Kodak P712 Review

 
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Kodak P712 Design

Styled similar to an ultra-compact 35mm film camera, the Kodak EasyShare P712 broadens the EasyShare line with more hands-on control and a wide range of creative photography tools. From a distance you could easily mistake this camera for a small digital SLR. Its all-black body, substantial hand-grip and hot-shoe on top bear all the trappings of a more professional model. Look a little closer though and you'll notice the camera's solid but compact all-in-one construction. Though it's made primarily of black polycarbonate, there are some nice rubber accents around the lens, on the eyepiece, and covering the ports and speaker on the left side of the camera, giving the Kodak P712 a sturdy weatherized feel.

At 4.3 x 3.3 x 2.8 inches (108 x 84 x 72 millimeters) when powered down, the Kodak P712 is about as small as you want to go in a camera with a 12x zoom. (When the camera powers up, the zoom extends about an extra inch, and then just under half an inch further at the full 12x zoom.). Though it has a classic style, there isn't a straight line on the entire body which strikes a good balance between a traditional and modern look.

The front of the Kodak P712 is dominated by the lens, which features a rubberized, nonfunctional ring that provides a good grip for your left hand when holding the camera two-handed. A removable, plastic lens cap protects the lens when not in use, and tethers to the camera body to prevent it from being lost. Just above the lens is the pop-up flash, and the external AF sensors peek out from the left, part of the Dual Focus AF system. A tiny LED for the self-timer and video operation is almost hidden beneath the sensor window. Hidden away on the other side of the lens are three tiny holes for the camera's microphone. The Kodak P712 features a fairly significant handgrip, with a vertical ridge that's easy to grip, and that should be comfortable for users with a wide range of hand sizes.

The right side of the camera (as viewed from behind) features one of the shoulder strap eyelets, as well as the memory compartment. A sliding, plastic door protects the SD/MMC memory card slot, and slides toward the rear of the camera before opening.

On the opposite side of the camera are the A/V Out / Digital input and DC in jacks, covered by a flexible synthetic rubber flap that swings up and out of the way for easier access. The camera's speaker is also on this side of the camera, as well as the second shoulder strap eyelet.

The Kodak P712's top panel holds several camera controls, including the Shutter button and Power dial, Exposure Mode dial, and Focus, Flash, Drive, Program, and Metering buttons. The external flash hot shoe crowns the camera's top panel, just behind the pop-up flash compartment, and features a removable, sliding plastic cover to protect the contacts.

The remaining camera controls are located on the rear panel, along with the LCD monitor and electronic optical viewfinder (EVF) eyepiece. A diopter adjustment dial on the left side of the eyepiece adjusts the view for eyeglass wearers, and a soft rubber eyecup cushions glasses (in addition to blocking bright light). Just left of the eyepiece is the EVF/LCD button for switching the viewfinder display. On the right side of the LCD monitor are the Set, AE/AF Lock, Information, Review, Delete, Menu, and Share buttons. A Command dial and Set button in the top right corner provide access to a wide range of camera settings, with a Zoom lever just left. Also on the rear panel is a joystick-like multi-controller, that serves as a navigational tool.

The bottom panel of the Kodak P712 holds the battery compartment, tripod socket and a jack for connecting to Kodak EasyShare camera and printer docks. The tripod mount is off center from the lens, but far enough from the battery compartment to allow for quick changes when connected to a tripod.

 

Kodak P712 External Controls


Shutter Button: Located on the right of the camera's top panel, and surrounded by the Power dial, this button sets focus and exposure when pressed halfway. A full press fires the shutter.

Power Dial: Surrounding the Shutter button on top of the camera, this dial turns the camera on. It also accesses the Favorites mode, which displays any images saved as Favorites on the camera.


Metering Button: Behind the Shutter button and Power dial combo, this button calls up the metering menu. Options include Multi-patterned, Center-weighted, Center-spot, and Selectable Zone (25 points).


Program Button: Left of the Metering button, this button can be programmed to access a submenu item or left-hand control button. By default, pressing this button in any record mode pulls up the Flash option, but you can program it via two setup menu options to access a wide (!) range of other settings. In Playback mode, the default setting is the View option of the Playback menu.


Drive Button: To the left of the Program button, this button controls the camera's Drive setting. Choices are Single, Self-Timer 10 sec., Shutter Delay 2 sec., Self-Timer 2-shot, First Burst, Last Burst, Exposure Bracketing 3, Exposure Bracketing 5, and Time Lapse.


Exposure Mode Dial: Just right of the pop-up flash compartment on the top panel, this ribbed dial controls the camera's operating modes. Choices are Auto, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Custom modes 1-3, Movie, and Scene.


Focus Button: Located on the far left side of the top panel, this button displays the focus menu when pressed. Options are Normal AF, Macro AF, Landscape, and Manual.


Flash Button: Behind the Focus button, this button displays the flash menu, which lets you set the flash mode. Choices depend on the exposure mode selected, but include Auto, Fill, Redeye, Slow Sync, and Off. (Front and rear sync in Slow Sync mode are selected via an option on the record menu.)


EVF/LCD Button: In the top left corner of the rear panel, this button switches the viewfinder and menu display from the EVF to the LCD monitor, and vice versa.


Diopter Adjustment Dial: Tucked on the left side of the viewfinder, this dial adjusts the optical viewfinder display to accommodate eyeglass wearers. (The adjustment range of -3 to +1 diopter is wider than that offered by many cameras.)


Zoom Lever: Adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this lever controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, this lever controls the digital enlargement of captured images, up to 10x.


Information Button: Below the Zoom lever, this button controls the EVF and LCD information displays, cycling through full information, full information with histogram, limited information, and no information displays. There's also a mode with no information overlay, but which flashes underexposed shadows and overexposed highlights, a great aid for determining the best exposure setting. In Playback mode, the button cycles through a similar selection of display modes, but the flashing highlight/shadow display is combined with the histogram option.


Review Button: Next to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button enters the camera's Playback mode when pressed. A second press returns to record mode.


Command Dial: Crowning the top right side of the rear panel, this ribbed dial controls a variety of camera settings. It can navigate through some menu options with a turn, and can be used to set exposure options in the manual exposure modes, when used with the Set button below it.


Set Button: Directly below the Command dial, this button works with the Command dial to adjust camera settings and make selections in menu screens as well as in the manual exposure modes.


AE/AF Lock Button: Beneath the Command dial and Set button combo, this button locks the exposure and/or focus when pressed. Through the Setup menu, you can set the button to lock either exposure or focus, or both.


Multi-controller: Standing out on the rear panel with its shiny silver highlights, this joystick-like multi-controller navigates through menu screens and options, as well as through captured images in Playback mode. Pressing down on the center of the controller makes selections.



Delete Button: Located next to the lower right corner of the LCD monitor, this button erases selected images or folders.


Menu Button: To the right of the Delete button, this button displays the LCD menu system.


Share Button: Right of the Menu button, this button pulls up the camera's Share menu. Options here include:

  • Print: Designates the number of copies of the current image to be printed. Also allows you to tag all images for printing.
  • E-Mail: E-mails a low-resolution copy of the displayed image or all images on the card to a recipient, based on a saved address book.
  • Favorite: Marks the current image, or all images, as a "favorite."
  • Cancel Prints: Cancels a print order.


Battery Compartment Release Lever: Centered in the battery compartment door, this sliding lever unlocks and locks the compartment door.

 

Kodak P712

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