A generic monitor not specifically designed for photography isn’t going to deliver the colour quality we seek. Processing images on the BenQ SW271 gives the user a stunningly vivid colour range.
Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS
5x optical zoom camera with image stabilisation
- Stabilised 5x optical zoom, 720p video recording, Smart Capture mode works well for amateurs
- Noticeable drop in clarity towards the edges of the frame, buffer is small (which causes slow down), no custom white balance
Kodak's EasyShare Z1085 is a decent but not outstanding advanced compact camera. It has some nifty features, but the images aren't quite up to scratch and it can get slow when the small buffer fills up.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Sitting at an attractive price point and combining a 10-megapixel (Mp) sensor with a fairly extensive array of features, Kodak's Z1085 IS camera seems like good value for money and for the most part it is. However, it does have several image quality and performance issues that may irritate some users.
This unit has a larger than average 5x optical zoom and supports it with optical image stabilisation, which adds a good amount of flexibility. There is also the usual Face Detect focus mode, as well as Smart Capture, which works similarly to Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode. It picks from a variety of settings, including scene modes, ISO and exposure, depending on your subject. It is basically a more advanced automatic mode. While it is far from revolutionary, it does a good job and will please users who are after simple point-and-shoot functionality. More experienced photographers, on the other hand, will appreciate the inclusion of the program and manual modes; note, however, that there are no shutter and aperture priorities.
Another promising feature is high-definition video recording. With the ability to record 720p movies, the Z1085 sounds like it may be the perfect companion to a new high-definition panel TV. However, keep in mind it is still just a compact digital camera with a small sensor. The video quality is decent — certainly better than you'll get out of cameras that only record 640x480 footage — but it is a far cry from the sharp, detailed movies modern HD camcorders can capture.
The Z1085's packs in a 10Mp sensor, which is a fairly high resolution for a unit at this price point. However, it didn't quite perform to our expectations and there are better 10Mp units on the market in terms of image quality.
Pictures were relatively sharp towards the centre of the frame, but there was a substantial drop in clarity towards the edges. Pictures took on a fuzzy look and detail was lost, which became quite problematic at times. There was also some noticeable purple fringing, although it wasn't overwhelming.
Colour balance is decent but not outstanding. There is no manual white balance option, so you'll have to settle for the rather meagre array of presets. Primary colours were generally strongly saturated, particularly blues and greens, but the overall balance is relatively pleasing.
Noise performance was average, with shots above ISO 400 lacking clarity and being covered in a fine, colourful haze. Even some of our outdoors shots at ISO 100 exhibited a slight graininess, but it won't be problematic at small and medium print sizes.
Speed was generally good, with a 2.5 second start-up time, 1.5 seconds between shots and 0.09 seconds of shutter lag. The burst mode is solid, capturing 2.5 frames per second. However, the camera has an extremely small buffer, so if you take several shots in quick succession you'll find everything slows down dramatically while it processes the incoming data.
The unit is just a fraction too chunky to slide comfortably into a pocket. It is built entirely from matte black plastic, and it is relatively solid feeling. Some of the controls are lacking in tactility, but the interface is one of the better ones we've used, giving quick intuitive access to most of the main functions of the camera.
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