Kodak leaves style by the wayside and attempts to find a suitable balance between features and price in its EasyShare Z885. This 8-megapixel camera can be found for around $200, and while it's not the prettiest Kodak on the market, it offers some surprisingly robust features and an above-average lens.
The Z885 is clearly directed more at the practical than the fashion-minded. The chunky, 1.2-inch-thick camera weighs a hefty 7.3 ounces with an SD card and two AA batteries installed. Its controls are fairly simple, focusing around a mode dial on the camera's top and a large, square joypad on its back. The various menu buttons surrounding the joypad feel a bit small, but otherwise the camera's interface works well. The Z885's blocky, direct design highlights its most prominent physical attribute: its lens. The camera includes a 36mm-to-180mm-equivalent, 5x optical zoom lens for a bit more telephoto power than most compact cameras' 3x lenses. It doesn't have the mechanical image stabilization of the EasyShare Z712 IS, but it doesn't have its much larger 12x lens, either.
As part of Kodak's EasyShare Z series, the Z885 is directed primarily at more experienced camera users rather than your average snapshooter. Besides the standard automatic and scene preset modes found on every EasyShare camera, the Z885 features complete program and manual shooting modes. Manual mode lets you change every exposure setting from aperture to shutter speed and even manually focus the camera. On such a small, inexpensive shooter, these are welcome options. Unfortunately, if you want to adjust those exposure settings, you're forced to adjust them all individually; the camera lacks shutter- and aperture-priority modes.
Kodak really pumped up the ISO sensitivity in the Z885. At full resolution, the camera can shoot between ISO 80 and ISO 3,200 sensitivity, an impressive range. By ratcheting the camera down to 2.2 megapixels or lower, the Z885 can hit ISO 6,400 and ISO 8,000 sensitivity, the highest settings we've seen in a point-and-shoot. Unfortunately, this feature only looks good on paper; when you shoot at the super-high ISO settings, noise engulfs the pictures so much that you can actually see the grain in the camera's 2.5-inch LCD screen. You can't use the high-ISO shots for anything larger than a postage stamp or a computer icon, and even then you'd be pushing it.