As a manufacturer, you can make things hard on yourself, by introducing a compact camera as an alternative for a DSLR camera; the expectations have suddenly been stretched higher, especially in regards to the control. Once you pick up the Kodak EasyShare P712 you will notice the compact format immediately. Unfortunately, with that, it also becomes painfully clear that the space between the grip and the lens has been measured too tightly, as a result of which the fingers press against the lens. Moreover, it's difficult to place the many functions on buttons, instead of hiding them in the menu, but nevertheless still keep the whole synoptic. This results in the need for a little learning period in order to control the Kodak P712 blindly.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Multi-control button
The camera's menu has been set-up simply and synoptically, as it becomes EasyShare. Navigation is straightforward and the total hardly calls-up any questions. A setting is selected by means of the multi-control button and by pressing the button, the setting can be confirmed. The way in which the multi-control button is used to modify, for instance, the light compensation, is a bit confusing. When pressing the button outside the automatic (green) setting, two compensation modes and an ISO-mode appear on the LCD display. To make any modifications you will have to leave the multi-controller, reach for the upper command dial, make a choice and confirm by means of a separate Set button; next you have to twist the command dial again. Complicated, this could be a lot simpler and more direct.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Setting options
The various settings give the Kodak EasyShare P712 owner a lot of creative freedom. For the standard recordings, the automatic mode is fine; but those photographers wanting to do more with their pictures or for difficult shots, will have sufficient tools. The entry-level photographer is helped by the always-returning explanation on the screen about certain settings; the advanced photographer can profit from a live composition histogram. Also convenient is the programmable button on top of the camera; with a choice of fifteen different settings, like resolution, white balance, file format, etc. This quick-button, together with the two quick-buttons on the left topside of the camera, makes life much easier for the photographer.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Electronic viewfinder
The LCD monitor and the electronic viewfinder show different information, like focus frame, resolution and quality, flash settings, ISO etc. In addition, it is possible to set a grid that will be visible on the monitor and in the electronic viewfinder. The grid comes in very handy when deciding on a composition or to correctly align different objects. The pictograms might be rather small, but opposed to that, more space remains for judging the composition. By means of the I-button, it is possible to display a small histogram or the bright and dark portions of the composition. Convenient for the advanced photographers among us; the beginner will probably miss the benefit.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Pre-programmed scenes
In addition to the manual settings, like aperture and shutter priority or completely automatic, the Kodak P712 offers a large amount of pre-programmed scenes. You can choose from no less than eighteen different recording settings. In itself a rich offer, but you can ask yourself if this quantity doesn't raise more questions than to give the right answer.
It won't matter to the more advanced photographer, he will choose the correct setting with his experience; but the starting digital photographer can be shaken by an overload of possibilities.
Kodak P712 - Favorites settings & Share menu
The Kodak EasyShare P712 also has a favorites setting. By pressing the power switch towards this setting, a favorite menu is being activated on the monitor. The most important recordings can be marked as favorite by means of the Share menu, after which the Kodak P712 downsizes the recordings and places it in a part of the internal memory. A nice detail, allowing you to always carry those precious recordings with the camera. By means of the C-settings (C1 to C3) on the setting-dial on top of the camera, it is possible to store certain camera configurations and to recall them immediately afterwards. This way, three personal camera configurations can be stored. Convenient, but not unique, is the built-in orientation-sensor, that the Kodak P712 utilizes to recognize images that have been taken vertically. After recognizing them by means of the sensor, the LCD monitor will automatically display images vertically.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Image stabilizer
The integration of the Image Stabilizer (IS) is an absolute bonus. The 12x optical zoom seduces the user into frequently using the zoom function, thus instantly increasing the chance of blurring. The IS function recognizes these tremors and corrects these, thus increasing the chance of focused images. The Kodak EasyShare P712 harbors two IS-settings, constant IS and single IS. With the constant IS setting, corrections are being made constantly; with the single IS, this is only being done while pressing the shutter release. The real-life recordings clearly show that a tele recording is doomed to fail without the use of IS or a tripod. Recordings with an activated IS, however, are nearly all focused, with the exception of those subjects moving too quickly with respect to the shutter speed.
Kodak EasyShare P712 - Speediness of the camera
The camera is slow to activate. It takes about 2.5 seconds for the zoom lens to position and to take the first picture. Upon shutting down the camera, the Kodak EasyShare P712 takes up even more time, about 3.2 seconds from the wide-angle mode and about 5.6 seconds from tele-range. The use of the optical zoom also takes up a lot of time; to zoom from wide-angle to tele-range is possible in about 4.2 seconds. You can zoom in accurately in about 22 steps, pretty reasonable, but in real life this works rather shaky. The Kodak EasyShare P712 camera scores highly when it comes to the shutter release lag. Here, Kodak shows us that speed should not be a problem. Unfortunately, the AF (automatic focus)-speed stays behind, in particular in low-light situations. Once you manage to focus, this focus will be accurate and correct. Improvement is necessary, in particular in regards to indoor recordings (twilight).