Kodak Z1275 Digital Camera Initial Review

UPDATE: Full review starts hereĀ 

I didn’t expect the amount of email I’ve gotten about my New Kodak Z1275. I know I’ve promised a full review after my Glacier trip which starts in a few days; But I’ve had several requests via email for more information so I’ll post a bit of a teaser.

Please keep in mind that I’ve only had the camera for a few days so I’m still playing with it and testing it out in different modes and under different conditions. Some of this info may be repeated in my full review (hope to post it on or before August 1st) so forgive me.

I bought this camera to meet a specific need. I wanted a compact camera to carry with me in the woods; hiking, fishing, hunting, etc. Obviously it won’t replace my 35mm SLR, but who wants to carry an SLR and a bag of lenses on a series of 10+ mile days?

I got the Camera on Monday. I was immediately impressed with the form factor it is small and light weight, but feels very natural to operate.

The basic specs, 12MP, 1/1.72 CCD, 5x optical/5x digital zoom, 720p 30fps HD video (up to 2GB).

Check out Red Mountain Photos for a few of the shots I took the other day. I’m still learning what it’ll do, but overall, given the conditions of the day, I’m really impressed. The overall quality of the image in full auto is impressive. Usually I don’t like image quality on auto; guess it stems from my years of SLR. Thus far I’ve only used the auto modes as I get a feel for how the camera thinks.

As I mentioned before, the camera is very natural to operate. I’ve yet to read the operators manual and I feel I’ve got a complete understanding of the interface. I’m especially impressed with how the Program/Manual modes are controlled. On other digital cameras the interface to change iso, shutter, apature and other aspects are a series of steps. On the Kodak Z1275 it’s simple as everything is shown on the LCD.

Speaking of the LCD, that was one of the things I noticed first. The LCD is adequate, but just that. I would have preferred a bit more detail, but it works. I don’t have any problem seeing the LCD in daylight under most conditions, even in power save mode. Speaking of the LCD, I will miss the viewfinder; if only for battery savings on long trips. But considering the sleek form factor it works.

I love sunset, lowlight and plum dark photography. One downside to this camera is the shutter speed maxes out at 8 seconds. I’d really prefer at least 15, 30 or 60 would be ideal. But again it’s not replacing my 35mm. I haven’t had much chance to test lowlight performance. I did snap a few sunset photos on the way back down Red Mountain. Initially I was scared to see a purple stripe of pixels across the LCD as I was taking a bright sunset shot in Smart Scene (auto) mode. However, when the image took, it was pristine. It captured all the highs, lows and colors as it should and with great definition.

I’ve only tried the 720p video feature a couple times for a short clip or two and not under the best conditions. I can already tell that a tripod is almost mandatory for HD video.

I’m impressed with the color spectrum that the Z1275 picks up, very natural, colorful and pleasing. I think that kodak might actually be right on the money with the color chip they rave about.

The only annoyance I’ve found thus far is in Smart Scene mode when taking a landscape horizon photo the smart scene feature can cause the AF/AE to act strange for a second as it jumps to landscape mode. Its nothing major and the conditions have to be right but I did notice it.

I’ll have plenty more to say in a week and a half when I get back from glacier after I get the full week of images and video. I’ll try to post a video too.

At this point, I can safely recommend this camera, I really like it. I’m sure next week I’ll love it.

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