I've always been the kind of person that holds on to technology for a very long time. I owned an old model Kodak Easyshare camera for about five years, until finally deciding this year to buy a new digital camera for myself for Christmas. I didn't want to spend over $300 that new cameras typically cost, so I was very pleased to find this model of Kodak Easyshare at Best Buy for almost half off! The newest model had just been released - just my luck.
This camera was a major upgrade for me - owning a 2 Megapixel and only 3x optical zoom for so long. As an avid Ebay Seller...this was turning into a real handicap. The Kodak Z712 has been an absolute dream. This model features an amazing full 12X Optical Zoom (not the cheap-o digital), and has several auto or manual focus settings that allow you to get the clearest and most brilliant pictures in just about any lighting or motion conditions. The manual settings allow professional photographers to play around with focus and exposure (out of my range of expertise).
The LCD display on this camera is 2.5 in / 6.4 cm - which is a nice size review screen, it is clear and the colors are bright. The menus are simple to navigate and - however, as with most cameras, you may need to look over the manual to find the exact settings you want, and to understand what all of the symbols mean.
Handling of this camera is very comfortable. With the older models I had a difficult time holding the camera with one hand to take photos, however with this model, Kodak has moved the picture button forward and there is a space behind it where the thumb fits easily for good one-handed grasp (but always keep the strap around your neck just in case!)
USB transfer to the PC is an absolute breeze. My only small complaint is that the camera seems to draw more power than smaller models, and batteries seem to run out quickly - but if you use rechargeable, you should be able to run through 200 pictures or so before running into any problems.
The camera is also very rugged. About a week ago I forgot to remove the USB cable from the camera, still attached to the PC. As I lifted it to put it away - the USB cable pulled it from my grasp and the camera fell about 4 feet to the wood floor. Mortified, I frantically turned on the camera and tested all features. Not only was there not a scratch on it - the camera worked perfectly.
This is a perfect camera for both new photographers as well as having enough functionality and flexibility for professionals. I highly recommend the Kodak Z712 to anyone considering purchasing a new digital camera.