12x image stabilized Schneider-Kreuznach zoom lens (36mm to 432mm)
Poor lens cap design
Distracting lens motor noise
Disappointing image quality
Small ISO range
The Kodak EasyShare P712 is a thoughtfully designed digital camera. I wish camera makers would make up better names for their products like car manufacturers do, though. The "P712" just doesn't sound as cool as Mustang or El Camino - and it doesn't give you any idea what this versatile camera is all about. Anyone with a basic knowledge of photography will be able to use the P712 right out of the box. That makes it an ideal digital camera for beginners and anyone who hates reading manuals - like me.
I was sent to Vietnam and Taiwan on assignment for the newspaper I work for to photograph various stories. There were several occasions I needed a virtually silent camera and also one that didn't look like a professional camera. The P712 was able to fill that gap and we actually published several of the images taken with the P712 in the paper and online.
Kodak EasyShare P712 Features
The Kodak EasyShare P712 has an awesome feature set. A well-placed and clearly marked SLR-style dial on the top of the camera controls the exposure mode. The P712 has sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 64 to 400. Most importantly, the P712 has the two options I always miss on a point-and-shoot digital camera - aperture priority and manual exposure - the two modes I use with my Canon pro digital SLR when I'm on the job.
The Kodak EasyShare P712 has nine modes on the main dial: P (program mode), A (aperture priority mode), S (shutter priority mode), M (manual mode), SCN (scene mode), three C (custom mode) modes, and video. When you turn the main dial to select an exposure mode, a description of that mode is displayed on the LCD. For instance, when you select "SCN" and "Sunset," the camera thoughtfully says: Sunset: Use for photos taken at sunset." There are 18 scene modes for different photo situations. My favorite scene mode is "Manner/Museum." It's intended for places and situations where noise and flash are discouraged. There are also three custom modes (C1, C2, and C3) that allow you to save your favorite settings.
The Kodak P712 has excellent exposure metering tools including a histogram and a cool exposure-clipping indicator. If you turn off all the exposure information with the "i" key, the display will show over or underexposed areas in blinking blue. The P712 is an electronic viewfinder camera, meaning it has a small LCD in the viewfinder instead of a normal optical viewfinder. This is necessary with super-zoom cameras like the EasyShare P712 since an optical viewfinder can't cover the long range of its 12x zoom lens. It also means that the viewfinder display is exactly the same as the main LCD. You can see the histogram, change settings, and even review your photos using the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The potential downside of an EVF is some lag when you move the camera quickly, and most people believe they sacrifice some image quality in the viewfinder.
Kodak offers a nice range of optional accessories for the P712 - most notably a Schneider-Krueznach wide-angle attachment lens (not tested) I would buy if I owned the camera. You can also purchase an external flash that mounts to hot shoe on the top of the camera. The P712 has an easy to use pop-up flash so you don't have to buy a hot shoe flash unless you want the extra power.
Kodak EasyShare P712 Design
The size of the Kodak EasyShare P712 is odd. It's got an SLR-like design but looks as though someone left it in the dryer a bit too long. It's not a full size SLR and it's not really a compact camera, either. It's not small enough to fit in a pocket though it would fit in a purse or small bag. If you have large hands you may have trouble holding the P712 comfortably. It felt a bit small in my small to mid-sized hands. On a positive note - the P712's mini-SLR body made me feel like a bigger man.
There are lots and lots of buttons and dials on this camera. Reminiscent of a pimply adolescent, it has 13 buttons, two dials, a toggle switch, a zoom in and zoom out thingymabobber and an on-off switch. Even though the number of controls is a bit overwhelming, they are all well marked and the functions are obvious and intuitive. I had no trouble switching back and forth between my pro digital SLR and the P712 because the control layouts are so similar. A mode dial at the top of the camera controls the main functions, much like the Canon EOS 20D I sometimes use.
The worst design element on the EasyShare P712 is the lens cap, which attaches to the camera body instead of the lens itself. When you turn on the camera the lens acts like a turtlehead and pops out a good inch-and-a-half. If you haven't removed the cap, the lens can't open and it sounds like the lens motor is going to break. It's also difficult to review your photos without the lens popping out - which results in more lens motor grinding if you forget to remove the cap. It can be done, but you first have to toggle the on/off switch to the "favorites" mode and then hit the "Review" button.
Kodak EasyShare P712 in manual exposure capture mode, with histogram and grid on
Kodak EasyShare P712 playback mode with histogram on
Kodak EasyShare P712 playback mode with all image info displayed
Kodak EasyShare P712 Scene mode menu with Portrait mode selected
- The Good - I took the Kodak EasyShare P712 with me to Taiwan where I was shooting a story on human trafficking. At one point I was photographing outside of a government office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where they couldn't know I was taking pictures. I had to ditch my Canon EOS 1D Mark II because it's way too big and loud. I was able to stand on the street with the Kodak P712 concealed and shoot from the hip, unnoticed. I captured "Vietnamese brides" talking to their brokers, and in some cases even the Taiwanese husbands-to-be. I'm not saying one should photograph people without their knowledge. This is one of the first times I have done it. My point is the Kodak P712 was virtually silent. The photographs would not have been possible without a quiet, compact camera. Although the P712 does make some whirring noises when it's turned on, the only problems I had were when the camera automatically turned itself off as it makes quite a bit of noise when it turns back on.
I was happy that the P712 has an Aperture priority exposure mode. I mostly used the P712 in Aperture priority and I also used the camera in manual exposure mode several times. However, the maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 second is limiting. If you wanted to shoot a picture at f/2.8 in bright sunlight you would have an overexposure problem due to the limited maximum shutter speed and minimum sensitivity of ISO 64. It's just too much light for the camera to handle with a large aperture.
- The Bad - When the camera turns itself off no button, joystick or dial will turn it back on - you have to actually toggle the camera off and then back on. You should just have to push the shutter button for it to turn back on, like you do with an SLR.
The P712's zoom lens isn't quite as quick and accurate as I hoped it would be. It zooms in steps and sometimes zoomed past what I wanted to photograph. The auto focus is satisfactory; it works fine though it could be a little quicker. The camera will not focus on close objects unless you manually select the "Macro" function by pressing the "Focus" button on the top left of the camera. You can manually focus the P712; although I found focusing manually to be super difficult but it's nice the option is there. If the camera is having a hard time focusing in low light, manual focus might be very helpful.
I never figured out how I did it, but somehow I accidentally switched from the memory card to the camera's 12-shot 32MB internal memory. Unfortunately, the P712 doesn't automatically switch back to the memory card when the built-in memory is full. I had to use the menu to switch back to the SD memory card.
Although it's easy to change the shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, and ISO, the button sequence was a bit hard to get used to. You use the "SET" key on the top right of the camera and the dial just above that to adjust those functions. Because the same button and dial are used for all exposure controls, sometimes I'd get confused about which to use and what it was changing. Blue arrows on the LCD display toggle between the exposure controls and yellow arrows indicate the variable that's being changed (e.g. shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.).
Overall, the Kodak EasyShare P712 performed very well. The controls are easy to access and adjust - maybe even too easy as I accidentally bumped the camera from aperture priority to shutter priority a few times. The P712 is very SLR-like so it was easy for me to switch between it and my Canon EOS 1D Mark II. And while I was in Taiwan, the size and quiet operation turned out to be a real benefit.
Because of the larger camera size and advanced controls of the P712, I had high expectations about the quality of the images. Unfortunately, the image quality was disappointing. The Kodak P712 image files display obvious noise at ISO 100 and higher, even with photos taken outside in good light. And as with every digital point-and-shoot I've ever used, ISO 200 and above is grain-central.
The P712's auto exposure metering under-exposes a bit and the color is a little off. The colors reminded me of early digital cameras, which had little contrast. Some colors seem dull and others are exaggerated. The white balance works pretty well on neutral tones, but actual colors don't quite fall in line. When the camera focused on the right subject the image was nice and sharp. Although, as I mentioned in the Camera Experience section, it can have some trouble focusing if you get too close to your subject without switching to the macro mode.
Unfortunately, all of the "pro" features and the "pro" feel of the P712 don't find their way into the image files. My P712 photos looked like they were taken with a point-and-shoot camera and I was hoping for more.
Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.
Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.
The Kodak EasyShare P712 was a fun camera for me to test because it's like a miniature version of the digital SLR I use when I'm on the job. However, it's still a compact digital camera and it has the image quality issues typical of all point-and-shoot digital cameras. Personally, I'm not sure if I like the size of the camera - I like point-and-shoots to fit in my pocket. But I do like the super-zoom digital camera format. The serious photographer who's willing to trade pocket-sized convenience for a lot more power and control will find the Kodak EasyShare P712 is a great camera to own.
Who Should Buy The Kodak EasyShare P712
Gadget geeks and camera control freaks who won't be overwhelmed by too many options are really going to like this digital camera. The Kodak EasyShare P712 would also be fun vacation camera for a serious amateur or professional photographer. A greater than basic knowledge of photography will really allow someone to use this camera to it's full potential. Just don't expect professional image quality from the P712.
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Contents of the Kodak EasyShare P712.
Kodak EasyShare P712 Zoom Digital Camera
Kodak Li-Ion Rechargeable Digital Camera Battery KLIC-5001
Kodak Li-Ion Rapid Battery Charger K5000
USB and audio/video cables
Lens cap with strap
Kodak EasyShare Software
Getting Started Kit
Custom camera insert for optional Kodak EasyShare Camera and Printer Docks
Strengths: 12x zoom
all the different shooting modes
My brother has this camera and he lets me use it sometimes. It is one of the best cameras out there, my other camera had only 5x zoom (in aviation photography it gets you nowhere). But this one had an astounding 12x zoom!!! And it is 7mp which is even better, so you can crop your photos and they still looked nice. I have dropped it a couple of times, and it has survived! I also use it in all kinds of light especially bright, and it has suprised me with the photos, I have taken a couple of low lights, and they still turned out pretty great! I am hoping to buy this camera for myself, so I don't have to use my brothers.
Weaknesses: the image is not clear if it is near to the lens of the camera
brightness of the flash can't be controlled,it changes the natural colour of the object
the picture enhancing feature is way off the mark,making the option wasteful
the colour variants are very limited
image stabilization not up to the mark
Kodak EasyShare P712 sucks.it is the worst camera ever manufactured by Kodak.THE WEAK POINTS OUT-NUMBER THE POSITVE POINTS.
it is a blot in the name of prestigious company Kodak.
[CENTER][B]KODAK EASYSHARE P712 Digital Camera Unleashes Photographers’ Potential with Precision Controls and Stunning Image Quality[/B]
Blazing Fast Auto-Focus System, 12X Image-Stabilized Lens, 7.1 MP Sensor Combine for Crisp, Clear Pictures Ideal for Sharing[/CENTER]
ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 2 ... Read More »