Kodak EasyShare Z950 (Black) review: Kodak EasyShare Z950 (Black)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Image quality: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Nice features, photo quality for the money.

The Bad Shooting performance can be frustrating; comparatively narrow lens.

The Bottom Line As long as you're a patient snapshooter, the Kodak EasyShare Z950 is a respectable compact megazoom camera.

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The Kodak EasyShare Z950 is a fairly dry camera, but in a good way. After testing so many cameras with hot, new special features lately, the Z950's straightforward "I'm a camera, I take pictures" package is a nice change. Its most exciting element is a 35mm-equivalent lens with a 10x zoom in a moderately compact body. That's not even a wide-angle lens that other manufacturers have gravitated toward lately. There are no outlandish shooting options, either, but you do get manual and semimanual controls. As long as you can cope with its slightly finicky shooting performance, it's a reasonably priced way to get an uncomplicated point-and-shoot camera with a 10x zoom.

Key specs Kodak EasyShare Z950
Price (MSRP) $249.99
Dimensions (WHD) 4.3x2. x1.4 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 9.2 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 3-inch LCD, 230K dots/none
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 10x, f3.5-4.8, 35-350mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.MOV)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,000 x 3,000 pixels/1,280 x 720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Optical and digital
Battery type, rated life Lithium ion rechargeable, 220 shots

The design and controls for the Z950 are very similar to the less expensive Z915, but more polished. It comes in black only with a body made of a mix of metal and plastic as well as a dark gray rubberized grip and thumb rest. The overall feel is comfortable and solid. Though there are more compact 10x zoom cameras, the Z950 is a tight package able to slip into a larger handbag or coat pocket.

Up front is the camera's main attraction: an image-stabilized 10x zoom lens. It's not especially wide or fast, but it will get you closer to your subject. (Stabilized or not, though, you'll still want to use a support when you've got the lens fully extended.) On top is the shutter release and zoom ring, dedicated buttons for flash and timer/drive, Mode dial, and a tiny, but easily pressed power button. Icons for the flash, timer, and Mode position are backlit so you can find them in the dark. There's also an HD marking that's lit in red, but is purely cosmetic.

On back is a reasonably bright LCD, a vertical row of buttons (Delete, Menu, Info, and Play), a five-way joystick for setting and menu navigation, and Kodak's Share button letting you tag photos as favorites, as ones to upload to a favorite Web site for sharing, or both when the camera is connected to a computer.

Kodak's menus are attractive and generally easy to navigate. None of the shooting options is obscure; however, should you come across a setting you don't understand, a press of the Info button brings up a text description of what the feature does.

General shooting options Kodak EasyShare Z950
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open Shade
Recording modes Smart Capture Auto, Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Scene, Panorama, Movie
Focus modes Normal, Macro, Infinity
Metering Multi-pattern, Center-weighted, Spot
Color effects High Color, Natural Color, Low Color, Sepia, Black & White
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 3 photos

The Z950 gives you as much or as little control as you want over shooting, making it a good candidate for those wanting to step away from fully automatic snapshots or if there are many different user types under one roof. Except for white balance, you get full manual control as well as shutter speed- and aperture-priority modes. Aperture options are limited to three stops at the wide and long ends: 3.5, 6.2, and 8.3 and 4.8, 8.5, and 11.3, respectively. Shutter speeds range from 16 sec to 1/1,000 of a second. Controlling them is reasonably simple, all done with the five-way joystick. You also get exposure bracketing, color effects, and sharpness adjustments.

Of course, you can use the Z950 as a standard point-and-shoot camera, too, thanks to 17 scene modes and Kodak's Smart Capture mode that combines its Intelligent scene detection, Intelligent capture control, and Intelligent image processing. It's a reliable mode if you don't trust yourself--or others--to get a good shot. There's a standard Panorama mode (shoot two or three photos and the camera does the stitching), Sport mode that boosts ISO and shutter speed for moving subjects, and a 720p HD Movie mode with use of the optical zoom while shooting (and yes, you'll hear the lens movement, but the video is very good).

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Where to Buy

Kodak EasyShare Z950 (Black)

Part Number: 1946193 Released: Aug 20, 2009

MSRP: $249.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug 20, 2009
  • Optical Zoom 10 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"
  • Lens 35 - 350mm F/3.5