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Kodak Z950IS

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

If you’re looking for a point-and-shoot try out the Kodak Z950IS. This camera has a 12 megapixel resolution with a 10x optical zoom. It is SD/MMC and CompactFlash compatible and comes with 32 MB of internal memory. View your images and HD videos on the 3 inch LCD screen. Z950IS has an HD resolution of 720p. The ISO range is a decent 100 to 3200.

Features List:

- 12 megapixels

- 10x optical zoom

- SD/MMC, CompactFlash

- 32 MB internal memory

- HD video recording 720p

- 3 inch LCD screen

- ISO 100 – 3200

Digital Trends’ digital camera buying tips:

What’s the difference between optical and digital zoom?

Like megapixels, manufacturers frequently throw around big numbers relating to digital zoom. Like megapixels, you should ignore them. Optical zoom uses real optics to get you closer to your subject, while digital zoom merely takes the same amount of pixels you would have in a standard shot and blows them up to fill the frame. The camera captures no more detail. It’s the same zooming or cropping trick you could pull in Photoshop, done in the camera on the fly. While that can sometimes be handy, image quality suffers severely as a result, and most photographers would never use digital zoom.

Key differences between SLR and Point-n-shoot

Price: According to industry analysts, the vast majority of cameras sold go for less than $200. Making the leap to a DSLR will definitely set you back, but many shoppers obviously believe that the investment is well worth it.

Speed: Speed is the one of the most critical factors. If you’ve ever used a compact digicam, you know that these devices take time to focus and save images to memory cards. During these delays, you can easily miss a smiling face or a running child. To put things in perspective: Point-and-shoot digital cameras generally capture 1 frame per second, while most DSLRs take 3 frames per second or more, making them better suited for fast action shots or sporting events. The difference between snagging the perfect picture and missing it entirely is one of the biggest factors weighing heavily in DSLR cameras’ favor.

Image quality: Compact cameras use much smaller imaging devices. By cramming so many megapixels on a small chip, digital noise is a constant problem. In our reviews, we always recommend keeping the ISO (sensitivity) of a digicam at 400 or less. DSLRs have much larger APS-C sized imagers, meaning you’ll encounter less noise in low light situations and better picture quality overall. Using one, you can shoot in more dimly lit conditions without a flash with little image degradation. In addition, if huge prints are in your future-or extensive cropping-DSLRs should be in your sights.

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

How many megapixels do I need?

In 2000, the answer to this question was “more is always better.” In 2010, the answer is more likely “if you have to ask, you have enough.” Even the cheapest cameras these days typically pack eight or more megapixels onto a sensor, which produces superb 4 x 6 prints, all the way up to 8 x 10, and sometimes more. The physical size and quality of the image sensor along with the corresponding optics play a much bigger role in image quality than megapixels alone, so don’t be fooled into thinking more megapixels will produce better photographs. Unless you’re planning to blow up shots to poster or billboard size, any modern camera has enough resolution.
When you’re researching different cameras, manufacturers will state the maximum file (or picture) size you can take. In the case of a 6 megapixel (MP) camera, it’s 2816 horizontal pixels x 2112 vertical pixels, with 7MP it’s 3072 x 2304 and so on. Simply multiply the numbers and you get the effective resolution of the imaging device. We suggest you avoid anything less than 6 or 7MP at this point unless you’re looking for an inexpensive camera for the kids.
Pros have access to 21-megapixel imagers in very expensive D-SLRs. You don’t have to go this route or spend that much money for great everyday photos. However, 6MP should be your minimum and if you plan on making very large prints, such as 13x19s, or you feel you’re going to experiment cropping photos with imaging software, consider 8- or more megapixels. There are no hard and fast rules since so much depends on your final end use

Don’t Buy Til You Try

One final bit of advice. Never, ever buy a camera purely on its specs or a few positive reviews. What looks good on paper, and what feels good to one person, isn’t necessarily going to be the perfect camera for you. Patronize shops that allow you to spend a lot of hands-on time with your prospective models. Cameras are extremely touchy-feely products, and the truth is that most of them include similar feature sets and take decent pictures. But they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and you’ll be spending many hours with one of them in your hands. Long-term comfort is perhaps the most important factor of all.