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Customer Review

295 of 306 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super fun, feature-rich camera - with a few disappointments, April 29, 2011
This review is from: Kodak EasyShare Z990 12 MP Digital Camera with 30x Optical Zoom, HD Video Capture and 3.0-Inch LCD (Camera)
A little background: I have been using Kodak's high-end EasyShares since 2002. I got the EasyShare Max z990 on April 11, 2011. I have been putting this camera to the test for 18 days.

There are a lot of things I love about my z990. But I have had enough disappointments to make me wonder what Kodak was thinking, and to question if this camera is worth its original $300+ price tag.

My first z990 was very buggy. It kept becoming unresponsive for several seconds or even freezing up. It helped to reformat the SD card and internal memory and to reset the camera. But I ended up having to get a replacement. My new z990 works much better!

Things I love:
* Best low-light no-flash pictures I have EVER seen from a digital camera!
* Very nice image quality.
* 1080p video! ... Good image quality. Acceptable sound quality.
* Snap pictures WHILE recording a video! They are lowish quality, but still decent enough for a 4x6 or maybe even a 5x7 print.
* Photobooth is so much fun! I just wish you could use the timer to add an extra 10 seconds before it starts snapping. ... The camera does give you a few seconds to get into position, but sometimes I need a little more.
* My 8 year old LOVES automatic panorama! ... But it can be a bit sensitive if you sweep at the wrong speed or if your subjects are moving. (like tree tops on a windy day)

Annoyances
* Automatic panorama does not always capture the whole image. - Sometimes it saves less than half of the image.
* You cannot set your favorite film effect to be the default. (I prefer more natural colors, but every time I turn the dial or power off my camera, it resets to oversaturated)
* Several vividly colored flowers just won't record right on this camera. Example: I have several rose pictures where you cannot tell where the petals are. It's just a smear of color. Some of my wild flower pictures look solidly colored to the eye, but when I take a picture the edges of the petals are colored perfectly and the centers of the petals are white!
* No standard "menu" button. ... But they did move a lot of the "menu" functionality to "DISP." (display)
* Included charger was VERY slow. 7 hours and my batteries were only half- charged.
* Continuous capture does not meet my expectations. It was the worst setting about freezing up on my first z990. On the new one, it takes about 24 shots before slowing down.
* Ability to shoot nice pictures in low-light conditions makes capturing a silhouette more tricky. I tried several times to catch dark strawberry plants and trees against a dark blue sky. - They came out obviously green and surprisingly detailed!

Other comments:
* Decent battery life - take well over 100 pictures and a few videos between charges. ... Included batteries are 2100mAH. When I use my 2300mAH energizer nimhs, I get well over 200 pictures plus a few videos!
* Batteries do fit a little snug when you try to close the compartment. But not too bad.
* Built in HDR processing is a nice feature, but often accuses you of moving the camera if there is too much movement in the scene. Does not handle moving objects (such as a kid riding a bike) as originally advertised. ... Instead of multiple images of the kid showing up, I just get a few ghostly smears.
* The icons for different modes and affects are bigger, and more detailed. In some ways I like being able to see a sample of what "children" are. But I am not a fan of having to scroll to the next screen to see the rest of the options.

Overall I like this camera and will probably keep it. But the color quality is disappointing compared to my z1012.

By the way ... Kodak told me there will be NO remote for this camera. They said it was a bug for them to list it on their site. ... You might want to look into that.
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 16, 2011 8:58:33 AM PDT
Elizabeth says:
Thank you for such a thorough review! I'm especially interested to read about the hestitation you experienced with your first Max because I've noticed that with mine. I haven't been able to isolate a cause because it's intermittent, although when it does happen, it's always when I'm ready to take a second or third photo. Is this what you experienced?

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2011 3:21:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2011 3:22:44 PM PDT
Michelle says:
Today I experienced some hesitation with my new camera too, while zoomed in to take a picture of an armadillo. ... The first picture went fine, but it hesitated on the rest. *sigh* .. frustrating! ... What mode(s) are you experiencing hesitation in? I have it more often in the modes that take multiple pictures (such as HDR) and have to do something special with them.

On the camera that I returned, the hesitation happened most often after taking a few pictures. But I experienced it quite a few times on the first picture too. ... Never could pinpoint causes for all the problems I was having. (which made trying to talk with Kodak support more frustrating)

By the way, you are welcome for the thorough review. :) I hope it helps a few people make the right camera decisions.

Posted on May 18, 2011 7:52:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2011 7:54:56 PM PDT
I tried the Z981 and wasn't impressed with the colors and details it produced, so it went back, even at the blowout price it was selling for.

Browsing the pics you posted from this new Z990 didn't impress me much either.

I have a little Z915 which I've been using for close to 16 months now, and I've been VERY impressed with the photo quality and reliability. Not quite the zoom capability, but the 10X optical is pretty impressive. Also 1/3 the price of these more powerfull zoom Kodak's.

It may have been wise to hold off a couple months before making the purchase on this new Z990. I was excited to hear about it but what I've been taking in so far hasn't been too favorable.

Seems too many camera manufacturers are packing point-and-shoots with nifty features nowadays but are producing lackluster images.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2011 11:29:52 AM PDT
Elizabeth says:
I've noticed most when I'm trying to make more than onoe photo of the same group or person. I may change a setting - or not - as I try to get the best shot.

I'm wondering about battery life or battery power. Could that be the problem?

I will say, I love the color and clarity of my shots. My favorite things is how well it performs indoors - dark settings, florescent light, etc.

Posted on Jun 6, 2011 5:25:00 PM PDT
M Summers says:
Hello. Your review is great! I just recieved this today and the camera makes a constant noise. Sound like the motor/lense is constantly grinding. Whe nin review mode it doesn't make any noise. I would think it is the lense trying to focus but then once focused still makes a noise. I wonder if that is normal or if it needs an exchange.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2011 9:54:41 PM PDT
Michelle says:
I wish I could hear the noise. ... My camera makes some noise too, but my first made more noise than my replacement. I think it is normal for it to make some noise while trying to auto focus on various objects.

Posted on Jul 2, 2011 7:39:57 PM PDT
David Beal says:
I have around 3,000 shots on my Z990 so far. It does have a learning curve, and the automatic modes tend to work well. I've seen the intermittent hesitation as well. I have noticed that, if the camera does not think you've moved its focal point, it does not want to recompose a shot. It's fairly uncommon, but something worth noting.

FYI, the remote is not a mistake. I have the remote for my Zx1 and it works fine with the Z990, both in video and photo mode. Pitty the manual does not do a better job of explaining this functionality. Also, the five-pin AV-5 composite USB cable does work for the Z990, though it is not listed on Kodak's site as an accessory.

Posted on Jul 30, 2011 1:30:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 30, 2011 1:31:37 PM PDT
I have an old Kodak with dock! I really bought this one for the much stronger zoom & image stability. It's a disappointment. The 'door' you open to connect camera via USB feels fragile & it's tricky to re-close. If you want to use the card instead - it's in a compartment with the batteries so there is risk of batteries slipping out if you're not careful while you remove the card - and speaking of 'tricky' - wait till you try to close it! Even my husband who is facile with such things wound up swearing before he succeeded. My question is - WHY has Kodak abandoned the dock. The old camera 'lived' there - constantly charged. To download photos - I place the camera on the dock & push a button & there they are. The batteries last forever. Re-charging the batteries for this new camera TAKES forever. I've gone back to using my old camera. I consider the new one a waste of money.

Posted on Sep 4, 2011 12:21:54 AM PDT
Brian says:
First, a very nice detailed review.
There is a remote and I have it and am using it. Kodak Pocket Video Digital Camera Remote Control 8716276/1402486
The vivid reds and yellows can be challenging but you can get very nice color reproduction. This generally happens in the harsh mid-day sun. I have found that by using center spot focus/exposure, Kodachrome film effect and adjusting the exposure compensation, I have been able to get past the problems with overly vivid colors on flowers.

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 5:59:14 AM PDT
rockstar says:
I think you may have a misunderstanding of the High Dynamic Range setting. HDR does not work with moving objects, it can only work with static non moving subject matter because it essentially blends a normal, under and over exposure of the same scene. The scene must therefore be unchanged for each of the three images to be blended. Your observation that HDR doesn't work with moving subject is how the camera is designed to work. You may want to re-read the manual on this feature. Thanks for your otherwise comprehensive review.
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