| on January 31, 2010
Price When Reviewed: £173
Pros: Great value; rock-solid build; pocket-sized; more manual features than usually offered at the price; easy to use; broader than average zoom range.
Cons: Performance in low light can’t match the others here; slower in operation; bulkier than rival 3x zoom options.
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
Pitching itself at the value end of the market, this Kodak model has plenty of surprises. The sturdily built 12-megapixel Z950 crams an effective 10x optical zoom into a body that will fit in your pocket.
The Z950’s focal range is equivalent to 35-350mm on a 35mm film camera with image stabilisation to avoid blur at telephoto and in low light conditions.
Front and back rubber padding give a firm grip when shooting handheld. Controls are chunky and logically positioned, although the joystick is rather fiddly, and the delete icon resembles a hot water bottle.
When shooting still photos (JPEG only), the Smart capture option ensures the camera recognises subjects, adjusting settings accordingly. The camera delivers bright, colourful results, with ISOs 100-1600 manually selectable, expandable to ISO 3200 with a resolution drop to 3.1 megapixels. It also delivers colourful – if not quite pin-sharp – photos at ISO 800 and below.
The Z950 can also shoot high-definition movie clips. Video capture is at 1,280 x 720 pixels with sound, plus a smooth transitional rate of 30fps.
Packing more features and a great build quality, the Z950 offers plenty of room for skills to develop and is a sensible backup option for entry-level digital SLR owners on a budget.