*YouTube Videos Removed*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wy-zcTPdoQ]
I’d like to do a review on the Kodak Zi8. And I have to apologize because I don’t have two of them. So I have to switch over to my Sony Handycam ECRDVD405, which I really do not enjoy using at all. But without further ado, let me switch over.
Let me run through the pros first, I’ll go through the cons, and then my assessment. So here go the pros.
Kodak Zi8 Review – SHORT VERSION:
- good video quality
- easy to use and small
- approximately 50 minutes on one battery charge
- flexible, flip-out USB connection (unlike rigid flipcam / minoHD version)
- HDMI connection
- external microphone input / jack
- decent on-board audio quality
- removable SD memory card
- good resolution choices: 1080p, 720p (60fps and 30fps), and WVGA
- turns off quick
- macro setting easy and on top
- low-light situation induced vertical / purple / red / pink lines in 720p mode
- no real control over picture quality – automatic to the extreme
- back-side of camera gets hot after extended use
- image stabilization is useless
- case a bit too flexible and video aberrations noted if manhandled excessively
- no LCD to verify good shot framing
- record status LED is annoyingly placed, bright, and red
- metal strap piece will scratch the case / housing
- Buy it now!
Kodak Zi8 Review –LONG VERSION:
I’m thoroughly impressed with the video quality of this camera. Here’s a clip done at the Macro setting of some nick-knacks – check it out! Not too shabby, ehh?
I really like the fact that is small and easy to use. I get approximately 50 minutes out of the battery at 720p.
It’s got this flexible USB connection, which is really handy. Unlike the FlipCam, from what I understand – I’ve never owned one, it’s rigid and is kind of a pain and puts too much strain on this thing and you don’t want to do that. It’s got the capability to hook an HDMI straight up to it, which is crazy. It’s got an external mic input, which is absolutely crazy. Although the on-board audio is pretty decent.
It does have the removable SD card capability. I put some Class 10 stuff in there for you – yup Class 10! That’s another thing that I really enjoy is – turn it on and BAAM you’re right at the screen.
Choose whatever resolution – oh it’s already passed now – choose your resolution, press the button, and you’re go. I mean, you’re basically a second and a half from shooting at whatever resolution you want. The resolutions you can choose are 1080p, 720p @ 60fps or 30fps – 29.97 – and then WVGA… 648 by 480… I don’t memorize all of this stuff so forgive me if I am wrong. It’s turns off pretty quick when you hit the button. Macro right on top.
Now we move on to the Cons.
Something that really, really has irked me and I didn’t see until I read reviews, certain reviews afterwards. I’ve read reviews before but I just didn’t key in on it. Is that at 720p and low light situations, particularly transitions from gray to what-not, you get some nasty purple lines that are recorded and there’s nothing you can do about ’em.
Of course it’s not very customizable being the low budget camera that it is. Not a big deal because I’m really not that skilled and I don’t know if I’d want all of that control over looking at my face. This things gets hot after 10 to 15 minutes of use. I mean it is… I’d probably say 120 [°F], above, here in the back. I don’t know whether it is the internal components, or just the lithium battery, or a combination of the two, but it gets hot.
Image stabilization is useless – it needs to be disabled. Get a steadycam or what-not – I’ve got a FIG RIG plan for you and I highly recommend it. As well as a good tripod. If you go with a Gorilla tripod, they have knock-off brands that are like ten bucks ($10). Do that.
The case is just a wee bit too flexible for my liking so you can notice some distortion when recording if too much pressure is applied and what-not. So don’t do it, but it’s unfortunate that that happens.
As you can see there’s no front LCD or anything so if you’re shooting yourself (i.e. – vloggy-type style) I mean you need a mirror or something – unless there’s a better method I don’t know I’m pretty new to this. But there’s really no way to judge instead of: take a shot, go back, hope everything lines up properly. That’s kind of annoying.
Another thing that was stupid is the record LED – maybe that’s there for legal reasons, I don’t know. But it’s really, really annoying especially when you are doing anything close-up because there is a red glow. There’s some mods out there, but I just put tape over mine – a layer of tape and some Sharpie… and another layer and some Sharpie… and another layer and some Sharpie… and it’s pretty inconspicuous now, which is the way I like it. And I’m not doing incognito stuff, I just don’t want a red light all over the place.
The only other thing I really had a complaint about, is I like to use the straps… just because I feel safer that way. I am a cheap guy and I don’t like breaking expensive stuff. And it’s a metal strap and I actually didn’t do anything about it at first and it scratched up the case a little bit. And it can get up high enough to scratch up the front and that’s really, really unacceptable.
But you can go to your local electronics store and put some shrink tubing on there. I know you could probably use some electrical tape or what-not, but I just didn’t want any adhesive or… I wanted a really good fit. I don’t remember the diameter, but you can buy a variety pack and it’ll be in there. Use your hair-dryer, shrink it down, problem solved.
And now I switch back!
My assessment is: get it now. I recommend fixing the red LED, fixing the strap, getting a case, an extra battery if it didn’t come with it, and some extra memory. But I highly recommend it.
Happy filming. Thanks for watching. Spread it, comment on it, hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, or you have your own sample video shot with your Kodak Zi8, share with the rest of us. Appreciate it. Thanks. See you later. Bye!