The 10-megapixel Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS is deceptively good. It doesn't stand out with a unique design and there are no overtly special features: it's a pretty straight-laced compact and comes in dark gray/black only and its ridiculously and unusably high ISO 8000 setting doesn't really qualify. Judging by its sub-$200 price, you wouldn't expect much from it, either. However, the Z1085 IS rewards simply by being a decent camera that's easy to use and produces very good photos for little investment--of time or money.
The 7.3-ounce Z1085 is relatively compact--3.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 1.5 inches thick--and will fit in a large pants pocket, though the protruding lens surround and handgrip will keep you from sliding it out easily. That grip, however, makes one-handed shooting possible. Buttons are nice and big, clearly labeled, and well spaced. On top, buttons for drive mode, flash, and power and a mode dial surround the shutter release. On the dial joining Kodak's auto mode--called Smart Capture--sit manual and program options, panoramic shooting (left to right or right to left), scene mode with 16 setting choices, and movie capture.
Smart Capture mode integrates scene and face detection, optimized auto ISO, and a broader dynamic range, among other things, so you truly don't have to worry about a setting to take a decent picture. This mode also applies Kodak's PerfectTouch technology to help improve detail and contrast. In general this system works, producing fine photos regardless of subject or lighting conditions and is one of the better automatic modes I've tested.
The Z series is Kodak's megazoom line, which currently goes all the way up to 24x; the 5x f2.8-5.1 35-175mm-equivalent lens on the lowest-end Z1085 IS doesn't even really qualify as a megazoom. It does have barrel distortion at its widest setting, typical of its class but a bit much given its relatively narrow 35mm-equivalent angle of view. Still it's nice to have the extra power above similarly priced 3x models, and you get optical image stabilization, too. For framing shots and photo playback there's a 2.5-inch LCD on back.