Kodak Zi8 Mini Camcorder

Point and Shoot cameras do come with a movie mode but its in the not-so-good looking VGA format and they often don't capture the details well; it might as well be a bunch of blurry shots put together to form a video. So, I got a dedicated video shooter last year to capture moving things that are a never fulfilling challenge when shooting with point and shoots. Fireworks, fish in aquarium, a sports event, dance performance etc., and all other things that fall under the constantly moving and action category can never be accomplished with a simple point and shoot camera, so the idea of a mini camcorder that is easy to carry around and shoots HD (hi-res) video was alluring, and according to cnet reviews the Kodak Zi8 is one of the best budget mini camcorders out there so far. It has been constantly number one for 2 consecutive years, beating the very famous flip mino cameras that introduced the concept of mini/point and shoot camcorders. It has now been replaced by its latest version Kodak Playsport which shoots an almost similar quality video for a lesser price.

After seeing some footage of both the Zi8 and Playsport, around the internet, I still say that I like my Zi8 better and I'm not saying that coz I want to justify what I bought, but because Zi8 seems to offer better color, and also performs better in low light conditions, but that's just my opinion. However, if you're under a budget and want something cheaper then you should go for the Playsport.

Digital video shooting doesn't get any cheaper than this but mind you the performance is not cheap at all. A friend of mine has a very old Sony camcorder which she bought for double the price of what I paid for Zi8 and it takes horrible videos with lots of noise and crappy video quality. The only thing good about it is the image stabilization, you can easily shoot steady videos with free hand. The Zi8 lacks a little bit in that area but if you're careful or use a tripod, which I recommend if you're a creative video enthusiast, then you should be very OK with it. I feel that ultimately the video quality is what matters and other minor things can be ignored or made adjustments with when the final output is praise worthy.

The Zi8 also takes still captures of 5MP resolution. It also has a dedicated macro button for macro shots both in still and video, how cool is that. This feature is lacking in Playsport. The digital zoom is however not great but I don't require it coz I'll only be using it for home videos and some other stuff that I like to shoot. You can check out my still captures and videos on my flickr and vimeo streams, both linked to the right.

Have you used any of these mini camcorders that came into market? what are your thoughts.

On other news, yesterday was a fantab sunday, what with it being the Jason Wu collection launch at Target day, and Super Bowl Sunday, but I was more excited about the former and I'm so glad to say that I have not bought a single thing, guess I'm not the 'American Girl in Paris' type. But I loved seeing the collection and many people seemed to think it did justice to the mischievous and nonchalant women of French New Wave cinema, which inspired the designer. And as for Super Bowl, well I was more interested in the ads, too many car ads though. My favorite were the Audi Vampire Party ad, M&M's just my shell, Best Buy, Suzuki Sled, Samsung Galaxy Note, and ofcourse the David Beckham's Bodywear for H&M ad (hot, hot, hot, I mean what girl wouldn't like that). I hated the CareerBuilder.com ad, how ironic considering it keeps matching me to totally irrelevant jobs. You can watch all of them here.

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Ramesh said...

I thought point and shoot and mini camcorders were becoming obsolete. Low end users are migrating to cell phone usage for photos and high end users are migrating to professional stuff. Aren't they ??

mae | postcard printing services online said...

Yeah, I bought a point and shoot camera last week, hoping that I can also use it to film our short project. But I was dead wrong. The quality isn't even acceptable.

rads said...

@Ramesh: Maybe, I'm not sure. There are some users like me who fall in between, I'm not a professional but I'm a hobbyist and am not willing to pay for prof gear, but however I do prefer it if my pictures and videos looked atleast acceptable. Cell phone picture quality is not acceptable most of the time unless it is iPhone but that again costs as much as prof gear.

rads said...

@mae: Yep I agree with you, the quality with p&s cameras sucks especially coz its VGA. Try a mini camcorder instead, it should work pretty well if its just a casual thing you're doing...but if its professional stuff you should go for something hi-end.