The Kodak Z812 IS is an 8 megapixel camera. This will be more than enough for any photo. It will make great 4” x 6”s and you can even make enlargements up to
Optical Zoom: 12x
If you had a 3 or 4x zoom on your old camera, you would not believe how much of a difference a 12x makes. This 12x zoom, and also the 4x digital zoom with be more than you will need on any picture (sorry for the generalization, but I think that beyond a 48x zoom, it’s going to be a telescope :P). Kodak boasts about its high quality SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON lenses, and I don’t blame them. With the quality of the pictures that turn out, you can’t doubt those lenses are good quality J.
Even though the Z812 does not have a swivel LCD, like the S5, it is still a rather good one. You can adjust the brightness of the LCD manually, or it will adjust automatically, based on the amount of light there is!
One thing that the Z812IS has better than the S5 is its power options. The Z812IS takes a lot of different batteries. It can either use regular AAs, rechargeable NiMH AAs, the proprietary KLIK 8000, or the newly becoming popular CRV3s and R-CRV3s. Out of all those batteries, CRV3s hold the most charge. The CRV3 that came with the camera was good for 700 shots! The rechargeable version of the CRV3, the RCRV3, is good for around 400-500, which is still much better than that of 2 AAs (I believe around 200-300 shots). I have not tested it with the KLIK 8000 yet, so if anybody knows, please post it!
With so many options for batteries, and with the new long lasting CRV3s, you will never run out of battery during a long trip. AAs can be bought at nearly any electronic or 99 cent store.
The movie mode on the Z812 IS surpasses the one on the S5 in quality. You can take videos in HD (1024 x 740) as opposed to most cameras being able to go up to only 640 x 480. Like with the S5, you can zoom while taking movies. The only problem is that if you are in movie mode, you cannot take pictures, like with the S5. You can miss a lot of high res shots like that. Luckily, the Kodak makes up for it by allowing you to take individual frames out of the video as still images, right on the camera.
Like the Canon S5, the Z812IS has tons of manual controls. It even has a manual focus. Its automatic focus, however, works in most situations, even better than on the S5! The only issue I have with the manual features, is that so far there is no firmware hack for the camera, like CHDK for Canons, so you are stuck with the built-in firmware.
Likes and Dislikes
The Kodak Z812IS is an excellent camera. If you cannot afford the Canon S5, this is definitely the best fall-back option. You can get it refurbished for only around $200 or new from Kodak for only $250! The image quality is excellent, and I especially like the Movie mode.
The Z812IS does have some bad points. First of all, it cannot take still pictures during a movie. Also, the image quality is a bit inferior to that of the Canon S5. The most important issue (for more professional photographers at least) is that there is no firmware hack available for it. So it cannot have features such as shooting in RAW, and an intervalometer. Still, the Z812IS is a very impressive camera for its price.