In many ways the EasyShare Max Z990 is a good performer. As shown by the performance tables below, the camera is quick focusing and has a blazingly quick continuous shooting speed. I found that it takes only about two seconds to start up and shut down.
Its menu operations work smoothly. However, as noted in the First Look, I continually had a problem with the camera’s slow shot-to-shot speed. After taking a shot without the flash, the camera’s LCD would take about five seconds to refresh, indicating that it was ready for another shot. If I tried to take another shot before the LCD refreshed, I could usually do so after about two to three seconds, but sometimes the camera would not let me focus and shoot for a longer period of time. The delay was worse when the flash was employed. I tried switching my standard SDHC memory card to a fast class 6, with no significant improvement. Overall the camera’s shot-to-shot speed was a disappointment.
The camera’s performance tables show that it does well compared to other cameras in its class, especially when it comes to continuous shooting speed. Shutter lag, when pre-focused (when the shutter is pressed halfway down), was negligible at 0.01 seconds. AF acquisition, the time it takes between pressing the shutter and taking the shot, measured a quick 0.35 seconds. Continuous shooting ability for four frames was clocked at a very quick 12 frames per second.
Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)
|Kodak EasyShare Z990 Max||0.01|
|Nikon Coolpix P500||0.01|
|Canon PowerShot SX30||0.01|
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Nikon Coolpix P500||0.30|
|Canon PowerShot SX30||0.35|
|Kodak EasyShare Z990 Max||0.38|
|Kodak EasyShare Z990 Max||4||12.0|
|Nikon Coolpix P500||5||10.0|
|Canon PowerShot SX30||∞||1.4|
*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.
I had little problem finding focus in both good light and dim light.
Kodak specifies a battery life of approximately 500 shots per charge. This sounds great but in real life shooting, I was able to get only a fraction of that figure. The battery charge icon would consistently sink to ½ full after only about 100 shots, even if I did not shoot any videos or use the flash. I thought that perhaps the Kodak-supplied batteries were defective but I obtained the same results with Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries. If you plan to go out for a day of shooting, I strongly recommend bringing along at least one extra set of fully charged batteries.
The lens of the EasyShare Max Z990 is produced by the well-regarded German optics firm of Shneider-Kreuznach. The lens has a huge range of from 28-840mm (35mm film camera equivalent). An additional 5x zoom is available when using digital zoom, although it is hard to imagine why a user would need it. Thanks to the camera’s effective optical image stabilization, I rarely had a problem getting a sharp image, even at the long end of the zoom.
I found the lens to have good sharpness in the center, but falling off towards the corners. I did not see any vignetting, but chromatic aberration was a problem in images with high contrast shots. For example in the image below, there is purple fringing on most of the tree branches.
I found some barrel distortion at wide angle and minor pin cushion distortion at maximum telephoto.