Kodak P712 Review
Kodak P712 Operation
Kodak's EasyShare digital camera line is typically very user friendly, with straightforward LCD menus that are easy to navigate. The Kodak P712 departs slightly from the traditional menu interface found on so many of the EasyShare models, but is still quite simple to navigate. It took a moment to figure out how to select menu items, because it's a slight departure from other EasyShare models (pushing down on the joystick instead of rocking right), as well as to discover the full function of the Main dial and Multi-controller, but overall camera operation was still very quick to grasp. The full range of preset and manual exposure modes gives users a lot of flexibility in difficult yet common shooting conditions, plus the benefit of full manual control when desired. A Mode dial lets you change camera modes quickly, and plain-English descriptions flashed on the LCD screen make operation straightforward for even rank beginners. I also appreciated the Program button on the top panel, which provides a short-cut to several menu items, as well as right-hand access to buttons on the left of the camera. Though the Kodak P712's user interface is a little more involved than other EasyShare cameras, it shouldn't take users too long to get familiar with the camera's setup, using the manual mainly for quick reference.
The Kodak P712's LCD and EVF displays show the active autofocus area along with currently-selected options for image size/quality, macro and flash mode, the number of images of the current size and quality that can be stored in the remaining space on the memory card, the exposure mode, and any other settings such as ISO, AF mode, etc. In the manual exposure modes, the exposure compensation, exposure values, and flash exposure compensation also appear, along the lower portion of the display. Pressing the Information button once in a record mode adds a small histogram, while a third press cancels the information and histogram displays, but puts the camera in a mode where blown highlights flash orange, and too-dark shadows flicker white. (The flashing mode isn't shown in the screenshot at right.) A fourth press disables the highlight/shadow warning, leaving only the AF marker, and a fifth returns to the main display mode.
In Playback mode, you can use the Kodak P712's Zoom lever to zoom in or out on an image, with a maximum enlargement of 10x. A thumbnail display of the images on the card is also available, through the camera's Playback menu, or by pressing downward on the control joystick. The Information button offers a more detailed information display, reporting a large number of exposure settings for the current image, and you can press the button a second time for a small histogram. The histogram display will also flash any under- or over-exposed sections of the image. The normal Playback display reports the image number, and any shared settings information.
Kodak P712 Modes and Menus
Record Mode: This mode is accessed simply by turning the camera on. The Exposure Mode dial on top of the camera controls the actual recording mode, and offers Auto, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Custom modes 1-3, Movie, and Scene options. (The screenshot at right shows the Scene Mode options.) A full range of exposure options is available through the LCD menu system.
Playback Mode: Accessed by pressing the Review button on the rear panel, this mode allows you to scroll through captured images and movies, write-protect images, view an index display, zoom into a captured image, delete unwanted images, rotate images, set up images for printing on DPOF compatible devices, as well as play and crop movies.
Favorites Mode: Turning the Power dial to the album icon enables Favorites mode, which allows the user to view any images previously designated as "favorites" through the Share menu. Favorites is a very nice feature invented by Kodak that lets you keep reduced-resolution versions of your favorite images in a portion of the camera's memory, for viewing on the LCD screen, or making 4x6 inch prints on an EasyShare Printer Dock. You can also view any digital albums downloaded to the camera from a computer, using the EasyShare software. A small selection of Playback menu items is available in this mode, with an additional option to remove an image from the Favorites collection.
Record Menu System: Accessed by pressing the Menu button in any record mode (some options are not available in all modes). Menus are tabbed across the top of the screen. The EasyShare P712 offers two Record menus, though the Expanded Record menu is not always available in each camera mode. The Setup menu is also available in any camera mode.
Expanded Record Menu
The first menu you encounter when in any non-Auto record mode is curiously called the "Expanded" Record menu. It actually makes sense that this is the first record menu you see, because it contains options that most users will be changing more often than those appearing on the Basic Record menu. Here's a list of its contents:
- White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Open Shade, Sunset, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Click WB (manual option), or one of three preset Custom WB settings.
- Custom White Balance: Lets you select an image for the Custom White Balance setting or manually correct the current white balance. When correcting the white balance, a small color graph appears on the LCD display, and you move the multi-controller to adjust the overall color balance. (An unusually sophisticated control for a consumer camera, generally found in higher-end SLRs.)
- AF Control: Puts the AF system into Single or Continuous modes.
- AF Zone: Sets the AF to Multi-zone, Center-zone, or Selectable-zone modes. (Selectable-zone lets you manually select the AF point from 25 available points).
- Sharpness: Adjusts the in-camera sharpening to High, Normal, or Low.
- Contrast: Controls the level of image contrast. Options are High, Normal, and Low.
- Slow Flash Sync: Sets when the flash fires in Slow-Sync mode. Choices are Front sync, Front sync redeye, and Rear sync. (Rear sync fires the flash just before the shutter closes, so moving objects will have their "motion trails" behind the sharp image from the flash.)
- Setup C Mode: Lets you save a range of camera settings, which is recalled when the camera is put into Custom mode ("C" on the Exposure Mode dial). You can save as many as three sets of individual Custom presets.
Basic Record Menu
- Picture Size: Sets the image resolution. Options are 7.1MP ( 3,072 x 2,304), 6.3MP (3:2, 3,072 x 2,048), (5.0MP (2,592 x 1,944), 3.1MP (2,048 x 1,536), and 1.2MP (1,280 x 960).
- File Type: Sets the JPEG quality to Fine, Standard, or Basic, or selects RAW or TIFF options.
- Color Mode: Offers High Color, Natural Color, Low Color, Black & White, and Sepia color modes.
- Date Stamp: Turns on the date stamp option, which overlays the date of image capture in small yellow letters on the image. You can choose from three date formats as well.
- LCD Brightness: Adjusts the brightness of the LCD monitor display, in arbitrary increments from 1 to 5.
- Capture Frame Grid: Turns LCD composition grid on or off.
- Image Storage: Tells the camera to save files to the internal memory, or to automatically save to a memory card (if inserted).
- Set Album: Designates an album to save files to, if one has been created and downloaded to the camera via the EasyShare software application.
- Image Stabilizer: Turns image stabilization on or off, with options for Continuous, Single, or Off modes. If set to Continuous, image stabilization is constantly in effect. If set to Single, it's activated by a half-press of the Shutter button.
- AE/AF Button Set: Sets the function of the AE/AF Lock button to AE (Auto Exposure) Lock, AF (Auto Focus) Lock, or AE/AF Lock.
- Program Button Capture: Configures the Program button to display one of 15 available submenu items when pressed in capture mode.
- Program Button Review: Similar to the above, this option configures the Program button to shortcut to one of nine Playback menu options.
- Orientation Sensor: Controls the camera's orientation sensor, which detects when the camera is held vertically. Vertical-format images captured when the Orientation Sensor is enabled are rotated to their correct orientation on-screen when they're played back. The "On Transfer" option writes data to the image file so applications like the EasyShare software will automatically display images in the correct orientation. The basic "On" option only rotates the images when they're viewed on the camera's LCD.
- Quickview: Enables or disables a five-second post-capture image review.
- Advanced Digital Zoom: Activates the Advanced Digital Zoom, setting it to None, Continuous, or Pause. The Pause option means that the zoom progress will pause at the end of the optical zoom range before entering digital zoom.
- Camera Sounds: Lets the user choose an overall sound theme for all camera operations, or individually set specific sounds for specific operations.
- Sound Volume: Adjusts the camera sound volume, or turns sound off.
- Mode Description: Turns the camera's mode description function on or off. If on, a brief description of the camera mode appears upon entering each capture mode.
- Accessory Lens: Tells the camera when an accessory lens is in use, so it can adapt its autofocus system to the added lens.
- Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar, as well as the format of the date.
- Video Out: Sets the video output to NTSC or PAL timings.
- External Flash: Sets whether the external flash fires with the internal flash or independently. Options are External Flash Only and Both.
- EVF/LCD Standby: Specifies the time period before the EVF or LCD screen goes to sleep after inactivity. Choices are 15 or 30 seconds, or one or two minutes.
- Auto Power Off: Specifies the period of time of inactivity that must pass before the camera automatically shuts itself off. Options are 3, 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes.
- Language: Sets the menu language to one of 18.
- Reset Camera: Resets the camera to its default settings.
- Format: Formats the SD card or internal memory, erasing all images (even write-protected ones).
- Calibrate Imager: Checks and corrects pixel variation, maps-out bad pixels.
- About: Displays the camera's firmware information.
- View: Sets whether all images on the memory card or internal memory are available for review, or only selected images.
- Album: Adds images to an image album, created on a computer with the camera's interface software.
- Protect: Write-protects the selected image(s) or only the currently displayed image, preventing accidental erasure or manipulation in any other way. Does not protect from erasure due to card formatting, however. Protection can also be removed here.
- Edit: Lets you crop or resize a saved image.
- Redeye Reduction: Applies the camera's Redeye Fix to a captured image, removing any Redeye.
- Slide Show: Enables a slide show of captured images, with user-adjustable intervals between images.
- Copy: Copies files from the internal memory to the SD card, or the reverse.
- Multi-Up: Enables a index display of images on the memory card or stored in the internal memory.
When you press the Share button on the lower right corner of the camera's back panel, it brings up a menu with options relevant to sharing your photos. Here are the options offered:
- Print: Lets you tag images for later printing. You can tag images one at a time and select a number of prints for each, or tag all images on the card (or in the camera's memory) and select a number of prints for all of them.
- Email: You can import an address book from your computer, via the Kodak EasyShare software application. You can tag images for emailing (just like for printing), and also select names from your address book that you want the images emailed to. When you connect the camera to a computer running the EasyShare software, the email-tagged images will be sent to the selected recipients.
- Favorite: Tag newly-shot images as "Favorites." This is a clever Kodak innovation: The original images tagged as Favorites are stored at full resolution on your computer, but the EasyShare software copies reduced-resolution copies of them back to the camera's internal memory. This lets you carry a large number of your favorite images around on the camera to show friends on the LCD screen, without tying up space on your memory card. The reduced-resolution Favorite images are still large enough to make decent-looking 4x6 inch prints to share with your friends as well.
- Cancel Prints: Clears the "print" tags from all images.
- Slide Show: Enables a slide show of captured images, with user-adjustable intervals between images.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.