Kodak EasyShare ZD710 review: Kodak EasyShare ZD710

The Kodak EasyShare ZD710 is a well-designed superzoom with a relatively small size and price alike. It certainly presents a step up over most compacts in terms of manual control. As a first camera for would-be enthusiasts, the simplicity of operation is a bonus

Richard Trenholm

Richard Trenholm

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Richard Trenholm is CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture over the past 15 years from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.

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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?


Kodak EasyShare ZD710

The Good

Manual control; small for a superzoom; easily operated.

The Bad

Clunky zoom rocker; small screen and viewfinder; poor burst mode.

The Bottom Line

The Kodak EasyShare ZD710 features a good range of manual controls in a basic superzoom setup. Screen, viewfinder and zoom controls are lame, but otherwise this simple, lightweight camera is both cute and capable

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.

The Kodak EasyShare ZD710 boasts a 10x zoom, but avoids barrel distortion

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.

The price of a longer lens can be some barrel distortion at wider focal lengths, when straight lines appear to curve towards the edge of the frame. The ZD710 barely exhibits this at all. Colour is vibrant, and skin tones good. Purple fringing on the boundary between light and dark areas was more of an issue than we'd like, but didn't impact too badly on prints.

The ZD710's burst mode offers the option of saving the first two or last two images from a sequence of images, which we didn't find especially useful.

This superzoom isn't the fastest camera out of the gate when starting up, taking 2 seconds simply because the lens has to spin out. Our model also seemed determined to pop the flash up when turned on, even if the flash had been disabled. Another minor quirk is that pressing the flash mode button doesn't pop the flash up; a separate switch opens the flash. These functions could have been integrated into one button for quicker and easier operation.

Image quality
Images are gritty from ISO 200 upwards, but it isn't until ISO 800 that images become unusable. As on most compacts, the maximum sensitivity, ISO 1,600, is pebbledashed by noise speckles. In low light the ZD710 copes reasonably well, with the long zoom holding up to fast shutter speeds for capturing action in darker situations.

The Kodak EasyShare ZD710 is a basic superzoom, but a well-designed one nonetheless. It is simple to use and presents a step up over most compacts in terms of manual control. In the superzoom stakes, cameras like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 offer more bells and whistles. The ZD710's small screen, jerky viewfinder and clunky zoom may frustrate a seasoned photographer, but as a back-up camera -- or a first camera for would-be enthusiasts -- the relatively petite size and price and the simplicity of operation are endearing.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday