The Kodak EasyShare Z612 is an affordable 6.1Mp camera that's designed for beginners but has several advanced features. The Kodak EasyShare Z612, along with its included software and Kodak's EasyShare Gallery website, makes it easy to print, email, and share images. Being a member of the company's High Zoom series, the Kodak EasyShare Z612 sports a powerful 12X zoom lens.

The Kodak EasyShare Z612's chunky handgrip makes shooting one-handed easy. The bright 2.5in LCD has a resolution of 203,000 pixels; you'll likely want to use the screen to compose your shots instead of using the electronic viewfinder, which is like watching television through a small hole.

The Kodak EasyShare Z612's numerous closely arranged controls under your right thumb feel a little cramped, including the zoom control, which is difficult to operate accurately. Several more controls sit safely out of the way on top of the Kodak EasyShare Z612, yet are still easy to access. You set sports and night-portrait shooting modes directly from the Kodak EasyShare Z612's mode dial; another 14 scene modes are available via the LCD menu. One nice touch: in the manual modes, you use a small thumbwheel to adjust the settings, which beats having to repeatedly press a button. Also, the Kodak EasyShare Z612 offers both aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes.

The Kodak EasyShare Z612 earned below-average scores for image quality in our lab tests. This mediocre performance will disappoint expert photographers looking for advanced features at a low price; the biggest problem was the inaccurate exposures. The Kodak EasyShare Z612's test images were underexposed.


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