In the past, the average compact camera has been woefully ill-prepared towards capturing video.
That's why until very recently, most people had to lug around both a camcorder and a compact if they wanted to cover both mediums. But thanks to a bit of Kodak creativity, two new models; the Z1012 IS and the Z1085 IS are going to make people seriously consider whether they need to worry about such a dilemma any longer. Image quality
The Z1012 IS & the Z1085 IS are fine for everyday portraits, whilst the panorama function worked surprisingly well. Full manual mode function is a big plus, with colours brightly saturated and the contrast ratios adequate. An auto scene mode is handy, but the results aren't as good as going manual.
The Z1012 IS has a 12x optical zoom which is great for close ups, but it’s almost too big and clunky to be called a compact in this range. At $449, it’s still not DSLR prices, but it’s getting close to entry level DSLRs such as Sony’s A100 or Nikon’s D40, which continue to become cheaper as they age.
The Z1085 by comparison, still isn’t as sleek as some of the other cameras we’ve seen by Sony or Canon, only has 5x zoom, but it will fit comfortably in a trouser pocket, and that’s the whole point of compacts right? At $299 it’s also half the price and for a HD compact, remains competitive.
In both models, pictures were overly noisy above ISO 400, which is to be expected. But what’s not expected is HD 720p. And while it could do with a few more tweaks, it certainly helps set these cameras apart from the competition.HD photo cameras killed the video camera star
It might not be happening yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it does happen within the next five years. In fact, we were so encouraged by the results we saw in both models, (although HD still needs some work in compacts) that we’ll even hedge our bets further and call it 3 years till the modern hard drive camcorder goes the same way as the Polaroid. Cheaper memory prices = more options
Thanks to the reduced cost of flash memory it’s hard to use the old HDD vs. flash cost argument as the basis for semi-pro camcorders now. Both the Z1012 IS & the Z1085 IS models are optimised to use the new 8G SDHC cards. You can grab 8GB SDHC cards for less than $130
and that’s for the top-end Sandisk Extreme III cards, which will ensure great read and write speeds.
Cheaper non-extreme Sandisk products can be found
under $50 (at 8GB) which makes HD video recording so much more available than it ever used to be.