Last year we traded in our Canon Eos SLR camera for something smaller. I had tried my sisters Kodak camera and thought it was pretty nice so we got one of our own. So far I have not been disappointed.
We did do some research on different models before our purchase and the Easyshare Z712 IS looked like a good fit for what we were looking for. In our research we found that other cameras with similar features usually cost $100-200 more than the Kodak Z712 IS. For us using the Kodak was not much different then our Canon due to the traditional SLR-style hand-grip, top mounted thumb operated mode dial and pop-up flash. So if you're used to handling an SLR or a traditional film camera, then getting to know the Kodak Z712 IS will be easy to do.
As far as the features went we were pleasantly surprised. Features like a high speed digital processor chip, advanced algorithms, and hardware acceleration allow the camera to produce rich, vibrant, true-to-life colors in almost any lighting situation. Other features inlcude 7 megapixels, a 12x optical zoom lens, and optical image stabilization. Also its part of the Kodak Easyshare program making picture sharing a snap.
The only downfall to the Z712 IS is that it drains batteries real quick. Other than that I would highly recommend this camera to beginners and serious photographers alike.