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Kodak's new superzoom

Kodak has announced a new superzoom called the Z812 IS, which sports a 12X optical zoom lens and optical image stabilization.

Kodak's new EasyShare Z812 IS sports a long, 12X optical zoom lens.
Kodak's new EasyShare Z812 IS sports a long, 12X optical zoom lens. Kodak

If you're a fan of Kodak, or a cryptologist, you shouldn't have any trouble figuring out that the company's new superzoom, called the Z812 IS, is an 8-megapixel camera with a 12X optical zoom lens and optical image stabilization. The name won't tell you that the camera has a 2.5-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD screen, or that the camera can capture MPEG-4 video, with stereo sound at up to 1,024x720 pixels and 30 frames per second. Kodak seizes on this last fact to say in its product literature that the Z812 IS can capture 720p video. The only problem is that the last time I checked, the generally accepted standard for 720p video is 1,280x720 pixels.

Of course, stretching the truth for marketing effect is nothing new, so let's look at some of the other features of the camera. Sensitivity reaches up to ISO 1,600 at full resolution, or ISO 3,200 if you drop the resolution to 2.2MP. To this camera's credit, it offers more controls than a lot of non-SLRs, including aperture- and shutter-priority, full manual exposure controls, and selectable five-zone autofocus. If control isn't your thing, Kodak includes the usual array of scene modes. It would've been nice if Kodak included a wider lens than this camera's 36mm-to-432mm, f/2.8-to-f/4.8 lens, but wide-angle superzooms aren't all that common anyway.

If you own an HDTV, then Kodak's optional EasyShare HDTV Dock might interest you. It comes with a remote control, so you can control image playback from your couch, and has an SD card slot and a USB jack so you can connect a thumbdrive and view the images on it, too. You should note, however, that the dock doesn't have an HDMI jack, so you'll have to live with a component video connection when viewing images and video from your Kodak camera. The EasyShare HDTV Dock is expected to cost about $100 when it hits stores this October, while the EasyShare Z812 IS should set you back about $300 when it hits stores this month.