The front of the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS is dominated by the 28mm - 420mm f/3.5-5.4 lens with 15x optical zoom. Above the lens is the flash, which pops up when you need it. To the left of the lens is an auto focus assist lamp and two microphones for stereo video recording.
That big 15x optical zoom lens is the major feature on this camera.
The back is taken up by the large 3-inch LCD display. Above the LCD you find the electronic viewfinder. To the left of the viewfinder is a button that switches between the LCD and EVF displays. To the right of the LCD are four buttons for Info, Review, Delete and Menu. Above these buttons is the zoom toggle. At the far right is the 4-way controller and just above that is the Share button.
We like the simple control layout on the back.
The right side of the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS has nothing but an eyelet for a lanyard or strap. The left side has a door that covers the DC In and mini USB port.
Like most ultra zooms that barrel sticks out quite a bit.
On the top you see a jog dial on the far left that allows you to access manual functions. To the right of that, on the other side of the viewfinder, is the mode dial with the on/off button sitting just in front of it. On the far right, on the top of the hand grip, is the shutter button at the front and three button near the back to control burst mode, focus mode and flash.
That scroll wheel on the left is your main control for manual features.
On the bottom of the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS you see the tripod socket with a dock connector right next to it There's also the cover for the battery and memory card slot.
Here you see the dock connector, an almost universal feature of Kodak cameras.
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 230,000 pixels that sits just above the LCD display. There's a small button to the left of the viewfinder that allows you to toggle between the two displays. With an electronic viewfinder you get to see the overlay for all the settings, just like you would on the LCD. This is a bonus over optical viewfinders that are just a glass eyepiece, though some photographers prefer the higher-resolution view that glass provides. The viewfinder is there for those who want to save battery life and turn the LCD off, of prefer the stability of holding the camera to your eye.
The electronic viewfinder helps you feel like a 'real' photographer.
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS's 3-inch LCD display is plenty large, but we wish the resolution were better than 230,000 pixels, although perhaps that's asking too much from a midrange camera like this.
The large 3-inch LCD is nice, but we wish it offered higher resolution.
The flash is positioned above the lens. You cannot open it manually. Instead you'll have to adjust the flash settings using the dedicated flash button at the back of the hand grip. The flash sits reasonably high above the lens, so red-eye shouldn't be too bad. The Z1015 IS lacks a hot shoe for connecting your own flash.
The most prominent feature of the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS is the 28mm - 420mm f/3.5-5.4 lens with its powerful 15x optical zoom. This lens positions the Z1015 IS as an alternative to SLRs for those who don't want to learn how to use those more advanced cameras, don't want to spend what they cost, and/or don't want to lug a huge telephoto around. The fact that the Z1015 IS is half the price of an entry level SLR or higher-priced point-and-shoot alternatives like the Canon SX10 IS won't hurt either.
That lens is going to stick out quite a ways when you unleash the 15x zoom.
There are only two connection ports on the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS, both found on the left side of the camera. Remove the tethered plastic cover to reveal the DC IN and a the mini USB port, which handles connections to cameras and A/V-out duties.
The only two ports on the Z1015 IS are the
mini USB and DC In on the left side.
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS uses a proprietary battery located under a latched door on the bottom of the camera. Kodak does not provide any information about how many photos you can take with a full charge.
The battery and SD card both fit under the bay door on the bottom.**Memory**
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS supports SD and SDHC cards, which are currently available in capacities up to 32GB. The spring-loaded card slot is found under the door on the bottom of the camera, right next to the battery.
Model Design / Appearance
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS is not a particularly attractive camera. It has clean lines, but there's not a lot of styling here. We noted the large amount of empty space on the camera. We understand that this isn't targeted at high-end shooters who want a button or dial for everything, but if that's the case, the controls provided could have been larger larger and more comfortable.
Size and Handling
The camera measures 4.65 x 3.26 x 3.06 inches (118 x 83 x 78mm), a rather large footprint for a non-SLR. There are definitely smaller cameras in this ultra-zoom class. The weight is not too bad at 15.3 ounces (434g) thanks to the largely plastic construction of the camera. This means that despite its size you should be able to hold it comfortably with just your right hand wrapped around the grip. As for transportation, get a bag or use the neck strap, since this camera won't be fitting in any pockets or even smaller purses. We're also concerned that the slick matte plastic on the Z1015 IS will make this camera a bit too easy to drop, especially as there's no texturing on the grip to make it easier to hold.
*This guy's hands were pretty big, but you can
see the camera still looks fairly large.*
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS's menus system is fairly simple and straightforward. The first one or two tabs in the menu system offers options for your current mode, while the last tab presents general settings for the camera. This means that sometimes it will take a few button clicks to find the option you want, but on the other hand this camera is targeted more at amateur shooters who don't necessarily want to change the white balance or metering options very often. There are a few items you won't find in this menu including the manual controls, which are positioned on the rotating dial to the left of the electronic viewfinder.
Ease of Use
With a relatively simple menu system and a point-and-shoot Auto mode, the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS is one ultra-zoom camera you can just pick up and use. Slightly more advanced users will find the presence of manual controls a plus, and accessing these is relatively easy using the scroll wheel found at the top left of the camera, although we should note the scroll wheel might be a bit too sensitive.
In Auto mode almost everything is handled for you, which is what we like to see in a consumer-oriented camera. The only setting changes available are picture size, flash and timer/burst settings. The rotating dial that is used to adjust options in manual modes does nothing when the camera is set to Auto.
It's easy like McDonald's, just pick your size.
Movie mode is mostly automated. You can select the size of the video in settings, choosing between 1280 x 720, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240, all at 30 fps. You can also choose between Continuous or Single auto focus. It's nice to see support for High Definition video capture on the Z1015 IS, this is a feature that is becoming more common on consumer digital cameras and it's a significant upgrade from the standard 640 x 480 video capture.
The 720p video recording is a welcome feature.
Drive / Burst Mode
The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS offers two burst mode options in most modes. Press the Timer/Burst button on the top right of the camera to toggle between First Burst, which takes three photos in quick succession, and Last Burst. The latter takes up to 30 photos in succession as long as you hold down the shutter button, but only saves the last three taken before you take your finger off the shutter. The Z1015 IS can sustain 2.1 fps, but only for three images in succession.
Playback is simple: just press the dedicated button to the right of the LCD to view your photos. You can move between photos by pressing left/right on the 4-way control. You can zoom into a photo or zoom out to a thumbnail view using the zoom toggle. With a photo selected you can see your options for working with it by pressing the Menu button. The first tab of the menu contains various options for managing your photos. The second tab contains your three editing options; adding a Sound Tag, Cropping or doing a Perfect Touch Tech, which basically tries to perform an auto adjust on your photo.
Use the zoom toggle to zoom 'out' to a thumbnail view.
Custom Image Presets
Switch the mode dial to Scene mode to select from various custom image presets. Choices include portrait, night portrait, landscape, night landscape, flower, sunset, backlight, candlelight, manner/museum, text, beach, snow, fireworks, children, self-portrait and stage. A few additional scene modes are also available directly through the mode dial: Panorama, High ISO and Sport.
You need to pick your image preset first thing when you switch to Scene mode.
Manual Control Options
Despite being targeted at amateur photographers, the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS still offers a full range of manual control options, a welcome feature for advanced amateurs who want to learn more. Use the mode dial on the top of the camera to choose Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or full Manual mode. The key tool for making manual adjustments on the Z1015 IS is the scroll wheel found on the top left of the camera.
All the manual controls are navigated using the scroll wheel and appear at the bottom of the display.
Rotate this wheel left or right to choose the appropriate setting from the bottom of the screen, which include Aperture, Shutter Speed, Exposure Compensation, Flash Compensation and ISO. When the item you want to change is highlighted press down on the scroll wheel and then rotate it to make the adjustment you want. Press down again to lock the setting in. Not quite as handy as the dedicated controls we've seen on higher-end point-and-shoots like the Canon G10 or P6000, it's still relatively easy and quick. Our biggest issue with the system is that the scroll wheel seemed a bit too sensitive, making it occasionally difficult to select the item you want or to make fine adjustments.
Although all five of these settings are displayed in each manual mode so you can see how they change, they are not all adjustable in every manual mode. In Program mode you can adjust Exposure Compensation, Flash Compensation and ISO. Aperture priority mode lets you change everything but shutter speed, and for Shutter Priority mode everything but aperture is selectable. Full manual mode doesn't let you make adjustments to Exposure Compensation.
You can set the camera to use Manual Focus by hitting the Macro/Focus button at the top of the hand grip. When in Manual Focus mode you have a sixth icon along the bottom of the screen. Using the scroll wheel as described above you can select and adjust the focus. Focus assist, where the center of the screen zooms in so you can better judge focus visually, is available. If not in Manual Focus your options are Auto Focus, Macro and Landscape.
ISO options can be adjusted in all shooting modes. In Auto mode ISO settings can range from 80-1600. In manual modes you have 3200 and 6400 ISO available as well, but these allow you to capture images at only three megapixels in size.
White balance can only be set in manual modes. From the menu you can choose from auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent and open shade. There is no support for manual white balance.
You'll need to go into the menu to change white balance.
As with white balance you'll need to be in a manual mode to adjust metering, which includes multi-pattern, center-weighted and spot metering.
Metering options are deep in the menu, no quick changes here.
Shutter speed can be set manually in Shutter Priority or full Manual modes. Shutter speed ranges from 16-1/1000 seconds, a less than impressive range, but not surprising given the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS's price.
The shutter speed range isn't mind-blowing, but hey it only costs $300.
Aperture ranges from f/3.5 -F/7.0 at the wide angle end and f/5.4 - f/7 at the telephoto end. You can adjust aperture manually when in Aperture Priority mode or full Manual mode.
*It's nice to see manual aperture controls on a relatively
inexpensive camera like the Z1015 IS.*
**The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS incorporates Kodak's optical image stabilization system.
Picture Quality / Size Options
One of the most valuable features of the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS for advanced photographers is support for RAW format. RAW allows you to take uncompressed data directly from the imaging sensor and edit it directly, avoiding the imperfections that crop up when editing compressed JPEG files. Rather than processing and compressing it into a JPEG format. RAW shooting is only available in manual modes. In manual modes you can also choose from Fine, Standard or Basic JPEG images in addition to RAW. In automatic mode you are limited to Standard quality JPEGs. Image size options range from 3,648 x 2,736 at the high end to 1280 x 960 at the low end, with ane array of resolutions in between, including options to shoot in 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 ratios.
Picture Effects Mode
As you shoot you can apply the following picture effects: high color, natural color, low color, sepia, black and white. These are not available as effects you can apply after the photo is captured.
Relatively inexpensive, packing a 15x optical zoom, with RAW file support and a full array of manual controls, the Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS is going to attract some serious attention from bargain shoppers at $299.95. The 10-megapixel camera isn't the most sophisticated piece of kit we've ever seen, but it isn't meant to be. Instead it offers an easy-to-use interface that novice users will like as they go out on vacation. The 15x optical zoom will allow adventurous but not entirely insane shooters to get close to that grizzly bear without getting too close. The big, unanswered question at this stage is the image quality the camera's can turn out. We won't be able to answer that question until we get the Z1015 IS into our labs in the near future.
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