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We tested the camera’s ability to reproduce color by photographing an industry standard color chart manufactured by GretagMacbeth. Once again, Imatest imaging software pored over each and every image and found the most accurately colored one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as accurately colored as it should be.
The chart below shows the original colors of the GretagMacbeth chart in the vertical rectangle of each tile, the Z650’s produced colors as the outer portion of each tile, and the exposure-corrected ideal on the inside of each tile.
In the optimal lighting of the studio, cameras usually perform their very best as compared to shooting outdoors and in low light. From this chart, colors look off. To see exactly how far off they are, the chart below shows the original chart’s colors as squares and the Kodak EasyShare Z650’s colors as circles.
The line between the two shapes ideally wouldn’t be there; it tethers the colors together so viewers know which is which. The Z650’s results are puzzling. Most digital cameras exaggerate the red end of the spectrum to enhance skin tones. However, the Z650 exaggerates blues and is simply erroneous with most other colors – and red is perhaps the strongest end of the spectrum. The mean color error is a horrible 13.4, although the saturation is maintained at 113 percent.
The Kodak EasyShare Z650’s 4.48 overall color score is very poor, and it is a big step down from the much older Z740’s 10.9 mark.
Avoid the automatic white balance setting if at all possible. The presets do a much better job of accurately portraying white. The poor 3.65 automatic white balance score should say something: stay away.
The Kodak Z650’s preset white balance settings are hit and miss. Most of them perform better than the automatic setting, but the flash preset had a lot of trouble. The flash fires so unevenly that our software program couldn’t even read the image. The Z650’s strongest setting is the fluorescent preset. It performed most accurately under white fluorescent light.
**Still Life Scene
***Click on the thumbnails to view the full-resolution images.*
|Still Life Scene|
|ISO 80||*ISO 80*|
|*ISO 100*||ISO 100|
|ISO 200||ISO 200|
|*ISO 400*||*ISO 400*|
To test the Z650’s 6.1-megapixel image sensor, we photographed an industry standard resolution chart and uploaded the pictures to Imatest imaging software. To eliminate any bias from the 10x lens, we photographed the chart at various focal lengths and apertures. Imatest evaluated all of the images and selected the sharpest shot, taken with a focal length of 16mm and an aperture of f/8. The ISO was manually set to 80 to keep noise low. [
Click to view high-resolution image The image is decently sharp but certainly not amazing. There is significant purple fringing in the corners too. When Imatest evaluated this image, it output numerical results in terms of line widths per picture height (lw/ph). This unit measures how many black and white alternating and equally thick lines can fit across the frame vertically and horizontally without blurring. The Kodak Z650 resolved 1202 lw/ph horizontally with 6.5 percent oversharpening and 1200 lw/ph vertically with 4.4 percent oversharpening. This resulted in a lackluster 3.92 resolution score that is typical of Kodak EasyShare digital cameras.
Noise – Auto ISO*(4.18)*
After allowing the camera to automatically set the ISO, the Kodak Z650 chose an ISO sensitivity of 160. This produced minimal noise and resulted in a good score of 4.18, which is better than the ultra-zoom Z740’s 3.88 score. Many compact digital cameras don’t do well on this test, but it’s good news that this one did because many of its users will allow the camera to automatically set the ISO.
Noise – Manual ISO*(5.52)*
The Kodak Z650’s manual ISO range isn’t expansive. It only extends from 80-400 at a time when most digital cameras include an ISO 1600 setting. We tested the four settings available on this digital camera and analyzed the amount of noise in images. Below is a graph showing the percentage of the image overtaken by noise on the vertical axis and the ISO settings on the horizontal axis.
There is a steady rise in noise up to ISO 400 that looks almost identical to the Kodak Z740’s graph. It is recommended that users keep the ISO as low as possible although the Z650’s 5.52 overall manual ISO noise score isn’t anything to be embarrassed about.
Digital cameras aren’t always used in gorgeous lighting; in fact, many manufacturers are including perks like image stabilization and high ISO sensitivities to grab better pictures in low light. To see how well the Kodak EasyShare Z650 performed in low light, we photographed the color chart at diminishing light levels. The tests were done at 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux with the ISO pumped up to 400.
The 60 lux test is roughly equivalent to two softly lit lamps in an otherwise darkened room. The 30 lux test is similar to the light from a 40-watt bulb. The 15 and 5 lux tests are very dark and are done with the purpose of discovering any limitations the image sensor may have in darkness.
Usually digital cameras perform far worse in low light than in optimal lighting. The Kodak Z650 wasn’t much worse though. At 60 lux, its colors were actually more accurate with a mean color error of 12.4 as opposed to the 13.4 mean color error at 3000 lux. The accuracy did get worse as the light decreased from resulting in a mean color error of 14.5 at 5 lux. However, illumination remained in tact and noise was surprisingly under control.
Perhaps because the camera’s top ISO is 400 and its slowest shutter speed is 8 seconds, there is less opportunity for noise to sneak into the image. Noise did increase as the shutter was opened longer though, as is normal on digital cameras. The graph below shows the exposure time on the horizontal plane and the percentage of the image degraded to noise on the vertical plane.
From 1-5 seconds, noise slowly slopes upward. At 5 seconds, the amount of noise in the image is still under 2 percent. This is quite good. In the light or dark, the Kodak EasyShare Z650 can produce clean images – although in funky colors.
To see how well the Kodak EasyShare Z650 could capture light and dark subjects simultaneously, we photographed a backlit Stouffer step chart designed to measure dynamic range. The chart consists of a row of rectangles that vary from very light to very dark and represent 13 values of exposure. We loaded the Z650’s photos of this chart to Imatest software and it found the one with the most dynamic range. Below is a chart showcasing the best results; the number of exposure values is on the vertical plane, and the camera’s four ISO settings are on the horizontal plane.
The ISO 80 and 100 settings produce very similar results just under 7 exposure values, which isn’t that great when compared to other digital cameras. It gets much worse at ISO 200 with less than 5 exposure values represented. At ISO 400, only 4 exposure values are present. This is disappointing and a poor score indeed.
Startup to First Shot*(4.1)*
The Kodak EasyShare ultra-zoom digital cameras are slow to awaken. The older Z740 took 3.66 seconds, and the Z650 is much worse than that. It takes this digital camera 5.9 seconds to start up and snap its first picture.
When the camera is set to the single drive mode, it snaps a picture at a leisurely pace: every 2.1 seconds. There are three burst modes on the Kodak EasyShare Z650 that snap away much faster. The first and fastest burst mode snapped 4 shots in a half-second, which is incredibly quick. But then it took an insane 35 seconds to recover. During its recovery, it could still snap pictures but only one shot at a time and at random intervals. The last burst mode snapped 30 shots, but it only saved the last 3. The shots were 0.6 seconds apart.
When the exposure was locked and the camera was otherwise ready to go, shutter lag was hardly measurable. But when the shutter release was pushed halfway and the auto focus system’s lag was counted, it took 0.3 seconds.
"Slow" is the word for this camera’s processing time. It took 35 seconds to recover from the 4-shot burst and 27 seconds to process the delayed 3-shot burst. It took the Kodak Z650 8.5 seconds to process one shot, although others could be taken during this period.
Bright Light - 3000 lux**
Videos look much better than still images on the Kodak EasyShare Z650. Colors cleaned up to an improved 9.53 mean color error, and the noise dropped to a low 0.32 percent. Colors were undersaturated at 92.54 percent though. Still, this is better than still pictures’ 13.4 error and oversaturation.
Low Light - 30 lux**
We recorded specialized video charts in low light, and colors returned to their usual inaccurate state. The mean color error dropped to 13.6; saturation plunged to a drab 71.56 percent; and the noise increased to 1.72 percent. The saturation is the worst result out of the three.
After recording a very boring production of the resolution chart, we determined that the video resolution isn’t all that bad. It is right around its competitors as it resolved 214 lw/ph horizontally with 27.8 percent undersharpening and 426 lw/ph vertically with 9.4 percent oversharpening.
*The video looked decent indoors, but it didn’t perform as well outdoors. We took the Z650 to the streets and recorded the cars and people going by at different speeds. Motion was jumpy and jerky, which looked awkward. Add the finicky metering, abundant color moiré, and the overall splotchy sharpness, and the video was just about useless.
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