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Kodak EasyShare Z700 Digital Camera Review$299.95
*Kodak aims to please its customers with accurate depictions of colors. They even go so far as to name their image processor the Kodak Color Science Chip. To test how accurate it is, we took several exposures of our GretagMacbeth color chart. This chart acts as the standard for what colors are supposed to be. We uploaded the images into Imatest Imaging Software, analyzing them for tonal accuracy. To see the difference between the ideal colors and the Z700’s colors, refer to the chart below. The outer squares represent the colors produced by the Kodak Z700, while the inner vertical rectangle is the ideal. The inner squares represent what the camera’s produced colors look like when corrected by a computer application.
The same information is displayed in a more graphical manner below. The circles represent the color produced by the Kodak Z700, while the squares represent the ideal colors. The farther these two shapes are from each other, the more errant that particular tone.
The Kodak Color Science Chip came through on this test. The Z700 scored a 10.49 overall color score, which is quite similar to the Z740’s 10.9. All of the Kodak Z series cameras have been quite impressive in this area, producing images with striking, accurate color portrayal. The Z700 does diverge a bit from the ideal on some warmer colors; however, the slightly embellished red and pink tones apply a more vibrant overtone to the scene and is certainly intentionally constructed that way by Kodak.
Still Life Scene
Below is a copy of our still life scene, taken with the Z700.
Click on the above image to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: the linked file is very large!)](../viewer.php?picture=Kodak-Z700-StillLifeLG.jpg)
**Resolution / Sharpness ***(2.63)*
The Kodak EasyShare Z700 has a 4.23 megapixel CCD engine beneath its hood. Of those, only 4 megapixels are effective in imaging. To see how many pixels are used in the Z700’s pictures, we uploaded exposures of an industry standard resolution chart into Imatest Imaging Software. The program counted every last pixel and we compared this with the advertised effective pixel count. When a camera comes within 70 percent of the advertised count, it is considered "good." Within 80 percent, we think that’s "very good." An "excellent" designation goes to the cameras that can score 90 percent or better.
Unfortunately, the Kodak EasyShare Z700 didn’t perform very well in our resolution test. The Z700 recorded 2.63 megapixels at its highest resolution, which is just 66 percent of the advertised image size. This camera’s counterpart, the Z740, tested similarly at 67 percent of its advertised count. This will not have a dramatic impact on those 4 x 6 prints, however, users should beware that larger prints will display compromised quality.
**Noise - Auto ISO ***(3.43)*
Since this camera is aimed for beginning point-and-shooters, the Kodak Z700 should score well in the automatic ISO setting — in theory. Although, oddly enough, many compact cameras fall short in this field. This model’s bigger sis, the Kodak Z740, scored a 3.88, which is acceptable, but certainly not stellar. The Z700 performed similarly, earning a 3.43 overall noise score in the automatic ISO setting. Most digital cameras, the Z700 included, perform better in the manual mode because they have shortened automatic ranges. The Z700’s automatic ISO range extends from 80-160, while the manual ratings extend to 400.
**Noise - Manual ISO ***(6.27)*
Noise is bound to happen in digital photography, just as grain is bound to emerge on film. Less is better, of course. We tested noise levels at the 80, 100, 200, and 400 manual ISO ratings offered on the EasyShare Z700; the results can be seen below. The chart shows the Kodak Z700’s ISOs on the horizontal axis and the produced noise on the vertical axis.
To determine the overall noise score, we compiled the results from all of the settings into a regression analysis. The Kodak EasyShare Z700 scored a 6.27 overall manual noise score, which is almost as good as the Z740’s 6.75. Both Z-series models score better than most compact digital cameras, where the average is often dismally in the threes and fours. When users have time to adjust the ISO rating, they should definitely take the opportunity, as it will increase the quality of their photographs exponentially.
**Low Light ***(5.5)*
To test each camera’s low light capabilities, we record four images at decreasing light levels without the use of the flash. We set the camera to its highest ISO setting and shoot the images using the Program setting. The test enables us to isolate the sensitivity of the sensor to light and observe the camera’s point of limitation. Cameras are tested at 60, 30, 15 and 5 Lux, in an attempt to replicate common low light shooting conditions; 60 Lux is appears soft, like a bedroom at night, while 30 Lux approximates a single 40 watt lightbulb, and 15 and 5 Lux display the camera’s potential to record in near darkness.
Click on any of the above charts for additional image analysis
Surprisingly, in our low light tests, the Z700 outperformed its Z-series counterpart the Z740. Images recorded with the Z700 at 60 Lux nearly retain the vibrancy of daylight shots. Dropping to 30 Lux, there is a definite compromise in quality, but tonal gradations remain pronounced. At 30 Lux, noise suppression is ample and users would be able to clearly discern their subject and scene. Moving to 15 Lux, the camera displays a significant drop in image quality and while the chart remains readily visible, color accuracy has waned substantially. 5 Lux with the Z700 appears almost as 15 Lux, which is a significant notch-up over the Z740, which virtually recorded a black frame. I’d say users could take the Z700 comfortable down to 35 or 30 Lux and still walk away with an image worth keeping. When levels drop below that, the camera is pretty useless, but still far more impressive than its counterpart. All around, with a limited shutter speed range, the flash may often be needed when shooting with the Z700 at night, although atmospheric night shots should not be ruled out entirely.
Speed / Timing
*Startup to First Shot (5.65)
*Users can turn on the Kodak EasyShare Z700 and capture an image in just over 4.35 seconds. At this sluggish rate, make sure the camera is powered up before you leave the house.
*Shot to Shot (8.27) *
The EasyShare Z700 contains two different burst modes that shoot at the same 2-frame-per-second rate. The "first burst" mode took 5 exposures at a rate of 0.41 seconds per frame, then took a 20-second break before regrouping and capturing the next set of pictures. The "last burst" mode shot subsequent images every 0.51 seconds, but only saves the last four images. This will function as long as you know when you get the picture you want and stop shooting or you might record right over that precious image.
*Shutter to Shot (8.61) *
While there is no apparent lag in focusing, the Z700 requires 0.2 seconds to take a picture. This is by no means the slowest camera on the market, but still may result in a few blinked eyes.