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Kodak EasyShare Z5010 (Black) review: Kodak EasyShare Z5010 (Black)

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The Kodak EasyShare Z5010 is a good example of what Kodak did best with its digital cameras.

Kodak Easyshare Z5010 (Black)
6.6

Kodak EasyShare Z5010 (Black)

The Good

The <b>Kodak EasyShare Z5010</b> is an inexpensive megazoom camera that's simple to use and runs on AA-size batteries.

The Bad

The Z5010 needs plenty of light to take a good photo and its shooting performance is on the slow side.

The Bottom Line

If you want a camera that uses AA batteries and has a long zoom lens for a low price, pick up a Kodak EasyShare Z5010 before they're gone for good.

Instead of going after the entire market, Kodak concentrated on making cameras that were easy to use and a good value, and that's the Z5010 all over. It's a basic point-and-shoot, but still has a manual mode for shutter speed and aperture control, with a 21x zoom lens, a 3-inch LCD, and AA batteries for power. It also has Kodak's Share button, which lets you easily tag photos and video clips for quick uploading to sharing sites, e-mailing, or sending to Kodak's Pulse picture frames when the camera's connected to a computer.

However, the Z5010's photos are just a step above what you'd get from a good smartphone and its shooting performance is fairly slow -- both typical for this class of camera. And the Z5010 feels like an entry-level camera, too. Then again, you do get a nice wide and long lens and it's priced to move; you can find it for about $100 less than its original $199.95 price.

Photo quality
The Kodak EasyShare Z5010 is capable of taking some very good photos, but it is not without limitations. Basically, if you view its 14-megapixel pictures at larger sizes, 80 to 100 percent, you'll see a good deal of noise and artifacts, and subjects look soft and lack fine detail. That's even at its lowest sensitivity of ISO 64. This is only really a problem if you frequently enlarge and heavily crop your photos or are making prints larger than 8x10. At smaller screen and print sizes, photos taken with plenty of light look good.

Kodak EasyShare Z5010 sample pictures

See all photos

The results drop off considerably as you go above ISO 400, which is typical for this class of camera. I wouldn't recommend this camera for regularly taking low-light photos without a flash or with the lens extended indoors. But again, outside with good light you'll get good results. (Read more about the camera's image quality and full-size photos in the slideshow above.)

Movie quality is good enough for posting online, but not great at larger sizes. Clips are limited to 10 minutes in length. The zoom lens on my review camera did function while recording video, and its movement was fairly silent. The continuous autofocus is reasonably quick to focus, but it really depends on lighting, subject, and focal length (the more zoomed in it is and the less light you have, the longer it may take).

Shooting performance
Though the Z5010's box says it has a fast click-to-capture speed, there is some noticeable shutter lag in both bright and dim lighting, especially the latter. From off to first shot takes a couple of seconds, which, combined with the shutter lag, makes it difficult to get those spur-of-the-moment snaps.

Shot-to-shot times change depending on what ISO sensitivity you're shooting at. If you have plenty of light, it's ready to shoot again in a little more than a second, but you'll have to press the shutter release halfway to cancel the image review. However, in low light the camera does some extra image processing that adds a couple seconds to the time. In this case, it's actually faster to use the flash; it cycles quickly for up to five shots before you get a slowdown from processing. The camera can also shoot continuously for eight frames at up to 0.8 frame per second with focus and exposure set with the first shot.

Basically, this camera is best suited for shooting still subjects and not fast-moving kids and pets or sports.

Key specs Kodak EasyShare Z5010
Price (MSRP) $199.95
Dimensions (WHD) 4.6x3.2x3.1 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 16.7 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 14 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 3-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 21x, f3.1-5.8, 25-525mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,288x3,216 pixels/ 1,280x720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Optical and digital
Battery type, CIPA rated life AA-size batteries (alkaline or NiMH rechargeable), 300 shots (NiMH)
Battery charged in camera No
Storage media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Bundled software Kodak EasyShare editing software (Windows); Share Button app (Windows, Mac)

Design and features
The Z5010 is fairly generic-looking in matte black with some silver trim around the lens barrel, but it is clean and simple. The body is all plastic save for a rubberized texture on the hand grip and metal lens surround. On top is the shooting-mode dial with a spring-loaded power switch, along with the shutter release and buttons for flash, macro, and self-timer/continuous options.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On back there's a decent 3-inch LCD, but no electronic viewfinder, which can make the lens more difficult to keep steady when zoomed in. Down the right side of the LCD are Delete, Menu, Info/Help, and Playback buttons. To the right of those are Kodak's Share button and a directional pad for navigating menus and browsing photos and movies.

The Share button allows you to quickly tag photos and movies for posting to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and other sharing sites in addition to directly sending them to e-mail addresses or compatible Kodak digital photo frames. Tag what you want and then connect the camera by USB to a computer, and the built-in software handles the rest. At least it will once you've installed it on your computer and entered all of your account information.

The batteries and SD card slot are in the base of the right-hand grip under a locking door. The four AA-size batteries and the lens give the camera a nice heft that helps you keep it still when shooting. Battery life isn't great, though. Even using the NiMH rechargeable batteries that came with my review camera, it didn't reach its CIPA-rated 300 shot count. To be fair, using the zoom lens a lot and shooting movies drains the battery faster. But, if you're going to be shooting for the day using alkaline batteries, you'd be wise to bring spares.

General shooting options Kodak EasyShare Z5010
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open Shade
Recording modes Smart Capture Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Night landscape, Sport, Program, Manual, Panorama, Scene, Video
Focus modes Multi AF, Center AF, Face Priority AF
Metering modes Face Priority, Multi, Center
Color effects High Color, Natural Color, Low Color, Black & White, Sepia
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Eight shots

As with most entry-level cameras, the Z5010 is pretty much a fully automatic point-and-shoot camera with its reliable Smart Capture scene recognition mode as well as 11 scene modes for things like flowers, sunsets, and backlit subjects.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to take a little more control, there is a Program mode in which you can change white balance, ISO, focus, exposure, and metering, and a Manual mode that adds control over shutter speed and aperture. Kodak makes it pretty easy to change the settings, too, by laying them out in a bar at the bottom of the LCD. There are no settings for manual white balance or manual focus, though.

Conclusion: Recommended with reservations
The Kodak EasyShare Z5010 is more than likely the last Kodak camera I'll review, at least until someone decides to license the brand. Like all of the EasyShare models I've reviewed before it, the Z5010 is an excellent value with nice features and simple operation. Unfortunately, to go with its low price, the quality of the camera and its pictures aren't the greatest. But if you're a casual photographer who makes small prints and shares photos online, and wants a long lens and a camera that uses AA batteries for power, I'd pick one up before it's gone.

Kodak Easyshare Z5010 (Black)
6.6

Kodak EasyShare Z5010 (Black)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Image quality 6