Camera manufacturers, out of all the gadget-makers out there, are mercifully willing to give their products relatively sensible names. The Kodak EasyShare ZD710 has a blessedly straightforward title: the 'Z' tells you this camera has a large zoom, the '7' denotes 7 megapixels, and the '10' stands for 10x zoom. This superzoom is available online for around £130, but will it be so gracious its features and performance?
Superzooms -- cameras with 10x zoom or greater -- are sometimes known as 'bridge' cameras because of the way they bridge the gap between compact cameras and SLRs. The relatively diminutive ZD710 leans towards the compact end of the scale with its small size, although it still won't fit in your trouser pocket. There's something satisfying about a lens that so completely dominates the body of the camera, with the right-hand side of the frame chunky enough to grasp on its rubberised grip.
We like the see-through click wheel and mini-joystick, but we really can't see the logic in putting a substandard zoom rocker button on a superzoom camera. The camera's headline feature should have a decent control. The 50mm (2-inch) screen is also small by today's standards.
Like most superzooms, the ZD710 is saddled with an electric viewfinder. This isn't much fun to use, as there is a plethora of motion blur and it's not particularly clear, so it isn't ideal for checking focusing.
The all-glass 10x Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon optical zoom lens is equivalent to 38-380mm on a 35mm camera. When zoomed out, it's not very wide -- 35mm is generally standard on a compact and 28mm is even better.
A panorama stitch mode allows you to take multiple pictures panning across a scene and add them together. The camera helpfully shows the edge of the previous picture as a guide. An orientation sensor is also included to automatically rotate pictures to the correct way round.
Kodak's Perfect Touch technology is included in the ZD710, which adds detail to areas of dark shadow so that high-contrast pictures don't fool the camera into underexposing shadows.