The more EasyShare cameras from Kodak that I use, the more I’m sad that Kodak exited the digital camera business. Sure, they’re back with the Pixpro line — but only sort of, as they’re made by some other company who only has a license agreement to add the Kodak name to them. The EasyShares were genuine Kodaks. The mega-zoom Kodak EasyShare Z710 was one of Kodak’s highest-performance digital cameras when it was new.
Introduced in 2006, the Z710 offers a 7.1-megapixel CCD sensor with a maximum resolution of 3072×2304 pixels. You can downgrade in the menu to 6.3, 5, 3.1, and 1.9 megapixels; the 6.3-megapixel setting gives you a 3:2 image ratio rather than 4:3 for “that 35mm look.” The Z710 features a 38-380mm f/2.8-3.7 Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens and a shutter that operates from 8 to 1/1000 sec. across an ISO range of 64, 100, 200, and 400. If you downgrade to 1.9 MP, you can also go to ISO 800. The Z710 also offers VGA (640×480) video.
You’ll find a 2-inch screen around back, along with most of the controls. The camera has internal memory for 12 images at maximum resolution, and there’s a slot behind a door on the side for an SD or MMC card. This being an older camera, it can’t read high-capacity cards. The manual talks about cards up to 1GB, but it read my 2GB card just fine. It couldn’t read a 16GB card I had handy.
The viewfinder is electronic, which surprised me pleasantly when I discovered it. A button above the screen switches between the viewfinder and the screen. Either way your frame your shots, you are assured that what you compose is what the camera will record. Neither screen renders bright colors well, turning them into sickly pastels. Fortunately, that doesn’t translate to the actual images.
The Z710 offers the complement of modes common among EasyShare cameras. You can choose full program, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, or full manual shooting. There are also a range of modes for situations such as portraits, landscapes, and bright beach scenes. There’s even a selfie mode!
The Z710 requires a CRV3 lithium battery. A CRV3 is just two lithium AA batteries in a plastic frame that holds them together — two lithium AAs power the camera just as well. You can also use one KAA2HR Ni-MH or two AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. Lithium batteries last up to 350 photos, and Ni-MH batteries last up to 240 photos.
The manual says bluntly not to use alkaline batteries because battery life will be poor. I used alkaline AAs anyway, because I was just testing the camera and I had plenty on hand. Sure enough, I made only about 60 photos before the low-battery icon started blinking on the screen.
If you like Kodak EasyShare cameras, see also my reviews of the Z730 (here) and the C613 (here). I’ve also reviewed the Canon PowerShots S80 (here) and S95 (here), as well as a couple of Sonys, the DSC-H55 (here) and the MDC-FC87 (here). Or see all of my camera reviews here.
Fresh AAs aboard, I brought the Z710 along on a number of photo walks near my home. I love how well Kodak’s CCD sensors render purple — every EasyShare camera I’ve used has just nailed this color, where sensors from other makers don’t.
The camera does a good job of recognizing in Auto mode how much depth of field the scene should have. It chose to bring everything into focus for this image.
It blurred the background nicely for this image. This camera managed to make dull, brown weeds look interesting.
The Z710 offers a macro mode, and the good Schneider-Kreuznach lens renders things nice and sharp.
A 10x zoom is mighty nice when you’re documenting the built environment, as I often do. Here’s a nearby church at widest angle, 38mm equivalent.
I zoomed in so the subject filled the frame. The zoom rocker button is in a somewhat awkward place, as when you’re using the electronic viewfinder you need to stick your finger between the camera and your forehead to use it. But it works.
Then I zoomed in to the max, 380mm equivalent. I love that in all of these images there’s no obvious distortion or vignetting. Things look a tiny bit soft at max zoom, but the image is still acceptably sharp.
The Z710 has a wee 1/2.5″ CCD sensor. It has some limitations, including not always being able to navigate mixed lighting.
Its shutter is fast enough to freeze motion. This would have been a reasonable sports camera for a soccer mom in its day. It’s small and light enough to have been easy to carry for such work.
One of my neighborhood walks was at dusk, where the Z710 struggled. In Auto mode, it was reluctant to step ISO up quickly, probably trying to balance low-light performance with noise. It also rendered far less subtle differences in color than this scene had in real life.
I was surprised and pleased, however, that this image worked. By the time I got here it was almost dark. The image shows a tiny bit of shake, but it’s still usable. Even with this little light, in Auto mode the Z710 chose ISO 200, avoiding ISO 400.
To see more from this camera, check out my Kodak EasyShare Z710 gallery.
This Kodak EasyShare Z710 was a gift from a reader, and I’m glad to have received it as it might be a keeper. I can imagine times on a road trip where having a 380mm-equivalent zoom would be mighty handy. That this camera is so small, light, and easy to use makes it an easy choice to bring along. That I can stop at any drug store for batteries is always a bonus — there’s nothing more frustrating than a dead proprietary battery in the field. The best part about the Z710 is that you can buy one for peanuts on eBay, and then make lots of lovely photographs.