Kodak EasyShare Z990 Review

May 3, 2011 | Matt Grayson | |

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#1 fakuryu

Well its nice to see that bridgecams are alive and well.

4:50 pm - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#2 zebarnabe

Just to share my view about this camera:

This camera tends to over-expose and images are usually a bit too ‘cooked’ for my taste (I guess you can change that on settings).

It has the ‘classic’ sluginess of a bridge, the saturated colors of Kodak and a very well balanced sensor-lens build.

Lots 840mm samples look a bit soft, but this is due to the person who took the shots didn’t knew what was doing… f/13 with ISO 400 or f/16.3 with 1/125s ... really?

Use P mode please, and keep the aperture at f/5.6 or around there for better sharpness… f/8 is the maximum I would go (unless there was no other choice to proper exposure)...

Sharpness of the edges at wide angle is rather impressive (for a camera of this class), it drops a bit on the corners though.

ISO 800 and 1600 are usable but I would avoid it, but at least things don’t go horribly wrong when you go to 3200 (6400 however…)

It could be a bit better in noise and DR department, a wider angle of 24mm would be better as well, but there is no perfect camera…

Video has some issues with focusing (zooming-out is not a good idea during the video recording), but the details packed on it is really impressive.

6:15 pm - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#3 Matt Bamberg

I think this is one of the better point-and-shoots.

1:05 am - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#4 Frank Stanton

Thank you for the review. I am wondering if the various erratic responsiveness issues could indicate that maybe you got a camera that was just not working properly. Maybe the issue is one of quality control, rather than design flaws. Thanks.

8:47 am - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#5 mattgrayson

That’s a distinct possibility Frank but I’ve encountered lots of similar cameras in the past that have had the same problem.

The main telephoto image was at a reasonable aperture and I think the zoom pictures show you what the variations will provide.

7:55 pm - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#6 zebarnabe

Yes, lots of cameras have quality issues… how bad those issues are it’s something hard to find out.

Hmmm.. what is the main telephoto image?

Samples after 42 (after the ISO tests with the stuffed toy) are not even worth watching, my guess is that due to the issues with setting up the camera, something got wrong and was left like that.

On wide end photo 28 is the best one IMHO.

On telephoto end photo 34 (the one with the kid) is the closest to well taken:
1/320 sec | f/11.5 | 840mm | ISO 125 ... I think f/8.0 and a faster shutter speed would help in getting better results…

Bigger aperture (small f-values) also show lens CA and bloom more easily, most of lens have a sweet spot, on a bridge camera is usually at f/5.6, but could be more or less depending on the camera.

Anything above f/8.0 gets soft as diffraction limits are reached, above that would only be used when ISO is at 125 and exposure time at 1/2000s (or when some creativity is desired - ex.: smooth water flows)

One can clear see what diffraction does (and probably motion blur from camera shake) at photos 15 and 16…

Obviously, if those shots were taken using auto modes, this shows that is not a good idea to rely on it…

9:47 pm - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#7 Tayo

Great article and affoardable price.

9:40 am - Monday, May 9, 2011

#8 Warren Lyons

Sounds pretty typical of Kodak products; sound basic design and good for the price optics, hampered by cost cutting in manufacturing and quality control

11:07 pm - Monday, May 9, 2011

#9 lance leopold

I agree with Zebarnabe,what a pity that the shots taken with the camera were using such small apertures and in some cases maximum telephoto and slow shutter speeds,my guess if it was used with an aperture of f/4.0 to f/5.6,quite noticeable improvement in quality would result.I’m guessing most testers use SLR’s,and don’t realize that small sensor cameras have many times better Depth Of Field than SLR’s.

3:33 pm - Monday, May 16, 2011

#10 mattgrayson

no no, I realise that but is it right to use the camera at one setting to get the best possible results or should I take a variety of pictures at various settings to get diversity and to see how the camera copes when out of its comfort zone? I guess there’s arguments for both sides and the way I see it, if I get the best possible shots that the camera can produce, it’s in danger of looking more like an advertorial than a test. Sometimes it’s the camera, though. Take the footballer throwing the ball, that was set in shutter priority. The camera selected the aperture and shutter speed. It chose - in my opinion - stupid ones, but there you go. You need to see what the camera will do automatically.

I hope that helps. :O)

1:02 am - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#11 andy

I am considering buying this camera-would mainly be still photos in automatic (called Smart Capture)mode.In your specification list it isn’t clear to me whether you are able to select the Fine JPEG quality when in Smart Capture mode. Could you clarify this for me please. Thanks.

6:22 pm - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#12 Michael

WHAT!!!!  PB gave the KODAK z990 a better rating in image quality than the FUJIFILM hs-20. How funny, they NEVER give Kodak good ratings, let alone better than a known superior rival.  Kudos to Kodak, I say.  I think its justified.  Sure there are limitations to this camera and likely cheaper materials used overall, but for every day image quality, and value for your money, I think Kodak got it right!!!

3:04 pm - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#13 Rich Souza N.

Are those issues over sluggish response , confusing screen instructions & the like on the MAX Z-990 issues which are amenable to appropriate firmware updates, or must I wait & hope that a subsequent Max model has eliminated them? 
  The plastic tripod threads problem I can overcome myself by milling out the threads and epoxying in that threaded metal tube from my extinct Z-712.
        Tnx , from Rich in Bonn !

2:28 pm - Thursday, June 9, 2011

#14 Rich Souza N.

Did my query reach you ?

2:30 pm - Thursday, June 9, 2011

#15 baba bikash

this is very good.

11:07 am - Saturday, June 11, 2011

#16 Richsouza N.

P.S.to my note ref. epoxying-in a metal tripod threaded tube extracted from an extinct Z712IS : Just dismayed to find that the “metal” threaded tube is nothing more than a chrome-plated plastic moulding after all .  SO, as second best :
Polish up those metal threads of the tripod screw with high-speed (Dremel,etc) wire brush until those threads are “smooth as silk” . Apply a smidgeon of grease . ” Best ” grease may be a milky white silicon grease + teflon powder mix available in marine supply stores; or perhaps a co-called ” dry ” (powdered) grease (?) .
Use “barely” enough ,& work into the male threads; then into the hole in the camera using
using that male screw . Repeat several times to be sure.
Not a complete solution, but postpones the inevitable with all plastic fittings. Don´t overtighten with plastic!  Important :
Keep the pouch AND camera frequently vacuum´d !
  Amazing how fast plastic attracts crud !
Use CLEAN (= unused )toothbrushes to loosen crud while vacuuming ; use another brush for spreading grease on threads .  Vacuum Quarterly , please!
  LASTLY: Have no truck with “Manyanas” !
              de Rich in Bonn.

1:11 pm - Saturday, June 11, 2011

#17 Glenn

Just curious if you checked online to see if Kodak released a firmware upgrade. They often do that to address issues.

6:39 pm - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#18 Carlos Nicholas

I use the Z990 for the last 2 months. The camera takes great picts. Furthermore, the video quality is really impressive ! zooming is possible while filming and AF is accurate, without “hunting” while zooming. Also the clarity of colours and sharpness of the video are beyond my expectations..

5:43 pm - Monday, June 27, 2011

#19 Arthur Maliev

Hello, I bought this camera, now I am disappointed with the camera, batteries run down quickly as they should be charged? Use a memory card Class 6, but the camera is very slow, long thought, without a card the camera works quickly. What could be wrong? As you run the camera?

Russia; St.Petersburg

8:14 am - Sunday, July 3, 2011

#20 Arthur Maliev

My camera memory card class 6 will slow down as you run a camera?

Rewiev video

2:56 pm - Sunday, July 3, 2011

#21 zebarnabe

Arthur Maliev,

The speed shown is normal for a bridge camera.

You may want to check the camera manual for burst modes in PASM settings…

To ensure maximum speed, format the card each time you dump the photos from the card to the PC.

8:51 pm - Sunday, July 3, 2011

#22 Arthur Maliev

Hang http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KGQaKnBQO4

4:53 pm - Monday, July 4, 2011

#23 Paul A. B.

I had a 981 and was very unsatisfied with the pic resolution. I replaced it with the Z990 and it is a world of difference.
The best thing about the Z990 is it’s low light capabilities. On default settings I can make campfirelight pics with ease, wildlife shots at higher zoom and low light conditions turn out great. I have never had this option before—-low light point and shoot.
The new type sernsor does wonders for me.

11:14 pm - Friday, July 29, 2011

#24 Mila

Camera is a bit slow but the picture is not bad.

8:35 pm - Thursday, September 15, 2011

#25 Janne

I have read about color issues on z990. Can you solv it som way? Is it frustrating when you have to enter the menu all the time, sins there is now way of making it stay there?

9:29 pm - Saturday, October 1, 2011

#26 Brian

I usually rely on this site for accurate info but I really don’t understand the sample pics here… I mean, it almost appears the reviewer was intentionally trying to post the worst pics possible! :-)  Try this link and then compare before making your buying decision.  I took each of these and there has been minimal post processing on most of them. 
http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=38552793@N06&q=Kodak Z990

4:16 am - Monday, October 10, 2011

#27 Billy

After reviewing this cam and the Panasonic fz47
I got to say the Panasonic image quality is much more lifelike. The z990 looks more painted on quality. I have a kodak that makes decent pictures but looking for a better cam with a good zoom.

Panasonic wins, imo, and that is what I am going to purchase soon.

5:35 pm - Saturday, December 3, 2011

#28 albastru22

Why are camera manufacturer so hung on the megapixel war? I love the lens on this camera, but the images, when viewed at 100% look like paintings… No smooth surface, only noise everywhere - and Im talking about daylight photos. look at the blue flower in detail…
The same goes for many cameras, including the Panasonic FZ150. Does the situation get better if shooting at lower resolutions? Cause I can live with that… I would like no more than 8 mb but IQ to be better.

3:03 pm - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#29 Nghia Nguyen

Hello, regarding the slow download of image to sd card. The reason why you are waiting a really long time to take a picture is because of the following issues:

- SD card too slow, I would use a class 6 or 10, image download instantly

- The camera is in “review” or “preview” mode after you take the pic, i.e. it is showing you what you just took, and kodak did not have half a mind to put in a setting where you can turn it off or at least change the duration in which the image is shown. So to counter this problem, all you gotta do is tap on the shutter button (the button that you press to take a picture) and it will go straight back to taking picture mode, almost instantly for me since I use a class 6, it might be slower with a class 4 or 2.

I take really fast pictures because I take pictures at my friend’s soccer game, so I use this feature of pressing the shutter button right away because I dont have time to review my pictures instantly.

Camera is buggy sometimes but when it works it works REALLY well. and usually all you gotta do is open the battery hatch and close it back and start the camera up again and it’s ready to go.

Ultra bad grammar I know but there’s my fix for 90% of the problems with the camera haha.

7:13 pm - Thursday, January 12, 2012

#30 RNB

Bought a Z990 and used it for about 2 weeks.  Great lens no question.  Poor camera mechanics/electronics.  Way too slow on zoom, processing etc to be really effective as a camera for active photography.  Very frustrating waiting for things to happen before being able to shoot/reshoot.  Too bad it is not as good in operations as the specs imply.  I may have had a dud ... Relunctantly retuned it after 2 weeks :-(

7:58 am - Sunday, January 22, 2012

#31 Theles

Just FYI, Kodak has some released firmware updates, I’ve got the last one, and the camera is working pretty well. The responsiveness problems that many has talked about has gone, and it’s well observed, that the time spent of picture-to-picture are the time that is set by the camera to preview the photo, and this timer is adjustable on the settings.

I’ll look into it and inform it here, but, as said above, by pressing the shutter button the camera goes back to the function immediately. I’m using a Kingston Class10 16GB SDHC Card.

7:48 pm - Monday, January 30, 2012

#32 lori

Hello, I just bought one of these and it should be here today. I just loved your through review! So i just went for it. Now I’m wondering about the lense converters I have seen for sale. From the best I can figure these allow you to use filters with the camera. I’m wondering how they work with the zoom and such. thank you for any help at all.

9:07 pm - Wednesday, February 8, 2012

#33 Naveen

i want to buy kodak easyshare z990.. i love the features of this one. now tell me is this the best option of buy this?

11:43 am - Wednesday, March 7, 2012

#34 tomson

hi there,

i am not sure about deciding between the Kodak EasyShare MAX Z990 and an Olympus SP-810UZ. i am not a pro and want an easy to use camera that makes good pictures. also i need the high zoom for sports pictures, where I also need good serial picture performance… is the image quality and shooting speed of the olympus really that bad? the handling of the kodak really that complicated? any suggestions?

3:48 pm - Saturday, March 17, 2012

#35 Corey Appleby

I have been using this camera since it was released last year. I have had no real issues other than sometimes it is a little slow. I have won a few contests using this camera, and I would have to say I higly reccomend it.

1:45 pm - Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#36 Warren Lyons

Although I have more cameras in my house than fingers on my hands, I couldn’t resist buying a Z990 for the giveaway price of $150, after seeing the pictures that Brian posted.  My excuse for “1 last camera” was that it ran on cheap generic AA batteries.  It’s nice to be able to use Alkaline AAs in a pinch, but it goes through them like a German Shepherd on a T bone steak.  My advise is to use either disposable lithium 1.5v cells, or Nimh rechargables.  So far the best ones I have found are high capacity Thunderbolt brand, sold only at Harbor Freight Tools, for around $8.00 for a pack of four.  Avoid using the 15 minute quick charges which ruin the batteries after a couple of cycles.  As to the camera itself, it is a mixed bag.  The pros give it 3 or 4 star out of five reviews.  Users either love it or hate it.  So far, I have found that it is easy to put it in auto mode and get a decent shot.  To get a great shot, it takes a great deal of trial and error in manual or semi manual modes.  IMHO, those who loved it took the time, as Brian obviously did.  Those who hated it either got a defective unit, or got frustrated with its slow performance and clumsy menus

5:34 pm - Saturday, April 28, 2012

#37 DYS

Guys, if you are having speed issues with this camera, it seems that the latest firmware upgrade (1.12) takes care of the extra slow moments.

Honestly, I love this camera. Tons of features for a low price, great performance all around. I agree that the 12 megapixel resolution is a bit silly, though, resulting in soft and grainy texture at full crop. However, the image quality is still great and you can take photos in an amazing range of conditions, from nearly microscope-level macros to telescope-like telephotos, broad daylight to middle of the night. If you’re on a really tight budget, this may well be the most bang for the buck

8:27 am - Thursday, May 10, 2012

#38 dude

Has anyone experience with this camera in shooting fast moving objects in very bright conditions? I need fast serial pictures and a camera that can deal with very bright light settings on the beach to shoot surfing pictures. Reflections from the water usually overexpose pictures on my actual cam. The kodak camera has an auto scene mode called “bright”, but I am not sure if that is available with high speed serial pictures and if it works well. Are settings available in high speed mode to adjust for producing decent surfing pictures in very bright light?
thanks in advance for your comments!

2:32 am - Sunday, June 3, 2012

#39 Steve Farrington

I have purchased Kodak cameras before the last one was the Z915 and after getting use to it and learning all its modes and manual settings I found it a tremendous camera that I had no problem with. Six weeks ago I purchased the Z990 Max and experienced several glitches. I downloaded the 1.12 firmware and it help on some. I had a rash of camera freezing. However, when I got rid of the Kodak Card and went to a PNY SD Card I only had one freeze up in the last 3 weeks. I also had a seven second lag between individual shots. Well, Kodak straightened me out telling me that I simply had to press down the shutter button half way after a shot to stop the preview and go immediate to the next open frame. It worked and I am able to take quick shots. With all of this out of the way I am happy to have the Z990 Max and have taken many wonderful photos.

8:03 pm - Friday, June 22, 2012

#40 Texasmom

I loved this camera when I first purchased it.  It was all the things I wanted for a great price.  It only took a couple of months before I started having issues with the camera freezing.  Now just over a year later, this is the worst camera I have ever purchased.  I have missed so many pictures because the camera failed to focus in and wouldn’t take the photo or would just freeze up.  Now I am having problems with it taking pictures at all.  I have to push the shutter button several times before it might take the picture.  Today with fully charged batteries Kodak it won’t take pictures AT ALL.  If anyone has any advice to fix this I would appreciate the help.  Not sure I would recommend this camera.

5:06 pm - Monday, June 25, 2012

#41 Warren Lyons

Texasmom, I think you may have made the mistake of buying one of the last ones to come out of the factory.  Knowing that Kodak was getting out of the camera business and that they soon would be out of a job, I suspect the employees at that factory let any pretense of quality control go out the window, and as many reviewers have hinted, it was never that good to begin with.  I bought one a few months ago for only $150.00, and so far, so good.  Takes great shots if you have the patience and a steady hand.  I don’t however, expect to grow old with it

12:39 pm - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

#42 Kaushik Debnath

kodak Z990 is the best among the bridge cameras. I have been using since dec2011. Zoom is fantabulous. I dnt know how & where to use aperture, shutter speed. If anyone knows it please email me.

4:42 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#43 ronald.c.lee-harris

greetings…this is the third review read to-day and the common thread is that this camera at a good price will be a quasi-bargain( $170.34.au., posted to australia from amazon to-day)...it appears to do most things asked of it,it has quite a few bell’s and dangles,a 30x zoom that work’s and that OLD KODAK COLOR SCHEME…this camera holds an interest here so a punt in value verses absolute quality could very well pay off(a panasonic fz 150 is around $410.00 au so there is a good savings????)thank you for the verdicts,will go away and give some thought…regards…r/c.

5:26 am - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#44 Steve Farrington

Since I last commented I have found my Z990 stopsdoingsome its normal functions such as bursts and digital zoom. When I clicked on the reset button on the menu thes efesture sreturned
to normal.

5:42 am - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#45 Brigitte

Do not buy this camera. I got this camera last Christmas and it was great! It does take good pictures, for about 3 mounths. the outside coat started peeling and kodak would not replace it when it was under warranty because they said I destroyed it. The pictures tend to have a yellow tint that is not attractive and it duplicates photos like 50x. This camera was not good quality, i admit it’s a steal price, but not worth it. Use your 300+$ to buy a quality camera that will last long like a Canon, Olympus, Nikon. Hope i helped!

7:39 pm - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#46 Steve Farrington

Well, here it is just one day before the beginning of November and my Z990 has been doing great for me with all sorts of great photos. Also I have the advantage of having good software which enables me to make better photos out of the ones that didn’t turn out that well. This isn’t any different from other cameras. I have found however, that when I use the burst setting in the modes the camera gives me a blank window until the bursts are complete. But, when I use a manual setting and the bursts each frame passes across the screen as it completes the burst function; interesting. In any case I am still happy with the Z990 now that I have learned how to handle its idiosyncracies. I just wish Kodak did have to go through its reorganization.

7:51 pm - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#47 VirginiaLynne

I love this camera.  I’ve had only Olympus and Canon cameras since the 1970s, so I was not sure when my husband suggested I get this one but I’ve never had a camera that took good shots this consistantly.

5:14 am - Friday, November 2, 2012

#48 ronald.c.lee-harris

greetings…virginia lynne. we did buy this camera and just like you v/pleased all round . it works as expected and the price was a bargain.practice makes perfect, so far the pic’s are good. great to see you have succeded as well…keepgood…r/c.

10:42 pm - Friday, November 2, 2012

#49 Barbara

I just wanted to say I bought this camera last year.  I am strictly an amateur photographer and have posted pics on my URL at facebook that I have taken.  I have two complaints about the camera: Right after I bought it, the delete button stopped working.  The other is that I think the camera is too bulky.  But I think it takes great pics. If you see any of my pics as blurry it is because of my ineperience, and because I take a lot of pics through my backdoor which is all glass.

4:24 pm - Thursday, April 11, 2013

#50 Redfield

I had this camera, now I am trying to get back, only I sold it, because I had and emergency of money, but its amazing, i download the resolution of 12 megapixels to 6 megapixels, and the quality upgrade. I printer a image in a plotter in 90cms x 60 cms and the resolution its amazingly!. 6 megapixels its enough for a bridge camera or compac camera and for print. Sorry for my english, I am an spanish person.

1:37 am - Saturday, August 24, 2013

#51 clubwoot

I’m having issues where the camera loses focus just as shutter is pressed.  This occurs whether in zoom mode or not and when mounted on tripod or not.  Image is crystal clear in the viewfinder until shutter button is pressed, then image an picture are out of focus.  Very frustrated with this.  I get much better results with my Z1012. Has anyone else experienced this? Could it be that th IS is not working? Can the firmware upgrade resolve the issue?

3:12 am - Friday, October 3, 2014

#52 kaushik

after 1 year its started giving trouble. Zoom was not working, memory chip too. inspite of trying with other chips. Zoom was not repairable too.

Felt Very unhappy with the quality. Think twice before you buy…....

6:16 am - Friday, October 3, 2014

#53 Jim Van Damme

I’ve had this for 2 years, got it for $150 refurb, it’s worked pretty well all that time. It really has too many settings and gadgets for me, but I get along with it OK. It still runs & looks like new except I lost the lens cap somewhere in Uganda; it has fallen off about 100 times before. I’ve had to read the long manual (downloadable from Kodak) several times and practice with all..well, some.. of the functions because I can’t remember them all. First thing I did was get a decent battery charger because the included one is very slow and only 120V.

8:23 pm - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, wide-angle, 12 megapixel, RAW, manual, super-zoom, cmos, 28mm, 30x zoom, bsi, sensor, kodak, exr, easyshare, Kodak EasyShare Z990 Review, max, z990

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