What is it?
The Kodak Zi8 is a pocket camcorder capable of shooting 1080p video for under $200.
What’s in the box?
- Kodak Zi8 camera
- Rechargeable battery
- USB charger, charging cable
- HDMI cable
- Composite video cable
- ArcSoft MediaImpression Software
The Kodak Zi8 is a nice improvement on the older Kodak Zi6. The device is smaller thanks to a rechargeable battery pack. The older model used rechargeable AAs that could be replaced with alkaline batteries. The Zi8 comes in more colors than its predecessor as well, which ought to appeal to those who want options beyond pink and black. The button layout on the Zi8 is streamlined with simpler capsule-shaped buttons.
Of particular note is the Zi8’s microphone in jack. Many full sized camcorders do not include a microphone in jack. Perhaps Kodak is looking to go after a different market than the other guys with this feature. Tests using a powered shotgun mic yielded decent results, however the audio was a bit on the low side. The built in mic picked up audio very well.
The included macro mode is handy for shooting details up close. The Zi8 accepts SDHC cards so you can get plenty of video recording done. The built-in USB connector no longer swings out at the touch of a button, but still does the job of getting video to your computer.
The several shooting modes (1080p, 720p/60fps, 720p, WVGA, and still camera mode) are quite nice and selecting them is easy from the on screen menu. The Zi8 can even shoot still pictures at 5MP, but that’s probably not why a person would buy it.
The video quality is very good. It captures details like individual hairs on a dog. Detail is obviously easier to see when the subject or camera is still. The Zi8 handles lower light situations like expected – you’ll want good light to get good video. The 1080p video is very detailed, although this camera will probably not challenge a dedicated camcorder in the over $500 range.
There’s not a whole lot bad about the Kodak Zi8. There is internal memory so you can shoot about 10 seconds of video, but you will have to buy a SD card of your own. At high speeds, video gets a bit wobbly. An example is shooting video of telephone poles from a moving vehicle. They appeared to be slanted in the video. Quick hand movements will create wobble as well. There is a lack of image stabilization – but that seems to be the trade off for these pocket camcorders. Get a steady hand or be prepared to get motion sickness.
At $180, the Kodak Zi8 is up against lots of competition from things like the Flip, the iPod nano, and even point and shoot cameras with HD video. However, the Kodak Zi8 has a great feature set for a quick point and shoot HD video camera – it is a great value and is one of the better pocket camcorders in the market today.
Product Page: [Kodak Zi8]