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Not wanting to invest in a digital SLR just yet, I set about trying to find a really good quality compact at a reasonable price with a high amount of megapixels and the Kodak Z885 seemed to have everything I was after.
The dark grey and silver of this camera makes it look really classy and expensive. The camera has got a really good weight on it - I find a strange sort of reassurance in this - I guess it makes me feel I'm getting more for my money :) but generally it just helps so you'd notice if it fell out of your pocket!
Ease of use:
The buttons are well spaced and are of a good size so the camera isn't fiddly to use. The function wheel at the top of the camera is clearly labelled and the shutter button has a good amount of 'give' so that you feel that you're actually pressing a working button! Some of the functions such as 'P/M' and 'Iso' modes ARE suited to more expirienced photographers yet the 'SCN' mode allows beginners to easily select a mode suited to their surrounding/situation with little fuss. The camera is easy to connect to a PC and the software included makes editing/sending/catagorising easy and fun. Deletion of individual images can be fiddly and time-consuming!
I have found that the screen on the camera can be a little deceptive - sometimes colours and shadows etc. can appear a lot more defined on the screen yeet once uploaded to a computer, the image can look very different. A little tinkering with the screen resolutio should sort his out though.
Having a 5x optical zoom really benefits this camera yet once fully zoomed it can have trouble focusing - I've spent ages trying to postion and reposition the camera for a close up, even when in 'macro' or for distant landscape shots. Not ideal! I've also found that when using the zoom and the flash simultaneously, images tend to lighten so dramatically that they appear completely white...yet this could just be me being an idiot as I've more comfortable with analog cameras rather than digital :)
At 8.1mp the quality of image is fine for me - nice and crisp and allows you to work with your images afterwards with the use of a program such as Adobe Photoshop without needed to increase the sharpness or quality. As an art student, I'm always editing and re-editing my photos with Adobe depending on my various projects and needs and the photos have always stood up well to a lot of manipulation!
I really wasn't impressed with the battery life when I first got this camera, with it only lasting a day of frequent 'snapping' before I had to replace. I tried rechargable batteries to try and save money but these seemed to last even less than before. I then discovered Energizer Litium batteries and was quite honestly amazed - they last MONTHS with this camera! They're pricey but worth it. Cheap batteries are a false economy!
It came with a wrist strap and USB connecter and software but not much else. It comes with an average internal memory but I had to buy my own memory card but you can get these pretty cheap nowadays. The camera comes with a cool little 'favourites' function that means you can save your fave images to the internal memory and this makes uploading and finding these easy.
The video fucntion on this camera is average. The quality is a little grainy when videoing outdoors but I've achieved good results when inside with a tripod. NOT FOR GIG VIDEOS! The microphone just can't handle it and the focus cannot handle light changes and quick movements.
Overall, this is a great camera for me and I've knocked out some really cool projects with the help of this baby and a little bit of manipulation Adobe-wise here and there. It's a good basic camera. I wouldn't reccomend it to highly experienced/professional photographers though as you're not going to get the same results as with an SLR and you''re likely to get bored with the limited manual functions.