Annie Oh rates this 4/5
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Kodak Zi8 Review From: Kodak

Pros
Excellent video quality. Features a macro mode.

Cons
Zoom is poor and buttons are too sensitive. Also, the price is a bit high.

Verdict
This is one of the best pocket camcorders on the market.

Does the Kodak Zi8 Stack Up to the Competition?

With 1080p capabilities and an excellent macro lens, it's hard to believe it's a pocket camcorder, but the Kodak Zi8 definitely is--and it's excellent at what it does. However, I wasn't too happy with the nearly $400 price tag, which has tripled since its first version was released in 2009. Here is my review.


Pros
  • Records high definition video
  • Excellent macro mode
  • Excellent picture quality

Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Zoom has a tendency of jerking
  • Buttons too sensitive

Design

First, the design: Based off the Zi6, Kodak's first video camera, the Zi8 has vastly improved, with a slimmer, sturdier design that makes it eons better than its competitors, such as the Flip and Vado. On a downside, it's thicker than competitor models, despite weighing in at a semi-light 3.9 ounces. By camcorder standards, it's still pretty light, but this is a bit bulky when it comes to pocket-sized camcorders. Nevertheless, it's not really a big problem here--just something that differentiates it from other pocket camcorders.


For a bit of glam, Kodak allows you to choose from one of three finishes: aqua, black, and raspberry. The colors themselves are nice and metallic-like, and look modern enough to fit with the Zi8 model. Still, a bigger range of finishes would be encouraged here--perhaps patterned finishes, such as leopard prints, or more feminine or manly colors would make it more attractive to customers.


Otherwise, the Zi8 is your standard run-of-the-mill camcorder--a bit bulkier than most, but still very slim, compact, and containing easy-to-reach controls for on-the-go shooting.


Functions

Most of the Zi8's controls are kept tidily on the back panel, right below the big, 2.5 inch LCD screen, which luckily have been reported to be as sharp as it is vibrant. It's a vast improvement over competitor models, whose LCD screens often err on the blurry side.


Now for the functions: Just below this LCD screen, you'll see a series of buttons for organizing and browsing videos, such as Trash, Video, and Layback. In the middle is a tiny joystick, which also doubles as a record button. Though these features are nice, the joystick was frustratingly sensitive, and would accidentally record video while moving through menu options, according to a PC Mag source. You'll need to use a light touch to use this camera, and even then, you may still run into some problems.


Although competitor models, such as theĀ Flip UltraHD, rely on a intuitive menu, the Zi8 veers from the path here: It's both hard and difficult to get the hang of. Considering this camcorder's main market--the average Joe who just wants a reliable camcorder--this isn't exactly ideal.


Usability

Here's where the Zi8 performs best: recording high definition video. With options to record up to 1080p, expect to see clear, stunningly vivid video quality, though quality can diminish in low light settings. To further serve the HD market, the Zi8 also comes with a HDMI slot and cable, allowing quick video viewing directly from the camcorder to HD television. Likewise, the Zi8 also contains a built-in USB cable, which you can plug directly the computer for immediate video uploading. The Zi8 is also one of the few pocket camcorders to shoot in macro mode--meaning you'll be able to get crystal clear shots while zoomed in closely to a small object. Overall, this camcorder is excellent when it comes to capturing video, and should please the average consumer.


Customer Reviews
"Again this isn't something to shoot with if your a young film-maker or a die-hard amateur cinematographer. But if you need something cheap to get some great quality video, or need something super easy to use that is really portable....Take the plunge. And if your considering FLiP -- don't bother..." - R. Vernon
"It is easy to use, and the video quality is amazing for such a small, simple little camera." - David L. Kumlien
Verdict

Though I'm not happy with its ever-increasing price tag, don't let this pocket camera fool you: It's a monster of a device, with plenty of features to make consumers happy. On this basis alone, I recommend it.
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2012, 6:53 pm
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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