Apr 28, 2009

Kodak Z980 Digicam *Take Two*

I blogged last week about a new camera I'd picked up and how impressed I was with some of the images I was getting out of it. In this installment, I wanted to take the camera out and shoot some photos with both the Z980 and an older Fuji S9100 (a decent camera in its own right) to see how it stacked up. You can find the image comparison gallery on flickr.

I've included some specific screen grabs from Adobe Bridge CS3 that give you some further insight. You can click on the links or the photos to view larger sizes, enjoy!

The FujiFilm S9100 is a 9MP cam from late 06/early 07. It is a heavy 'bridge' cam that feels very much like a DSLR. Manual focus ring, balanced in your hand feel. I wondered if the Z980 could take photos *this* good?

Bee Gathering Pollen: FujiFilm S9100

Initial indications are that it's pretty darn close! The Kodak Z980 doesn't have the heft or feel of the Fuji, but the photos come across quite well. Check out the details on this Z980 macro shot. Unfortunately, the bee moved and wouldn't 'pose' for me anymore! :(

The other advantage the Kodak has is the 24X zoom as witnessed here in these comparison shots of waterfowl at the local riparian preserve, near our hometown library. The other thing that becomes key at the long focal lengths is 'image stabilization'. The Kodak has it, the Fuji does not. I did put the S9100 into 'anti-shake' mode, which helps, but its not true optical image stabilization like the Kodak has. Think of the 'steady cam' technology that Sony users in their video cameras/camcorders. It's very similar, and can be just as helpful when you get into a camera with such a long zoom range.

S9100 on left Z980 on right

There are features that I like about both cameras, so I wouldn't trade one for the other, but from my standpoint, if you're in the market for a "super zoom" in a smaller form factor, with a few 'pro' type features like an external flash 'hot shoe', RAW output, and full manual shooting control, the Kodak Z980 deserves a look. With the weekly specials that Kodak has been running lately through their online store, the price of this camera, compared to the current version of the FujiFilm S9100 that I used, the S100fd? is a bargain. Again, the final shot has the S9100 on the left, and the Z980 on the right.

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