First off, I have received a couple of request from some people to keep my reviews short, so this one will be my test short review. I will provide links to more detailed reviews below if you would like to explore it further. Also, please leave comments to let me know if you like the new short style or prefer the old long reviews.
I recently had a chance to review the Kodak Zi8 ($179.00 on Amazon) high definition pocket video camera. This camera falls in the same category as the Flip Ultra and Mino HD cameras, which is what I currently own. I was particularly excited to review this camera as it is something I have been in the wall about buying for some time. I currently own a SD Flip Mino, and am ready to upgrade to HD!
The Zi8 boast a wide range of features, some of them are very common in other pocket cameras, and some of them aren’t! The Zi8 offers 5 different capture modes, 1080p, 720p at 60 f/s, 720p at 30 f/s, WVGA, Still Image. All video is shot in a 16:9 widescreen HD format and still images are taken in a 5 MP format. The Zi8 features a 2.5 color LCD, swivel out USB arm, SD/SDHC slot, and external microphone jack, HDMI output, built-in image stabilization and a micro/macro view switch.
A lot of people were excited about the external microphone jack, but I was unable to reviews this feature as I do not own an external microphone. If you would like a review of the external microphone feature, browse over to my buddy, Paul Stamatiou, review of the Zi8. One feature in particular, that I liked is the landscape/macro switch which allows you to focus in on close items if you need to.
The Zi8 is a great camera for the price. The video quality is great, but I did find that the Zi8 has pretty significant issues adapting to low light situations. It performs well in low light, but has a issue switching between non-low light and low light situations as you will see in the example video I embed below. The lack of any internal memory was kind of a let down, but SD memory is getting super cheap these days so I didn’t find this to be a real issue. I do wish though, that at least a 1GB or 2Gb SD card was included in the box. If I bought this retails, it would be a big let down to get home and realize I can’t use it because I have to go back and pick up memory for it. The extra features like the built-in image stabilization, landscape/macro mode, HDMI output, and the external microphone jack are all welcomed features to the pocket camera family, and I found they all to perform well, except the external microphone jack which I didn’t test.
Test Footage courtesy of Paul Stamatiou. Read his review of the Zi8 at his blog: PaulStamatiuo.com.
The unit I reviewed was a 2-week loaner which I had to return, so, will I buy the Kodak Zi8? Yes, it is a great pocket video camera that boast a wide arrange of features, so of which are not available on other pocket camera’s. I love my Flip Mino, but it is not high defination. Do I recommend it to you? Yes, if you are on the wall about purchasing the Kodak Zi8, I say go for it, it wont let you down, just remember to pick up a SD/SDHC memory card along with it.