Kodak Easyshare Max Z990 review

18 Jul 2011

A great choice if your budget is limited, the Z990 is easy to use and produces great photos

Price when reviewed: 
254(£244 inc VAT)
5

The name may sound a little low-end, but this camera’s specifications are up there with the best: the Kodak EasyShare Max Z990 has a 30x zoom, a 12-megapixel sensor, RAW capture and 1080p Full HD video recording.

The area where it looks deficient is its pixel count, but a lower resolution can be a good thing, especially since the sensor is the same size as its competitors. Each photo receptor receives more light, which should lead to better quality photos, particularly in low light.

Kodak Easyshare Max Z990

The theory wasn’t borne out in tests, as shots looked blotchy in dim light. However, in better conditions, the Z990 produced excellent shots that wouldn’t embarrass cameras costing £100 more.

The 28-840mm lens has some barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom but with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, plenty of light gets in. At the telephoto end images look crisp, and in good light the optical stabilisation works to reduce shake. Video performance wasn’t as impressive: colours were fine, as was sharpness, but highlights were blown out and shadows lacked detail.

The Z990 is easy to use, too. Controls have been kept to a minimum and common settings are a few clicks away. There are separate shutter and video-recording buttons, plus command and jog dials. You can tag photos to upload to Facebook, Flickr and the Kodak Gallery, and we liked thoughtful touches like the prompt to transfer images when you insert an SD card.

Kodak Easyshare Max Z990

There are also fun features, including HDR and both manual and sweep panorama modes, but none were particularly successful in our tests.

But with full manual control and RAW capture, it would be churlish to come down too hard on these shortcomings, as the Z990 is undoubtedly good value.

Details

Price ex VAT £212
Price inc VAT £254
Overall rating 5
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Image quality 4
Value for Money 5

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 12.0mp
Camera screen size 3.0in
Camera optical zoom range 30x
Camera maximum resolution 4,000 x 3,000

Weight and dimensions

Weight 445g
Dimensions 124 x 105 x 91mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included NiMH
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range f2.8 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 0.01m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 28
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 840
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/2,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed 16s
Bulb exposure mode? no
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 2EV
ISO range 125 - 6400
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? no
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 60.0fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? no
Memory-card type SD
LCD resolution 460k
Video/TV output? yes
Data connector type Micro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? no
Software supplied None
Accessories supplied Neck strap, wrist strap, mains charger, USB cable