shot and simply shoot again.

Since, with a widest setting of 35mm Kodak isn't exactly stretching itself, the camera doesn't suffer from barrel distortion or problems associated with wider angle lenses. If you want to get more into shot, you just have to take a few steps back, and we can live with that. Inevitably there's some pixel fringing evident between areas of high contrast, but it's only on close inspection and we'd be shocked if it wasn't. Again, it's certainly no deal breaker.

In terms of ISO performance, the Kodak Z950's picture quality gets noticeably softer the further you progress up the range of light sensitivity settings as noise reduction kicks in, smoothing out detail to avoid grain. Though noise is kicking into shadow areas as low as ISO 200, even by ISO 800 it's not at ruinous levels, and, if you can steer clear of ISO 1600, the results won't disappoint too harshly.

Noise

There are 5 ISO settings available on the Kodak EasyShare Z950. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Kodak EasyShare Z950's 10x zoom lens provides a focal length of 35-350mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

35mm

350mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the Sharpness option in the main menu.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Kodak EasyShare Z950 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Kodak EasyShare Z950 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 12cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Kodak EasyShare Z950 are auto, off, fill, and red-eye reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (35mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (350mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (350mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye Reduction settings caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Kodak EasyShare Z950's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/2 second at ISO 400. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 12 megapixel, beginner, camera, prosumer, 10x zoom, kodak, z950, Kodak EasyShare Z950 Review